“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
It’s Never Too Late
As another school year winds to a close, another birthday passes, and May looms ahead on the road of life, I have to say things have been quite a whirlwind already this year. I managed to finish one novel, some poems, a couple short stories, and got tons more ideas. I have gotten several wonderful local opportunities, including being the first author featured in a local art gallery (St. Paul Va Small Art Gallery in St. Paul, Va), and I feel truly humbled by the immense support I’ve gotten from those who follow my writing and photography. On top of that, I have the undying support of my amazing wife, and we have gotten to go on several adventures this year that we will never forget. In all, life is good. The positive definitely outweighs the negative, and I thank God for that every day. It is because of His blessings I have the talents and passions that I do. I am incredibly thankful for everything I have and I want to make the most of these chances.
In light of that, I have to admit there is one area of my life I have long wanted to improve, to grow. My college experience is something that holds a huge place in the journey of making the man I am today. It was there I met my wife, where I first got to work in journalism and the creative arts for a meaningful production. But something still felt incomplete. I completed my Bachelor of Arts program nearly ten years ago and I have had a wealth of career opportunities based on it, but I also have a strong desire to do more. My love of the written word goes deeper than I can even explain without ranting for hours on end. My dive into literature was the deepest it has ever been during my undergrad experience, leading me to have a paper included in the COPLAC undergrad research conference in 2013. That feeling was always exhilerating and after graduating I have wanted to experience that deep educational dive again. It’s easy to say it was high school that helped me narrow my focus to literature, but it was college where I feel that love blossomed to a never-ending obsession. Because of that I have always felt a desire to teach at a college level and be involved in higher education. In short, I have always regretted not going on to get my Master’s Degree.
I’m proud to say I no longer have to feel that regret. As of April 26, the day after my 32nd birthday, I have officially been accepted into a graduate program at Liberty University. I will be completing a Master of Arts in English Literature through an online program, and I could not be more excited. I could also not be more nervous. Short of a few continuing education classes to maintain certification to teach high school, I have not been on the recieving end of formal education for nearly a decade, so the idea is a little daunting. Regardless, this is a venture I have been wanting to take for a long time, and I finally kicked myself into gear and got it going. I am beyond excited for this and I can’t wait to see how it goes.
In addition to furthering my education I am still working endlessly on spreading my name and my art far and wide both in the Appalachian region and beyond. I have recently grown to more than 610 likes on my Facebook author page and had a fun giveaway opportunity there and I am ever growing in my viewership on TikTok and other apps. To say I am blessed to be given this platform and my talents and passions is an understatement. I offer another huge thank you to everyone who supports and encourages me in all of my adventures, from education to beyond. The underlying message behind all of this is simple, and one that we might hear a lot but not always listen to. It is never too late. I’ve been out of school for nearly ten years and I’m going back. I come from an impoverished region where many of the people I have known are either in the grips of addiction or know people who are, and I rose above. There is no obstacle too big, no desire too great, no end too impossible for you to overcome. Especially with prayer and God on your side. I fully respect everyone’s right to a religion, or a lack of one, but that is my own experience talking. I rely on God, I’m thankful to God for all I have, and I feel like that is the right journey for me. Overall, I must press the fact that if you have a desire (as long as it is a good desire, and not one to harm yourself or others -i.e. Asimov rule one) you should chase it. Dreams are powerful, and we have them for a reason. No one is exempt from that. Walt Disney said “If you can dream it you can do it,” but I think no one says it better than Dr. Frank N Furter:
“Don’t Dream It, Be It”
New Ventures, New Work, Small Businesses
Greetings, everyone! 2023 has been moving right along with crazy speed so far. I can hardly believe we are almost into the month of April already, but that means it is that much closer to warmer weather, longer days, and the blissful peace of summer vacation. At least in my neck of the woods.
This year has brought with it some insane tales of unidentified flying objects being shot down, wild chemical spills, and even more uncouth behavior from the general public, but it has also offered some awesome opportunities for those artists and small business owners who so deserve more attention.
