State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 1

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 1

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 1

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 1


In State of the Heart, Aida Rogers has crafted an artful love letter to our state, with contributions from a host of nationally and regionally recognized writers who've written short essays on the South Carolina places that they cherish. This anthology provides a multifaceted historical and personal view of the Palmetto State.

Thematically organized, this collection offers a geographic and emotional scope that is as diverse as its contributors. Sportswriters describe beloved arenas; historians reflect on church ruins and forts. A playwright recalls the magic of her first theater experience; a food writer revels in a coastal joint that serves fresh oysters. Backyards, front porches, a small library at a children's home, the drama and camaraderie of building the Savannah River Site, and places that are gone except in the memories of the writers who loved them--these are just a few of the locales covered, all showing how South Carolina has changed and inspired people in a variety of ways.

State of the Heart evokes a sense of history and timelessness by bringing together heartfelt responses to South Carolina locales rooted in memory, drawing on reflection, inspiration, and love. The anthology reveals a state that is more than a playground for tourists; it's a state of human hiding places that echo in the hearts of its literary citizens. Though presented as a book about place, the collection is ultimately about our shared connections to one another, to a complex common past, and to ongoing efforts to frame and build a future of promise and possibility."


South Carolina is a state of constant surprise and ceaseless story. When I arrived in state in 1961, I learned to fully expect the unconventional, the unusual, and always the great surprising thing. There was an albino porpoise swimming in the Harbor River the first time I drove out to visit the glorious beach on Hunting Island. When I filled up with a tank of gas in Columbia, I became eligible for a free car wash and given a handful of chicken necks to feed to a live Bengal tiger who attracted many customers, especially the children of South Carolina. An eighteen-foot alligator washed up dead on Fripp Island, and I once saw hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs mating during a full moon out on Land’s End in the Broad River.

In the spring our rivers fill up with migrating fish moving into freshwater rivers and creeks to lay their eggs according to the primal urges of heredity. the shad surrender egg sacs that gourmet restaurants prize as one of the great delicacies of the sea and huge cobia provide steaks for the grills of lowcountry people. Men and women throw their cast-nets with gestures of infinite beauty, and they can fill their freezers with shrimp for a half season on a good night. the osprey dive for mullet in golf-course lagoons and chase bald eagles away from their nests. Nature is everywhere in South Carolina and there is no escape from it or any reason to do so. There are herds of whitetail deer roaming the forests and swamps throughout the state and 600-pound feral hogs are endangering farmland around the Edisto. There are sharks that can kill you swimming in Charleston Harbor and water moccasins that can kill you in the blackwater creeks along the Ashepoo. the oysters of the May River are as delicious as the Belons sold in Paris restaurants and the rainbow trout pulled up by fly fishermen on the Chattooga are as pretty as tarot cards.

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