Six months into “Nobody’s Home”
Though the website has been online a little longer, tomorrow (April 1) marks six months since Nobody’s Home: Modern Southern Folklore officially got started. The first half-a-year has been productive, with two reading periods and subsequent batches of works added to the anthology in January and March. During those reading periods, ads on Facebook and New Pages have swirled around the inter-webs, and mailouts to colleges, writing programs, indie bookstores, and newsrooms have offered flyers to hang on bulletin boards. (If people still do that— I don’t know, do they?)
Within the first two batches of published works are twenty-one essays that cover a variety of subjects, from the current effects of the legacy of slavery to wondering out loud who is (or is not) “Southern.” Of course, when I created the project, I knew what kinds of works I envisioned, but also knew that I’d have to wait to see what I would receive. I like being open to new ideas, and editing this anthology suits that side of my personality. If I’d wanted my understanding of Southern beliefs, myths, and narratives to be the final product, I’d have written a work about it. But I didn’t— I chose to edit a compilation of others’ works about it. The twenty-one essays that have been published so far constitute the beginnings of my goal for the project, and there’s more to come as the call for submissions continues until mid-August.
Though the project has been going well overall, my main disappointment is that COVID-19 wrecked my plans to travel and conduct impromptu interviews with people about the myths, beliefs, and narratives that thread through Southern culture. I had envisioned a lively editor’s blog that included lots of real-world conversations – thus the title, “Groundwork” – but the pandemic has been peaking during this six-month period from October 2020 through March 2021. I’m usually a full-speed-ahead kind of project manager, but it would have been unwise and probably fruitless to traipse off in search of people to talk with in-person. Some people might ask, “What about Zoom . . .?” and my reply would be: “Thanks, I’m good.”
The bright side is that there are six more months to go. For the next six weeks or so, until May 15, the current reading period will continue. Some good submissions have already come in, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. Accepted works from that batch will be published in June. There will certainly be more posts in the editor’s blog, too. And, if things continue to look up, some of them might involve having a word with a few folks out on the road.