Many thanks to Jason Keeling for his ongoing work to connect West Virginians online and to use our state’s birthday as a day to make our home a better place.
This year at A Better West Virginia the theme is Networking. I want to use this opportunity to connect with other writers in West Virginia who might be interested in collaborating with me on a series of essays about childhood in the mountain state.
The concept is to develop 15-20 personal essays (in total, as a group) about either your own childhood or observations or stories from within your own family. They need not be all positive, but they should be sincere and honest and come from a place of story-telling and from an interest in expanding the portrait of what growing up in West Virginia is.
When you Google “West Virginia childhood” or “Appalachian children,” let’s just say it’s not exactly a joy-fest. I’m interested in bringing diversity to the equation through a combination of elements: the eras of childhood, the age and gender of the children in the stories, humor and seriousness, economic circumstances, surrounding characters, setting, and theme.
We might consider publishing the essays online, or even find a literary journal or other entity interested in our work. We might start drinking strong coffee and growing our hair, or even buy a farm together and go off the grid, grow our own food, and write by candlelight in the evening.
(Wait…that last part wasn’t supposed be out loud.)
How will we do it? Why, networking of course! And figuring it out as we go.
I hope to hear from you via comments here on Esse Diem. Just let me know if you are interested in being part of the next step and I’ll keep you in the loop. My plan over the coming week is to set up an email just for the blog so we can get started. Shall we?