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Monday, April 21, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    Tom Poland

    Tom Poland
    A Southern writer, Tom Poland’s work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. He’s published five books and more than 800 columns and magazine features. In 1996, Reckon magazine published his literary feature, "Deliver Me from Leviathan," on James Dickey. Excerpts were published in The World As A Lie–James Dickey, the Dickey biography by Henry Hart. The University of South Carolina Press has published three of his books, most recently, Reflections of South Carolina, now in its third printing.
    For six years, Tom worked as a scriptwriter and cinematographer, working primarily along the South Carolina Lowcountry and its barrier islands. While filming on a primitive barrier island one evening, fog rolled in trapping him overnight. That experience led to his novel, Forbidden Island, and the mythical Georgialina. Currently, he’s working on two nonfiction books.
    A Lincolnton, Georgia, native and University of Georgia graduate, he lives in Columbia, South Carolina. Read more at www.TomPoland.net.
    Favorite Quotes On Writing and Creativity:
    "Writing is a kind of smoke, seized and put on paper. "— James Salter
    "I never wanted to be well rounded, and I do not admire well-rounded people nor their work. So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people. The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design." — Harry Crews
    Number of posts: 158
    Email address: email
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/Tom Poland/feed/

    Posts by Tom Poland:


      Interactive Journalism At Its Most Delicious

      Summer Sensations

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 19, 2013
      Summer Sensations

      Last Thursday, just before I took my daily two-mile run/walk hunger struck. A few bites of watermelon did the trick. When I bit into that cold sweet watermelon a flood of summer memories rushed in. I recalled the great tastes of summer and with those memories came warm images of youth in the Georgia countryside. I saw stacks of dark green, striped watermelons, red, ripe tomatoes, and heard the beautiful grinding of a hand-cranked ice cream churn. Recalling the great tastes of summer I thought will make a good column.

      Enough Is Enough

      A Public Service—Business Writing 101

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 15, 2013
      A Public Service—Business Writing 101

      None other than the Harvard Business Review reports that the ability to communicate is the number one trait top executives possess. The ability to communicate trumps ambition, education, sound decisions, and a capacity for hard work. It’s too damn bad the folks on top can’t delegate their talent.

      Way too many business people cannot write. How well I know. My eyes glaze over at their attempts. Check out most corporations’ mission statements and you’ll need a café latte with an extra shot of espresso. Here’s a snoozer for you:

      SC Writers' Essays

      A New Book—Favorite Places

      by | 7, Add your Comment | May 9, 2013
      A New Book—Favorite Places

      Your favorite place … For many it would be home, that safe harbor we have shaped to our own needs and likes, that refuge from the world’s ills, stresses, and bothers. Home makes for an easy choice. Suppose, however, an editor asked you what your favorite place is other than your home, and what if she said, “Write about it and we’ll put it in a book.”

      That’s precisely what happened to me.

      Pass The Rice Please

      Carolina Gold Conquered The World

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 30, 2013
      The "Avenue of Oaks" approach to Mansfield Plantation (Thomas Namey) http://www.nameydesign.com

      “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” —William Faulkner

      Early this spring I spent two days in ricefield country over near Georgetown. Working on a new book, Reflections Of South Carolina, Volume II, (USC Press) I went to Mansfield Plantation to time travel. Turning off Highway 701 onto Mansfield Road I hurdled three hundred years into the past.

      When Folks Made Do

      Genuine, Original Survivors

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 27, 2013
      Genuine, Original Survivors

      A crisis or two from disaster … That’s how most folks live. Modern conveniences have spoiled the self-reliance right out of us. Thanks to stores like Kroger and Publix you can get most anything you need. Ease, however, extracts a price.

      We’re nowhere as self-sufficient as our grandparents were. They lived in an era when folks made do. Not us, we drive to the big box grocery stores and plop down a credit card or sign a check. That’s how we keep life moving forward. It’s a tenuous way to live.

      Southern Food

      Saturdays Meant BBQ

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 23, 2013
      Saturdays Meant BBQ

      And that meant a trip to Bud Hawes … I can’t quite place exactly where Bud Hawes’s pit-cooked barbecue operated when I was a kid but I still see the place. I know it was close by the telephone office off South Peachtree. My sister, Deb, tells me a parking lot covers the spot. What a shame.

