The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Have You Got a Story for The Mountain Laurel?

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1995

Issue: Winter, 1995

Invitation to Writers

We love to hear your stories. Over the years, one thing we have found - that our readers have the most interesting stories in the world! True life stories never cease to amaze us, and the Blue Ridge Mountains have seen it all. The very best stories we have ever published were true stories about the lives of the people who carved out an existence here, and many of those stories came from people who actually lived them. Many people have asked us about how to get a story printed in The Mountain Laurel, so we thought we would take a little space to explain it.

Don't worry about whether the story is typed or the spelling is correct. Don't worry if you have never written before. If your story is good, that's all that matters. We have printed many first stories. Some of the most powerful and wonderful stories we ever received were written by elderly people on lined notebook paper, without margins, paragraph breaks or punctuation. Just write the story as if you were telling it to someone. We have computers to do spell checking, and people to add the occasional comma and put them in story order, if necessary. We do not change the stories. It is important to us that the voice, the "flavor," of the storyteller comes through to the reader.

If you have a good story about any subject, especially if it is an old time story, passed down through your family, or your memories of your parents or grandparents, send it to us. To jog your memory, some good subjects for up coming issues (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) are mountain weddings; a family recipe; holiday stories - July 4th Celebrations, Halloween, Christmas, etc.; stories dealing with pet farm animals; building a new home; quilting; canning and cooking; school stories; ghost stories; coal mining; moonshining; humorous practical jokes (Mountain people have a great sense of humor); work stories; gardening stories - in short, stories that inspire, stories that are tragic, happy or funny. The stories could be about a place (community or small town) instead of a person. Many places in the mountains have interesting stories in their history. There wasn't usually an abundance of money in the mountains, so many times necessity was the mother of invention. Mountain people learned quickly how to "make do," meaning mountain people were wise, inventive and downright ingenious just to survive!

We can't guarantee your story will appear in The Mountain Laurel, but if it fits, we will send you an authorization to sign and send back to us, and a nice certificate for you to keep stating our appreciation for your contribution to preserving the history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You will still own your story. All we ask is a right to print it in an issue of The Mountain Laurel and a possibility of reprinting it in a collection in the future. Send stories to: The Mountain Laurel.

History books record the big things, but the small, day-to-day events that shaped life in the mountains is often neglected and lost.