19 June 2018

TPC Profiles - Mac Gay: Local Renaissance Gentleman, Poet & Scholar

Award-winning poet enjoying the accolades of his latest work w/ a new one in the offing


"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow"
-- T.S. Eliot

"Such is the Duality of the Southern Thing" 
- Drive-By Truckers

-est 2010-

TPC Profiles - Mac Gay

Mac Gay

The story of Mac Gay - poet, professor & man of many talents - is a fascinating one of a true renaissance man & jack-of-all-trades. A fellow resident of the Historical North Covington community, it is the distinct pleasure of Yours Truly, TPC Editor MB McCart, to do a feature profile piece on this righteous dude. Mac is a truly a unique fella. A Character's Character, if you will. A synergy, or perhaps a synchronicity, of many attributes that seems to somehow define...something. I'm not exactly sure what that something is, but I know it is something, and that it's important. 


My first memories of Mac Gay were at Newton Co. High School in the early 90's when I was a student there. I never had him as a teacher, though, but my brother & several of my friends did. Mr. Gay was different. For one thing, apparently he would sometimes cuss in class. That was a big deal & naturally scored him major points with a lot of high schoolers. Later, my brother would tell me that Mac taught high school classes more like a college professor. One of my best friends in school told me that the man was obviously brilliant, but maybe a little crazy.

A few years later is when I actually got to know Mac. At that time he'd moved on from teaching & was working in construction. I'd see him a good bit when he would swing by Bess's Place to eat. I always enjoyed seeing him & talking with him. He was different, marched to the beat of his own drum. I liked that. And now, after having been neighbors with him for over a decade, that impression has only grown.

But enough about my personal recollections.

Mac, as mentioned, is a man of many talents. Originally a student & later a teacher of science, Mac would eventually get his MFA & now teaches english at the Newton campus of Georgia State University. He is also an award-winning, published poet. His most recent offering - Pluto's Despair - is a wonderful chapbook that contains 25 poems. More on that in just a bit...

Mr. Gay originally matriculated at Tennessee Tech where he played football for a year before taking two degrees from the University of Georgia. Poetry was always a passion of his but something he didn't really pursue until later in life. The journey of how he got from there to the here & now is the really good part.

For many years Mac was a big fan of drinking. A long-time drunk, in his own words, it made for some interesting adventures. Truman Atkins, Principal of Newton Co. High back in the day, was apparently, like many of us, a big fan of Mac's, and seemed to always be understanding when the call would come from jail explaining why a certain science teacher wouldn't be making it in that day (*ed.noteI definitely got the impression this happened more than once...).

Later, after he'd gotten out of teaching and was doing a few different things, he felt compelled to complete a "spiritual journey" - hiking the Appalachian Trail. The saga that lasted 4 months & 9 days was a major, epochal event for the professor & seemed to be a reboot & battery recharge for the next chapters in his life.

A few years later is when he got into jazz piano. I'd heard accounts from the time that he was really quite good. He mainly played w/ a bass player doing standards, most often over in Olde Town Conyers. I actually remember thinking at the time - and the legend grows... 


As Mac & I discussed, poetry is unlike any of the other arts. With poems, you're just out there in front of God & everybody. No musical accompaniment; no oils, paints or canvas. It's just your words & oftentimes it's not very many words that you're working with. It takes a certain bravery, and certainly a honed skill-set.  Mac went on to say that he's been writing poetry for so long that he will very occasionally sometimes even have a rhyme or two here or there. 

Pluto's Despair, published by Kattywompus Press out of Sommerville, MA, is a true work of art. It's magnificent. Mac's third published book, it has been very well-received by the poetry world (and yes, there is a poetry world out there). 

Leon Stokesbury, award-winning poet, had this to say: 
" From out of rural Georgia comes a mind that sees at once both the horror & the comedy of the human condition. The best poems of Mac Gay's fine & funny book seem like little lightning bolts that stopped just before they hit the ground." 

Yes, Leon! That's what I was trying to describe at the top of this piece. Thanks. 

Let's get into some of the poems. 

The boy in "The Boy" is made head of the Boy's Studies Program which includes courses like Stone Skipping 101 & Cane Pole Fishing in Small Ponds. Things are going great. "Yet somehow things went south: At 21, for some odd reason, they gave him socks, shoes, and a tie, and the transfer - a demotion to the Division of Man." 

The eponymous poem of this collection is really the pièce de résistance. 

"...nowhere near the largest, 

certainly the most distant,  
the most cryptic and aloof, 
secluded in the hinterlands, 
enigmatic as Salinger." 