Last month my wife and I attended a dinner at a locally franchised business that made us absolutely ecststatic. Not only was the dinner at Moe’s at the Pinnacle in Bristol,Tn. ( go there immediately!!) amazing, but the community that came together there was astounding. Another local business owner ( from Abingdon Gifting Co. ) invited several people from the community to come join her for dinner to help support Moe’s and bring attention to a great locally owned business.
As an author, photographer, entreprenuer myself, it was incredible to see the community coming together to support a local business owner. My wife and I were humbled to see the restaurant literally packed out with people wanting to support local. More than 3 dozen people attended the dinner, and many plan to make the local support a regular occurence. This thrills me.
I have always loved being able to reach out and help my business minded community members, and I’ve worked with tons of small businesses to house my books as well. It is always a pleasure to work with and support these small businesses, and I encourage each and every one of you all to do the same. Small business is the life blood of American creativity and freedom, in all honesty. Many of the huge chains and franchises we now know and love exist because people supported a local business at one point or another and allowed them the ability to succeed and expand.
I love working with local businesses and I would love to work with as many as I possibly can, so if you own, work in, or know of a business who has interest working with a self-made Appalachian author and photographer, by all means reach out to me or to them and make a recommendation.
That being said, I am thrilled to be able to share with you all some news about my work that makes me ecstatic. I have recently started working to sell my photography! I have created a page on my site here to advertise my work, and I am hoping to get some pieces into local businesses as well. If you are interested in Appalachian or Travel photography, check out the page and let me know if any of my pieces interest you.
In addition to this, I have some gallery appearances at the Small Art Gallery in St. Paul, VA. this year that promise to be hugely fun! My books will be the showcase of the exhibit this April (~April 1-May 15) and my photos will be the feature in November/December (~November/15-December/31). To get a consistent schedule of the gallery’s 2023 exhibits check out their info here.
I’ll bore you all with only one final bit of news in today’s post. I have finished the second novel in my Shadow Slayer Saga, Darkness Awakens, and have started work on a novel that will be of great interest to my Appalachian friends. This tale is going to dig deep into mountain culture and feature one of the more interesting bits of local folklore (and that is saying a lot!), so keep your eyes open for more information about it. I’ve also been working on some short stories and poems again lately, so my creative heart is pounding away like crazy!
Thank you all for checking out what I had to say today, and I’ll leave you with this reminder. Small businesses absolutely deserve our support. Make sure you do what you can to buy and shop local, everyone. It can make differences you can’t even imagine. As always, I welcome comments, questions, concerns, and communication. My novels are available worldwide and in multiple formats (including most libraries or digital library apps), so I hope you will all take the time to read and review them and make this author’s day! Enjoy your art, and enjoy your lives, everyone!
A Slow Start
Happy January, everyone. I hope 2023 is starting off on the right foot with you all. I know these first couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for most of us, but with that hopefully has come plenty of good.
Personally, I have seen a fair bit of success and happiness come about early on this year, with one novel finalized and entering the publication process and plenty of events in the making. That’s right, for those who haven’t heard, my latest novel is officially in production! The author proof is en route to me even now, and should be at home waiting for me to approve or modify it. That feeling is one that, even on my 7th book (holy cow, seven books??!!) doesn’t get old. To see my writing on the page, my reality played out there in novel format is nothing short of amazing. If you don’t yet know that feeling, I can’t wait until you do. It will make that imposter syndrome flee – even if just for only a moment or two.
In addition to the novel I have coming out soon, I have another that I have been trying to finish since last year. My fantasy sequel, “Darkness Awakens: Shadow Slayer Saga Number 2,” is more than 50,000 words, with plenty of great story so far, and I’m not even sure when it will be complete. I have been pushing myself to get plenty of writing in, but I have begun to fall into a slump.
