My small, odd, fascination. Go figure.
So I am not exactly sure where this comes from. But it is definitely there. It’s one of those things where the clues or pieces of information have been there for a while and then suddenly it gels. This is one of those things.
I am fascinated and interested in very poor, very rural, people and cultures. Looking for an easy, loose definition of what I am referring to? White trash. I grew up middle-class and suburban. I own a rap magazine. I have never lived in the South or in the sticks. Maybe because it is unknown that I am attracted to and curious about it. Whatever.
It was first pointed out years ago by Sean. What was pointed out was my attraction to “white trash” kind of girls. My initial response was of course defensive, but damn he was right. Not for dating purposes, but smashing purposes. Not that I had, just that there was an undeniable attraction to girls who look a certain type of way. I have forever dated the polar opposite, but there is that attraction. Go figure.
But that’s not the only thin.
Another piece of the puzzle was when I watched an ABC News Special, A Hidden America: Children of the Appalachia. I was fascinated. Again, my growing up bears no resemblance to this. And it blows my mind that places like this still exist. Not just in the world, but a few hundred miles from the urban metropolis that I sit typing all this, with countless amenities at my fingertips. Go figure.
While I can’t say that I am a huge fan of country music, I can say that I am a fan of folk-y kind of music. Recently I have been listening to Jim White, The Avett Brothers, etc. The odd part is that much like hip-hop, I can’t relate. I can get in touch with and identify with some of the feelings, but as far as the specifics? not so much. But like rap, I am attracted to it and like it. Go figure.
I was at work and talking to Thom, and we were talking about books and authors. He is from Alabama. (Coincidentally, from the same small town as my one ex that Sean refers to as WT. Her mom one time punched another woman in the face at the Old Country Buffet for calling her white trash. You can decide.) So Tom pointed out some of the authors I was reading and liked belonged to a genre called “grit lit,” a form of “dirty realism.”
“[The]subgenre of Southern fiction is a direct response to the work of William Faulkner, a close cousin to Erskine Caldwell’s tales of rural poverty and Flannery O’Connor’s grotesque fantasies of alienation. The best grit lit is filled with ornery, deranged, and desperate characters who are fueled by violence, sex, and alcohol. Most the books discussed here are not for the faint of heart. Grit lit never pulls punches. It is, after all, gritty.”–David Hellman and Nancy Pearl
Thom put me on to a few authors to check out. To fuel creative cravings. Sometimes it isn’t always in the form of books or short stories, but I have been finding a bunch of websites online that feed me my literary fix. Recently I was on one of these sites and came across this, which is basically everything that I love about creative non-fiction and my world-I-don’t-know thirst. Go figure.
What about for a visual fix? Jill hates anything with a Southern twang, so on Saturday nights when she is at work I will find a movie or documentary to watch, something she would have no interest in. A few weeks ago I watched Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana. It’s pretty much everything you might think. No matter what that is.
What does it all mean? I don’t know, and don’t really care. One of the nice things about maturity and growing more comfortable in my own skin is that I don’t feel a need to explain, know or defend what I like, or don’t. I just think it’s interesting. And makes me feel good when I find these unexplored parts of my personality for me to explore both internally and externally, as an extension of my tastes. What it means is that my Amazon list grows, and there is constantly new music to listen to and documentaries to watch. I ain’t mad.