Why I Wrote My 'Love Letter to the South'
If you're even the least bit familiar with my writing here at PJ Media, you know that I write a lot about the culture of the South. And now I'm excited to announce that my first book, Football, Faith, And Flannery O'Connor: A Love Letter To The South, is available for purchase today!
I imagine that authors often hear the same question I've heard since I started promoting the book: how did you come up with the idea for your book? Actually, it began with a challenge. My friend and former PJ Media editor David Swindle challenged me to write a book about the culture of the South in the form of a travelogue and include both Christianity and Disney in my examination of the South. I racked my brain for several months trying to figure out the right way to frame such a book, and one day the answer came to me in the shower -- as all good ideas do.
I determined I would take the route my family takes for our trips to Walt Disney World at least once a year and use different cities and towns along that journey to explore the culture of the South. I decided to cheat a little bit and extend the start of the journey about an hour north of me to include the hook on which to hang my discussion of Christianity as well as to include Athens and my alma mater, the University of Georgia.
I started out, as I've done so many times in the past, clearing up the many misconceptions that seem to linger when it comes to the South. I still believe that the South is the most misunderstood portion of the country, and I sought to clear up some of the misunderstandings. But throughout the writing process I realized that there was more for even a native son like me to discover.
As I worked my way down my route and researched the many facets of the culture of this region, I learned so much about the South -- not just facts and figures, but also the backstories behind things I take for granted. Throughout the writing process, it became clear to me as I learned more and more about the area I call home, that one theme emerged in my writing: pride. I've always been proud of the South, but that pride grew exponentially as I wrote.