I love that my tribe introduces me—sometimes unintentionally—to new writers. I haven’t read this guy—yet—but I am completely charmed by his website. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a Tennessean and there are some lovely photos of the East Tennessee mountains displayed here.
But look at this: after a brief bio (there is a longer one later), he lists his family (his family! first!) and then “early menial non-writing jobs” (night watchman, taxi driver, gas pump attendant, waiter, and so on) followed by “later less menial jobs.” Click to “Original Family” and read the description of the house he grew up in:
He grew up at 203 West Watauga Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, not knowing he was blessed until he heard other people’s stories. … It was the remains of the Great Depression and there was also no car … What was not scarce in the home were books. They lined all walls—in the living room, bedrooms, dining room, hallways. His aunt taught Jr. High English and his mother was an ex-teacher who later ran a bookstore. There were two Webster’s unabridged dictionaries. New words and their derivations were sprung between the two sisters that caused a run to the dictionary, often in the middle of a meal, once in the middle of the night when they shouted at each other between bedrooms. His father lay back on the couch after dinner and read Charles Dickens. He followed this practice until he had read all of the author’s works; then he would go back and start from the beginning.
This is something straight out of the very best Southern literature and it made me laugh with delight.
But really, it’s the humility evident here, the unpretentiousness, that grabbed me. I suspect I’ll have to find these used somewhere, but I will. Stay tuned. :)
UPDATE: I’m heartbroken to report that Mr. Bowers’s website is down. I’m so glad I preserved a little of it above.
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