For over 450 years, and probably before, the settlers and inhabitants of the South have made some fateful choices and created their own twisted karma. Right here in Coweta County, the home of our world-wide headquarters, we have the legacy of Chief William McIntosh. Descending from a prominent Scottish father and a Muscogee mother, he built an alliance between the early colonists and the local Cowetas, called Creeks by the Scotch-Irish pioneers, but he was ultimately hacked to death by the neighboring tribe for his apparent disloyalty. This dire story embodies the contorted history of the modern South. Outsiders view us as either Stars and Bars waving, NASCAR loving Bubbas who’ve escaped house-arrest from the trailer park, or genteel mint julep-sippers fanning ourselves in the solitude of our rose gardens while waiting for the emerald magnolia leaves to majestically shine in the light of the full moon. The mission of Southern Fried Karma is to debunk these myths by cultivating the innovative voice of the South in the New Millennium. Our artistic expression is as divergent as Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Chicago’s Wicker Park, or Portland’s Pearl District. We just display it at the Wally World and the funky neighborhood street market.
As Co-Founder of Southern Fried Karma, I spent the first 25 years of my adult career peddling bulldozers around the world and managing various real estate investments. In January 2015, I received my MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and I began studying the shifting dynamics in the publishing world. I saw an opportunity in publishing that was paralleled in music and films. The path for an artist to reach a wider audience is no longer exclusively controlled by corporate gatekeepers measuring each choice purely by its economic return. So for practical purposes, our hopes, dreams, and aspirations are for Southern Fried Karma to be a multi-media production company developing projects in music, films and books. Our debut venture, SFK Press, released its first title, Lying for a Living. That Fall, we attended a number of literary conferences, where we opened for submissions from unpublished writers and announced the launch of new projects and publications. Every year, we’ll be sponsoring a literary fiction and a political/historical nonfiction contest, and we’ll announce the details for each at the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair.
There’s a slogan on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, “Y’ALL MEANS ALL.” Now more than ever, it’s important for us all to take this simple phrase to heart and put it into action with our words and deeds. That’s what we’re about.