This work features stories that teach us to tell time. Coming from a family that some would call addicted to storytelling, Sally Russell began listening nearly twenty years ago especially for stories that bring the past into the present. The subjects range from love, sex, and death to less weighty considerations such as journeys, building fires, cooking, and a variety of family matters. Beginning with her own family's account of what happened to them during the American Civil War and how those stories directly affected her life 125 years later, Russell shares the discovery of time-traveling through a range of tales that are humorous, historical, haphazard, heart-warming, and heartbreaking, often within the same story. For Russell, all stories, however personal or cultural, represent shared human history and form an intricate, original, and sheltering tapestry that belongs to all and represents a curious security in our future-shock world. Through beloved old stories and through new ones forming, threads of regret, sorrow, joy, wonder, courage, wisdom, beauty, and some other thing that isn't any of these things - perhaps the greatest mystery - are woven into a fabric that entertains, educates, and delights with scenes of days gone by, portraits of worthwhile people, and events that shaped our characters. Story-telling is an important vehicle by which we bond with each other in multiple dimensions and generations. The stories she shares show how story-telling gives us a latitude of home, to use an old nautical term, i.e., a reference point on our map of being that shows us where we came from. In a figurative sense, latitude of home is that place/time from which we start. Our stories, our family myths, give us the knowledge of our place in Time. Russell invites readers to consider their own repertoires of stories, what they can learn about and from their own family myth, and how they can share that myth to inform, delight and strengthen.
SALLY RUSSELL taught English, French, and writing at Gainesville State College. She is the author of A Heart for Any Fate: The Biography of Richard B. Russell, Sr.(2004,Mercer), Shatter Me with Dawn: A Celebration of Country Life (2001, UGA Press), and the editor of Roots and Ever Green: The Selected Letters of Ina Dillard Russell. (1999, UGA Press)