Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Latest Project

I apologize for the lack of posting (as I seem to do with every post). Real life has been insane these last few months, but I have a post or two I've been cooking up. One of which is this one, in which I call upon you (yes, you) to lend me a helping hand.

I have a project I want to being work on, as it will require a great deal of time and research to complete. For those of who were previously unaware, my father's side of my family is Appalachian. That is, I am descended from Irish, Scottish, and German immigrants that were found few opportunities on the coasts when they arrived here, so they traveled west, to the Great Smoky Mountains, where they settled. The Appalachian Mountains have been a relatively isolated region both culturally and economically for the majority of the time that European settlers have lived there. As such, the culture and traditions of this region are unique and seemingly reminiscent of another time.

One of the most honored traditions is that of storytelling. Stories passed down from one generation to another were vital in a society in which literacy was rare. Oral traditions are how histories and myths are preserved in the mountains. My project is going to be part of that great tradition, but with my own personal twist on it.

This is where you come in.

I need stories. Memories. Observations. Family lore. Anything. What I am specifically looking for are the stories of women who are from Appalachia, or people descended from those women who know their stories. I am most interested in the generational differences between Appalachian women and the relationships these mountain women have with each other and with other women in their families. My Nana raised me for 5 years, and she is a mountain woman through and through; and as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that although a part of me identifies with her and her culture, I am also removed from it by time, distance (having mostly lived in non-Appalachian regions), and education. I don't know that I would, or even really could consider myself a mountain woman. If you are in a similar position, or you left the mountains to pursue career, education, or other opportunities, let me know. How do you feel, looking back on where you came from?

So please, send me these stories. They can be yours, your mother's, grandmother's, aunt's, cousin's, whomever's. I will take whatever you have. You have my thanks in advance.

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