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Southerners, Food, & Alcohol

Southern Crazy

"Here in the south, we don't hide crazy. We dress it up and put it on the porch." That was a slogan on a dishcloth in a shop in The Hammock Shop Villages. That, in part, is why I love the south.
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I've already written about my jealousy of southern writers, so I'll move on to my obsession with the food.Two other reasons I love the south, besides the lovely writing, are the food and the southern love of a good drink. First, the food. I believe that the only true American foods are hamburgers, fries, pizza, and southern cooking. Feel free to disagree. It's my opinion, but I'll warn you ahead of time: I'm not open to changing my mind. That said, all southern cooking has its roots in Africa, so we stole it, adapted it, and made it American. The best southern cooks and recipes come from what grows in the southern soil and lives in the waters along the eastern southern seaboard. Farm to table and sea to table are not new concepts here.

I had some awesome food in my recent visit to South Carolina's Pawleys Island. The charming and welcoming South Carolina Writers Association hosted its Dream Conference there in October and I ate and drank my way through the warm days. Clam chowder, oyster sliders, shrimp and grits from the amazing Rusty Table, balsamic glazed pork from Websters, and hush puppies from The Deck were perfectly cooked with fresh ingredients and just enough heat. I could go on, but I'm making myself hungry just thinking about the (delicious and fattening) southern foods. So much so, I've decided to do a southern-themed Christmas dinner. Cornbread, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, creamed corn are on the menu, so far. I'm testing a shrimp & grits recipe. Let me know if you have a good one!

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As for alcohol...I've consumed my share of wine, but have never had the stamina for anything much stronger, so I wouldn't make a good southerner. I have the utmost admiration for anyone who can handle their liquor. It seems that bourbon is a way of life in the south. A luncheon partner at the writers conference bemoaned the fact that the bar was closed and he had forgotten his flask of bourbon. Then again, maybe it's not a southern thing. Maybe it's a writers thing. I have enough trouble writing sober and keeping my crazy to myself, so I'll probably just stick to wine.

Posted by teethetrav 07:21 Archived in USA Tagged south_carolina novel pawleys_island south_carolina_writers_conferen myrtle_beach litchfield_beach southern_writers south_carolina_writers_associat the_rustic_table websters Comments (0)

Pawleys Island South Carolina

Southern Writers & Inspiration

Going almost anywhere excites me. Going back to places I know and love has a special feeling. But there's something about going somewhere entirely new that opens up possibilities and gives me a sense of giddiness. As anxious as travel can make me, I love the entire experience. I love being in an airport and wondering where everyone else is going and why they are traveling. I love remembering the last trip I took. This trip, I sat in the airport recalling last January's trip to the Cayman Islands for my daughter's wedding. Our airport trauma was lugging her beaded gown through the airport, through security, onto the plane where the flight attendant got angry at my son who had carried the dress like it was a Faberge egg the entire way, only to watch her try to fold and stuff the gown into a compartment. He. Was. Not. Happy. And she called security. Yikes. But it all ended well and, after that, the trip and the wedding were perfect.

So far, this trip is fairly uneventful. I did get pulled aside at security because I had a suspicious item in my carry-on. Turned out, it was my breakfast muffin. Every the TSA guy shook his head and laughed. Other than being seated behind someone who had a "companion kitten" on his lap (seriously? that's a thing?) this was a quick flight to Myrtle Beach where I picked up my cool rental Jeep that I got for points and headed to Pawleys Island to the South Carolina Writers Conference I'm attending at the Litchfield Beach Resort. Low country. It sounds like a place writers go to write, doesn't it? I've long envied southern writers and their ability to tell stories set in swampy, marshy places with names like Pawleys Island, Edisto, and Murrells Inlet. Let's not get me started on southerners and their ability with words. Pat Conroy, Carson McCuller, Eudora Welty, Lee Smith...There must be some magic, some kind of alchemy which occurs due to the combination of Spanish moss, soupy humidity, and an unabashed love of alcohol.

I am here hoping some of the luck of the southern writers will rub off on me as I try to find a publisher for my latest book, a family saga inspired by historic events. It's called GOODBYE, LOVER and it's about an introverted bartender who discovers three tiny skeletons in a trunk in her grandmother's attic which upends everything she thought she knew about her family.

Wish me luck!

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Posted by teethetrav 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged south_carolina novel pawleys_island south_carolina_writers_conferen myrtle_beach litchfield_beach southern_writers Comments (0)

Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily, and Me

NYC Barnes & Noble

Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily, and Me

A trick I use when I create a fictional character is to visual who would portray them in the movie. It helps me to write when I can visualize the character; it gives them life, and they become incredibly real to me.

When I created the character of Emily Williams, the mother in my novel HARDSCRABBLE WAY, I visualized Gwyneth Paltrow. I could see Gwyneth as Emily running to classes in yoga pants as she played a privileged but unhappy wife. I even gave her a song to sing because I love that the multi-talented Gwyneth can sing. I imagined Gwyneth portraying Emily as she falls into the depression that strikes her after a tragic event causes the family to lose their money and forces Emily and her daughter to become homeless. I can see Gwyneth rising above the misfortunes to become a stronger, better woman and mother.

When I saw that Ms. Paltrow was going to be at the 5th Avenue Barnes & Noble signing her newest cookbook It’s All Easy, I decided to go, give her my book, and tell her how I created Emily for her to play in the movie. Pretty cheeky of me, right?

I waited on line in the rain April 12 until the store took pity on us brave souls and let us inside. Little did they know exactly how brave I was. It took every ounce of courage I had to pitch my book and gift it to Gwyneth. I was terrified. I think I was afraid security would kick me out for giving her my book and my press release. No such thing. Her people took my cell phone to snap photos of me with her as she signed my cookbook while I told her I wrote a character in my book for her to play in the movie. I told her I’d be honored if she would accept my book.

Not only is she stunning, she is gracious and lovely and I swear, she glows. She seemed genuinely excited as I spoke and she accepted my book. I am so glad the photos are here so I can see her reaction, because I was completely star-struck and not fully present in the moment. I’ve met and spoken with my share of celebrities. None of them caused me to go weak in the knees like she did.

So I pitched Gwyneth Paltrow my book and I’m happy to share these photos. It was an out-of-body experience.

HARDSCRABBLE WAY is available and Barnes & Noble online, and on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook.
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Posted by teethetrav 12:48 Archived in USA Tagged nyc amazon novel gwyneth_paltrow hardscrabble_way barnesandnoble tinajgordon.com Comments (1)

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