I turned on HBO on Sunday night to catch the new episode of Entourage. The channel’s new vampire series, True Blood was wrapping up and the final credits rolled. And I was shocked — and thrilled — to see Chris Offutt’s name listed as executive story editor.
I’m not positive, but I think it is indeed that Chris Offutt, the writer from Kentucky who authored No Heroes, The Good Brother, The Same River Twice, and others. According to the Internet Movie Database, the Offutt associated the television show was born in Lexington, Kentucky and is listed as a novelist and short story writer. So it’s gotta be him.
Offutt lived in Rowan County Kentucky, just a few counties over from where I grew up. He signed my copy of Kentucky Straight with a note that “here’s what we Kentuckians do when we leave the hills.”
The opening pages of Offutt’s 2002 memoir, No Heroes, are about returning to those hills in Kentucky after a lengthy absence.
You can go ahead and forget all your preplanned responses to comments about wearing shoes, the movie Deliverance, indoor plumbing, and incest. You don’t have to work four times as hard because the boss expects so little. You don’t have to worry about waiting for the chance to intellectually ambush some nitwit who thinks you’re stupid because of where you’re from.
You won’t hear these words spoken anymore: redneck, hillbilly, cracker, stump-jumper, weed-sucker, ridge-runner. Never again will you have to fight people’s attempts to make you feel ashamed of where you grew up. You are no longer from somewhere. Here is where you are. This is home. This dirt is yours.
I didn’t get a chance to watch that new vampire show. But I have it set to DVR. If True Blood comes anywhere near the quality of Chris Offutt’s books, then it’ll be worth watching.