"Bipolaresque" speaks to the "downside of this cursed manic-depression." 

"Doppler Effect" is another of my favorites that perfectly analogizes the aging process to that particular phenomenon, though defining the source & the observer in the effect could be another discussion for another day. 

The last one I'd like to share with you is one I'll print in toto & that was showcased by North of Oxford. "Closure" is a piece that deals with one the overarching themes of many of Mac's works - his late father. 

That’s what Dad always wanted.
“Close the door behind you,” he’d snap,
or “Did you take out the trash?” The man
hated loose ends, any task dragging
from one day into the next. “You
finish your algebra?” he’d fling at me
blind from behind his newspaper.
Or “Let’s finish trimming these hedges
before darkness takes us over.”
(Nothing was worse than uneven
Red-tip Photinias.) But the thing
he hated most was getting old:
“Old men are like broken tools
or leaky buckets,” he said,
“or the invisible man in the movies,
just fading and fading until he’d
have to wrap himself with rolls of gauze
just so folks would know he was still there.”
So Mom took some comfort later
from his bad good luck. That
Sunday morning he left with Bo
to put a neck yoke on the crazy cow
that kept jumping over the fence.
He aimed to be through before church,
and he was, almost: unconscious
as a stone by noon, but                             
his dawdling heart kept           
beating till half past five.  

On the heels of the success of his most recent work, Mac will have a new one out next March - Ghost Hunt. And vist Kattywompus Press to purchase a copy of Pluto's Despair.

I'd like to thank Mac for agreeing to let me interview him for this piece. It was truly my pleasure, and the "interview" really just turned out to be one of the best & most enjoyable conversations I've had in quite some time. He really is a cool fella. And like my high school buddy said back in the early 90's - he's definitely brilliant, and maybe a little crazy. And that, to me, is a good thing.

As always, thanks for reading.

Very Truly Yours,


ToNt0 Network

Marshall "M.B." McCart is a jack-of-all-trades, amateur philosopher & theologian, and a semi-professional ant-hill kicker that resides deep in the heart of the Georgia Piedmont. A man perhaps of some talents, McCart claims mastery of none. At his core, he seeks to explain the peculiar essence of "The Esoteric South" while maybe sometimes thinking about the meaning of life.

In his spare time, McCart is the Editor-in-Chief of The Piedmont Chronicles, dabbles in Real Estate & Real Estate Instruction, plays Americana music & is a business manager & independent contractor.

A proud father & husband, he likes to cook & is an enthusiast of UGA athletics, Led Zeppelin & Hunter S. Thompson. 

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16 June 2018

[TPC] - Bess Tuggle: Memoirs of Surviving Children - The Deer Stand

I have to admit it.  I messed up.  Not just a little mess up, but a BIG one.

I bought my second son a deer stand for Christmas many years ago.

Not just any deer stand – this was a NICE one.  It had a ladder and took us most of a day to put it together and put it up on a tree.  It had room for two seats.  He was even kind enough to take me hunting with him one time.  That was the only time.  Mama is not a happy camper before the sun comes up.  I can’t sit still, getting me and my coffee into the stand was a task and deer apparently can smell a cigarette a mile away.  What lovely bonding moments.

The biggest problem, where I messed up, was not keeping the safety harness under wraps.  

The deer stand came with a –really- nice safety harness.  It was a five point harness, like in a baby car seat.  Straps between the legs, around the waist, over the shoulders.. long rope to tie off to.  The boys figured that out.  (Expletives that I won’t share)

The boys got the safety harness and started playing with it.  They took turns being “Superman.”  Then they found the pulley that I used for scraping and gutting pigs (yes, I did raise pigs and put a whole one on the grill once a year with home-made BBQ sauce to compliment it).  They took Superman to a whole new level.  They could raise and lower each other.  It wasn’t a problem until they put the smallest (not the youngest, mind you) into the harness then decided to tie him off and leave him hanging.  I’m not sure how long he was hanging there before I found him.  

I’m just glad they didn’t boil and scrape him.  

- Bess  (

A jack of all trades, Bess Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations. 

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14 June 2018

[TPC] - Perrin Lovett - Killing Ourselves: Commentary on Suicides General, Celebrity, and Cultural

Author’s Note: Thank you for the pleasant response to and praise for last week’s fictional account. This week, a darker corporeal matter.

