Stephen and Owen King, “Sleeping Beauties” horror, murder and stereotypes in Appalachia

In the coming weeks, I may have a guest blogger here on “Appalachian Chained” discussing their opinion and take away from Stephen King and his son Owen’s new collaboration, “Sleeping Beauties”.

You may ask, what does Stephen and Owen King and their new book “Sleeping Beauties” have to do with Appalachia? Plenty, if what I have seen from some of the excerpts from this novel.

According to the publisher, the book is “set in a future Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison. A disturbing phenomenon occurs (what else could happen in a King novel) when women in the town go to sleep. They become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. When awoken, “the women become feral and spectacularly violent.”

Now let me remind you. I haven’t read the book but a good friend who loves Stephen King and reading, is going through the book now and she has pulled out sections and excerpts from the book that have made me raise an eyebrow, get a little angry and also made my blood boil due to stereotypes as viewed by the New England based writer and his son, with the older King famous for such properties as “Salem’s Lot”, “Christine”, “The Stand” and of course, “It”.

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Turning 52 and still seeking the dream

21761885_10155894288794994_7598315942520132085_nSeptember 26th. 

For some of you fellow history buffs, here’s some dates for you.

On this date, in 1789, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the first Secretary of State of the United States of America.

In 1890, the United States stops minting $1.00 & $3.00 gold coin and the 3 cent piece (maybe because of my great-great grandfather, Brandy Jack and his early counterfeiting, who knows…).

In 1892, the first public appearance of John Philip Sousa’s band and a lot of stuff happened on September 26th during the years prior and during World War II.  There’s way too much to type.

In 1961, Roger Maris hit his 60th home run off Jack Fisher, tying Babe Ruth’s record (Coincidentally, Maris would not hit his 61st home run until October 1, 1961, off fellow Appalachian and Coeburn, VA native, Tracy Stallard ).

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Leaving our mark like the Russell Fork in Appalachia

Breaks Interstate Park

Photo: virginia.org

After spending part of the weekend at the Breaks Interstate Park for the “Tales of the Cumberlands” event,  I came away with an even greater love for my roots in Appalachia.

I got to spend Friday with my wife for nearly the entire day and then on Saturday, I made the return trip to the Breaks by myself but taking a different route than the traditional Wise to Clintwood to Haysi to the Breaks route.  I decided to take the Kentucky route this time.

The Kentucky route is scenic, eye opening, depressing and forces you to be reflective, all in the same journey.

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Finding my direction and charting a new journey in Appalachia

CaptureThis past weekend, I participated in the fourth “Tales of the Cumberlands” event held at Breaks Interstate Park in Dickenson County, VA and on the Kentucky border.

I was asked last year to participate but had to pull out due to other obligations but this year, the event organizer, Stevie Conley asked me to try again and present a informational session on my direct line, great-great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Mullins or better known as “Brandy Jack”, a famed counterfeiter from the late 19th Century from Appalachia.

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Roots in Appalachia

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My Mullins family connection from L-R: Andrew Jackson Mullins, my great-great grandfather, David A.J. Mullins, my great grandfather, James Russell Mullins, my grandfather and Roscoe Mullins, my father.

When I started “Appalachian Chained”, I stepped outside my comfort zone.

I internalized a lot of issues, many of them dealing with Appalachia and life until after encouragement from friends and family, I decided to start putting them down online in the blog.

It hasn’t been easy writing the blog.  I’ve had to carefully choose subjects, sometimes I have ranted, other times, I have tried to combine my love for history, Appalachia and other interests together into the blog.

But this weekend, I’m getting ready to step outside my comfort zone once again, this time to speak on the life and times of my great-great grandfather and his place in Appalachian/Cumberland culture along with such names as “Devil John Wright, Doc Taylor, “The Red Fox of the Cumberlands”, The Melungeons, and much more.

And once again, I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew on these roots in Appalachia.

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Helping is just our way here in Appalachia

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For the last two weeks, the weather has certainly been in the news.  Hurricane Harvey hit coastal Texas and precipitation totals of over 50 inches of rain have inundated Houston and other parts of the Lone Star state.

Now, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the Florida coast and has been recorded by some as the strongest Category Five hurricane on record and could affect our weather in Appalachia.

Despite feeling sometimes as the outcast of the United States, that mountain section of the country filled with “Bible thumpin’, gun totin’, redneck hillbillies” as we are referred to sometimes, has pitched in to help and most if not all without asking for a thing in return.

Just to meet the need.

Crews have left the Mountain Empire from where I live, taking on the responsibility of helping families in Texas devastated by the flooding of Harvey while some have left for Florida in preparation for what Irma might deliver by this weekend.

Despite the reputation and the perceived notion that we are “ignorants” in the mountains, we do have a heart; and a very big one at that. We take the criticism of where we are from, those preconceived notions of Appalachia, our talk and more, and drop what we are doing to go and help someone in need.

It’s just our way.

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