Between setting up events, returning to work after the holidays, adjusting to the new year, and trying to maintain my sanity, it has been a wild ride. I feel the urge to write and create, and have even been coming up with new story ideas left and right, but the ability to focus and make real progress on any one particular work has eluded me. For years I have tried to help and encourage my fellow writers and creators through their slumps and blocks, but I haven’t been able to break mine. In all fairness, this isn’t so much a block of ideas or a lack of feeling for the story itself. I just feel like my voice is slogging through the mud whenever I try to write. It’s like my creative drive got stuck on slow motion.
As I’ve told you all many times before, no amount of struggle comes without its reward, so I know I simply need to keep pushing. My main goal for making this post, in addition to wishing you all the happiest of new years, was to see if anyone else was feeling that creative backlog as well. Are you trying to get a new project going and having trouble, or have you slipped off the path of completion on a work that already has a strong base? Those slumps can truly mess up a good schedule of creation, that’s for sure, but they can’t be allowed to win!
I’m choosing to follow my urge to create and push myself forward, no matter how slow it is. Once those ideas start flowing really strongly again these days of slumps and struggling will seem far away, like they usually do. In the meantime, though, let me share with you the cover for my new novel as I prepare to set a release date.
I am so pumped about this book, guys. Maverip (the original was one giant book that I split up for length) is my magnum opus thus far. The book that has been with me for more than a decade, characters that have been like family to me. Well, you know, family that you torture and terrify with vampires, pain, constant fear of death and the like. So, family. I can’t wait for you to get to check out this next stage of the adventure, too. It promises to be great fun and will change the way the modern vampire tale is perceived by some, I hope.
For more access to future works of mine, make sure you subscribe to my free newsletter, follow me on social media, and subscribe to my Patreon (http://patreon.com/DameanMathews). I am working on my schedule of events for the year, so be sure to jump over to my events and appearances page regularly to see what is coming!
Finally, if you have been feeling that beginning of the year slump, what have you done to get over it? Have you been able to push your way through the mire to the golden light of creation on the other side? If not, we’ll get there together! Comment or message me to share your journey.
The art of Art the Clown
Greetings, everyone! Hopefully November and the holiday season are treating everyone well. I have been immersing myself in some awesome nerdy celebrations, and horror films and the like. It has been quite a time. Most recently I have delved into the bloody tales of Art the Clown and his murderous antics, i.e. the Terrifier franchise.
I watched the first (technically second/third) Art film, Terrifier, a few years ago and enjoyed the character and his story. The silent antics of the killer clown, a horror trope that may honestly be slightly overdone, have been riding in the annals of my mind. Of course, Art’s complete silence, even in the face of pain and violence, set him apart from the other clowns in popular cinema. Art, to me, is more a mime turned rogue than a joke-loving clown, but either way his violent streak makes for quite an on screen tale. Once the sequel was announced, Art began to circulate more in the realms of nerddome that I frequent, so I knew I had to see it. I fulfilled that goal a few nights ago and have spent the days since ruminating on Art and the incredible, if lacking, story that he weaves.
We know nothing about Art’s history, his motives, his mindset, or his goals. In a similar motivation to the shark in Jaws, Art simply sees and kills. Throughout the two movies dedicated solely to Art and his mysterious journey through the night of All Hallows Eve we see him lock onto a female who is surrounded by friends and family, then he proceeds to destroy the entire group in increasingly creative, brutal and (let’s face it) moderately hilarious ways.
With Terrifier 2 the supernatural element comes into play in awesome ways, with an added dichotomy of good vs. evil, Heaven vs. Hell – if you’ve watched the movie you know what scenes I’m talking about. They were some of my favorites, honestly. I feel like this film truly captured the essence of deliciously evil and demented heartsick that is Art himself.
Needless to say, with my near obsession with Stephen King, my natural love of IT, and my own terrifying experience with a porcelain clown (check out this episode of my podcast to learn about that: https://anchor.fm/damean-mathews/episodes/Paranormal-Experiences-Part-2-e1pbdbp ) I am very drawn to the character of Art as a crazed horror output. Acting as a sort of anti-Pennywise, the mostly colorless and completely silent Art the clown paints a bland face on the idea of murder, but his creativity in acts of torture and slaughter bring about an interesting new spin on the clown story.
