Gotta Listen, Gotta Hear
Listening, truly and deeply, enriches your life. And we’ve got some voices worth hearing for you this week.
It’s hard to listen, but it’s one of the best skills we can learn. In conversations with other folks, too many of us fail to hear and absorb — usually because we’re too damned busy figuring out what we will say once they stop talking.
Real listening takes practice. It requires us to cease the chatter in our brains, to look directly at the person speaking, and to take in what they say. Good techniques for listening exist. Watch the lips of the person who is speaking; I’ve tried that one, and it works. But the most important technique, I think, is maybe the hardest: It’s forcing yourself to just stop, to make listening your only focus for a while.
Of course, when the person you’re talking to is saying things that matter, it helps. And this week in Salvation South, we’ve identified some people and things worth listening to.
The first is a poet named Annie Woodford, whose distinctly Appalachian voice is one of the most direct and refreshing we’ve heard in a long while. Another poet, Andy Fogle, whose work we’ve published here, comes to us with a deep interview with Annie — which is accompanied by an audio track of Annie reading one of her works, plus the full text of one of her latest poems, “Where You Come From Is Gone.”’
Contributor James Seawel found another voice who is absolutely worth listening to — a quiet man named Benjamin Adams of whom you’ve surely never heard. But Adams has stories that will set you back on your heels about his years demonstrating in the Civil Rights Movement. James gives us a loving profile of an unsung Southern hero.
And finally, we invite you to join us in April in Tallahassee, when we once again partner up with the amazing Word of South festival to present a weekend of Southern music on the Salvation South Stage. We’ll be telling the story of the deep gospel-music traditions of eastern North Carolina — and diving into the new music that’s coming out of Muscle Shoals, which for decades has been a wellspring of amazing music. Our culture warrior, Rob Rushin-Knopf, brings y’all a preview of our big weekend in Florida.
Love one another. And listen to one another. Both will brighten your day.
Chuck Reece is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Salvation South, the weekly web magazine you're reading right now. He was the founding editor of The Bitter Southerner. He grew up in the north Georgia mountains in a little town called Ellijay.