Frequently, now, it seems that less and less of the happenings and the discourse make sense. That’s especially true if you are slowly, reluctantly making your way into middle age. It’s doubly true for the budding curmudgeons among us. Just the other evening I had the pleasure of dining with several lovely, smart young ladies. For some reason, I casually mentioned John Wayne. They staggered me when two responded: “Who’s John Wayne?”

Things change. Things become incomprehensible. And not just things concerning fading popular cowboy culture. It’s a different world than it was fifty years ago. Or ten years ago.

All these changes may have something to do with the current epidemic of people giving up the resistance, either to maintain what was or to fit in with what becomes.

The CDC reports strong growth in suicide rates nationwide over the past generation. These rates are up 30% in half the states. Self-inflicted demise is now the tenth leading cause of death in our country. This, at a time of supposed peace, prosperity, and economic growth. 54% of the recent suicides were by persons with no previously known mental disorder. No age, race, situation, or condition seems immune. Look through that report; odds are you’ll be staggered.

The venerable CDC suggests what can be done about the trend. I see good, bad, and incomplete in their advice. At a superficial level, they get it right about life stress being a major factor. Their solutions, some of them I think, are perhaps a little misplaced.

Making sure government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, the media and community organizations are working together is important for preventing suicide.
- CDC, Overview.

That certainly sounds fine and well. But, what if the government, the “public” health, and all those institutions are contributing to the problem? Contributing to all that stress, consternation, and perplexity. Then what?

(Le Suicide, Edouard Manet, 1881. Picture from Wikipedia.)

I’m most interested in the “why?” Why are so many people, during such allegedly good times, choosing of off themselves?

Part of, much of the cause may be the cultural changes, which I’ll lump-sum define as “decline.” It’s hard for even healthy, ordinary, or normal people to make sense of a world that keeps redirecting on an hourly basis, always seemingly towards some baffling point of uncertainty. It fosters a sense of hopelessness many apparently cannot cope with.

Consider that:

  • The economy, as good as it looks, is held aloft by reams of untenable debt and fake money. Many sense a crash coming, maybe of nightmare proportions.

  • In a time of relative peace, few have ever been more preoccupied with war. If they can’t get real violence, then they’ll fantasize about it.

  • The town square is filled with political and social rancor and sometimes not much else. It’s Democrats versus Republicans, blacks versus whites, city versus country, and everyone else versus whoever can be found to vie against.

  • The globalists keep pushing an agenda which is rapidly turning traditional America and the West into a 21st century Tower of Babel, the iPhone edition.

  • The trivial is lauded in the extreme. True speech and thought are suppressed. Education and intelligence ridiculed. Freedom hated. Christianity is shunned. Evil is praised. Every manner of degeneracy imaginable is hailed as tolerable, normal, even “better.”

As a dark aside on the culture front, the current satanic push is for the normalization of pedophilia. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Yet, I bet you suspected as much, whether or not you’ll kindly admit it. There’s a reason why some promote sexual assault in children’s movies. There’s a reason why they extol child drag queens. There’s a reason why the corrupt and useless British government is desperate to cover up the grooming rings. There’s a reason why thousands of low-to-mid level operators worldwide have been arrested the past decade for child sex trafficking.  

There may be (may be) a connection between that latter trend, the overall suicide rates, and the recent spate of celebrity suicides. Rumors swirl here and there about a coming storm, about coming indictments against higher level actors. It is alleged that some of them are deciding to preempt the system so as to avoid Millstone justice.

Many may not have noticed these signs. It’s been a quiet if persistent operation. And one prays that, given what evil is now at bat, a hard line is drawn. But, as previous measures of “inclusion” have demonstrated, these things have a way of sneaking up and sneaking in - almost utterly unnoticed until the Supreme Court suddenly says they’re a-okay.

(This is a millstone. It is suggested that this is better than what awaits. Picture by Perrin.)

Another aside: if the pedo monsters are batting right now, who or what is on deck? My guess, and I’m not being facetious, is cannibalism.

All of this is disturbing, to say the least. So, partially understanding the “why,” what is to be done about it? I recommend, as always, freedom, tempered responsibility, and a hardened defense of the cherished and the sacred. A rebellion of sort may be in order.

When confronting this darkness, ask yourself, “What would John Wayne do?”

Fellow Terry College of Business (UGA) grad Brother Perrin Lovett is a true renaissance gentleman & scholar. A recovering attorney, he's into guns & cigars, and the US Constitution. A published authorPrepper columnist & YouTube personality, and an acclaimed blogger, TPC is very proud to have our old friend on board as the C.F. Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs


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13 June 2018

Kayla's Corner: Trivia in Porterdale; Food, Fun & Film at Legion Field

Kayla's Corner

Welcome back to the Corner, a place for details on food & fun, cool destinations & local happenings.