Art’s added Freddy Krueger-esque concept in this film brings about some new dimensions to his depravity, as do his new friend. Frankly, this film is an around B-movie delight, with an added element of modern gore. Personally, I don’t find the gore to be much higher the 80’s slashers like Hellraiser, but some people have apparently found it brutally harmful to their own wellbeing. Reports of people fainting and vomiting during screenings have circulated widely since the cinematic release. Granted, the same reports are released about most new horror films studios are trying to put good traction on, not to mention films like The Exorcist, which have been implanted in our minds as being truly horrifying since their release.
All that being said, I can definitely say if you are a fan of modern horror with something of an 80’s slasher twist, this movie may well be right up your alley. Art the clown is a villain that I truly enjoy and look forward to seeing more from. With the recent success of the film, Art will almost certainly be returning for another horrifying Halloween night. Writer/director Damien Leone has said he is interested in creating a trilogy, or even four solid movies filled with Art’s deliciously sadistic antics, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for plenty more from the silent killer. Before I forget to mention it, I also want to make sure everyone watches through the credits. There is a long, intense, star-studded mid-credits scene that I absolutely loved.
Regardless of your preference on clowns, body horror, grossout cinema, or slashers in general, I say you might as well give Art a shot. Check out the films in the Terrifier franchise and see what this weird, deformed, angry villain is all about. After all, what’s life without a little fear? Let me know what you think about the films and the character, and keep your eyes open for more reviews!!
Photo credit obviously goes to the creators of the film. Art the Clown and the Terrifier franchise are in no way my own, and I hold no rights to the image used for the over photo.
Greetings and Salutations, everyone! We are growing ever closer to the spookiest time of year, quickly chased by the merriest time of year. In other words, I am absolutely in my element! I have been immersing myself in all things horror for the last few weeks, as opposed to the rest of the year when I immerse myself in all things horror. It’s very exclusive. As I near another busy time of year, filled with events and signings and all manner of awesome opportunities to meet you all, I have to tell you about the most recent one.
On October 9th I was honored to do a discussion and reading in my beloved hometown of Tazewell, Va. Being from said small town, the Appalachian tradition of ‘coming home’ took on a new meaning for this event. The Tazewell Historical Society asked me to do the event, which was held in the recently revamped and reopened Tazewell Train Station, formerly known as ‘the old depot.’
The old depot had been abandoned, just sitting in its historic spot, going back to the earth for years, decades even. Fading, dirty bricks, boarded windows and doors, vines crawling up the sides with reckless abandon, the building was exactly something that would inspire this little horror lover’s heart (and there may or may not be something in the works based on this). The coolest thing about this is the fact that I lived less than a quarter mile away from the building. I passed it every time I was going home, every time I left to go anywhere. It was always a figure of history that loomed on the edge of my vision, and instilled curiosity consistently. I may or may not have tried various times to take a peek inside the building, with never a spark of luck, so this was an even more interesting opportunity.
Needless to say when I was asked if I would be interested in doing a presentation on Appalachian Myth and Legend, along with a reading of some of my work, I leapt on the chance. The fact that it was going to be held in the depot building was just icing on the cake.
To prepare for the event I examined much of what I already knew of myth and wives’ tales that exist in Tazewell. There are a fair number of those, but one that has always interested me is that of Devil’s Slide Cave, otherwise known as Higginbotham #1. Supposedly farmers that live and work near this cave, which rests just off the road at the foot of a mountain, have heard moans and cries of unknown origin coming from within. Animals that get too near the cave are said to die soon after or simply disappear. A group of spelunkers and cave mappers went into the cave and reported a sinkhole not far from the entrance. Once they made their way down they went several miles in (I’ve heard they may have spent as much as two days within, but I’m not sure of that part). Eventually they found another dropoff and began hearing the sounds they had been told about. They lowered themselves down to the full extent of their equipment and reported that they couldn’t quite reach the bottom, although they could see it. The group claimed to have seen a set of heavy iron doors at the bottom of the hole, through which the sounds of Hell itself could be heard and a great heat could be felt. I’ve heard the tale several times throughout my life, but I have never gotten to explore the cave, as it is on private land.
