The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul is a collection of the works of 24 diverse, talented southern writers and singers.


Jim Wilson, a North Carolina native, is the editor of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, now in its seventy-sixth year of publication. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 with a degree in English. At UNC he studied Southern literature with Louis Rubin and fiction writing with short story writer and novelist Max Steele and poet Jim Seay.

Wilson has worked for a variety of publications, including newspapers and magazines, prior to joining Wildlife in North Carolina. Wilson has won numerous national writing awards from the Association for Conservation Information, a peer group for state-agency magazines. Outside of his work, he spends most of his time pursuing trout with a fly rod in the North Carolina mountains, with no great success.

Excerpt from The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul

“A Sin of Omission” by Jim Wilson

I never told anybody, not until now, but it was my fault my dad shot our bird dog. It was an accident, but it was still my fault. I didn’t realize at the time I was to blame, that my sin of omission had brought Jo close to death one warm December afternoon at the edge of a cornfield in Granville County while I was off at college in Chapel Hill.

From the first moment I remember watching my dad reach into the game bag of his hunting coat and remove, one by one, half a dozen plump little bobwhites, I knew I would be a quail man. The realization was sudden and visceral, striking like true love or 190-proof liquor. This would be who I was. My dad handed me each bird, and I stroked their feathers. Each made good weight in my hand. He smiled when I pulled a bird to my nose and smelled it, inhaled that aroma of winter woods and earth and broom straw and decay, a fragrant essence hinting of wildness and cold and secluded dark places. What dog wouldn’t relish putting his nose down into that gravy?