I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be penning a feature for the award-winning publication Twisted South on the prolific, brilliant, and adventurous Appomattox County native and Lynchburg College Professor, Dr. Casey Clabough. I’ll be partnering with photographer Annie Laura, of 621studios.com, and, to raise the funds necessary to do the piece justice, we need your support. The mag. is an up-and-coming low-budget publication, so funds are tight. But these guys put out great, no-holds-barred content and, with your help, we’ll be partnering with them well into the future.
While long-distance wilderness backpacking has become a popularized, folksy, and even patriotic endeavor, the sight of a tall, bearded, long-haired, and basically Viking looking fellow tromping along the shoulder of some cracked and obscure back-road tends to provoke certain criminal suspicions—a bum! a junky! a serial murdering sociopath!
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In case you’d like to learn more about this here before visiting the gofundme.com page itself, here’s the skinny on what we have going on:
In early 2007, associate professor and official overseer of Lynchburg College’s department of graduate studies in English, Casey Clabough, made what he has categorized as a bizarre and high risk gamble. Fascinated—perhaps even obsessed!—with the migration of his ancestors (a troupe of hardy Germanic pioneers who, swearing off the domesticity of Virginia’s tidewater region, cut out for the Smoky Mountains in the late 1700s), Clabough decided to follow in their footsteps, to seek out—if there was such a thing to be found—the spiritual resonances of their 500- plus mile trek through the ancient, mythic hills of Appalachia. The path his 18th Century forebears traveled along had been dubbed, originally, by the Iroquois, Athowominee, or “The Warrior’s Path,” a trail formed by migrating game and the fierce, swarthy hunters that stalked them. In its entirety, the centuries old route spanned from New York State to the Cherokee country of what is now Tennessee and North Georgia, and was, in many ways, an early (albeit much more survival-oriented) precursor to the Appalachian Trail. (Clabough’s own meditative investigation led him to travel from Southern Maryland, through Virginia’s Shenandoah region, and into Tennessee.) “Despite its historical importance as a great highway,” explains Clabough, “Athowominee is now, by and large, with the notable exceptions of certain congested stretches, a route obscure and lonely, a network of paved secondary highways rendered quaint by the massive twentieth century construction of interstates.”
And herein lies the weirdness, novelty, and wise beauty of the backpacking adventure Clabough would later write about in his memoir, The Warrior’s Path, Reflections Along an Ancient Route. He was going to be, ah, in many places, road-hiking. “Despite the comparative lack of traffic,” he elaborates, “such derelict roads do not lend themselves well to foot travel.” What Clabough means is: while long-distance wilderness backpacking has become a popularized, folksy, and even patriotic endeavor, the sight of a tall, bearded, long-haired, and basically Viking looking fellow tromping along the shoulder of some cracked and obscure back-road tends to provoke certain criminal suspicions—a bum! a junky! a serial murdering sociopath!
The feature article I have in mind (say, roughly, 2,500 words) would, through textual excerpts (Clabough has written over 30 Appalachian themed essays, as well as nine books) and personal interviews (i.e. time spent hanging out on his backwoods, Appomattox, VA farm/homestead), tell the tale of the ideas, internal yearnings, and experiences that led to, shaped, and informed the pilgrimage, its memoir, and Clabough’s many subsequent outdoors/conservationist adventures. The piece will be published in the award winning magazine, Twisted South. Unfortunately, as a small, up-and-coming publication (Twisted South), we have very little capital, and our writing budget is almost nil. To bring you the high-quality, top-notch journalism you’ve come to expect, know, and love, we’re asking you for a small financial contribution that will enable contributing writer, Eric J. Wallace, and his photographer, Anabel Amour (of 621studios.com), to devote the time and energy this story needs to be successful.
Thanks in advance for your time and support. We truly appreciate you.
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Eric J. Wallace is a writer, journalist, teacher of Composition and Literature, and occasional spiritual provocateur living in Hampton, Virginia. Studying under the irascible and fiercely intelligent Ryan Boudinot, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College. He believes in brave, daring, and, above all, ecstatic writing. He loathes all forms of oppression, including, foremost, ignorance and its abominable spawn: stupidity. His passions are the most intense known to man: Zen and Poetry—although he chooses to interpret the latter as designating more-so an ontological state of spontaneous expression than the product of some insidious linguistic reduction.
Anabel Amour, of 621studios.com, thinks of her work as exploring extremes of emotion and imagination, at times dark, but always spirited. A solid heart beat for her vision is nostalgia. She is inspired by love and what it takes us to endure–the beauty and strength in enduring and in surviving. Aggressive and raw are adjectives commonly associated with her work. Her work features simple color pallets, enabling the images to speak loudly for intent or emotion.
Casey Clabough is the author of the novel Confederado, the travel memoir The Warrior’s Path: Reflections Along an Ancient Route, the memoir SCHOOLED: Life Lessons of a Professor, a biography of legendary southern writer George Garrett, five scholarly books on southern and Appalachian literature, an edited collection of women’s Civil War writing, and a creative writing textbook. Clabough serves as series editor of the multi-volume “Best Creative Nonfiction of the South,” as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia, and as general editor of the literary journal James Dickey Review. His work has appeared in over a hundred anthologies and magazines, including Creative Nonfiction, the Sewanee Review, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Clabough’s awards include the Bangladesh International Literary Award, an artist’s fellowship from the Brazilian Government, and several U.S.-based fellowships. He lives on a farm in Appomattox County, Virginia and teaches at Lynchburg College.