Being a lover of all things lore and myth, I made the connection here with the Devil’s Looking Glass in Erwin, Tn. and several other evil seeming legends, of which there are no shortage. The group of people that showed up to listen and converse with me were fantastic, and it was honestly an amazing event. Looking back on it, I can’t imagine how I could be so blessed to be able to experience that thing of wonder, the Appalachian Homecoming. Getting to present some of my work and my research, an object of my passion, that close to where I spent some of my most formative years – in a home that was and is still passed down through my family I might add – is nothing short of a blessing that I am ever so thankful for.
That, I think, is something we all sort of hope for. To be able to return to our origin with our story strapped to our back, not in an act of desperation, but an act of triumph. To be able to return home and say “look at what I’ve done. I’m here because I WANT to be here, not because I have to be.” It is a feeling of success and achievement that I hope I can always keep with me. Having a passion for the arts is by no means an easy journey, and it does not often come with the sort of instant gratification the world is growing more and more used to, but this truly makes me feel like I am on the right path. I have had my ups and downs lately with my work, especially while striving to revamp my website, up my market presence, and make myself more widely known. Sometimes it seems like I’m just pounding my fists against a brick wall, hoping against all odds to bring it down. On the bad days, it seems this is a futile attempt, but on the good days, every now and then, one or two of those bricks come tumbling down. These last few weeks, those bricks are tumbling, and I can’t be more thankful for that.
I know, of course, that every journey is one of ups and downs. As happy and successful as I feel this week, I may end up feeling just as unsuccesseful next week, but the key and point of this post, is that sense of failure, that ever-present nag that is imposter syndrome, is false. Your journey is always successful as long as you don’t give up on yourself. You have to push through the bad days, the low times, the negative commentary, and realize that these are merely speedbumps. Tests. They are nothing more than life’s way of making sure you don’t get moving too fast or flying too high before you slow down and take a tumble. Your time of ultimate achievement, your moment in the spotlight, will absolutely come. But no amount hemming and hawing, whining and crying, forcing and threatening will make it happen. It will happen when you have overcome those obstacles and truly have everything you need to embrace the big finish.
So, my advice, as always, is to keep going. Push through the pain, the bad days, the sadness. Never let a road block cause you to come to a full stop. Turn the wheel and seek out a different path. Have faith in yourself and your journey. Fight your way through the hard days and enjoy every moment of the good ones. Most importantly, remember those good feelings and use them to keep you motivated through the bad. One day, you too may have that storybook ‘homecoming’ and it will be a moment you can definitely be proud of.
If you need anyone to talk to or motivate you through those hard times, I am always available as well. You can find me on social media, use the contact page on the site, comment on a post, or use any other method you can to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help any way I can. Also, my amazing wife filmed my presentation at the depot and I have since uploaded it to Youtube. You can watch it here, if you’re interested. Have a great rest of the week, everyone. I look forward to hearing from you!
The Belgariad/The Mallorean Series Review
Hey there readers, I’ve got another doozy of a review to provide here, and it is one that I am ridiculously excited about. As many of you know, I am a huge nerd and proud of it. My reading and art habits absolutely reflect that, so when I recieved a new fantasy novel earlier this year as part of a huge book exchange (which I’d love to do again) I was pumped. The novel in question, Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings, was the first in a long series that I’d never heard of. By the time I finished the first few chapters, however, I knew I needed more. Within days I had ordered the four books that completed the first series, The Belgariad, as well as the next 5 book series, The Mallorean, and the two accompanying texts, Polgara the Sorceress and Belgarath the Sorcerer.
