Editor’s Note: Take a Little Trip

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A new literary tourism book allows you to explore Alabama through others’ eyes and could launch plans for your next road adventure.

If you’re putting together a summer reading list, we have the perfect book to add to your selections. “Literary Destinations: Touring Alabama,” to be published this summer by Negative Capability Press, features fiction, nonfiction and poetry set in real places across the state.
The book will feature numerous short stories, three of which are set in the Lookout Mountain region and were originally published in Lookout Alabama as finalists in a contest we held in conjunction with the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative. Four poems refer to locations in northeast Alabama.

Each piece in the book will include a photo, map and information about things to do in the featured place.

“We’re really looking forward to presenting Alabama tourism in fiction, nonfiction and poetry in a form that will be both a source of pleasure and a travel guide,” says Sue Brannan Walker, publisher and editorin-chief of Negative Capability Press and a former poet laureate of Alabama.

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Short stories set in the Lookout Mountain region that will be included in ‘Literary Destinations: Touring Alabama’ and originally appeared in Lookout Alabama include: ‘The Totem’ by Natalie Cone; ‘Mountain Memories’ by Dedra Tuten and ‘Canyon Casanova’ by Neil Wooten.

Walker says people from Huntsville to Monroeville to the Delta region are planning to carry the book in their stores and hold readings and launch parties. “I’m really thrilled over the interest in it,” she says. “I’m not sure tourism in Alabama has had the recognition it deserves.”

Brannan also hopes the book will be used in schools, as part of social studies or Alabama history classes. “I really think we should emphasize place in Alabama,” she says. “We have such a rich history of place. I really think they [students] could get a lot from it.”

Readers of all ages are likely to learn about intriguing places they never knew existed or that they knew little about. This could serve as inspiration as you make vacation plans.

There’s an added advantage to reading the book simultaneously with friends and family, says Patrick Miller, founder of the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative. “Many friends talk about and share books they enjoy, but with tourism literature, they can go farther and share a visit to the actual settings of the stories and poems they love,” he says. “This fun social aspect lets them engage with their favorite stories and poems on a whole new level.”

“Literary Destinations: Touring Alabama” is slated for publication in July and will be sold in book stores as well as restaurants and places mentioned in the stories, poems and nonfiction pieces. In the Lookout Mountain region, it will be available at The Book Shelf, etc., which is located in downtown Fort Payne, Ala., and is featured in “The Totem,” a short story by Natalie Cone.

Of course, we hope you’ll use this issue of Lookout Alabama as a summer travel and activity guide as well. You can learn about Lula Lake and Lula Falls, part of an environmental preserve
with miles of trails showcasing stunning views, discover an aerial adventure that involves maneuvering through treetops and zip-lining back to earth, plan a trip to the original Frios location to cool off with a socially responsible dessert, find out some fascinating facts about honeybees and more.

Folklore_Spring 2014-spreads_Page_1And if you do visit any of these places, keep your eyes and mind peeled for writing ideas of your own. Tourism literature is a growing genre, and it’s being generated by people from all walks of life. Your work could be published next.

Walker has this advice for aspiring writers: “Just be observant. Find small things – the little, delightful things. Visit a coffee shop. Listen to conversations. Look at signs along the side of the road. Make a study of flora and fauna.”