hello i read a thing and i liked it

“Well, to sum all this up and get to my topic, which is how Appalachian I am, I would say this: I reckon I’m more Appalachian than some, and less Appalachian than others. I’d say I’m Appalachian enough. I’d say I was raised, by both my mother and my father, to make my own sense of the world. And I was raised to make meaning by telling stories and listening to stories. I was taught that meaning is complex and shifting and difficult to state, and the more stories one adds to one’s thinking the harder it gets to make meaning, and that is good, and a good thing to keep in mind when one sees something new—that one won’t be able to make any sense of a thing until one hears not one but many stories about it. And I was raised to know that one good thing about stories is that one person might make one meaning out of a story and another person might take a different meaning from it. And I was raised to believe this ability to make our own meaning out of the world is what freedom is, and what joy is, and meaning making is a right we all have. I was raised that we all are obliged to work to make sure everyone has the right and the opportunity to tell their own story and hear everyone else’s—the easy story to hear and the difficult, the happy and the sad, the comic and the tragic. And we are all obliged to work to make sure each of us has the right to hear and tell all the stories and each make our own meaning out of them and the world, and if we don’t work toward that end, we are cheating our neighbor, and we are cheating ourselves of the joy of living, and should be ashamed of ourselves and should be forced to take long car rides in cars with no radio for all of eternity with people who grew up in places where they didn’t learn how to tell stories.”

-rob gipe

from Appalachian Reckoning edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll
West Virginia University Press


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