To say I was hooked and blown away by the magnitude of these book is an absolute understatement. The book tell the story of Garion, a young man who first comes to us through every day life on a local farm. His friends are typical medieval children, and the farm they live and work on is really more like a village. Garion is your typical orphaned child, living on the farm with his aunt who has made her way in the world as a cook for the house. Life is average, almost mundane, for Garion and Aunt Pol. Sometimes a storyteller will come to visit who seems to know both of them quite well, but Garion thinks little of it. All his life he has heard the legend and stories the storyteller circulates. Tales of Gods and creation, a stone that is the most powerful object in the known universe, and one God who decided he would rule all else by stealing the stone – which turned on him and scarred him with its glorious fire.
Garion is thrown into the middle of these tales and so much more when he learns the old storyteller is actually the ancient sorcerer Belgarath, who is more than 7,000 years old – and Garion’s grandfather. These books are absolutely filled with myth, legend, action, world-building, gods, magic, and so much emotion it can’t even be contained.
David Eddings was incredibly masterful at creating a world filled with characters I grew emotionally invested in. I found myself cheering for the heroes, laughing at their jokes, loving their friendship, mourning their sadness, and hating the enemies of the world. To be sure, a 10 book series with two accompanying texts seems like a lot to deal with – even greater that Tolkien’s tomes of Middle Earth – but these books are so immersive I flew through them. Several of the 3-400+ page books were done in just a couple of days and each one left me yearning for more. I devoured two thirds of the last book in less than a day and, as much as I would love to have more of Garion and his friends to entertain and move me, I can honestly say Eddings closed their tales in a rarely satisfying way.
In today’s world, with new movies and series springing up from some of our favorite classic tales, it is becoming increasingly easy for people to simply say they’ll wait for the books to be released on the big (or small) screen. That may well never be the case for these series. Eddings was adamant during his lifetime that his work never be watered down by alternate mediums. He stated that he wanted people to enjoy the Belgariad and its related works, but that he never wanted them made into movies or video games. He wanted people to read his words and live the worlds the way they were intended to be lived. Frankly, as much as I enjoy seeing my favorite works of literature translated into books, series, video games, music, and more, I agree. These books are simply so fantastic, so filled with lore and magic and strength and power, that they would almost surely lose much of their weight through translation.
In short, I set these books very high on my list of favorites, not only of the fantasy genre, but of literature as a whole. I would recommend them to most any reader at any age level from early YA to adult. The content is not overly suggestive (especially compared even to modern cable television) and it is not particularly difficult to understand. Beware of some violence, and some theological and even philosophical content, which is typical with this sort of narrative. Most of all, be sure to keep your mind open and ready to be immersed in a world like no other. If you’ve read these books before I’d love to know what you think of them, and if I’ve inspired you to give them a whirl I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Keep reading, everyone!
Celebrating Spooky Month with Mountain Song & Story
Happy October, everyone!! I have been leaping into this spooky season with plenty of awesome projects and events so far. My most recent short story collection, “When These Mountains Talk: Tales of Horror From the Heart of Appalachia” was released on October 1st, and it has gotten great attention so far. In addition to that, I had a huge and awesome experience I wanted to share with you all.
Last night I was a part of a local radio show, originating from Bristol Va’s Birthplace of Country Music Musuem called Mountain Song and Story. The weekly show, hosted by Toni Doman, features and explores different aspects of Appalachian culture by discussing various arts and crafts, cultural elements, and even some phenomena and myths. I had the chance to sit down with Toni and have a candid discussion that covered a range of topics including my work, the importance of Appalachian culture, and some of our amazing Appalachian legends.
To say I was, and am, honored is an understatement. I can’t thank Toni and everyone at Radio Bristol enough for having me on the show and allowing me to talk about my writing on such a cool platform. The episode was an hour long, and it was filled with classic regional music, and genuinely fun content. I think you would all truly enjoy hearing it. Fortunately, the episode now lives in the show’s online archives at https://birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/event/mountain-songs-and-stories-with-toni-doman/2022-10-06/ and can be checked out at any time. My episode is the one that aired on October 6th, if you are interested. I have to once again say thank you to Toni, my friends Wendy and Myrissa for recommending me for the show, and to everyone who helped make it possible. These opportuniites make me feel very connected with the community and help me remember how blessed I am to be able to create my art and use my voice to draw attention to our culture.
