Please join Synkroniciti in welcoming writer Dr. Terry Barr, who grew up in Bessemer, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. His thoughtful essay, “Straight to the Scalp” remembers the American Deep South in the early 1970s, stubbornly stuck in the 1950s or even earlier. It might be hard to imagine for those who didn’t grow up in the Deep South, but a little hair falling on the collar or ears of an older boy meant he could be expelled from high school and the same on a man meant he could be arrested. Why, you ask? Any male with hair that long was clearly a homosexual. Re-interpreting personal experience, Terry looks honestly and disarmingly at the arbitrary nature of maleness and the fierceness with which some folks protect it. Those bullies planted in him a mistrust of maleness as well as a rebelliousness and this sensitive, happily-married grandfather is vulnerable enough to admit that, without that mistrust, his life might have been quite different. It takes courage to lay bare our internal thoughts, a courage that those who live by intimidation will never possess or understand. Having conflicting thoughts does not make us weak; it makes us human.
Dr. Terry Barr’s latest essay collection–The American Crisis Playlist (2020-2021) will be published this fall by Redhawk Publications. His essay “Greyhound Seats” won first place in Tell Your Story’s spring 2022 contest. His work has also appeared in EMRYS Journal, storySouth, Under the Sun, Shark Reef Review, and Call Me [Brackets].
Terry lives in Greenville, SC, with his family and teaches Creative Nonfiction at Presbyterian College. If you notice him at your local coffee shop, he’d love to treat you to a latte, provided you can name the one Faulkner novel he loves best.