In the Land of Shag the dance of romance goes on. Holding hands at the edge of the floor feels dangerous. The music touches you, as it did when the song was new. When young, foolish, and racing to be in love, you fell into it, or jumped, as often as the records on the […]
About Bo Bryan
I’m a Southern writer, raised a gentleman trained to open doors and carry packages. I am well mannered, if not always polite. I write for pleasure. I wiggle my fingers over a magic board and words appear like pixie dancers, telling in motion the stories. I capture the motion to preserve moments, to share my astonishment for the visceral ballet of head, heart, and spirit that is a human being, and a miracle.
Very little of my writing is yet known. Most of it no one has seen. Twenty-five years ago, I got a taste of success, publishing my first novel, Bitsy Nickle Might Have Aids—a tale of political satire and black humor. The book was optioned for film, caused a stir among local health department bureaucrats, elected officials, and preachers-of-the-true-gospel. That got me on television. My wife didn’t like it much—me in the public eye talking about another woman, even one that was make-believe. My second book was SHAG: The Legendary Dance of the South, a regional bestseller. SHAG, and the attention that came with the book, ended the marriage. Then the court battle for the kids ensued. I won. I became a single parent, raising three young children on an island without a bridge.
I disappeared, but I kept writing. The books I had published went out of print. People who enjoyed my work continued to look me up and ask what I was writing now. I explained that I still worked each day, getting up at three in morning to write books—I just wasn’t interested in publishing, which would have required me to go on the road. I more enjoyed being home; besides, I owed it to the kids, having taken them away from their mother, nutty as she was.
Bo BryanSole custody came with a price, and I paid it in full: stuck close, cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, doctored, counseled, laughed and cried, read Goodnight Moon, and fell asleep exhausted. Got up and did it all, again and again—the writing first, the writing always. To have a story going was another reality. I wrote about the life I had left behind, that I imagined returning to when the kids were grown: that of a Southern writer and a Southern gentleman at home in the land of shag, seeking sin and salvation on the same dance floor. I never stopped writing. I stacked up manuscripts one after another: novels, stories and poems, non-fiction, essays and memoir—and all of it I wrote content to sit tight and wiggle my fingers for seventeen years.
Now the kids are grown, and I’m back in the game—back-with-a-stack, as the road gamblers say.
I am a Southern writer, trained as a gentleman. My stories will open doors if I’ve done my job, minded my manners and been polite—not too polite. If the stories lighten the load, I will not be a burden to the young. I’ll be a silver soldier of my generation, the biggest generation of all, by God, the one that Boomed, the one that rocked, and the one that rolled, the one that brought the power of flowers to the future. I was never a hero who refused to fight—nor a hero in the jungle. I ran up and down the road chasing beauty and the truth of myself. First I caught up with enough, then too much to carry. The beauty died young, but it rose again, trust me. I’ll tell you the whole truth and nothing but, even if I have to invent it.
Entries by Bo Bryan
In The Land of Shag Lived Fat Harold, The Jukebox Giant. He called himself “Fat” For a name like that Was easy to remember. Giants choose their names Not to be forgotten. In later years, He did grow heavy. Though as a youth In uniform, A trim and tall Marine, He was not called Fat, […]
When I was a kid growing up in The Land of Shag, romance was my daily bread, also the peanut butter and jelly; I hungered for it more than French fries. The quickest way to get fed was shag dancing. All the coolest girls were dancers, and all the guys who couldn’t dance were relegated […]
I made another bad choice of anchorage that night. For reasons I’m embarrassed to admit; instead of crossing the channel at Port Bolivar, heading for the inner harbor at Galveston, which was well protected from wind and wave — because I thought it would be ideal to keep away from marinas and yacht clubs, be […]
Take It Down, Take It Down I’m headed to C0lumbia, South Carolina, hottest city on Earth in the summer, to see what happens next. Are the lawmakers of the S.C. General Assembly as ready as they claim, to take down the flag, and let a #newsouth sunrise begin? It could be another carnival of […]
Come the summer of 2015, the Shag, the legendary dance of the South, will celebrate it’s 72nd anniversary of conception. It came to pass in June of 1943 that Race Music, gut-level Rhythm and Blues, the sound later labeled Rock-n-Roll found its way onto jukeboxes along the Carolina coast. And The Southern teenagers called it […]
In The Land of Shag the night is young forever. Along the coast of the Carolinas, shag dancing is nightlife for an increasing number of Baby Boomers who refuse to give up the ghost of romance. If growing old is a state mind, shag dancing might be the fountain of youth, laced with a double […]
If you’re in love, love to dance, or you’re alone, looking for a partner; if fifty years ago, you married your high school sweetheart and haven’t danced since senior prom. Dance for your life at SOS. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you won’t be alone in The Land of Shag. Nobody will turn you down […]
I love showing people something good they haven’t seen before. It’s an unsung pleasure of life introducing a new experience. In the bargain, as a veteran, you’re given a fresh vision of the totally familiar, like it’s your first time as well. Courtney and Greg Cordell were newcomers in The Land of Shag, had never […]