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Excerpts from the author's introduction --

In 1992 my husband and I moved from Lexington, Kentucky, where we had lived for
about fifteen years, to my family’s old homeplace on Teges Creek in Clay County,
in the hills of southeastern Kentucky.  
I had planned to continue writing – at the time I was publishing primarily poetry and children’s
books – and it was important to me, too, to fit in with people in the local community.  
Since that community is largely Republican and fundamentalist, I knew that “fitting in”
would mean keeping my opinions to myself.  

I tried.  Honestly I did.  But after so long, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I started writing a weekly
column (“Mouth of Teges”) for the local paper,
The Manchester Enterprise.    

I wanted to do this, not just because I was having trouble keeping my mouth shut,
but as a way of being a writer in the place where I lived.  
Mostly, writers work alone; the few people we do work with -- agents, editors, publishers –
aren’t anywhere around.  We communicate with them and with other writers
by mail, telephone or e-mail.  I felt in danger of bifurcating, like Wemmick in Great Expectations,
into my writer self and my Clay County self.   Writing a column for the local paper would help me
connect my art with the community in which I lived.   

Okay, so maybe I didn’t think that one through.  
Maybe writing a liberal column is not the best way to connect with a conservative community.  
But, again, there was the whole not-being-able-to-keep-my-mouth-shut-anymore thing.  

The pages of
The Manchester Enterprise, like those of many small weeklies, are filled with local
columnists, of which there are three major types: (1) preachers, (2) “society” columnists;
and (3) crackpots.  There is some overlap.  I proudly placed myself in the “crackpot” category
and wrote on a variety of topics:  local stories, everyday life, religion, politics,
and anything else I could think of under deadline.  
As a lover of language and as a native of southeastern Kentucky, I sometimes
claimed the right to write in a traditional Appalachian voice.
I wanted my columns to reflect views which would probably not appear in the paper otherwise,
but which I suspected might be shared by others in the community who were better at
keeping their mouths shut.  

As it turns out, I was right about that.
In letters, phone calls, e-mails, and whispered remarks at the doctor’s office, gas station and
grocery store, people told me they agreed with me – about women’s roles, about corruption in the
local political system, about George Bush, the war in Iraq, gay civil rights, hillbilly plays,
and mountaintop removal mining.  But they were afraid to say these things out loud.    

A checkout clerk told me that when she and her husband get the paper every week,
they turn to my column first.  “What’s she saying now?” the husband always asks.

But of course not all the responses have been positive.  
Sometimes family and friends have worried that I might be shot or otherwise inconvenienced
by someone with strong views in other directions.  But nothing like that has happened.  
I mean, really, what’re they gonna do?

How to use this book?  
Well, you could use it as a door stopper, window propper, or table leg replacer.  
I hope you might also find it useful to cheer, encourage and warm you in these rather chilling times.

Anne Shelby
Anne Shelby lives on Teges Creek in Clay County,
Kentucky.  An award-winning author of poetry, plays
and children's books, she has received writing grants
from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky
Foundation for Women.  Her newspaper columns
appear in
The Lexington Herald-Leader, The
Manchester Enterprise
, The Beattyville Enterprise
and other Kentucky newspapers.
Contact the author:
Click here to send email to ANNE SHELBY

Can a Democrat get into Heaven?

Columns by
Anne Shelby

With a foreword by Gurney Norman
"Anne's rare and beautiful language gift has raised the writing
of the traditional personal column
to an art."

--Gurney Norman
230 pages
photo by Edmund Shelby
Click to view
(c) 2012
back to ...
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photo by Jamie Johnson

Borrowing its title from a question actually asked by one of the author's neighbors,
Can a Democrat get into Heaven? is a collection of Anne Shelby’s
provocative columns published in Kentucky newspapers during the 21st Century.  

From politics & religion to personalities, rural lore & everyday living,
Shelby’s articulate take on our world and our times is unique.  

Can a Democrat get into Heaven?
(subtitled 'Politics, Religion and Other Things You Ain't Supposed to Talk About')
is filled with wit, warmth, wisdom and just the right amount of wackiness.  

It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you think — a perfect one-two punch.  

So ...
CAN a Democrat get into heaven??  
Read Anne Shelby on this and other topics, and prepare to be fascinated.  

This latest work by one of Appalachia’s most eloquent and controversial writers
is published (with a foreword by Gurney Norman) by MOTES, an imprint of EvaMedia.  

As Norman notes in his foreword,
"Anne Shelby has established herself as one of
Kentucky’s best and most versatile writers.  
Anne’s writing reveals her great heart, her keen intelligence,
and her down-to-earth common sense.  
This collection is a fine achievement and an enduring one."

Can a Democrat get into Heaven?
Politics, Religion, and Other Things You Ain't Supposed to Talk About     
ISBN 0-9778745-0-8
Click here for
information on
Anne Shelby's
poetry collection


published by
Wind Publications

Click here to
see some
s of
Anne Shelby's
ISBN 0-9778745-0-8
has been produced in
abridged form on CD

version contains
12 of the book's essays
selected and read
by the author

Recording the MotesBooksAudio CD in engineer Kathy Weisbach's studio.
visit Anne's website:
A MotesBooks favorite title!

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