As my garden harvests have started to come in, I’ve been left wondering what I can do with all of these vegetables before they spoil. In years past I would batter and fry squash and zucchini every day, have tomatoes on a bacon sandwich, or add tomatoes to tuna salad. However, in the spirit of adopting a healthier lifestyle, I have changed my eating habits and ways of cooking.
Maurice Manning will be the final judge of the James Baker Hall Memorial Prize in Poetry. Julie Marie Wade will select the winner in nonfiction, and Crystal Wilkinson will select the winning fiction entry. New Southerner editors and advisory board members select the top five entries in each category. Final judges select winning entries. Read more about our final judges here. The contest opens Aug. 1 and ends Sept. 30. Submission guidelines are posted at www.newsoutherner.com/contest.
After garnering a rap sheet that could’ve put Amy Winehouse to shame, I finally learned how to follow directions—something the judge said I had a problem with. In the past year, I’ve replaced my bad habits with musical and artistic ambitions. Yet, as I turn to take my seat, I have to wonder, don’t all rock stars have this problem—the desire to go against the grain? To define their own rules?
Becky White Cochran, of Lexington, Ky., captured the arrival of summer at Snug Hollow Farm, a bed and breakfast in Irvine that hosts retreats and workshops. “Nothing says ‘Southern’ like a mimosa tree and a metal porch glider,” says Cochran, who recommends Snug Hollow for unwinding and unplugging.
Luckily, I had errands to run on the day I unplugged, so I knew I would have some distractions. Since I had the entire day ahead of me, I decided to stop and treat myself to breakfast. This is where I first realized my internet addiction. I looked at the waitress when I ordered and thought to myself, “I haven’t done that in a long time.” She had a nice smile. I didn’t know, until that moment, how much I had missed having a genuine connection with people.
I knew a little about bees because one of my neighbors has hives and harvests honey. He has an in-ground pool and spent thousands of dollars putting in an intricate pond with a fountain so his bees can stay hydrated. Yet the bees were at my sprinkler. I wondered what my yard had that his didn’t.
My relationship with his guitar began when, all bridges burnt and at the mercy of the Commonwealth courts, I “volunteered” myself for rehab. Court ordered, with my mind disenthralled from pharmaceutical grips, my life had no direction. My words had no voice. Although surrounded by crowds of people, I felt lonely. In regulated amounts, I found that isolation can be a healthy retreat, and I found solace there.
I was nervous and a little uncomfortable about unplugging for 24 hours. I thought I would be missing out on what was happening in the Facebook world or my friends would think I was ignoring their texts. I have to admit that the only reason I participated in this challenge was to receive extra credit in my English 102 class; however, not using the internet, texting or doing anything involving technology from 9 a.m. April 6 to 9 a.m. April 7 turned into quite a learning experience.
My children were eager participants this year with the planting. The two older ones were delegated certain jobs that my husband supervised while I kept the youngest by my side and supervised her. To my surprise, the older ones took the initiative to stake up the tomato and pepper plants. As I watched, my heart swelled with pride. I was happy to discover how much our family could enjoy playing in the dirt.
Through her art, Wright hopes to convey the beauty in ordinary things. “The magic of unexpected treasure is all around us. It’s only a matter of perception that allows us to see or miss it.”
She also believes art is intrinsically activism because the artist engages in the act of creating in a solely driven and controlled process. “Art allows us to engage with the mystery, see and feel the intangible, leave behind the confines of coercion, dogma and the repressive attributes of society.”
Thoreau would have rejoiced that you are there,
haunting my yard from a sweet gum limb,
doing the “maniacal hooting for men”—
though I think he well knew the noise
we make can be maniacal enough.
Going 24 hours without texting or getting on the internet helped me to better understand my dependence on these devices for performing my daily tasks. The first few hours had me confused and a little lost. If I needed to ask a question or get a hold of someone, I realized I had to wait until after the 24-hour experiment or go see them face to face. As the experiment went on, however, I started to feel freedom, like I was truly in control of myself. I got to pay more attention to my surroundings. I wasn’t entrapped by a screen with silent and bleak posts, messages and false media reports.
A greenhouse allows you to get your seedlings going sooner and also provides a place to grow crops that are sensitive to weather changes. I set up my small, yet efficient greenhouse in a space that gets full sun most of the day.
Rejuvenating the soil with mulched up leaves and compost every year is a must. New gardeners don’t realize the importance of this until their crops fizzle and don’t reach their full potential. I made this rookie mistake last year. My husband and I expanded our garden plot, and we didn’t use compost on the previous year’s plot. Even though we changed the flow of our rows from north to south to east to west, the eastern end of the rows didn’t produce as much harvest as the other end that was “new” garden area.
This worry manifests in depression, yes, but it is not the thing itself. Despite being a stigmatized and misunderstood state, depression may at times be nothing more than a sign that one is awake to—that one cares about, that one feels—the greater worry of the world. The worry of the world, which does not recognize the individual human face, pervades the mass and is in fact defined by the mass. Mass incarceration, mass killings, mass warfare, mass ecocide (literally the killing of home), mass violence of all kinds: All these things are legion. To try to bear them is to be overrun.
Matthew Haughton: While I was spending my time learning Tom Petty or Nirvana songs—or trying to write lyrics like Leonard Cohen—the landscape was there, and the music of the hills, too. So, those songs, the ones born out of the landscape, seemed to soak into me back then, giving me a deeper awareness of where I was—those folk songs that I heard. When you are a kid with a guitar, it is all about “getting out.” But your position in those hills sinks in all the same. Even now, people like Roscoe Holcomb inspire my writing.
A tale spun out as if from a reel of dynamite fuse, Fries’ Ash Grove winds a precarious, rocky way through darkness, back into the light. Like the mine shafts that pierce the peaks around Ash Grove, through the deft storytelling of the author, the plots twist and turn, narrowing into blackness and dead ends. Characters disappear around corners, and then reappear as suddenly as a coal train around a hairpin bend.
In memory of the children lost at Sandy Hook Elementary and in Syrian war zones, and of all children ever lost anywhere.
December 17, 2012
I cracked my children’s bedroom doors,
looked upon them as they napped,
upon two children vulnerable
to anything they had mistrusted,
which could be anything.
Surely sleeping innocents do not belong
in such times we call these times.
With football season upon us, Love’s Winning Plays by Inman Majors will whet readers’ appetites for a good football game, especially the back story of the game in all of its managed chaos. Love’s Winning Plays is a tongue-in-cheek look at Southern football culture sprinkled with romantic comedy. Majors’ novel is not just for the fan of college football, but also for those who don’t think the game’s worth a bag of buttered popcorn.
By ZOLA TROUTMAN NOBLE My grandmothers wore an apron that covered nearly their whole dress, the kind of apron with a bib and wide over- or around-the-shoulders straps that joined in the back. It was an “old lady” apron, I thought. My mother wore short aprons that tied at the waist. Perhaps she thought this [...]
Harvest on the Honor System Pam Lee-Miller, of Lexington, Ky., snapped this shot on a Saturday afternoon drive to Reid’s Apple Orchard in Paris, Ky. She spotted the “self-serve” vegetable stand with an honor-box for payment. “In a world full of skepticism and mistrust, it was refreshing to find this simple reminder of days past,” [...]
Rock star is a mental state, not in the sense of a delusional disorder, but in the sense that a mind’s eye is key. Anyone can be a rock star. It’s all in your actions and attitude. Here are some pointers, in case you run into some situations: When the ability to be loud presents [...]