a few months ago, i finally - finally - finally dove into fiction written by "local" author ron rash. i've known of his work for ten years, had spotted and passed over short stories in the new yorker, and have placed his fiction on the back burner for that of other writers. what an arrogant, stupid assumption on my part, to think that his words would not be works of art i'd want to consume.
but when i was down visiting my mother in alabama back sometime last fall, she mentioned that she was reading something called Serena, and thought i'd enjoy reading it as well. while she finished her copy, i read - voraciously - another of his novels, One Foot in Eden, then quickly ordered and devoured Saints at the River. serena was next - i was haunted by it - then came The World Made Straight, then a book of his poetry, and finally i began to count down the weeks until his latest book, The Cove, was released on april 10. what i'm sharing with you here are images from a little "field book" that i made to carry as a gift for ron, who spoke and read from The Cove in the old courthouse of sylva yesterday. i felt like a giddy little school girl, making a gift for someone i'd never met. he is a southern gentleman, warm and kind, and received it with grace.
i look at these pages now and hope that what i tried to convey was clear. his words are like music; he is a poet, after all, with a grand sense of cadence and rhythm; the stories and their delivery will make your heart ache, and finally break.
it was a quiet pleasure on saturday afternoon to put this little book together for an artist of words. it was a pleasure to work with paper and glue once again, with black ink and pencil and scraps of mica and leather. a little clip from daddy's office held some bits together in a field book from september of 1912. goodbye, little book. i hope it will bring mr. rash a little comfort when his nights and days away from home are long, these coming weeks...