Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alphabe Thursday - Alphabet Soup week

It's the very last Alphabe Thursday! I can't believe that we've been attending Ms. Matlock's class for 27 weeks! I hope that the class stays together for summer session :) This week, it's Alphabet Soup week. We can rewrite a letter, repost one of our alphabet posts, pretty much do what we want! Hey, kind of like recess. I decided to re-run one of my favorite letter posts, R. Mainly because I want to expose as many people as possible to one of my favorite authors. Hope you enjoy. And don't forget, we will be having a summer session using the colors of the rainbow!

Time for my favorite class, Alphabe Thursday. Don't be late, Mrs. Matlock loves punctuality! This week, we are to write about the letter R. I thought about rabbits, but I'm allergic. Rapunzel, but we all know that story. Rock - n - roll, but I wrote about that last week. So I thought to myself, how about a favorite writer? Rick Bragg immediately came to mind.


Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Price winning author of several books, a former journalist for the New York Times and currently a writing professor at the University of Alabama.

Rick's writing is strongly rooted in the oral story telling tradition of the South. To quote the man himself:

“My grandfather on my daddy’s side and my grandma on my momma’s side used to try and cuss their miseries away. They could out-cuss any damn body I have ever seen. I am only an amateur cusser at best, but I inherited other things from these people who grew up on the ridges and deep in the hollows of northeastern Alabama, the foothills of the Appalachians. They taught me, on a thousand front porch nights, as a million jugs passed from hand to hand, how to tell a story.”


The first book that I read from his collection of work was "All Over But The Shoutin'". His stories of growing up dirt poor in Alabama rang so true. It covers his discovery of the love for story, and his escape from the dirt scrabble world he lived in to become a writer. And what a writer he became. One of my favorite passages from the book:

"
You begged the sky for a single cloud. The sun did not shine down, it bored into you, through your hat and hair and skull, until you could feel it inside your very brain, til little specks of that sun seemed to break away and dance around, just outside your eyes. It turned the shovel handle hot and baked the red dirt til you could feel it through your leather work boots, radiating. Your sweat did not drip, it ran, turning the dust to mud on your face, soaking your T-shirt and your jeans, clinging like dead skin. The salt in it stung your eyes, until your lids were bright red and the whites were bloodshot like a drunk man. Every now and then you or some man beside you would uncover a ground rattler, and you would chop it to little pieces with your shovel or beat it to mush with rakes, not just because it could bite you, kill you, but because it got in your way, because you had to take an extra step, to raise your arms an extra time, under that sun."

What would I give to be able to write like this! I swear, after reading this you feel like you need a big tall glass of tea. One of the happiest memories I have is of meeting this man at the Texas Book Festival, and one of my most prized possessions is a signed copy of this book.


"Somebody Told Me" is a collection of his newspaper stories. Read "Where A Child on the Stoop can Strike Fear". But be warned, once you start reading, you won't be able to stop.

From "Ava's Man" to the "Prince of Frogtown", we meet the people and places that shaped this amazing writer. His writing is so evocative. You can feel the heat, smell the dust, see the landscape and the people that formed him.

If you've not read Rick Bragg's work, give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I've attached links to his facebook page in case you are interested in seeing what he's up to now.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/rickbraggauthor

Now get to class and see what everyone else has chosen for Alphabet Soup Week!

24 comments:

Cheryl said...

This was elegant. How did I miss this the first time around???? Heck, I was playing by then every week. D'OH. So glad you reposted.

Viki said...

Great re-post. I forgot I was going to look into him. Thanks for posting this again. I'm going to write his name down right now before I forget again LOL.

signed...bkm said...

Wow Great post and I did not know of this author but now I will not forget him and look for his writings...thank you for sharing..bkm

Annesphamily said...

I learn lots of new stuff over here. Thank you for sharing tonight. I like reading so I will remember this author. I hope you visit me too! Anne

Pondside said...

I remember this post and my determination to find at least one of the books. Thanks for the reminder!

Nora Johnson said...

I hadn't heard of him either - will check him out! And great fun reading posts like yours on Thursdays!

Have a lovely weekend,

LOLA:)

PS Mine this time is HERE. Hope you can join me!

My name is PJ. said...

I remember reading this post the first time through, thinking I needed to read one of his books.....then time passed....and I still haven't done it. I need to get a move on!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What a wonderful author! Thanks for sharing him. See you in summer school.

Mumsy said...

What a fascinating author! Just through a few of his passages that you've posted here, get me to want to read more..It's so raw and real..

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love Rick Bragg, Kat. He is a wonderful writer, and I read "All Over But The Shoutin'" for book club years ago. We all ordered autographed copies, and I cherish mine. That was one of the most moving books I've ever read. It made me stop and think, long and hard.

I also love the piece he wrote about New Orleans after Katrina. My husband sent it to me after he found it on the internet. It said it all.

So I join you in your love of this writer.

XO,

Sheila :-)

DesignTies said...

Thanks for the introduction to Rick Bragg (I missed it the first time). I felt hot just reading the excerpt you shared, and I'm sitting in an air conditioned office!!

Kelly

Deb said...

I guess I missed the 1st post...glad you re-posted for us slackers...

Lois said...

I enjoyed reading about him again and I love the term "amateur cusser"!

Mama Zen said...

I will definitely give this author a try!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Kat
I remember this wonderful post the first time around and being impressed with Rick Bragg! I read some of his editorials in the NY Times archives. What a wonderful writer he is!

Jenny said...

Thank you for re-linking this!

I meant to order that and I'm gonna run and do it right now before I forget this time.

He sounds like a charming, readable author...and I'm certain I would enjoy his work!

Thanks for sharing this in our little muddle of Alphabet Soup!

A+

Jingle said...

awesome introduction.

Sue said...

Glad you chose this! I wasn't here for the R's, so I hadn't read about him. I will check him out now, having thoroughly enjoyed his excerpt.

=)

Tracy said...

I am off to Amazon to buy thank you

Brenda said...

I missed this the first time around. Thanks I am going to see if I can order in from the library in cd form. I have some rooms to paint and I like something good to listen while I am at it.

Jo said...

i am glad you reran this post ... i had forgotten where i had read about him and wanted to reread the post. thanks!!!

Christy said...

Just a hello - so you know I stopped by! I must have missed this the first time around - I will have to check this guy's writing out!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Kat! I remember this post! I think I would like his books. I saw a comment on Bonnie's post from you saying that you are off to buy James Lee Burke's new book! You'll have to let us know how it is...although I am sure it will be great! Have a good weekend!...hugs....Debbie

Shugee @ Blue Heron Cottage said...

Wow Kat. I know of him and quoted him and again you and I gel/connect somewhere in the brainwaves. I always enjoy what you write. You're fantastic.
Big Hugs,
Kim