29 June, 2008

The Farm Journal

Photo by Ben Walters.

The good Dr. Hudson has given up the E.Y. Ponder project, leaving me with a frustrating
case of the wet whistle, and a transcription machine. I have decided to carry on with the story gathering by enlisting the help of a few kids and a sandwich board. You ask yourself why I am so cryptic. It's to buy myself time, my friend.

The project is simultaneously about storytelling and listening. Come to my studio and tell me how you found your way to Madison County. I can come to you and listen to why you have come to Madison County or why you never left. Tell me one way in which you relate to your surroundings. What is your earliest memory of the natural world? Did your grandma & Grandpa teach you how to do something which your parents had forgotten? Have you ever
been unafraid in the darkness of the mountains? Have you ever been afraid in the darkness of the mountains? Do you believe mountain lions haunt these parts? Have you seen one? Have you shot a buck with a bow and arrow? Felt the velvet of an antler?
Do you go to church every week? Have you witnessed a miracle? Have you witnessed a faith healing? Did your parents grow marijuana? Did Sheriff E.Y. Ponder come pay them a visit? Did you have a toilet growing up? Did your outhouse overhang the creek?
Did you have a television? How many channels? How many acres of garden did your folks grow? How much did they "put up" for the winter? How much do you grow? Was your father present in your childhood? Did your family have to move to the rust belt to find work? Who was the last person in your family to raise tobacco? How many family members live on your property? Did you used to sell livestock to the Ponders? Did you fall in love in Madison County? Did your parents die here? Where are your family graves? What is the name of your community? Have you ever walked 10 miles in Madison County? Can you find ginseng? Have you ever caught trespassers on your property? Why do people move to Marshall? Was it better before they came? Have I been listening? Do you wish I hadn't moved here?


Anonymous said...

Marshall is lucky to have you, dear! You are a mover and shaker, a documenter of places. You are a valuable resource to that town, indeed.

Ellen JDR

Anonymous said...

thanks Ellen. Are you my biggest fan?

Anonymous said...

Just one of many fans, I am sure!
I just happen to be more vocal about it than most.