Monday, April 24, 2017

Pilgrimage of Place 002 : Let the Places You Come from Envelope You

I'm a Southern writer, born and bred in the deep south state of Georgia. Growing up, I couldn't wait to leave, head someplace more sophisticated and less “backwoods”. I wanted to travel the world, see the wonders, and leave this old, boring place behind. As of this writing I'm one year shy of 40 and I've lived in Georgia all my life.

While I have traveled a little, most of my time has been spent in the South. A few years ago, my husband and I left our home in Metro Atlanta and relocated to Savannah in the Deep South. We love this city, its people, and all the quirk that comes from being a port/college/military/tourist town. We meet people on a daily basis from all over the world! So many different cultures are alive and well in Savannah and there are plenty of places to go to “escape” the South, if we feel so inclined. The funniest thing to me is that although we're in the deep, old South, we are two of the very few people we know and meet who are actually from the South. So many of our friends and coworkers, the people we meet when we go out, are from other regions and other countries.

I've made peace with my Southern heritage. I'm not at all sorry that I've stayed here and I'm happy to be living in the Hostess City of the South. My husband and I both have wonderful jobs and we live 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. We're happy to sink our roots deeper into this rich, swampy earth.

There are myriad cliches about the south and her people. As I like to say, cliches are cliches for a reason. Come visit me and I can show you every single one of them - well, except for the guy who describes the tornado. I'm not sticking around for that. All those redneck jokes and Civil War horrors aside, the South is filled with beauty, majesty and magic. I've heard it compared with those old places of fairy tales and I must agree. Here things are larger than life, the trees reach the clouds and their roots wrap around seeds and bones. It's beautiful and deadly, serene and horrible, sacred and gritty. We're an old people, old souls, and we're slow. We're fierce and welcoming. We drawl and we dawdle and we sip and we rock. We're the cliches and the unexpected, the front porch tall tales and the backyard BBQs. We're haunted and backward and modern. We are lost and found..

The South is about memories, thousands of them. And stories. It seems that we're all born storytellers. But the only ones I can share with you are my own. I grew up Southern, I live Southern and I'll probably die Southern.

And you know what? That's perfectly fine by me.

We are where we come from. I know that makes some of you cringe. It used to drive me crazy! I didn't want to be Southern, not until I examined just what that really meant. Where you're from peppers everything you do. It oozes out of your pores and shines a light into the undergrowth.

Well I say let it shine. Don't hide your regionality or your nationality. Be yourself and let the places you come from envelope you. If they are painful, move through them, find the lessons, and move on. If they are delightful, breathe a deep hallelujah and step forward. If you're unsure, you moved around, were shifted and unrooted, that's OK too. Find the bits you can use and knit them into your own story.

Because that's really what this is all about.

Telling your own story through the places you've been in order to help pave the way to the places you're going.



  1. Oh, you spoke of my own times. Grew up Midwest, farm area. Couldn't wait to get away from it, traveled and lived in many places. Now I think about that time, and write about my family and there stories.

    Telling your own story through the places you've been in order to help pave the way to the places you're going.---excellent.

    1. There are so many stories in our past! I know not all of them are happy and some people have a lot of baggage they are carrying around but even the negative is writable about...if nothing else it's good catharsis!

      Thank you so much, Susan :)


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