      When I was a boy Saturdays were special and not because school was out. No, they were special because…

      Nostalgia

      Hung Out To Dry

      by | 10, Add your Comment | Apr 14, 2013
      Hung Out To Dry

      You didn’t have to plug it in but it worked like a charm… all you needed was sunshine. Who can forget the clothesline? Starchy, fresh, and sanitized by sunlight, the blue jeans, shorts, T-shirts, and sheets of today hang out with the clothesline no more.

      Today’s jeans, Ts, and sheets tumble round and round. Throw in some synthetic fabrics and static electricity glues the whole mess together. Clothes hiss, pop, and cling as you separate them. Sometimes it’ll make your hair stand up on end.

      Old South of Long Ago

      Down In Rice Plantation Country

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 8, 2013
      Down In Rice Plantation Country

      Last week I spent two days in rice plantation country over near Georgetown, South Carolina. Photographer Robert Clark, friend and co-author, and I went to several old rice plantations: Mansfield, Weehaw, Millbrook, and Estherville. If you’ve never explored an old rice plantation you owe it to yourself to do so. Glimpses of the South before the Civil War are yours for the taking. It’s like walking back two- to three-hundred years.

      Time Marches

      Give Me That Old Time Religion

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 1, 2013
      Give Me That Old Time Religion

      Take Me To The River… I was down home for Easter with my family. We went to our church, New Hope. As I sat listening to a special music program it was hard not to stare at the church’s baptismal pool looming over the choir. As hard as I try to accept that pool as part of the church’s interior I cannot. While staring at it my thoughts turned to four pivotal days in a church we can never forget: the day we accept Christ, the day we’re baptized, the day we get married, and the day we lay a loved one to rest…

      1916

      The Great Augusta Firestorm

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 25, 2013
      The Great Augusta Firestorm

      When I was growing up life found all kinds of reasons to send us to Augusta. Then as now we found it necessary to make many a pilgrimage to the big city but we weren’t unique. In the CSRA all roads have always led to Augusta. The city of Masters fame has long represented the center of civilization as smaller outlying communities go.

      Lincoln County was home, of course, but the late 1950’s Augusta was much more—Sears, cinemas, car dealerships, and great hamburger joints in the days before Ray Kroc and his cookie-cutter McDonald’s took over.

      Otherworldly

      Carolina Bays—Nature’s Mysterious Landforms

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 16, 2013
      Carolina Bays—Nature’s Mysterious Landforms

      During World War I, aerial photography sent in-flight artists scurrying to the breadline. Overnight, aerial sketches were old hat. Following the war, aerial photography, needing new markets, turned to non-military purposes and that led to a remarkable discovery. In 1930 the Ocean Forest Company of Myrtle Beach contracted Fairchild Aerial Photography Corporation to survey Horry County. Droning along, drawing eyes upward, Fairchild’s FC-2 Cabin Monoplane crisscrossed the coastal plain. What its photographer must have felt when he focused on the mysteries below.

      Connections

      We Called Him Kilgo

      by | 12, Add your Comment | Mar 12, 2013
      We Called Him Kilgo

      Does Life Have A Secret Plan? … Is one’s destiny planned all along? After one too many consequential coincidences you get the feeling that something mysterious is at work. Call it fate. Call it predestination. Attribute it to God. Whatever the force it reveals your true path. Such was the case with my most memorable teacher at the University of Georgia. It was mystifying how the man kept coming back into my life … even after he died. And writing was the connection.

      Before Cell Phones

      Breaker, Breaker, Heartbreaker

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Feb 18, 2013
      Breaker, Breaker, Heartbreaker

      What A Blessing A Simple Radio Was … In the mid 1970s I made long lonely drives up to Charleston, West Virginia for several years. A town called St. Albans to be exact and more precisely a home at 55 B 10th Avenue. My daughters, mere toddlers, lived there and once a month I made the eight-hour drive up to Wild Wonderful West Virginia to see them.

