Most recently to his collection of works, Dr. Terry Barr has a new addition, Secrets I’m Dying to Tell You. Published in 2020 by Redhawk Publications in Hickory, NC, the collection of essays dives into Barr’s life growing up in Bessemer, AL: revealing town secrets, #MeToo stories, and the intimacies of his relationships and experiences in a southern suburb.
An excerpt from the introduction-
“My friend Fred called me last week to ask if I had heard about the most recent murder in Bessemer. I wondered why this murder–sadly out of th too many occurring regularly in my hometown–should warrant a special call. But as Fred explained, this order occurred right across the street from the house in which I was born and raised. I Googled the story on AL.com and saw a video of the murdered man’s loved ones talking about the senselessness of the crime and its effect on them. I didn’t know this family, but as I watched them standing on ground I know intimately, I felt a certain pain and a more certain longing.
The place where I was raised is troubled, and I know so little and am so far removed from these troubles.
The house where this man’s body was dumped is uninhabited, and for many hours, it kept a secret of something horrible that had been done there.
I called my brother Mike and told him. As we spoke, he did some Googling of his own, initially just to see the story. After a few minutes, and a very pregnant pause, he asked,
“Did you know that a Klan headquarters used to sit on Fourth Avenue in Bessemer, between 17th and 18th street? This was back in the 1920’s, but still.”
I didn’t know that.
But I wasn’t surprised to learn it.
We all have secrets. Even and especially, towns have secrets–secret histories–which many don’t know, and many more try to cover up or forget.
I don’t keep secrets very well, as you’ll discover in the essays following. Some secrets are lighter, even funny. Some are so well hidden–in basements. abandoned pieces of property, or just down the street from your seemingly safe house– that you’ll likely never know them, or their potency on you and those you love, at all.
Actually, I can and do keep some secrets. So after reading these, imagine all that I haven’t told–the stories that keep me awake on so many nights.”
To read on and uncover the secrets soon unhidden, you can purchase Barr’s book online through Amazon, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for a signed copy. Happy reading!