Getting Out: Asheville

After about two weeks in one place, my brain starts to get itchy. We moved every two years when I was a kid, so maybe this is related, but maybe I’m just restless. My need to get out of town is primal; I’ll drive to Cincinnati just to go to the Target up there because what if their Target is different and they still have this or this or this?

Anyway, this wanderlust (pun definitely, wholly intended) means that I’ve been to every town in a six hour range of anywhere I’ve ever lived. I also don’t have a ton of cash (I just finished humanities grad school, so I think we all know what that means), so I’m not doing anything that fancy. Enter Asheville.

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For the uninitiated, Asheville is in the western part of North Carolina, and it is not close to anything you think it is close to. The drive took us about 5 hours all told (I am morally opposed to stopping. Ever. At any time. Unless it’s at the Lodge Cookware Outlet.). Raleigh is a couple hours away, but it is also, somehow, not close to Chattanooga or Charlotte, really. No matter! You’ll get out there, and it’ll be pretty, and you won’t care that it took several hours longer to get there than you/Google Maps had estimated. It’s a weird place, to be sure– it’s a college town, but also a resort town, but also a place where hippies and buskers like to congregate and have drum circles. Needless to say, I think it is the greatest place on earth.

If you go, and you definitely should, here are some things I think you should try out.  Continue reading “Getting Out: Asheville”

Book of the Week: In Country

I’m a lady very much in love with the idea of a book club, but every time I try to join one, we end up just drinking too much wine and gossiping about people we knew in college. I just finished Bobbie Ann Mason’s book, In Countryand it had some thought-provoking ideas in it, so I thought I’d monopolize the conversation with my thoughts, and you can tell me what you thought in the comments if you, too, have read this book.

BAM is a Kentucky author, so I’m pretty excited about her work. I’d read some of her stuff in high school (shout out to Jesse Stuart, whose work we also read), and the cover art jumped at me from Carmichael’s shelves, so I thought I’d read it on my day off. It’s layered and nuanced, but a quick read.

In Country is set in rural western Kentucky in the late 80s and talks about the lingering ramifications of the Vietnam War in small-town America. It follows Emmett, a veteran, Irene, his sister who was widowed by the war, and Sam, Irene’s daughter.  I felt like there were some topical things that still resonate with veterans of the current war, and I really enjoyed BAM’s descriptions of the region.Image

I got pretty into the story and knocked the whole of it out in a few hours. Sam Hughes is a really fleshed-out character, and her fictional hometown of Hopewell reminds me a lot of the towns I’ve been through in the area. I was really interested in Sam and her boyfriend Lonnie; they had radically different feelings about military service (hers, sadness and horror; his, admiration bordering on idolization). It brings about the end of their relationship, but they never really have a conversation about it that comes to anything. It’s a conversation that didn’t exist in 1986 and doesn’t exist now– how do we take care of returning soldiers? What does their service mean, both in country and upon return?

Overall, it’s a great book with evocative language and the nothing-really-happening pacing that rural life can have. The final scenes of the book were haunting (I won’t give them away, and they’re an autobiographical extra from the author’s life), so if you’re feeling bummed out midway through, power through; it’s worth it.

Next week I’m going to read this. Join up.

Hello, World!

I’m incredibly excited to meet you.

More or less, I would say this describes how I feel.

Here’s what I’m up to here: I’m going to share cool music, crafts I’m working on, recipes I’ve tried out, some recommendations of things to eat/drink/read/see, a couple photos I’ve taken, and other neat stuff of that ilk. I’m going to enlist the help of my friends to bring you more pretty morsels from the far corners of the earth, and I’m going to direct you to their amazing projects. I think this is going to be fun.