Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bob Dylan, the Hillbilly

In an interview with Rolling Stone, John Mellencamp comments on directing Bob Dylan's video for "Political World."

"Bob said one thing over and over: 'Don't make me look stupid.' I said, 'We're in videos, we all look stupid. Who has a video where they don't look stupid? .... We get along well. He's a hillbilly. I laugh so hard when I'm with Bob. I call him 'Bob-aloo.' Bob does things his way, and so do I, and sometimes we pay an awful high price."

The term "Hillbilly" must be evolving in its usage. Mellancamp, born in Indiana, might not have seen many hills growing up, but Dylan was born in Minnesota, the same heartland region I would say as Mellencamp. Having left the hills of Appalachia or the Ozarks, the term Hillbilly has found new life. Clearly used in an affectionate manner, perhaps Mellencamp's use of "Hillbilly" is a generational thing, like calling Dylan "old fashioned" or an "old fart," or someone who's backwards or set in his ways. I think if I called my dad a Hillbilly, however, he'd wallop me with a Chardonay bottle!

from Rolling Stone September 2, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Makes It Taste Better -- Now Available!

For years I've been wanting to publish my own book of poetry, hoping that I would someday win a contest and get my foot in the door. I mean, how else do you do it? Having poems published in poetry and writing journals, I knew that someone out there thought my work was good. Many times over the years my writer friends and fellow SAWC members have nurtured and supported my work. This summer I said to myself, "What am I waiting for?"

I discovered a website that brings print-on-demand to the desktop -- Lulu.com. I have heard pros and cons about the website, but when I started looking around Lulu, I realized how simple it could be. As the chef in Ratatouille said "Anybody can cook," I'm here to say "Anybody can publish."

Maybe I'm destroying the mistique of publishing, that if anyone can do it, then there must be quite a bit of amateurish stuff out there. Maybe so, but it isn't easy either, let me say. There are many steps to the process, and a lot of trial and error, but it is feasable.
So, without further ado, I present my first poetry book collection What Makes It Taste Better. Some of my friends who have helped me in encouragements have been gracious enough to provide back-cover reviews:

"In David Wayne Hampton’s first collection of poems the world is always at summer, with somewhere nearby “the ploink, plunk, brunk of the water/ the high hat, pat-a-slap tap/ of silver.” He gives us the kind of food we want on a green summer day- from doughnuts to ham hocks to Cheerwine, to Moonpies- and good family stories to listen to while we munch. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing these poems as light, however: “it’s not the eureka moment/ but the long, slow continuing” through these poems of place that makes the reading of them as satisfying as an afternoon swim at summer camp. Hampton’s southern Appalachian world is light-filled, but within light dwells the possibility of all colors, including the darkest ones. “Don’t call us backward” one poem admonishes, “we walk in the same direction as you/ just not in such a hurry.” Don’t hurry through Hampton’s collection; you’ll be glad you lingered awhile.”
-Dana Wildsmith, Author of Back to Abnormal

"Clever parodying, curious and playful lines make WHAT MAKES IT TASTE BETTER verge on the educational and insightful, yet with humor, not pedanticism. Here I found out that the mullet haircut was once called the 'Carolina Waterfall' and that blackbirds and boogers have more than a little in common. The poems’ humor saves them, in that tongue-in-cheek way that disarms any resistance to their charms. David Hampton’s clever word-play with classical and modern themes reminds me of the work of the legendary Louise McNeill. This book made me laugh and cringe, sometimes in the same instant."
– Ron Houchin, author of Museum Crows

"In this wryly observant first collection, David Hampton gives us an insider's view of life in these post-millennium Appalachians. What makes it taste better? Humor which manages to be all at once ironic and compassionate. A sense of history, and of one's own place in it. Precision of language and the joy of its tang on your tongue."
-- Pauletta Hansel, author of Divining and First Person

Thank you to all who supported me in this endeavor! And thank you to all who take a chance in purchasing a copy! I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Trip to the Farmer's Market

I was trying to find the Thomas Wolfe House yesterday in Asheville on a family outing (my internal "man map" was off) when I turned off the exit for the WNC Farmer's Market. I decided to stop there instead, and I was glad I did.

This is the time of year in the early fall that farmer's markets get one last resurgence of business before the winter lull. I like the concept of farmer's markets. Why buy produce that shipped from California or by boat from another country when you can get fresher seasonal fruits and vegetables while at the same time supporting your community of local farmers? For many people, and some restaurants, farmers markets are a vital outlet for buying and eating local produce and other wares year round. For me, it had been a while.

Being near Hendersonville, NC, I immediately remembered that the apples were in season. The kids were hungry for a snack, so my daughter and I grabbed a peck bag and started browsing the different varieties. There were several I remembered from years ago when I used to work at a summer camp in Hendersonville during the summer and fall seasons, like Honey Crisp and Winesaps, but there were several varieties that I had never come across before.

For example, if you like Golden Delicious apples, try finding Ginger Golds. Smaller, but much sweeter with a thinner skin. There was another odd-looking apple that I had to try -- Sheepnoses. They had the skin texture of an old-timey pear my grandmother used to grow near her house, with an elongated shape. The flesh was a little dry, but sweet and, I swear, almost tasted like a pear. My kids went crazy over the Ginger Golds, especially my son who normally can't chew the peelings.

There was also a small bakery there that had a really good fried apple pie. Of course, there were pumpkins and gourds galore as well, some so big I thought my kids could have used them for canoes. All in all, it was a fortunate mistake to stop there, and for folks who have never been or not been in a while it is well worth a visit. I bought a whole bag of summer squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and okra for $4. Can't beat that with a stick.