(Non)Rural Voices: Blog

Writing who we are – as connected to the places we’re from and where we are now

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This space is a place for rural and (non)rural teachers (really, teachers from anywhere) to process and re-story their place-connected personal and professional identities through writing and art.

As a rural teacher, and as a rural person in general, I’ve always felt like no one really cares about my story. Or that my story didn’t matter very much. But the more I work with rural teachers and rural out-migrant teachers, the more I come to realize just how untrue that is. So, I’ve made this space for us to tell our stories and explore how we’re all connected to place(s).

I’d love to hear your story, so please reach out if you’d like to contribute!

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas | Review

I took the long way on my bike, just to remind myself how much I hated where I lived. I know most teenagers probably say that about where they grew up, especially if it’s a small town like this one. And they probably mean that their hometown is slow and boring and that nothing ever…

Terena Elizabeth Bell | Author Talk

In this episode, Terena Elizabeth Bell and I talk about the stories in TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE. We discuss her rural backrground and how that affects her writing, including the stories in this latest collection. We talk about rural places as culturally and linguistically rich supporters of art and the artists that produce it.…

Terena Elizabeth Bell | Teaser

Sometimes when I’m doing these talks, there’s part of the discussion that I really want to include but I’m not sure how to fit it in. This time it was just too good not to share, so I’ve made my first teaser. Sitting down with Bell was like chatting with an old friend from word…

Clown in a Cornfield: A Review by Jesse Bair

As is characteristic of gothic tales, Adam Cesare’s novel weaves a story that confronts its readers with what many wish to avoid. A reality all too real for educators today as information has become politicized and even the mentioning of systemic injustices have become taboo across the United States. Rural teachers may even experience such…

New Year, New Feature | A Call for Rural YA/MG Book Reviews

Although I didn’t do a formal year in review this year (I’ll probably do one in June for the site’s anniversary), I’m always looking at what our guest contributors, YA authors, and I have been accomplishing through various Literacy In Place facets. Because I started this site with the intention of helping pre- and in-service…

Author Talk | Kalynn Bayron

In this episode, I talk with New York Times Best-Selling and Whippoorwill Award winning Kalynn Bayron, who is the absolute epitome of cool. We talk about everything from her time growing up in Alaska, the underrepresentation of rural folks of color in YA, challenges faced by authors of marginalized identities in publishing, her reserach and…

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron | Episode 2

In this episode, I detail the creative assessment and community exhibition “Mythology of Me” That I would use after students had finished reading the book. I also give shoutouts to Mrs. Pamme Meier-Fisher, the teacher who inspired me to be a teacher and with whom none of this’d be possible and to Randy Bomer and…

Guest Post | A rural out-migrant’s kinship with displaced people

By: Jennifer C. Mann I am so excited and grateful for this week’s guest post! I started this blog hoping it would be a place where folks would do the very thing Jennifer Mann is doing here–reflecting on how their rural upbringing and identity are intertwined with their identities as teachers (and/or students). I identified…

Author Talk | Ginny Myers Sain

In this episode, I sit down with Ginny Myers Sain. We talk about how place and rurality have impacted who she is and how she writes. She gives some solid tips and tricks for developing craft, especially through dialogue and one-act plays. We also chat about the representation of rural language varieties in young adult…

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain | Episode 1

In this episode, I read from, summarize, and provide a brief critical place-based analysis of the Whippoorwill Award winning book. I specifically focus on place and how it shapes and is shaped by geography, history, and language practice. To buy the book: https://bookshop.org/a/86567/9780593403969 To checkout the Spooky Unit with reThink ELA: https://www.rethinkela.com/october-inquiry-unit-reading-and-writing-spooky-stories/ To see how…

Work & (Un)Learning (Some) Rural Values

Lately I’ve been thinking not only about the things I learn from my work but also what I realize I need to unlearn. I have started to notice things and ask questions about certain ideologies and behaviors that I don’t think I would’ve otherwise. Why I do what I do? And is it good? A…

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