103 NCMusicAd Coltrane Stewart webJohn Coltrane, April 1966 © Chuck Stewart Photography, LLC

 

Coming November 2018 . . .

The Oxford American’s 20th Annual
Southern Music Issue & CD

Featuring
NORTH CAROLINA

 

Reserve your copy today.

 

Come on and raise up.

 


Chuck Stewart’s photography provided by Fireball Entertainment Group, courtesy of Chuck Stewart Photographs of John Coltrane, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

 

November 15, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Twice during my visit, I listened to friends say over meals how much they genuinely loved the city. Both times, I immediately thought, Why? Living in New York as an aspiring writer had been hard—isolating and vicious. There had been casualties—relationships I’d leaned on until they broke or some that I’d neglected or cast aside. There had been fresh ideas or lines of inquiry that I’d shunned, in order to cling to diminishing prospects I’d hoped to turn into some type of currency—money, acclaim, respect. Where the city had once seemed a place of limitless potential, I’d become a kind of hermit—buffering myself against perspectives, change, the passage of time—unable to keep up.

November 08, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Her mother was characterized by her resilience but also her harshness; she had lived in a holler nestled in the East Tennessee mountains, worked on an assembly line in a shirt factory, and been a divorced woman at a time when divorcées were ostracized. When my relatives reminisce about her, they remark often about her stubbornness, her confrontational tenacity. Neither sentimental nor delicate, her affection manifested in stoic devotion rather than fawning tenderness.

November 01, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I couldn’t tell if my total transparency meant I was improving or that I was becoming completely unmoored, with no understanding of my words’ effects—especially on Luke. I was still so far away from understanding the pain I’d caused him. The nearest I could come was a vague worry that I could no longer experience that empathy.

October 25, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

As I listened, going first through What Would the Community Think again and then switching to Moon Pix, I felt the loneliness leave me. I watched it dance in front of me, saw it swimming against the light from the music.

October 18, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I listened to “Just Like You” by Keb’ Mo’ over and over again the same way I did when I was working at a coffee shop when I was in college. Keb’ is singing, “I feel just like you and I cry just like you and I heal just like you and I break down just like you,” and I'm wondering if people would actually live their lives differently if they listened to that song every morning before they went out into the world or interacted with other people.

October 10, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.

My first full hurricane season in the Bahamas in over twenty years found me struggling to ensure we were storm ready while adjusting to our family’s new normal.

October 04, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

San Antonio is the patron saint of lost causes, and Rolando created a statue of him in faux-marble white with the Alamo perched like a hat, except that the saint is upside down, so the Alamo is at his feet. When you want something, Rolando says, you flip the statue upside down.

September 27, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I’ve long struggled with my feelings toward the South End, having never loved the place the way I thought I should. Both my parents rhapsodize about the segregated black communities of their origins. But whereas their tales communicated the wills of their neighbors to persevere, my community seemed intent on trumpeting its hardship.

September 13, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

“Be careful you’re not romanticizing it,” my husband said a few days later as we talked through the experience. I knew what he meant, but it made me feel lonely that he and I did not agree; I thought this could be the moment when my beliefs allied with a South African’s, but it wasn’t.

September 06, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I felt many days like I was no one and like nothing mattered and that I couldn’t write myself out of it. I wanted to be someone or something that I couldn’t be. Now I was a guy from Brooklyn in Mississippi. When I sat down to write Gravesend, all of that came into play. I thought of the way we bring the place we’re from with us, no matter where we are. I could’ve called the book Gravesend and not had a single scene set in my neighborhood. I carried the streets with me.