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DG Crum

Storyteller – Southern Gothic

The art of Southern storytelling

For as long as the south has existed, the art – or gift – of storytelling has been passed from generation to generation, and seems to be a part of the cultural DNA. From the Tidewater region along the Chesapeake Bay to the Mississippi delta of the mid south, great stories and great story tellers are part of that long and varied lineage.

Given birth as folk lore, and nurtured by every man, woman and child who greets the whole world as “ya’ll”, these stories were passed along over the centuries.  They became the engaging plots of great novels, because of their character building morals many were shared with children all over the world  (ain’t it so, Brer Rabbit), they became the screenplays for great movies, and they become the inspiration behind soulful music that can be heard in every blues bar and juke joint in the south.

I am honored to be a part of that tradition

About me

I write southern fiction inspired by the people and places that shaped me. My stories are 50% true (the settings) and 50% fictional (the people, the events, the conflicts and the resolutions). I write about this part of the world, as it was in the mid Twentieth Century, because I believe it’s important for the mid-south delta culture to be remembered and valued.

Born in rural northeastern Arkansas in 1947, I was the youngest of five brothers in a family who sharecropped 16 acres of cotton for survival. Like my brothers, I spent the hours, days, weeks, months and years of my youth working in the cotton fields that lay, like a patch quilt, over that area.

The setting

When the rest of America was engaged in a race with the Soviet Union to conquer space, when technology was driving the economy of much of America, families in this part of the Delta were still living in dilapidated three- and four-room shacks that had no running water and no indoor plumbing. These folks were still chopping and picking cotton by hand, and were still trying to pull survival out of the mud of desperation.

Extreme poverty among whites and blacks – alike – and the brutal racism passed down through our history hindered the economic and social development of that area.

cotton is king

In 1858, on the Senate floor, South Carolina Senator James Hammond boldly declared, “You dare not make war upon cotton! No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is king.”  That ill-advised declaration predated the Civil War and gave the South the false confidence that it could succeed from the Union.

Those three words continued to define the South and hold dominion over the people of the Delta for over a century. We were whatever “King Cotton” said we could be. It continued to hold that dominion until education, technology and time began to liberate us.  

my site

This is where I post samples of the stories I‘ve written.  I rely heavily on the memories I have of growing up in the Mississippi delta in the 1950s and 1960s.  While the stories I write are fiction, they reflect the hardened lives of the folks who lived in the lowlands of Arkansas, in an area identified centuries ago as The Great Swamp.

 

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“Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the    quarry from whence you were hewn.”                                                Luke 51:1

Upcoming Events

July 23, 2018

Bloom, Book Signing • San Francisco, CA

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August 10, 2018

Draft, Book Reading • Los Angeles, CA

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Coming Soon!

Available Aug 16, 2018

Say, Cheese

Non-Fiction

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My Writing Blog

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