Hardy Rhodes is a published author whose works have appeared
in magazines, newspapers, and literary anthologies, including
Simon & Schuster's Chocolate for a Woman's Soul II.
is founder and editor of the e-zine Muscadine
Lines: A Southern Journal, a Place for Emerging
and Established Writers to Publish Their Works. In its first
year MLASJ published the works of 70 writers in 20
states, including all the states of the Deep South.
is editor of Muscadine
Lines: A Southern Anthology, a collection of 28 stories
and 28 poems by 28 writers, veterans of the online journal
of the same name.
Butterbeans: Stories from the heart of a Southern woman,
a collection of 50 short personal essays, is her first book.
started writing CREATIVE NONFICTION before I knew what it
was," Rhodes says. "Now I go about my life doing
what one of my favorite authors [Annie Dillard] suggests--I
'watch and stalk.' I find plenty of fodder in family and friends,
in my own backyard, and in the beautiful rolling hills of
Williamson County, Tennessee."
offers Proofreading and Editorial Services for writers. She
also teaches workshop sessions on creative nonfiction.
is a member of the Tennessee Writers Alliance and an executive
member of the Williamson County Council for the Written Word,
an organization dedicated to encouraging, educating, and empowering
writers, through which she co-ordinates an annual workshop.
and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Rhodes, a former teacher,
earned a degree in English from Delta State University, pursued
graduate studies at the University of Memphis, and currently
resides in Franklin, Tennessee.
Hardy Rhodes Web Site
Frequently Asked Questions
genre of Pink Butterbeans is creative nonfiction. It's
a collection of fifty personal essays. Each one is a snapshot,
a captured moment in time, some humorous, some tugging-at-the-heartstrings.
Some stories are nostalgic, some are thought-provoking, and
others simply describe a brief inspiring moment, like a sunrise
on a spring morning. The stories share observations and reminiscences
about family, place, and southern life.
Butterbeans is a great bedside book or a wonderful gift
book, targeted particularly to women, with essays like "Wite
Out,"describing how my husband digitally removed my wrinkles;
"Skinned," relating how I used a facial mask and
got some time alone; and "Tracks in the Dough,"
reminiscing about my toddler driving his Matchbox cars through
my cookie dough. But the book also contains essays appreciated
by both genders, such as "Soldiers, All," weaving
together the stories of a dead goldfish, the Vietnam Wall,
and an aging parent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from
World War II. Or "Molly" and "Where the Autumn
Fern Grows" which chronicle the illness and death of
the family dog.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE TITLE?
picked a catchy two-word title that presents an image symbolic
of the book's content. Butterbeans are picked warm from the
vine of a southern garden. The bean pods represent the vessel,
the author. The heart-shaped beans inside represent the voice
and are tinted pink, showing a different or unique, sometimes
softer, way of looking at things.
butterbeans? The logo is artful, colorful, and dramatic, appropriate
for creative nonfiction.
WHY ARE YOU THE ONE TO WRITE
of all, I am Deep South steeped, born and raised in the Mississippi
Delta, "the most southern place on earth," according
to a book of that title by James C. Cobb, who, by the way,
was wearing a PINK bowtie
when I met him at the 2005 Southern Festival of Books. I've
been soaked in the southern traditions of family, kinship
to the land, religion, and southern pride. Secondly, I love
writing about these things. I feel called and compelled to
write creative nonfiction, to share my glimpses of southern
life. As editor of the e-zine, Muscadine Lines: A Southern
Journal, I write a weekly essay for a wide audience. I
attend Open Mic readings, including having participated in
the two annual Read-Around-Tennessee events, and share my
personal works. In addition, I teach workshop sessions on
creative nonfiction and enjoy sharing my passion for the genre.
WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS COLLECTION
OF PERSONAL ESSAYS?
remember. And to allow others to call forth their own similar
memories, to identify with my experiences, to see life as
it is interpreted through my rose-colored glasses, and then
to frame the truths in their own life events. Many times in
life's "busyness," we move too quickly by those
humorous, heart-stopping, or warm fuzzy moments, without stopping
to notice and stamp the memories in our minds.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE PINK BUTTERBEANS
ON THE COVER?
I couldn't find any at grocery stores or produce stands, I
let it be known that I was looking for a home garden with
butterbeans in it for a photography project. A local Williamson
County, Tennessee, woman, Charlene Ring, said she had some
"just coming in. I would be happy for some of them to
star in your project." So I picked butterbeans on a Century
Farm. A century farm is one that has been in a family continuously
for one hundred years or more. Charlene's farm is 205 years
old and covers eight generations.
garden, down a shaded gravel drive from the old two-story
farmhouse, was set against a backdrop of tall, tasselling
cornstalks. There was an arbor with snap beans growing all
around it. Squash, melons, tomatoes, peppers. Lemon and cinnamon
basil. Zinnias grew in with the vegetables and herbs. And
butterbeans coming to their own, so thick they filled the
centers between the rows. I picked a few and dropped them
into a Kroger bag and delivered them to my photographer.
shiny pink ones? Well, that's a secret, and only my publisher
knows for sure!
WHAT IS CREATIVE NONFICTION?
nonfiction is writing that draws from actual events and lives
and employs artistic vision and literary techniques, such
as scene, character, dialogue, description, foreshadowing,
etc., that are usually associated with fiction or poetry,
to send readers on a journey of discovery of the human condition
and the world around them.
is true, artful, and personal. It's storytelling at its best.
"Tear yourself inside out. Unearth, dramatize, relive
bad memories, frightening and life-shaping experiences. Tell
humorous anecdotes about growing up on a farm or in the inner
city," says Lee Gutkind, the godfather of the genre.
of us who write creative nonfiction--personal essays--are
demonstrating our ability for observance and openheartedness.
When we write about biscuits and blackberry jelly, a son's
wedding hankie, Mama's tapioca pudding, an old country barn,
eating a tomato sandwich, and Grandpa's watermelon patch,
for example, we are struggling to stay in touch with life's
meaning in today's world. If we can write so that others feel
that, too, and experience what we did when we put our thoughts
together in self-reflection, we've gone beyond personal experience.
We've recorded what it is to be human, and we've called this
up in others, as well.
WHAT BOOK IS SIMILAR TO PINK
a book entitled Due South: Dispatches from Down Home
by R. Scott Brunner, an occasional commentator on Public Radio
in Mississippi and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
His book is made up of essays: "simple, warm and part
of an overall pattern; a patchwork quilt of life in the South"
as he has lived it.