An Appalachian Storyteller on Place, Resilience, and Identity

“People talk about two kinds of stories: stories of contamination and stories of resilience. And so if you say that you let the music contaminate your kids then it's a story of shame. And if you're contaminated, then you have to quarantine, right, like emotionally quarantine, apart from others. But what you need most right then when you are in pain is connection. You need stories of resilience where bad things happen that can’t always be controlled but people survive anyway. Not without suffering, but they can survive and help others. And so everything I do comes down to individuals and empowering more individuals to get their voice out here[...]These kids need to know that they are survivors. Story is an art form. And being able to create a story reminds these kids that we are works of art.”Octavia Sexton