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Magnolia Elegy: Place In the Edisto Fork by Tom T Traywick

Magnolia Elegy: Place In the Edisto Fork

by Tom T Traywick

248 pages
Homage to a Place and loss. Storytelling, recognizing fallacies of memory. Five generations of story, with wisdom of the old ones, presided over by Thomas and his code of self-serving: the land, the fields, the woods, the work, the food.

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Category: Memoir
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About the Book
Magnolia Elegy pays homage to an Agrarian time and place. It tells of the passing of that Time and the loss of that Place—undespairing, seeking no pity—through the eyes of the writer, the third generation of his placeholder family. It is memoir of a Place in the Lowcountry, and the inhabitants: animal, vegetable, and human—and how the land shaped them as they strove to shape the land.

The storyteller tells tales from the family oral tradition, and from the early writings of family members. He tells stories from his own memory and from theirs. He tells the stories that aren’t already lost, and alludes to those that have been lost. Throughout the telling he threads recognition of the unreliable nature of memory, particularly within family dynamic and dysfunction (coming to terms with a parent).

And, so goes five generations of story, seeded with the hopeful wisdom of the old ones, informed by reading and travel, presided over by Thomas—the elder—and his code of self-serving. The setting is a Place on the Orangeburg Scarp, in the plain of the Edisto River fork. The telling includes the lay of the land, the fields, the allure of the woods, the work performed, and the food—including recipes for the preparation of the mid-day meals.

Included at the end of Magnolia Elegy are stories of frenetic travel after leaving the Place at midlife, and essays demonstrating the values earned from the Place and from its animal and human community. The structure of the book accommodates selective reading—it can effectively be read in any order, even backward.


“I love this deep and quiet exploration of memory and forgetting ... and the strong connections to land, animals, and family that are present ..."
- Jennifer McGaha, author of “Flat Broke with Two Goats”
It is with great pleasure that I invite your attention to Tom Traywick's memoir, Magnolia Elegy. Tom is a wry humorist, a fine story teller – you, too, will cry when Prissy dies – a celebrator of family, a purveyor of insights into memory, its intricacies and eccentricities, and, importantly, some damn good poetry. If you value honesty, insightful philosophical asides, and a sparkling intelligence, you will enjoy (and profit from) this highly original production.
- Eston E. Roberts, author of “Metomorphosos: A Proposed Path to Independent Living”
"... rich in insights on memory, the loss or distortion of it, and what that all signifies ... It is indeed a 'humanly important book' ... Quotable!"
- Pedro A. Sandin-Fremaint, author of “And Yet…”



About the Author
Tom T Traywick is a child of the Lowcountry. He was educated in a small rural public school system, at Wofford College, a small liberal arts men’s college, and in graduate school at the huge University of Florida. He has been a farmer-cowboy, a regulatory compliance analyst, and an introvert. He holds reverence for the art of memory, and writes about the fallacies of memory. His writing can be seen at Oldones Dream, and on Medium. His best pieces have been passed over by many of the finest literary journals. He lives in the Southern Appalachian Mountains with his wife Tanne and an assortment of dogs and cats.



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