Blackwater: A Collection of Stories

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Title: Blackwater: A Collection of Stories
Author: Roughton, Dean Morris
Advisors: Angela Davis-Gardner, Chair
William Henderson, Member
Harry West, Member
Abstract: The stories in this collection all either take place in or deal with characters from Blackwater, a fictional town in eastern North Carolina. Blackwater is not meant to represent any real town, but is more an amalgamation of the small towns that exist in the region. Eastern North Carolina serves as a point of convergence for various waters, salt and fresh, alkaline and acidic. The term blackwater refers to a specific kind of water often found in the slow moving rivers of the region and named for its dark color which is, as described on a plaque at the entrance of a river boardwalk/nature trail in an eastern NC town, "the result of a continuous process by which bacteria and fungi in the wetland soil break down plant material." The visitor will often comment upon perceiving a foul odor rising from this highly acidic water, a byproduct of the dense nutrients in suspension. Despite the displeasing smell, these waters are home to an abundance of wildlife, fish and aquatic animals, which would not thrive so readily in different waters but which do manage to survive and even do reasonably well at the points of converging waters where a mixture of elements is achieved.I find blackwater an apt metaphor for the culture in the region and, so, have named my fictional town accordingly. Life in eastern North Carolina, comparatively speaking, is often slower on the surface than in more metropolitan areas. However, there is a rich undercurrent of events, which often are avoided in conversation.The stories in this collection, for the most part, are not given to monumental action, but instead focus on what lies beneath the surface. In addition, several of the stories investigate the way characters develop from or respond to a convergence of waters. It is my purpose in writing these stories neither to condemn nor uphold life as it exists in Blackwater; nor is it my purpose to condemn or uphold life as it exists in the waters that converge. I write in the hope that the reader will recognize that, though the breadth of towns like Blackwater is less than that of other areas, the depth is not lacking.
Date: 2000-04-07
Degree: MA
Discipline: English

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