Pungo Creek

Pungo Creek. a Novel by Brenda MantzPungo Creek was inspired by a childhood in rural North Carolina where I grew up in a house shared by three generations.

Unlike most of my other work, Pungo Creek did not begin with a dream but rather with a writing prompt from a much loved and dearly missed teacher – Judi Beach: “Begin with I am the daughter who and write the longest sentence you can.”

I’m the daughter who was born first, talked first and left first before the poverty that stuck to the rest of them could seep into my skin, below my fingernails and trap me permanently in that circle of snuff dipping, onion peeling, bible reading, egg collecting, tobacco tying, crab picking, whiskey drinking, hard fighting, varicose veined women that were my aunts and cousins and grandmamas back to the time when the first Foreman woman squeezed out the first squalling baby girl onto the muddy banks of Pungo Creek and the first Foreman husband said “Okay, woman, now that’s done, get up and fix my dinner and while you are at it check on that stove” and she got up an put her squalling baby in the bottom drawer of the dresser she had lined with quilting pieces and flour sacks and let her howl while she put the fat back in the cast iron spider and put it on the stove that was going just fine and put her hands on her hips that were holding up the stained blue checked apron and wondered to herself how in the hell she had ended up a wife and mother at 15 years old and how in the hell she was going to stand living with that man until death released her and they put her in the dirt behind Sidney Cross Roads Free Will Baptist Church.

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