Written by
Brandi Ballard
December 2011
Written by
Brandi Ballard
December 2011

Pikes Peak (Image by Beverly and Pack)

Yesterday, I returned home from the North Carolina Writers’ NetworkFall Conference. I have to say, I had a better time there than at AWP in Denver a few years ago. The sessions were workshops instead of panels and I walked away with several new poems and ideas for a collection I am going to do on Colorado. With the strong representation of Appalachian writers and the further divisions among them, I started to think about my own region.

This semester I am in a Southern Literature class and we have been discussing what makes a writer Southern. In most cases, transplants don’t seem to count. You have to be born in the South and, preferably, have a Southern family lineage. This is complicated by numerous exceptions and authors that live in one region but write about another. Cormac McCarthy wrote about the West, but he was a Southern writer. What I am trying to figure out is where I fit in.

Since I’ve moved to South Carolina, I find myself being identified more and more as a Coloradan. I’m ok with that. I love Colorado and I hope to be back there after graduate school. My writing is now more rooted in place, and that place is Colorado. Here’s the problem: I am a transplant. That’s right, I was not born in Colorado. My dad was in the Army and we moved to Colorado Springs when I was ten. Prior to that, we lived in Virginia Beach and at least four German cities. So where is my region? I was born in Germany but I don’t speak German and I don’t set my stories there. I’m curious what other people think about this because I am really struggling with it. I don’t think it is merely enough to claim a region for your own. Do you just need the combination of writing about region and have live there at some point?

On a side note, here is an article on using Coloradan vs. Coloradoan.

Reposted from the Writerly Habit

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