      It was Woeful Woebegone West Virginia back then because my youngest girl didn’t know who I was for a while. Those trips about killed me. The visits were bittersweet: a mix of joy and heartbreak. Leaving work early around two on a Friday, I’d arrive at 10 p.m. or so and stay in a roach motel.

      Unvarnished History

      Boom Along Baby Boomers

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 27, 2013
      Boom Along Baby Boomers

      Who We Come From … What We Truthfully Remember

      A Note To Baby Boomers: My daughter, Beth, is building a family tree using Ancestry.com in part. The other part involves questions to family members and independent research. She seeks to better know family members from the past. Her work will be of great worth to those who follow. She emailed me. “Can you tell me the birth dates, full names, and death dates of your grandparents?

      Swallowing History

      Ghost Towns: Petersburg, Lisbon, & Vienna

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 22, 2013
      Map of the Upper Savannah River in 1795 (public domain via wikipedia.org).

      Lake Waters Bury An Unparalleled Political Record

      Growing up I watched old cowboy movies about ghost towns out West and even went to Ghost Town in the Sky up in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Tumbleweeds rolling through Dodge City kept me glued to the television. Well, I was a clueless lad. Little did I know that if you grew up in Lincoln County you lived in an area with ghost towns nearby and they were real, and what politics and history once lived there.

      Moments

      The Power Of A Photograph

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 6, 2013
      The Power Of A Photograph

      The young daydream of exotic careers. Something far from the ordinary. A calling that perchance will elevate them above the masses. For me that career would have been that of a photographer. I can’t say what started this desire to capture images but I can tell you it never materialized. My good fortune, however, was that life kept throwing me around people who are photographers, and I would learn to appreciate a photo’s ability to tell a story.

      Reading List

      The Dead Of Winter

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Dec 30, 2012
      The Dead Of Winter

      About two weeks ago in a macho moment I told a friend that in a way I enjoy getting the flu. I explained that the flu is about the only time I hit the bed for days on end and sleep, that otherwise I go full speed day after day. I went on, too, to brag that I had made it through 2012 without having to see a doctor. The problem was 2012 had two weeks to go. Well be careful what you wish for and never brag about good health. The flu found me. I missed Christmas with my family and have been flat on my back since Christmas Eve.

      North v. South

      Jingle Bells

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Dec 20, 2012
      Jingle Bells

      The Song That Started A Feud

      It’s one of the more popular Christmas songs. It’s also a song that lends itself to all sorts of versions and lyrics. Back in my boyhood school days, classmate Carl Ivey would sing “Jingle Bells” come Christmas time. He’d alter the lyrics to go “Jingle bells, shotgun shells,” and from there memory fails me. Carl, however, was not the first fellow in Georgia to experiment with the words of this popular Christmas song.

      Southern People

      An Afternoon With Artist Jim Harrison

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 16, 2012
      An Afternoon With Artist Jim Harrison

      Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of joining eleven authors at a holiday book signing the Preservation Society of Charleston hosted. The Society’s bookstore and gift shop sits at the corner of King and Queen Streets, a royal location. There we convened from 1 P.M. until four to sign books and meet people.

      The event coincided with “Second Sunday,” an event where the city cordons off King Street for blocks and people fill the streets. Musicians do their thing and restaurants set tables in the streets so people can dine with views of the Holy City’s steeples.

      Southern Places

      Remembering Danburg, Georgia

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Dec 12, 2012
      Remembering Danburg, Georgia

      Ecologists love remnant habitat: places where time has yet to ruin what nature so carefully assembles. Generally we can thank isolation for pockets of remnant habitat. The self-centered modern world builds highways far beyond them and then forgets they exist. Here and there you can also find remnant habitat for man: communities of the past. Danburg is such a place. Glance at the map and you clearly see that Danburg sits off the beaten path. If you pass through the community of Danburg you are lost or you come there for a reason.

      Painful Insights

      How The News Lost Me

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Oct 15, 2012
      Talking Heads/News Anchors/Readers/Entertainment News

      In elementary school, Mrs. Murray Norman praised me one day for my ability to keep up with current events. As a kid I watched the Today show. I watched the Huntley-Brinkley Report. I watched local news on Augusta’s WJBF and WRDW. I knew what was going on and I could answer Mrs. Norman’s current event quizzes.

