image via savetheslope.blogspot.com
I attended an excellent presentation yesterday, courtesy of the Appalachian Authors Guild, by one Joe Tennis, a journalist and nonfiction writer of the southern Virginia and eastern Tennessee area. He's done the sort of research into local lore that makes me a bit jealous – the sort journalists do.
As a journalist, he has a perfect license to talk to the folks in those areas about all sorts of things – in his case, local history – and that happens to include folklore – including ghost stories.
image via susanjtweit.typepad.com
He did a great job of speaking to both fiction and nonfiction writers about the value of place in story. I've gone on about that myself from time to time. It's a trait of Southern consciousness, I think, to think of self, others, and things – inanimate and material – in terms of place. Not just to set stories, but to cast place as something of a character, the ways in which place captures story.