Storytellers

"Storytellers" is a series of personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Colleen Massey / Aurora Theatre

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

JR P (cropped) / flickr.com/ugardener

Author Flannery O'Connor's birthday's was Friday, March 25. The famed Southern writer passed away in 1964 at the age of 39, leaving behind collections of short stories and novels like 1960's "The Violent Bear It Away." O'Connor also left behind a long literary shadow in which Southern writers continue to find inspiration.

Courtesy of Jyll Thomas

The things passed on from generation to generation aren't always precious heirlooms. Sometimes they're quirks of personality or addiction or, in the case of Atlanta writer Jyll Thomas' story, a slightly tacky sweater.

In Thomas' "The Christmas Sweater," a troubled young woman looks back on the perspective she gained by sharing her struggles with her beloved grandmother.

Ansel Adams

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

F. H. Townsend / Wikimedia Commons

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Rachel (cropped) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode / flickr.com/photos/rachelpasch/

Childhood summers can be picturesque: the sunny days, the parks, the lemonade. Atlanta writer Alayna Huft-Tucker writes in her short story "The Summer of Bubbles" about the other side of those days, as a mother.

She shares it in the "City Lights" studio for the "Storytellers" series.

Regina Bradley is a recipient of the Nasir Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard University (Spring 2016) and an incoming Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University.
Celest Ngeve

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Regina Bradley is a recipient of the Nasir Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard University (Spring 2016) and an incoming Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University.
Celest Ngeve

Issues of race can pop up at completely unexpected times -- for instance, while you're sitting at your grandmother’s old upright piano.

Dr. Regina Bradley is a recipient of the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship at Harvard University and recently wrote for the Washington Post on the intersection of Beyoncé’s new music video and the work of Zora Neale Hurston.

In this edition of "Storytellers," Bradley recounts an unexpected revelation about her race, her Southern upbringing and her piano playing.

Her story is called “Tickling Dixie.”

GoToVan / flickr.com/gotovan

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Isadora Pennington

Content warning: This story contains some adult language.

How does one make friends? Anyone who has moved to a new town or just finds themselves socially bereft knows it can be difficult to connect with complete strangers.

That is at the center of Alayna Huft-Tucker's story "Walk Right Up." It’s a part of the ongoing series "Storytellers," which collects first-person narratives from writers around Atlanta.

People walk across the Clark Atlanta university campus in Atlanta.
W.A. Harewood / AP Photo, File

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Charles McNair
Courtesy of charlesmcnairauthor.com

 

Charles McNair is an Atlanta-based author whose 1994 novel, “Land O’Goshen,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

His penchant for storytelling took a most creative turn when he recounted an incident on his 1979 honeymoon that had him playing for an Italian baseball team.

In this installment of "Storytellers" for “City Lights,” McNair unfolds the tale of his time with the Verona Arsenal club – his “baseball band of brothers” who played the game with “amore.”

A Gentleman of Verona

Apr 8, 2015

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Charles McNair is a fiction and Atlanta business writer as well as a contributor for Paste Magazine.

His second novel, "Pickett's Charge," launched at the 2013 Decatur Book Festival. 

Photo courtesy Rachel Trignano

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Rachel Trignano is an Atlanta-based writer. Her work has appeared in Loose Change Magazine and in Chorus—a poetry anthology edited by Saul Williams.

Hit Those Chickens

Jan 22, 2015

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” – short stories, essays, and poems from metro Atlantans.

In this installment, we have a story of love. Sometimes, romantic dreams serve us well. But sometimes, we need to leave them behind in order to move on with life. Storyteller Shannon Turner picks it up from there.

In 2013, Buffalo Mountain United Methodist Camp -- the camp that Shannon Turner describes in her story -- was nearly devastated by a flash flood.

Courtesy of Jack Walsh.

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Picture a shopping mall around the holidays. Christmas music plays from every speaker, decorations fill the window displays and crowds of holiday shoppers rush in and out of stores.

When Jack Walsh looked at this scene as a young teenager, he saw something more than holiday consumerism. For him, the suburban mallscape was a setting for a sci-fi adventure. 

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Laura Relyea is Editor and Vicereine at Vouched Books, which reviews and distributes small press publications.

Before doing that, though, Relyea toured the country as a member of a folk band. As with many independent musicians, they relied on audience members for a guest room, a couch, or a floor to sleep on.

Storyteller, Chris Alonzo
Chris Alonzo

This is an installment of our “Storytellers” series–personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Chris Alonzo is a storyteller, playwright and musician. When Chris’s family spoke about his late Grandfather Patricio, the stories were always bad. To his horror, as he got older, Chris’s relatives revealed that he was just like Patricio. In this story he talks about dealing with what he’s inherited

The Golden Ride

Oct 29, 2013

When Jonah McDonald announced that he was going to walk from Maine to Atlanta, his parents scratched their heads. “But think of the stories I’ll have to tell!” Jonah said. 

He proceeded to hike all 2,100-plus miles of the Appalachian Trail, and hasn’t stopped moving since.

For this installment of our Storytellers series, we invited Jonah McDonald in to tell a story about his hike that he calls "The Golden Ride."

How Buckhead Got Its Name

Oct 28, 2013
Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, wearing his buck's head lapel pin.
Sam Massell

Sam Massell was born on August 26, 1927 in Atlanta, but he likes to point out that he has only lived in Buckhead for 61 years.

One thing most people notice about him right away is that he wears a prominently displayed lapel pin, in the shape of a buck’s head.

For this installment of our Storytellers series, we invited Sam Massell in to tell a story that he knows well, in relation to that lapel pin.

How did the town of Buckhead get its name?

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Morels

Mar 13, 2012

Here's the first installment of a new occasional series, “Storytellers," This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” – short stories, essays, and poems from metro Atlantans. 

Randy Osborne co-runs Carapace, a monthly gathering live storytelling without notes in Midtown Atlanta. We asked him to share a story about springtime, and he told us this quiet, thoughtfully-paced tale of surprising connections with family and strangers—and the bonds that exist beneath the surface.