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Dreamworlds of Alabama

Dreamworlds of Alabama

Allen Shelton
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Dreamworlds of Alabama
    Book Description:

    Allen Shelton explores physical, historical, and social landscapes of northeastern Alabama. His homeplace near the Appalachian foothills provides the setting for a rich examination of culture, a place where the language of place and things resonates with as much emotional urgency as the language of humans. Shelton demonstrates how deeply culture is inscribed in the land and in the most intimate spaces of the person—places of belonging and loss, insight and memory.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5388-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Preface: You Are Worth Many Sparrows
    (pp. xi-xxvi)
  2. The Mark on the Spade
    (pp. 1-30)

    You can locate my house on a topographical map, butted up against the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast corner of Alabama. There it is, a small square next to the intersection of White’s Gap Road and Nance’s Creek Road. Like the small lakes within a half mile to the south and west and the swamp off to the southeast, the house was a landmark that could be identified in aerial photographs taken in the 1950s. Before that it was known as the Big House in the valley. A yeoman farmer named Burton built the house in 1834....

  3. The Abduction of Mary Janie
    (pp. 31-58)

    The refrigerator was a white Kenmore. It was slid into the corner at the end of the kitchen next to a window. The window had off-white curtains with delicate ruffles on a wooden rod and looked out into the pecan orchard. The trunk of the first tree looked like a man standing on the lawn looking in. On top of the refrigerator were old pop bottles that I had found in the garden and under the house—a 7-Up, a Dr Pepper, an orange soda, and an ancient Pepsi bottle shaped like an obelisk. Stuck on the door were drawings...

  4. Planchette, My Love
    (pp. 59-92)

    Deer hunters found what was left of Smithy’s body sucked into the gray mud at the edge of a lake on the top of Cheaha Mountain. The body was hidden away like a forgotten Christmas present in the bulrushes. Smithy was now part of the lake at the highest elevation in Alabama and moved imperceptibly with the subtle currents. Smithy suddenly had grace and a moral density he could never have imagined. The flannel shirt and the Plain Pocket jeans he was wearing were almost translucent. His feet were bare. Whatever he had in his pockets was gone. He used...

  5. The Stars beneath Alabama
    (pp. 93-132)

    The town square was a quarter mile from my grandparents’ house on Pelham Road. All the big trucks headed north on Alabama Highway 21 came through this square. There was a cluster of small businesses bunched around this grass island: a hardware store with a toy display in the front window; two barber shops; two drugstores with lunch counters, one had a Ouija board for sale over the counter with a specter reaching out from the dark; two dime stores facing each other across the square like two male hyenas on Noah’s Ark; a beauty shop; a department store condensed...

  6. Assembling Mary Pullen for a Cry
    (pp. 133-166)

    It was ten in the morning when I started digging the grave. Earlier, at the funeral home, a man in a dark polyester suit with soft brown loafers instructed me on the required dimensions. He was very concerned whether I could do the work. A slipup would be embarrassing. A request like this was unexpected. They had a crew of men who normally did this work. He had very smooth skin. Didn’t I need to be with my family during this time? His hair was starting to thin. I knew his daughter from the preschool where I told stories on...