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The State of Things
Fri September 27, 2013
Raleigh Authors Give 27 Views Of The Capital City
Host Frank Stasio talked with four of them during the State of Things today.
Writer Scott Huler and his wife June Spence both have contributions in the volume. Huler has lived here a long time but isn’t native, while Spence and her family have called the city home for generations. Both of them wax nostalgic about the city they love, though June revealed the dangerous side that boredom brought for children like her father in the following excerpt she read from her contribution, "Intersections."
"My father roamed Five Points throughout the Forties and Fifties with his older brother and a group of boys who called themselves the Northside Gang, when it was still Raleigh's north side. Boys as young as five and six tagged along with the older boys to throw rocks, smoke cigarettes, explore the storm-water tunnels, and smash the bottles of grape pop that remained in heaps by an abandoned plant, after first prying off the caps and drinking the contents."
Huler reminisced on the community that he has found so comforting in his decades in Raleigh.
“Whether it’s the book stores or the radio station your listening to... Raleigh is, thrillingly to me, a very local city,” Huler said.
Huler’s essay follows one of his favorite local bands: The Backsliders.
Shelia Smith McCoy, director of the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University, told a story that captured some of the racial undertones of the city in her contribution to the book. She talks about a local radio station, WLLE, that played jazz and blues, but only at night.
“You have to think that when WLLE was in its heyday, it was during the civil rights movement,” she said.
She goes on in her short story to say that the FCC and city leaders shut the station down during the day "for the common good," but at night, all citizens of Raleigh "black, white, and indiscriminate" joined together on the radio waves to listen to the music.
John Kessel, an English professor at NC State, excerpted from his apocalyptic novel set in Raleigh.
"It's a science fiction piece, so it's a little bit different in the sense that in science fiction you create things that aren't there," Kessel said. "Science fiction is also about change... if I'm going to have something that hasn't happened...I'll put it in a context that is familiar."
Contributors to the book will be appearing at area book stores throughout the month. Go here for more information.
Audio for this segment will be up by 3 p.m.
State of Things