I just had to get this off my chest. As I continue my journey through the manuscript for my 2nd book, I am encouraged that my book will depict my home in the way that it should be. Not perfect. Not lionized to the point where it's hyperbole or fantasy. But I can promise you this when I'm finished - my book will *not* fall into the category of elitist, pulp, hillbilly-trashing piffle which seems to be the pop fiction du jour.
Last night I finished a book recommended to me as a tribute to David Copperfield (Dickens). A week ago I couldn't wait to read it. Last night? I wanted to set it on fire for utterly wasting a week of my life and insulting me as not only an Appalachian, but as a reader. Then masquerading/virtue signaling at the very back of the book as if it were some altruistic effort to draw attention to rural poverty. Pffft. You made bank on the backs of Appalachians. Because it's easy. Go back to your keypad condo, no one who actually lives in Appalachia needs your patronizing, limo-preaching.
Why is this such a trend? Is it because they found one demographic that never, ever fights back? Never protests, never grafittis a movie studio or an author's home? Never files civil suits claiming they're victims of a slanderous and disparaging entertainment industry? The state's governor holds up his dog's bottom and asks Bette Midler to pucker up? Oh the shame. Country people simply have better things to do than terrorize those that insult and impugn their reputations.
These coastal elites are the same people who think Appalachia is somewhere near Arkansas. Queue the Ron Howard CBS This Morning interview. The same geniuses that ask us if Morgantown is near Roanoke and chuckle asking us how deep the gene pool was in our mudpuddle. Oh hehehehe that's so funny. Do us all a favor Ronnie, if the city is so great, take a ride on the NYC subway back to your 17,000 square foot mansion. Film it. I'll walk from Morgantown to Bluefield, we'll see who gets home first and unmolested.
If I collapse on a sidewalk in rural WV, someone will at least attempt to help me. They might laugh at me later, but they'll still try and make sure I don't die. Good luck there Ronnie.
There are no funded groups protesting the never-ending marginalization of Appalachians & their culture, yet these same people fear stepping over dead bodies in order to walk from their $6500/month 1000 square foot condo to their corner bistro for their avocado toast and organic almond milk lattes. Oh but let's trash the bumpkins, because they're so comically dysfunctional. The nonstop depiction of any & all Appalachian people as indolent rubes is wearing thin.
For the record:
It was a surgeon from West Virginia that put my arm back together after it was nearly cut off in an accident.
It was a professor from West Virginia who convinced me I could write.
It was a black minister in West Virginia who convinced me that there was a God and His name wasn't Brad.
It was a West Virginia small town school that taught me more skills in 1 year than most kids learn in their entire school life now.
My book takes place not far from where the best-selling Shiloh books were based, and is loosely based on some factual events that took place circa 1979. Why there? Because that's where I know my way around and it's the perfect backdrop for an adolescent adventure/drama. But it could be anywhere in the hills, anywhere in America. You'll find the same amazing, colorful, resilient people. You'll have to dig a bit to find them in the city. These coastal dimwits couldn't start a weedeater if their life depended on it. I'll take small town Appalachia every day & twice on Sunday thank you very much.