Born in 1971 in Lily, KY Nearby Leslie County is the basis for fictional Crow County in Clay’s Quilt Published in 2001, CQ is his debut novel Both CQ and Eli the Good are somewhat autobiographical Silas House Blog
2001 Clays Quilt - novel 2003 A Parchment of Leaves - novel 2004 The Coal Tattoo - novel 2005 The Hurting Part - play 2008 The Hurting Part - published play script 2009 Somethings Rising - non-fiction, co-authored with Jason Howard 2009 Long Time Travelling - (forthcoming play) 2009 Eli the Good - novel 2012 This is my Heart for You - play
Music Journalist ActivistWriter • Award • Contributing • Active in the Winning editor to No fight against Author Depression mountaintop • Columnist magazine removal • Contributor • Press kit • Member of to NPR’s “All writer for Public Outcry Things country Considered” music stars
Quilting in Appalachia Music Self-RealizationLoss and Grief & Acceptance PassionLove of Place Domestic and Family Violence Coal Mining Pentecostalism Clairvoyance Drug & Alcohol Addiction The Natural World
The Sizemore Family Tree “Family Tree” Paul & ? Sophie Aunt EasterUncle Gabe Anneth & El Darry Alma Dreama Spurlock Clay Mosely Tristan Maggie
Marguerite & Harold Singleton and son, Cake Marguerite was Anneth’s best friend Cake is Clay’s best friend Lolie (Uncle Gabe’s girlfriend) Glenn Couch (Clay’s step-father) Evangeline (Alma’s sister) Denzel (Alma’s first husband) Geneva & Goody Roe (waitress at The Hilltop Club)
“Snowflakes” “I ain’t never seen it so quiet on this mountain.”US Hwy 52, Southbound on Buffalo Mountain ~ Anneth (7)
Before Slurry Spill AfterWest Increases flooding, contaminates drinking Over 300,000 acres of the most beautifulVirginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky water, cracks foundations of nearby and productive hardwood forests inBlast as much as 600 feet off top of homes, showers towns with dust and noise America have already been turned intomountains from blasting barren grasslands.Dump the rock and debris into mountain Slurry spills destroy property and killstreams – over 1200 miles of streams buried citizens
Elkhorn Coalfield, KY • Clay becomes a miner on the day he turns 18. Coal Miner, Harlan Co. KY • “Clay thought it the most noble profession any man could have.” (14) Scotia Mine, KY • Average annual deaths from underground coal mining –“Mining for Gold” approximately 65 (MSHA)
“Easter had seen spirits and known things since she was a little child” (19). “Ghost in the Tempest” Clair – voy – ance: the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception (Merriam Webster) Often called the sixth sense, second sight, or extra sensory perception (ESP)
“Crazy Quilt with Button Embellishments” “Clay wished that he could piece the story of his mother together in the same way….It would be a story made of scraps, but that was all he had” (40).
All types of music figure prominently in CQ “A major theme in this book is passion. And naturally, music is the ultimate expression of passion.” ~ Silas House “Me and Bobby McGee” “La Campanella”“Hear the Music” “Barbara Allen” “Old Man”
Drug overdose death rates have more than tripled in the US since 1990 (National Vital Statistics System). “I think the readers outside the Appalachian region may be surprised by the “Abuse Healing Quilt” drug use in the novel, because they may think life is safer in rural America.” ~Silas House
Between 3-4 women are killed every day in the US by an intimate partner Women experience 4.8 million intimate partner “The Domestic Violence assaults and rapes annually Quilt” “Alma had gone to him in “Denzel had thought the middle of the night. these cruel words, these Her face was black and put-downs and blue from the blows of her husband’s fists, but she still cusses, would break her. felt at fault” (81). He had been wrong” (178).
“They sat on him, flapping theirbroad, shiny blood wings, theireyes perfectly round andopaque….Then the birds tookoff, one by one, like drops of bloodbeing sucked up into theclouds, up to become a part of the “Redbird Watercolor Quilt”gray, rolling sky of January” (190) Nature motifs include: Mountains Redbirds Wildflowers Snow/Rain/Thunderstorms Ocean
Many of the characters have reasons to grieve. What are some of those reasons? “Clay screamed. He let go of all the screams that had been latched away inside him ever since he was a child, ever since he was a little boy lying facedown in“Signs of Grief, Signs of the snow with his dead Growth” Quilt mother’s scarf wrapped around his hands” (247). “Irish Lament”
“Sometimes, you just have to accept that some things in this life are unbearable, and go on” (255). “Flying Birds” Quilts Each story line reaches some type of resolution. What are those conflict resolutions and how do they occur?