Mighty Fine

In working my way through Weird Tales #347, the issue containing my story “Excision,” I recently read Clayton Kroh‘s story “The Yankee at the Sitting-Up.”

Growing up in the South myself, with family roots in the upper and Deep South going back 350 years, I’ve always had a shine for Southern literature and culture. The region and its history are so checkered, good mixed with some very bad, and the juxtaposition of such elements has always fascinated me. I read tons of Faulkner and Penn Warren in high school and college, and I’ve tried to keep up with modern Southern lit like Bobbie Ann Mason and Daniel Wallace. As a fantasy writer, the Southern gothic has always intrigued me, but I haven’t yet found a way to make it work within what I do.

Clayton sure made it work in his short piece. The speculative element was slight, which isn’t a problem for me, but the characterization and the setting just dripped from his word-choice and descriptions. It might’ve helped that I knew all those things he was talking about, so the story leapt right off the page for me.

Clayton, according to his Weird Tales bio, got his degree at ODU, just down the road from where I went to school. He’s an Odyssey grad like me, but I haven’t yet had the chance to meet him. Hopefully I will soon.

Tags: ,

2 Responses to “Mighty Fine”

  1. Maggie Says:

    I read one of his stories for the Ralan.com competition, as a preliminary judge. It jumped out at me–and all the other judges, for that matter. So I’m looking forward to reading another, along with yours, when I crack my copy of WIERD TALES.

    PS. I am fascinated by Southern literature, even after a lifetime in the frozen climes. I think I got hooked as a kid after reading “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Which isn’t technically Southern Lit, but you know what I mean. Sharon McCrumb has writen some neat novels set around the Appalachians (sp).

  2. scott Says:

    Very cool. He sent me a nice reply to my e-maill.

    I would agree that “Mockingbird” is Southern lit. The Appalachains are a little bit different–the mountain folks from Kentucky to Georgia have their own slightly separate history, including being against slavery.

    If you haven’t read any Faulkner, or even if you have, the best recommendation of his stuff for a spec-fic writer is a short story called “A Rose for Emily.” Run, do not walk, to your nearest library and get a Faulkner collection so you can read that.