The Sweetest Legacy

People think they’re buying Girl Scouts cookies; what they’re really buying is a ticket back to childhood

by Serenity Gerbman

March 7, 2014 I am a little embarrassed now that I hesitated to let my daughter sign up to be a Daisy. I was never a Girl Scout myself; all I knew about the organization was that they sold cookies and that some of those cookies were called Thin Mints. I assumed that “Girl Scouts selling cookies” really meant “parents selling cookies,” and I would frankly prefer to clean shower drains for two months.

Published Friday, 7 March 2014

Coffee Dates

A liberal-arts graduate endures the indignities of a job search

by Morey Hill

March 6, 2014 It’s important to clarify one thing: there’s a big difference between a job search and a Google search. I’ve done a fair amount of Googling, and I can report that if you’re typing things like “jobs Nashville” into Google, you are on the road to nowhere. Either that or you’re making great progress toward becoming a foot-fetish model for single men in Antioch. You’d be amazed at the need for foot-fetish models in Antioch, Tennessee.

Published Thursday, 6 March 2014

Last Suppers

Remembering a childhood friend, lost and found and lost again

by Brooks Egerton

March 5, 2014 Over the years, I had turned to almighty Google to find my childhood friend, but there were too many Peter Watsons out there, perhaps, or perhaps I didn’t try hard enough. One way or another, I never found any footprints pointing toward Nashville, where long ago we were running buddies—not fellow joggers, as that term has come to mean, but boys who ran around together, made mischief, and learned a little something about how the world works.

Published Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Kingsnakes and Beauty Queens

At the Rattlesnake Festival in Claxton, Georgia, a writer confronts her lifelong fear

by Erica Wright

March 4, 2014 When my family first moved into our home in Wartrace, Tennessee, snakes were a problem. Our land was infested with a wide variety of slitherers, many of which my father and uncles killed, sometimes with guns and hoes, sometimes with tractors, but snakes still found us. They sunned themselves in our driveway, hid in the hedges, and once climbed up our fireplace mantel. I developed a fear of being taken by surprise. But at the Rattlesnake Festival, watching a kingsnake glint in the afternoon light, my only sensation was wonder.

Published Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Two Wheels and the Truth

What if, instead of cyclists, drivers saw people on bikes?

by Joe Pagetta

March 3, 2014 Faced with fleshing out the facts, I didn’t immediately think of the guy who tried to run me off the road. I thought of the baby who got me over the ridge. As I wrote, what I remembered of that day was not the fear that was still gripping me. I remembered the innocence that inspired me.

Published Monday, 3 March 2014

Hitting Home

An English major’s internship with the Women’s National Book Association leads to a new understanding of literature

by Allie Sockwell

January 23, 2014 As others begin to share their own experiences of moving away from home or of wanting to make a difference, something in my mind clicks: as readers, we are constantly using our own stories to connect to another person. In an English class once, we spoke about the meaning of literature. Why does it exist? Why are we drawn to it? A remark from the professor struck me: “Literature is one person’s attempt to explain what it is like being human.”

Published Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Head of the Table

Remembering the late John Egerton, who loved the South as fiercely as he fought its injustices

by Margaret Renkl

November 26, 2013 It would not be possible to overstate the cultural and literary influence of Nashville author John Egerton, who died last Thursday of an apparent heart attack at age 78. In books like Speak Now Against the Day and Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, Egerton's great project was chronicling and interpreting “this eccentric and enigmatic region in which we live,” as he put it. Here at Chapter 16, we mourn the loss of a great writer—and a great friend.

Published Tuesday, 26 November 2013

“Like Loss Big”

It’s hard to translate the need to leave an Indonesian village for a grandmother’s deathbed half the world away

by Sophie Sanders

June 27, 2013 It’s wonderful to know that one can mean so much to so many in such a small place. Later, looking out the plane window, I think of all the little villages past the lights of Surabaya, each little school just a dot on an island just a dot on the world. So many dots, so much love to offer. Plop a Peace Corps volunteer in the dot and watch the love tumble in.

Published Thursday, 27 June 2013

Buckled Up for a Wild Ride

With the publication of Full Body Burden, Kristen Iversen’s life changed

by Kristen Iversen

June 5, 2013 Before her memoir, Full Body Burden, hit shelves, Kristen Iversen got some advice from Helen Caldicott, one of her heroes: “Buckle your seatbelt and take your vitamins,” Caldicott said. “Your life is about to change.” In an essay for Chapter 16, Iversen explains just how prescient those words turned out to be.

Published Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Another Blank Page, Another New Season

A struggling gardener considers what writing shares with cultivating the soil

by Susannah Felts

June 3, 2013 “There is in me that dark tendency to see gardening as just one more thing at which to fail—a pursuit that can only result in my coming up short in the shadow of my parents’ mastery. But I can also see it as just another form of the revision process, of creative habit, one that has much to say to writing.” Susannah Felts will read from her work on June 4, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Fat Bottom Brewery in Nashville. She will be joined by songwriter Joshua Payne. The free event is part of the East Side Storytellin’ series, which pairs writers and musicians in performance.

Published Monday, 3 June 2013

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