1917, A River Tavern | Porterdale, GA

Last week we talked about different places to play trivia & I wanted to mention one more this week. 

Located in downtown Porterdale & formerly known as Lahrceny Tavern, The 1917 - A River Tavern, is now under new management & has made some major changes. First off, it is now a non-smoking venue, which a lot of folks are pretty thrilled about. Also, Chef Todd Scott is back in action & is putting out some really good food!

And starting tonight, June 13th, Wednesday Night Trivia, hosted by my fellow TPC Contributing Writer Ellis "Da" Millsaps, will be a weekly thing. This trivia is a little bit different as I'm told, and as many out there know, Ellis is too! So come on down to Porterdale & check it out! 

One of Chef Scott's specialties - Shrimp & Grits 

This week's edition of "Kayla's Corner" Proudly Sponsored by...


And this Friday night here in town will be the 3rd Friday Food, Fun & Film at Legion Field. This looks like a blast! Food trucks, inflatables & other fun & activities for the kiddos and a screening of "The Sandlot." This looks like a lot of fun!  

Well alright, y'all. That'll do it for this time. See you right back here next week!
- K 

Author of TPC recurring piece, "Kayla's Corner," Ms. Leasure is originally a Walton Co. gal who studied marketing & advertising & loves the beach, the woods & her dogs while keeping herself busy with multiple projects & endeavors. She has her finger on the pulse of the home county like no other & is always "keeping an eye on Covington." A beautiful lady, inside & out, it is The Chronicles' true privilege to have her talents as part of our team. 

Kayla Leasure: Keeping an Eye on Covington
The Piedmont Chronicles

12 June 2018

Tuesday Check-in: What's the Word Around Town - COV, JDA & GA Politics

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Howdy, Buckaroos, it's your ole pal MB w/ a quick Tuesday check-in, and...my goodness, I must say how lovely you look today! You're wearing your hair a little differently. I like it!

So, what's the 411? Let's check it out.

C-town Representin' 

Well, at the last council meeting it was revealed that the city will not be increasing its municipal millage rate. That's good. That's real good. I don't think folks would've been very impressed if that was going to be on the table after learning about that $21-some-odd million in the reserve fund. It's almost like the city is turning into Butts-Mehre in Athens (UGA) with their Gollum-like coveting of their reserve fund (Precious!!!). I like how the auditor was basically all like - just keep it for a rainy day. You're doing great! 
Hey, I've got an idea - how 'bout a tax decrease? Or, at a minimum, a roll-back rate that would take into account the increase in property valuations so the good folks of Covington wouldn't have to pay out anymore for taxes than they did last year. I mean, if pretty much all the city employees are getting 3% pay raises this year, couldn't the good taxpayers of Covington get a bit of break since, you know, they're the ones paying for everything & all?

And that leads to point that several have been talking about. With the looming Plant Vogle utility increases & this epic Central Park thing that's apparently on the way, there's a major concern that the city is not being very perspicacious in its fiscal responsibility.

For years Covington has always been the one to do things the right way at least as it compared to Newton Co. Now, Newton Co. is still a hot mess, and now there are doubts about the home city. I think more than ever we need a reestablishment of the #NewtonCounty12 & the NCLA.

Joint Development Authority

In my last post about  JDA affairs I mentioned the fact that Andrea Gray, attorney for the JDA, was being paid her attorney hourly rate for ministerial & clerical services. I had that on very good information but I do have a call in to Andrea to get her side of things.

As a few of you may know, Andrea, and one of the associates at her firm, Jenny Carter, were both former staff attorneys at the law offices of Wm Thomas Craig, Esq. Some have theorized that WTC, who has widely been considered to be the fountainhead of the JDA some 20 years ago, may still be somewhat involved with things, or possibly "of counsel" to the Gray Law Firm. That's another thing I'll check on if I get a call back.

