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New Friends Every Week

Welcoming writers into the Salvation South fold means we get to make new friends all the time.

Digging into all the submissions that writers send to Salvation South is often quite the treat.

For instance, this week’s main story, “Potlikker: A Monologue,” came in from Bonnie Schell, a writer about whom I knew absolutely nothing. But after I read her story, I felt I had missed years of special treats, because she’s something else.

If you haven’t read “Potlikker: A Monologue” yet, please flip over there right now and read it. If you’ve already read it, you know this woman has a sharp wit and an amazing way with words. Potlikker, of course, is a substance familiar to most every Southerner, but outsiders to our region, when they first hear the word, are generally dumbfounded. Most of us down here, of course, can manage a decent explanation of delicious and life-giving potlikker. But from now on, whenever I’m asked this question, I plan to refer the asker to Bonnie’s monologue. 

“Wasting potlikker means you are plain sorry,” Bonnie writes, and she’s absolutely correct. 

According to the biography on Bonnie’s website (which itself is highly recommended reading), Bonnie writes, “They say to write what you know. I don’t know if what I have seen makes me different from others of my generation, but I think my restless brain and creative visions cause me to write from an unconventional and droll perspective. A friend says I write ‘through the eyes of a child, the heart of an adolescent in love, and a wise adult with unconditional acceptance of all of humanity.’”

Every time we welcome a new writer into the pages of Salvation South, we make a new friend. A great example is James Seawel, the author of last week’s touching and funny story “Gunshark.” I’ve already had enough email exchanges with James to know that we are kindred spirits. I knew that we were from the first time I read his story. His descriptions of Sundays at the Palestine Church of Christ in Arkansas echoed with great accuracy my own childhood experiences at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in North Georgia. It’s a long way from Atlanta to Arkansas, where James lives, but someday some way we will engineer a chance for us to spend some quality talking time together. 

I hope I can do the same with Bonnie Schell. She was raised here in Atlanta but lives now in Asheville, North Carolina. I can’t wait until she and I can spend a few hours together over coffee or some good food. Maybe even some greens and potlikker. I am absolutely convinced that she will make me laugh uproariously. 

When your job makes you new friends almost ever week, then you’ve got a good job. I’m grateful for mine. If you’ve got stories about your Southern childhood or observations about life in the South, you might want to write them down and then hit the “Submit” button on the top of our website. We’d like to be friends with you, too.

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