Guest contributor: Matt Jones and Jessica Masterton

Southern Fried Scribes: Success

categories: Cocktail Hour

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Walking around town with some of the kids from the program


Our first two weeks of Southern Fried Scribes have come to a close. We’re a quarter of the way through and we can honestly say that we haven’t made a single mistake. Sure, there have been a few hitches, a couple of hiccups, maybe one literal squeak of a fart that slipped by in the early morning.  There have been hordes of little flies that buzz around the classroom before setting down in someone’s hair to poop and throwup in the most microscopic of manners. There has been a hornet or two that fancies our lessons on Southern Mysticism. I even managed to break our HDMI cord on the day that I had been hyping up as “Movie Day.” Still, even with our glitches and hitches and hiccups, we have experienced some truly wonderful things.

We’ve created character profiles and fantastical beasts of Hale County. We’ve discussed the potential inhabitants of North Sentinel Island, and the majority of the kids hypothesized that there would surely be at least one Asian family, one grandma, and a weave factory on its shores.

We’ve walked the town and taken in the sights and sounds of abandoned fabric stores, metal warehouses, and opera houses. We’ve smelled the ivy coiling over the vacant countertops. We’ve heard the bits of orphaned glass crunch under the soles of our shoes and we, the kids really, have imagined that these now empty buildings used to house everything from the worst inmates across the state to pet shops for blue bunnies and humanoid wolves.

So, our first two weeks have been quite an experience. And for the third week, we’ve got an Alabama professor coming down with us to spend four days teaching the kids about the nuances of spoken word and narrative.

So, we are excited. We’re amped. We’re pumped. We’re spending close to all of our free time lesson planning and calling in favors and we wouldn’t have it any other way. And if we’ve learned anything in these first two weeks–beyond the fact that Hale County is home to lawn gnomes that come alive at night and UFOs named Joe that once were in the ring with Joe Frazier—it has been that we are working with some truly excellent kids. Despite all of our hitches and hiccups as teachers, we have learned that kids still find farts funny, taking a few minutes to swat flies is a great way to get active, and chasing around hornets mid-lesson sure gets the creativity flowing.


Matt Jones is a Truman Capote Fellow and a fiction candidate in the University of Alabama MFA program. He is originally from Houston, TX and now lives in Tuscaloosa with his dog, Bagheera.  Jessica Masterton is a Truman Capote Fellow and a fiction candidate in the University of Alabama MFA program. She is most recently from Minnesota, and while she does not own a dog, she is often covered in dog hair.  And now Matt’s: After the success of their Kickstarter campaign to fund Southern Fried Scribes, Matt shaved his head as promised.]




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