Today, level:deepsouth marks its first full year online. I started the project early in 2020 and got the site online on March 1. The first submission, “Camp Earl Wallace” by Elena Vale Wahl, was published in the summer. Since then, the anthology has added thirteen long form works, three shorter pieces, four book reviews, and a variety of images.
level:deepsouth is a project that I considered for years before getting off my butt and starting on it. As a writer and editor who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s in Alabama, I had seen no forum or venue or publication dedicated to Generation X in the Deep South. For all of the stuff on the internet – the obviously great, the truly wonderful, the simply terrible, the totally offensive – why was there no hub devoted to this set of experiences?
Sure, there are Southern writers now in their 40s and 50s who are working and publishing – some of them making sure we know how Southern they are – but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I am talking about is an effort to collect and document an eclectic group of experiences that are difficult and confusing and don’t necessarily make sense together. Unlike other Southern-focused publications and websites, level:deepsouth is only concerned with Deep Southern, Generation X experiences from the last three decades of the twentieth century. And the project does not mix its content with commentaries on obscure old blues records, features about out-of-the-way restaurants, and ads for block-lettered graphic tees. level:deepsouth is about one thing: the formative years of my generation in the region where I grew up. That’s all. Being young in the weird, mixed-up, and constantly changing 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s in the the heart of the old Confederacy, the heart of the Bible Belt, the heart of Dixie.
In addition to the twenty works that are already in the anthology and available to read, the call for submissions remains wide open in year two. There is no deadline to submit, and works will be considered year-round. If you grew up in this place and during that time, consider adding your story to the project. There’s no way that this anthology could ever be diverse enough.