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The Literary Flavor of Moonshine

The following was published in The Floyd Press on November 13, 2008.

Floyd County Moonshine is described on the publication’s MySpace page as “Floyd’s first Literary and Arts Magazine.” Its editor, Aaron Moore, is a graduate of Floyd County High School, Radford University, and is currently a graduate student of Literature at Florida State University. For the premier fall issue, Moore brought together a collection of short stories and poetry by a range of predominately regional writers. mooshine.jpg The 68 page chapbook style magazine, which features an old farmhouse in need of paint on the cover, also contains artwork.

The name, Floyd County Moonshine, is not a literal reflection of the magazine’s content, but is “designed to arouse quaint associations of a local or regional Southern/Appalachian flavor,” says Moore in the Editor’s Preface. The publication’s subtitle, “Local Color Literature” is more specific to what it offers. Moore hopes the offering will appeal to wide variety of people, from literary academics to everyday readers. The mix of fresh voices blended with those of more established writers lends itself to crossing literary boundaries.

Although the publication is not one about moonshine, the word does appear on one occasion and several pieces include scenes set in bars, which seems fitting for the issue’s loosely held theme that Moore describes as “affairs of the heart in conflict with itself.”

Moore’s own short story, "13 Titanium Screws," sets the stage for a literary ride with a back road journey that involves an old motorcycle, a red Audi with a broken odometer, and an ambulance. Moore’s piece, which includes a midway stop at a bar called Whiskers, is followed by "High Lonesome," a poem by high school English teacher and Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative (SAWC) member David Hampton, which also includes a bar scene. Another, by Florida State University doctoral of English candidate Steve Kistulentz, bears the intriguing title, “For Every Woman Who’s Made a Fool Out of a Man, There’s One Who’s Made a Man Out of a Fool.”

Although much of the work presented is fictional, some of the place names will be recognizable to readers from Floyd and the New River Valley, such as the Riner "Pig Path," and the title of Jeffery Saperstein’s poem, "Radford Pawn and Coin." … The three balls, painted that color … between stop and go … hang like heavy fruit just below …GUNS ANTIQUES DIAMONDS GOLD …

Saperstein teaches at Radford University, as does Chelsea Adams, whose foreboding poem about branches in a wind storm was written the morning of and just before the Virginia Tech shootings of April 16, 2007. … Even when clothed in leaves, I see … their evil elbows jab, their need to taunt me … with their wrinkled bark, their woody skeletons … writhing just underneath … the sumptuous green …

The Moonshine collection includes some surprising twists – such as a barber whose end of life involves his late wife’s pink bowling ball in a short story by Philip Ferguson – as well as some sharp turns in time, as evidenced by Rodney Smith’s poem, "Lee in Winter," set in Lexington in 1867.

“We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback and so much support,” Moore recently said. He explained that the first issue was financed on faith by a handful of sponsors whose names are listed in the magazine. “But we can’t continue to exist on sponsors alone,” he added. Moore is hopeful that advertisers will come forth and that more local writers and artists will submit work. “Prior publication has no bearing on what is chosen,” he noted.

Geared towards a mature audience, the collection draws on the talents of Radford University and Florida State University professors and students, members of SAWC and those of The Floyd Writers Circle, a local writers’ workshop that co-hosts a monthly Spoken Word event at Café Del Sol.

Floyd Writers’ Circle member and Hollins University Horizon student, Mara Robbins, whose poem, "Broken Laptop on Bourbon Street," appears in the issue, said she’s impressed with the first effort and looks forward to seeing more issues. “As a poet who has been writing, working, and performing in Floyd for most of my life, it’s an honor to be part of Floyd’s first literary publication,” Robbins said.

Post notes: The Floyd Moonshine cover design was done by Jake Cohen. The publication’s staff includes Associate Editor, Jay Settle; Art Director and Layout designer, Cara Williams; and Production Coordinator Jennie Settle. Editor, Aaron Moore and others whose works appear in Floyd County Moonshine will be reading from the magazine at the Black Water Loft on November 15th from 7-9. Issues are available locally for $7 per issue at Lapointe’s Used Books, noteBooks, Over the Moon, and Café Del Sol. Submissions for the next issue can be emailed to floydshine@gmail.com. For more information about Floyd County Moonshine go to: www.myspace.com/floydcountymoonshine.


Congratulations to the many talented people of Floyd.


Colleen....I have to come back and read this...But I wanted you to know your comment just disappeared on me....OY! I don't know why? You were about to look at Keith Olbermann's Video....I saw that, pushed publish..And it went into cyberspace someplace! LOL! Do come back and try again, my dear, if you get a chance. And I WILL be back to read this post, I promise.

Well that certainly sounds like an interesting body of work. I'll look for it.

It will be published three times a year. We should get some down to Stuart. Got any bookstores or appropriate venues there?

This sounds like a WONDERFUL Publication, Colleen....and one that people all over would be interested in reading--like me!

Thanks, Naomi (owner of The Jim and Dan Stories AND a one of Josh's Community Bricks), It's long overdue for Floyd to have a forum for creative writing. Some of us will be reading from it at Saturday's Spoken Word and I'll be taking photos.

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