Nicole Yurcaba

The Great Appalachian-American Novel

When writing the Great Appalachian-American novel—

   the heroes should be romantically tragic:
wanted-by-the-law moonshiners, poor dirt farmers, displaced Cherokee
the at-one-with-nature mountain man.

   Their eyes, faces, hands and fingers must be tragically
replicative of the rough mountain landscape in which they dwell.

   Moonshine should be consumed; tobacco chewed and the acrid juice swallowed.

   If the hero is an Appalachian woman, she is beautiful. Possibly a half-breed, the result of simple mathematics: one-half displaced Cherokee mother plus one-half at-one-with-nature mountain man father. She must be uneducated and poor and in love with a rich city man.

   Her at-one-with-nature father must threaten the city man with his ancient, generation-to-generation passed down Civil War era Enfield rifle.

   The rich city man must be so filthy stinkin’ rich that he can provide the half-breed Appalachian woman the things her mountain culture could not:

fancy Gothic-designed mansions, high-dollar foreign cars, schooling at the finest business schools, and refining at top-notch salons.

There must be one murder, one illegitimate child, one skeleton-in-the-closet secret—all threatening to be revealed and destroy the rich city man’s prosperity.

If the rich city man loves the Appalachian half-breed woman

   then the rich city man may become Appalachian by proximity, yet remain unaccepted by the half-breed Appalachian woman's kinfolk because she married a “ferner,” who eventually buys out the poor old dirt farmer and

leads his friend, the Revenue Man, to the wanted-by-the-law moonshiner.

Sometimes complications arise—the county politicians don't take too kindly to city folk meddlin’ in affairs they ought not to be meddlin...

…unless, of course, the county politicians get their fair share of the cut.

In rare instances, everyone seems like a tragic Appalachian, struggling against Big City’s corruption and encroachment and embezzlement, struggling to flee from uncontrolled industry, overbearing technology and Big Government.

   In the Great Appalachian-American novel, after it is finally written, all of the rich city people will be Appalachians, after they have bought up all the finest mountains and farmland, and built their high-dollar mansions. And all of the true Appalachian-Americans will be the mist rising from the great Smoky Mountain’s peaks.

Nicole Yurcaba hails from a long line of coal miners, Ukrainian immigrants and West Virginian mountain folk. She is an adjunct instructor of English and Developmental Reading, substitute teacher and farm hand hailing from West Virginia currently pursuing her Master of Humanities in English at Tiffin University. Her work has appeared in print and online journals such as VoxPoetica, Referential Magazine, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, Decompression, Hobo Camp Review, The Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocaine, Floyd County Moonshine, and many others. In life, she enjoys taking the unbeaten path, and usually exits the scene pursued by bear.

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