Everything But the Truth, The Story of Our Scandalous Grandmother by Steve Peek
his is Part 1 of a 4 part novel about a woman born in the backwoods in1900. In those days, women couldn’t vote, drink in public, or speak their minds outside of their homes. Most women anyway, but one thing for sure, Margaret Rose Nolan, wasn’t most women. Born into north Appalachian’s piedmont, she knew what she wanted, and it wasn’t to live in the backwoods of Alabama surrounded by poverty and ignorance. She didn’t care what women were supposed to do or what others thought of her; she followed a single-minded purpose — create opportunities for the things she desired. If getting what she wanted required manipulating men, then that was too bad for them. It wasn’t her fault men liked her, but she used it and used it well. In those days, women called her a Jezebel. She called them ignorant. She moved from moonshine to champagne, from rowboats to cruise ships, from foolish foothill suitors to society’s elite, usually at the expense of others, even her own children.
Pat Conroy, my first cousin, and I spent time in our grandmother’s ‘big house’ in Atlanta. Pat and I traveled together to Piedmont, Alabama, to research our family history. I spent many summers visiting with the people who knew Margaret when she was young. Much later in life, our ailing grandmother came to live with my wife and me for more than a year. She regaled us with tales of her life. This book is a fictionalized account of her life. She lived the life as told, but just like her, the story has to have some lies and exaggerations, or it wouldn’t be our grandmother.
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Writes every day, otherwise dark angels torture him. Sometimes all the clicking of keys comes together. He loves drinking coffee while he reads so he has to go to the bathroom a lot. He doesn’t kid himself about writing a great American novel. Novels lost their full potency with the widespread adoption of television. So, he hides in his room and types, hoping the sound of the keys keep the demons out.