The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Writer’s Guidelines

By Susan M. Thigpen © 2012

Online: 2012

We love to hear your stories. Over the years, one thing we have found is that our readers have the most interesting stories in the world! True life stories never cease to amaze us, and the Blue Ridge Mountains have seen it all. The very best stories we have ever published were true stories about the lives of the people who carved out an existence here, and many of those stories came from people who actually lived them. Many people have asked how to submit a story to The Mountain Laurel, so we thought we would take a little space to explain it.

Don't worry about whether the story is typed or the spelling is correct. Don't worry if you have never written before. If your story is good, that's all that matters. We have published many first stories. Some of the most powerful and wonderful stories we ever received were written by elderly people on lined notebook paper, without margins, paragraph breaks or punctuation. Just write the story as if you were telling it to someone. We have computers to do spell checking, and people to add the occasional comma and put them in story order, if necessary. We do not change the stories. It is important to us that the voice, the "flavor," of the storyteller comes through to the reader.

If you have a good story about any subject, especially if it is an old time story, passed down through your family, or your memories of your parents or grandparents, send it to us. To jog your memory, some good subjects are mountain weddings; a family recipe; holiday stories - July 4th Celebrations, Halloween, Christmas, etc.; stories dealing with pet farm animals; building a new home; quilting; canning and cooking; school stories; ghost stories; coal mining; moonshining; humorous stories, practical jokes (Mountain people have a great sense of humor); work stories; gardening stories - in short, stories that inspire, stories that are tragic, happy or funny. The stories could be about a place (community or small town) instead of a person. Many places in the mountains have interesting stories in their history. There wasn't usually an abundance of money in the mountains, so many times necessity was the mother of invention. Mountain people learned quickly how to "make do," meaning mountain people were wise, inventive and downright ingenious just to survive!

History books record the big things, but the small, day-to-day events that shaped life in the mountains is often neglected and lost.

Upon receipt of your story we will send you an authorization to sign and send back to us, and a certificate for you to keep stating our appreciation for your contribution to preserving the history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You will still own your story. All we ask is a right to include it on The Mountain Laurel website and for possible inclusion in a printed collection in the future.

Send your story to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please include your name, address and telephone number. Please copy and paste your submission directly into your email and attach any pertinent photographs or graphics you wish to have included.