$1.25 for 10 lbs; $2.00 for 20 
10700 Covington Bypass Rd; Hwy 213 by Loyal GasMansfield beside Rooster's, Newborn at the Chevron on 
Hwy 142, HWY 11 at the HUB; Hwy 212 at Frank's. Good Quality; Clean Water; Fresh Ice at a Great Price! Owned & Operated by Travis Moore 
*local advertisers do not necessarily endorse or support the views of TPC/MBM*

GA Politics 

In my last post about Georgia Real Politik, I mentioned that the gubernatorial runoff was looking to be a political junkie's dream. That's a big 10-4. The bombshell tape recording that Clay Tippins made of his conversation with Casey Cagle was nothing short of lurid, scandalous & damning, and confirmed what many have always thought about ole Weird Eyes (Cagle) - that perhaps it's all about politics & power for him. In that last piece, I mentioned that Cagle's perceived advantage in electability would be washed out by the fact that more folks despised him than they did Kemp, so therefore this thing would be an even-odds dogfight. My best guess is that this unflattering recording of Cagle will cost him at least a couple of percentage points in the long haul meaning that this will probably be one of the ugliest & most expensive runoffs in state history. Pass the popcorn & get ready to be bombarded with TV, radio & direct mail over the next month & half. Good times!

Alright, gang, that'll do it for this rodeo. Happy Trails!


11 June 2018

[TPC] - Ellis Millsaps: Local Girl Makes Good

~ Special to The Chronicles ~

    Greetings from you erstwhile Porterdale correspondent, this week reporting to you from the city of New Orleans. I’m here not only because I love this city, but particularly because The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting a musical interpretation of my daughter Grace Millsaps’ acclaimed children’s book, What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo, originally published in 2012.

Grace Millsaps

A little backstory is in order here.

Grace lives with her husband Ryan Murphy and their daughter, the lovely and talented Tallulah Grace Murphy, soon to turn two years old, on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans. When I say they live on the west bank, that is close to literally true. Sitting on their front porch, what you see is the levee.

Ryan had the idea for Sleepy Animals, Grace wrote the text, and two friends did the magical illustrations. A member of the Louisiana Philharmonic had the idea of a musical score to accompany a performance reading of the book.

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

The plot of the book centers around a little girl, Renee, and her father visiting the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. When most of the animals are asleep, Renee asks her father, why. He then proceeds to conjure up a tale about what they do all night to make them so tired.

What they do all night is mostly play music and dance, which makes the story perfectly suited to musical accompaniment.

The show is presented at Loyola University to I’m guessing a group of 250 children and parents. Pages from the book are projected on a screen over the stage, while a local media personality reads the text, surrounded by the orchestra who intersperse it with musical interludes.    

This reviewer thought the show was delightful.

I’m now going to interview the young author, but first a curriculum vitae.

Grace Millsaps was born February 1, 1987 at Newton County Hospital. She was schooled at Mansfield Elementary School, Indian Creek Middle School, and Eastside High School, completing her senior year there while attending Oxford College of Emory University. While at Mansfield Elementary she was one of ten National Finalists in the “River of Words” competition for her watercolor painting of trees reflected in a river.

Grace attended the University of Georgia for one year and graduated from Emory University with a degree in Anthropology. While a student she lived in Italy, Turkey, and China where she taught English to children.

After college she lived and worked in Boston while her husband-to-be Ryan completed law school. Ryan is now an high school science teacher and author.

Since living in New Orleans,  Grace has taught preschool at ritzy private institutions. She is now the director at Abeona House.

Q & A: 

Ellis: “So, Grace, what were your impressions on seeing your book presented with orchestral backing?”
Grace: “It was a huge honor to see my work produced musically. It was already very exciting to see my words brought to life on the page when John first illustrated them. To have yet another art form applied to the story is so incredible.
I’m lucky to work with all these people who are more talented than I. They add their own layers to the story.
My favorite part was when the actor read, ‘Then someone will call for the’ and knowing the line ends in ‘hokey pokey’ and realizing before I heard it that the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra was about to play the hokey pokey.”
E: “Do you have any new books in the offing?”
G: “Ryan has almost finished a board book about boats on the Mississippi. The next thing I want to write is a board book that takes on numbers and instruments with a New Orleans flair.”
E: “Got any advice for young aspiring writers?”
G: “Write, write, write. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a child. And read, read, read. I’ve read hundreds of children’s books.
Let’s see. Don’t major in creative writing. Most writers at least start needing a day job. Let your education set you up to get that job. Or better yet, hold off on college until you know what you really want to do. Go out and get some life experiences that doesn't cost 40K a year. That will make for better writing material anyways.”

More info on:
What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo

So long from the Big Easy. Next week I’m back in Porterdale with chapter five of “The Porch.” 

Also, I'm back in the trivia game. I'll be hosting trivia this Wednesday at 7PM at Tavern 1917 (formerly known as Lahrceny Tavern). 

 Ellis Millsaps

Ellis is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved... 
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