Fiction. Short Stories. Winner of the Tartt First Fiction Award. THE DITCH-WALKING LOVE took shape in the Murphees Valley section of the Cumberland Plateau in central Alabama. Where I live, ridges lift above ravines the creeks and small rivers have cut into being. And if you dig down in a field, the steel of a shovel or posthole digger will hit the chert in the soil, causing the ground to spark. That difficulty of breaking the land can be heard in the people here—we set flint to our words. Speaking this way is at the heart of THIS DITCH-WALKING LOVE.
James Joe Braziel grew up in South Georgia on a small farm where he cut and hauled pulpwood and watermelons in the summers. That life, the people and land there were the first bones of THIS DITCH-WALKING LOVE (Livingston Press, 2021), but it wasn't until he moved out to rural Alabama that the collection (complete at 48,000 words) came to be. He now lives in a cabin he's building by hand with his wife, poet Tina Mozelle Braziel. It is not an easy existence, but a worthwhile one. Days are spent hammering, sawing, cutting firewood, and writing when he's not teaching creative writing at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He is the author of two novels with Bantam-Birmingham, 35 Miles and Snakeskin Road—books about an environmental disaster in the South in the near future. His other work has appeared in journals and newspapers including an article he wrote for the New York Times about the tornadoes that struck Pratt City in 2011.Author City: REMLAP, AL USA