For writers beloved places can captivate, teach, comfort, and occasionally haunt. In this collection contributors reflect on their hometowns, the rivers and roads that marked their lives' journeys, and the maligned neighborhoods they transformed just by living and working in them. Family beach vacations, churches and churchyards, athletic arenas modest and grand, a mountain vista, a quiet pond, a city park, an old-time produce market, Lake Murray, Brookgreen Gardens--these are just a sampling of the nearly three dozen private and public places favored by this diverse group of writers of fiction, memoir, poetry, history, journalism, and more. Photographs, artwork, verse, and even a few recipes accompany the essays, bringing readers further into sharing the writers' experiences.
While State of the Heart is rooted in the landscape of South Carolina, readers from anywhere will relate to its universal themes of growing up and growing old, recognition of past mistakes, returned-to faith, the closeness of family and friends, honoring those who came before, and setting our collective sights on the promise of the future for cherished people and places.
Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina's poet laureate, provides the foreword to this collection, which includes her poem "One River, One Boat."