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