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It can be easy to think these days that everything has already been discovered, and not only that, digitized too — that all the books have been scanned and the rivers charted, leaving not a square inch of Terra Incognita on Google Earth. But anyone who has done any kind of archival research knows otherwise

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by Jamie Berube Last Sunday night I talked to my best friend on the phone for four hours. Our conversation was full of nonsense and thoughtfulness and sprinkled with plenty of bad jokes followed by fits of laughing; it was a good talk that we both needed. It's hard being far away from your best friend. She lives in Florida, 2,500 miles away from my West coast home. It would take more than a long telephone conversation to compensate for the year that's gone by since we've spoken face to face, but it lessens the sting of long distance to just hear her voice. And it makes me feel like I'm back in Florida, sitting with her and a glass of Merlot on my mom's front porch late on a summer night. Sometimes I'm jealous that she still lives in the town where we grew up - the place where I wept through adolescence, had my first kiss, and learned how to drive through tropical storms and hurricanes; hearing her voice makes me miss my Southern roots. But like any twenty something aspiring writer with a slightly wounded past, I have a confusing and conflicted relationship with the place where I grew up. If you've read writers like Dave Eggers

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by Billy P. Hall In 1948, most poor folks (and most people fit that description) raised chickens and hogs for food. In a mostly agrarian society, most folks around Winnsboro still clung to the lifestyle they grew up with. Many could recount the hungry times during the Great Depression and it was a life-changing event for many of them. Genesis 12:10 says "

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by Noelle A. Granger The South seemed like a nice place to put down roots, and those travel magazines can be pretty convincing. My husband and I first thought about moving to North Carolina thirty years ago after looking at pictures of the eye-popping fall colors in the mountains and the crystalline  sandy beaches and cerulean blue waters off the Outer Banks, plus we were told that the weather was nice, but mostly we came because we both found jobs here. During my first week in North Carolina, temperatures hovered around 100 degrees, with humidity that made it feel like a blast furnace, and I dreaded going outside. But gradually over the years, and with the help of whole house air-conditioning, I’ve come to welcome the heat and found it’s the perfect topic to open a conversation. “It’s a scorcher outside today.” “Yep, even the flies aren’t buzzin’.”   Shortly after learning to begin conversations this way, I became aware there is a distinctive way of speaking in the South. Part of my transition as a North Carolinian was a gradual discovery that the Southern lilt is soothing to my ears, and some of the more unique terms are downright enjoyable. I’ve even found myself using

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by Patricia Thomas My mother was a gorgeous southern beauty queen, with long brown hair and big green eyes, and my father was a dashing blond who swept her off her feet. They met on a double date and married young, right out of high school. It was a shotgun wedding, as they say in the south, meaning my mother got pregnant and so they got married. That’s what people did in the 1950s. That is how I came to be. I don’t think my mother ever really adjusted to being married and giving up her carefree days of parties and dancing, and sadly for us both, she never seemed to enjoy being a mother. However, my grandmother, to my delight and good fortune, loved being a grandmother. When I was a little girl, I spent every other weekend at her house in a small town in southern Alabama called Elba. It was built around a square, with all the merchants in shops around the sides. The town square had park benches and picnic tables, lots of grass, and best of all, at Christmas, a giant Santa Claus with a little train that tooted and blew real smoke. My grandmother knew

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