Discovering the Narrator April 1, 2010Posted by jayocallahan in Jonesborough.
I think I’ve discovered a narrator for the Jonesborough story. He’s relaxed, loves Jonesborough and his ease delights me. It’s clear he’s spent his life in Jonesborough and acts as a tour guide who we can trust and enjoy. One of the nice things about the narrator is he’s not bound by time. He’s clear at the beginning that it’s the late 1950s then in moments he takes us to the early 1970s.
The narrator tells us about these beautiful old brick buildings that he loves and he says that the bricks were made by both black and white hands and that the craftsmen were so able that the buildings are still standing. He also tells us that the Nolachucky River is only six miles away and that everyone in his audience has the Nolachucky River inside them. Way beyond are the Appalachian Mountains.
It’s been very helpful to email Jim Rhein and Janet Browning whenever I have questions about the river or the Main Street or the barbershop or the beauty parlor. And it’s also been very helpful to work here at home with storytelling colleagues. It’s with them I’ve tried out the narrator. In any story there are certain moments that stand out. The discovery of the narrator is one of those moments.
I hope April 22 to tell some snippets of the Jonesborough story. It’ll be a chance for the narrator to leave my living room and enter into the bigger world. The threads that are appearing as I work on the story are: time, the ability to listen deeply, the beauty of East Main Street, the possible death of downtown Jonesborough and the strength of some of the ordinary folks there. In the early scenes we’ll meet Pearl and Jim Jackson. Pearl Jackson was famous for her cream pies at Rush’s Restaurant. Jim Jackson, her husband, was a farmer who grew up in extraordinary poverty, but he had the strength of character to make a fine life for himself. If there’s time we’ll also meet Eva Taylor and Curtis Buchanan.
I feel that the Nolachucky River is flowing through me and the story has begun.