      I no longer watch the news. The news lost me by taking a long slow slide into a big puddle of ineptness. Never have we had so many ways to be informed but never have we had such a clueless bunch of faux journalists. Maybe the news has lost you too.

      Ophidiophobia

      The Short Sad Life of Snakes

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Oct 7, 2012
      The Short Sad Life of Snakes

      Back in the 1980s when I was the managing editor of South Carolina Wildlife magazine a lean, tall drunk staggered into my office one afternoon. He wore a big cowboy hat, fancy boots, and a string tie adorned by a silver and turquoise clasp. He looked like a Texan, an older version of Josey Wales. He was sun-and liquor-burnt and burning mad.

      “You got to do something about folks killing snakes,” he said, red-eyed, agitated, and smelling of Jim Beam. He had just seen a car swerve across a country lane to deliberately run over a rattler.

      Never Ceases to Amaze

      Making Memories Down South

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Sep 16, 2012
      Angel Oak, photo by Tom Poland

      My earliest memories of Charleston, South Carolina, go back to the mid 1960s when I would spend two weeks with my Aunt Vivian and Uncle Joe in Summerville. We’d make daily trips to Folly Beach and Charleston, and those trips made for memorable times. We’d hit the beach, crab in the marshes and creeks, and sometimes tour Fort Sumter and the Charleston Museum.

      Being a landlocked kid the chance to go to the beach excited me to no end. And crabbing was fun but filled with fears that the claws of a blue crab would nip me. The museum I remember as a dark musty place filled with oddities none of which I recall with detail. What was important however was that I remembered the overall experience.

      Notes From The Grave

      Dead Man Talking

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 5, 2012
      Dead Man Talking

      You read where there was a forty-year celebration of the movie Deliverance this spring up in Clayton, Georgia, and Longcreek, South Carolina. It wasn’t all fun and games. Some folks didn’t appreciate the festival dredging up bad blood. Deliverance casts a long shadow along the banks of the Chattooga.

      If someone wrote a novel depicting the people of your county as toothless, murderous rednecks would you take it in stride?

      The Old-Fashioned Way

      The Broom Lady

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Aug 26, 2012
      The Broom Lady

      Some folks were talking presidential politics last Tuesday, that ugly subject that’s the new pornography. The economy and jobless rate came up, of course, and one fellow commented on the sorry state of affairs we have these days. “Americans themselves, as individuals,” he added emphatically, “don’t make useful stuff anymore. We got folks sitting around doing nothing.”

      He went on to say that the Chinese and big companies manufacture way too many things people used to make themselves.

      With A Little Help From The Jukebox

      Crossing The Race Line

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 19, 2012
      Crossing The Race Line

      I went to high school in Lincoln County, Georgia, during the dwindling days of the Jim Crow era. I’m too young to remember Jim Crow’s salad days, that strange time of strange laws separating the races. I do recall that Elijah Clarke State Park was for whites and Keg Creek State Park was for blacks. I don’t recall separate water fountains and restrooms, and the only bus I rode was a yellow schoolbus, segregated until my last year of high school. No one cared who rode in the back. In fact it was cool to ride in the back. We wanted to ride in the back.

      We had our Jim Crow moments though…

      Teasing the Eyes

      Our Gentle, Rolling Land

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 5, 2012
      Nature’s Topiary Artist Photo by Robert Clark Kudzu, the eternal opportunist, advances over a home long abandoned. This simple home was built during the days when a farmer might go to town Saturdays to shop for a mule. Those farmers and their way of life are gone and kudzu seems determined to obscure remnants of those times. This little shack shouldn’t feel picked on. This mile-a-minute topiary artist from southern Japan and southeast China covers the South, and the Piedmont, thick with kudzu-covered woods, is no exception.

      For five months I’ve been the first person to see the magnificent photographs Robert Clark is taking for our fourth book on South Carolina. Each day is long but good. For about nine hours a day, with breaks of course, I sort and evaluate images and place the ones with most potential in the appropriate chapter, Lowcountry, Upcountry, Pee Dee, and so forth.

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