The writing of James J. Slattery and his pseudonym, J.S. McInroy

Those Of Little Note: The Long Remembered

I’ve been thinking about my upcoming Creative Workshop session, the discussion this past Tuesday of Camus’ “The Guest,” and my recent visit to Slate Run and Cedar Run Pennsylvania. Pam and I walked the old rail-trail looked into the waters of Pine Creek and impressed upon our souls the essence of something ineffable. The forest, the rocks and cliffs, the timeless nature of all things present, past, and yet to come. I grew to maturity in these places. In a multitude of ways I live there still.
What follows is the essence of all that I believe art to be. It arises from the second chance I got at an education but even more so from the smell of the pines and the beauty of all things within and without the little bubbles we make of ourselves.
No longer mute
Nor inglorious
Slate Run Publishing asserts its primary focus as that of providing a forum for those whose origins and social circumstances have precluded their voices being heard. Many of us have something important to say; many will never have the opportunity to express the “genial current” of their souls. In the face of this, Slate Run Publishing in its small way is dedicated to offering to the public a variety of writers of fiction, poets, essayists, and commentators whose talents and insights are not only interesting and thought provoking but which are also creative and of lasting value.
The actual Slate Run is a Pennsylvania town so small as to be practically nonexistent. Our McInroy ancestors lived and thrived there along Pine Creek in Lycoming County for several generations. In fact our great grandmother died there in a house fire caused by a passing steam locomotive; an aunt had stone transported from Slate Run to form the face of her house in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, and James Slattery, the father of two of the editors, the grandfather of the other, taught in Slate Run’s one-room schoolhouse until it closed in 1959.
It is the history of this little place as it is entangled with that of our family which has given Slate Run Publishing both its name and its focus. The people of the area were universally poor with no hope of any way out, and by no hope we mean so much more than that simple phrase is capable of expressing: They had no hope. They desired no hope. They failed to recognize the existence of such frivolities as the word “hope” addresses. They live now in memory, more likely in than upon this earth, and this corporation is dedicated to them. To Grant, the Seagoing Marine, Earl who once shot a Ruffled Grouse in flight with a 22, and most of all to Jimmy who, unable to pronounce the English Language with anything resembling polish, called his teacher Mr. Saturday rather than Slattery, who asked of Washington and Lincoln, “They’s dead, ain’t they?” and who has donated to the family lexicon the following immortal phrase, “I don’t know nothin’ but I’m smarter than that.” He was a sweet young man as were they all, beautiful human beings with minds and souls and dreams even though bereft of hope.
Unlike Thomas Gray, we, the editors, are neither Romantics nor Poets, and so, contemplating the final end of these never-to-be-forgotten spirits, we employ his words to say the things so many are unable to express:
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Such are the purpose and heart of Slate Run Publishing.

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