In addition to last night’s opportunity, I am ecstatic to announce that I am getting another chance to embrace our local culture this Sunday (October 9th) in my hometown of Tazewell, Va. I have been invited to present and read some of my work to a group of community members at the Tazewell Train Station – which is literally just yards away from where I spent a good number of my formative teen years and essentially grew to be the man I am today. This is a huge honor for me, as I love being able to bring my work back to my hometown and see the old stomping grounds. The event will begin at 2 pm, and I hope to see plenty of familiar and even new faces there. I truly can’t thank God enough that I have the talent and skill I do. I was truly made to write and celebrate the written word and the culture that helps make these mountains what they are, and I am ecstatic to embrace those purposes. If you are able to attend the event this weekend, that would be fantastic. If not, I completely understand, and I welcome you to check out my events page to see when and where you can see me next!
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you’ve got for me, and I look forward to speaking with everyone. Keep reading and being spooky!
Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)
As many of you know, I have an extreme love and respect for the book by Delia Owens. It has been one of my favorite pieces of literature since the day of its release. From paragraph one, the book had my attention and would not let me go. Needless to say, when I heard the official announcement it was getting the silver screen treatment I was beyond nervous. How could anyone do such fantastic, eloquent prose justice? I’m thrilled to say my worries were exceedingly unfounded.
Last night I finally got to watch the film that took the world by storm, and I’m proud to say that from the opening scenes to the last seconds of credit scrawl I was hooked once again. Owens’s world and character were brought to life in such a fantastic and thrilling manner that I was almost ashamed at being concerned. Daisy Edgar Jones breathed such a refreshing breath of life into Kya and her harsh, pain-filled early life that I found my heart reaching out to this character again. With a narration by Jones that allowed some of Owens’s more poignant lines (a phrase that is honestly such a shock it’s not even funny) to live and thrive on the big screen.
The story, if any of you are unfamiliar, is of a small town on coastal North Carolina that is rocked by the death of one of its star young men. Chase Andrews, a regular jock and good ole’ boy, who came from an old money family, is found dead in the marshes. When police consider the possibilty that this may have been a murder, the first suspect they seek is someone the townspeople call “Marsh Girl.” This opens into the sad story of Kya Clark, a sad young woman who was abandoned by her mother, siblings, and finally her abusive father in their family home. We learn of the hardships of Kya’s life, including her relationship with the dead man and the attempted rape that led her to fleeing for her life.
As a native Appalachian who grew up just a few hours from these coastal marshes, I was blown away by the cinematography and the beauty of the film. The marshland is truly a whole other world, and one that offers its own set of power, grace, and beauty. Kya’s story as told through the cinematic lens, under the production power of none other than Reese Witherspoon with close consultation by Owens herself, made my heart break again and again. I laughed, I gasped, I even found tears in my eyes on multiple occasions throughout the 2 hour film, and I would not have it any other way.
Kya’s life in the marsh was by no means easy, but the power of a pure mind and heart is exemplified in her ability to find the true beauty nature has to offer. The marsh raised Kya in its own way, and the world made sure she knew she wasn’t accepted. The strength behind a young woman’s determination is exemplified in this story, and Kya’s connection with nature is one that we can all be jealous of. I know I am. Long story short, I highly recommend this movie, and the book that gave it life, of course. Book first, of course. Once you enjoy both I’d love the hear your thoughts, too. Comment, message, whatever makes your little heart happy. I look forward to hearing from you! As always, read on, happy people.
The Importance of Creativity
Episode 4 of The Modern Prometheus is up, everyone! This week I talked about something near and dear to my heart: the importance of #creativity. I am someone who feels most at home in a #creative environment, celebrating works of the mind, and I know I am not alone. This episode is for everyone, but it will especially ring true to those who also love the arts. Share this with everyone you know!! #podcast #author #art https://anchor.fm/damean-mathews/episodes/The-Importance-of-Creativity-e1mokmb