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


Susan Cushman is a versatile writer of short stories, novels and essays. A native of Jackson, Miss., Susan’s efforts to embrace her cultural roots while exploring an unconventional spiritual path are reflected in essays such as “myPod,” “Burying Saint Joseph” and “Super-Sized Enlightenment,” which were all published in skirt! Magazine. Her essay, “Watching” (St. Katherine Review, Vol. I No. 2) chronicles her experience caring for her father, and later a dear friend, in the last days of their lives.

Susan’s essay, “Chiaroscuro: Shimmer and Shadow,” appears in the anthology Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality. Her feature-length piece, “Icons Will Save the World,” was published in First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life. Susan’s story of her Korean son’s search for his birth mother, “The Other Woman,” appeared inMom Writers Literary Magazine.

Susan Cushman was co-director of the 2013 Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference. She was director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop, co-director of the 2010 Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference (Oxford, Miss.) and a panelist at the 2009 Southern Women Writers Conference (Berry College, Rome, Ga.).

Susan is a six-year “alumni” of the Yoknapatawpha Summer Writers Workshop in Oxford, Miss. She currently lives in Memphis, Tenn.

Excerpt from The Shoe Burnin' Stories of Southern Soul

“Eat, Drink, Repeat: One Woman’s (Three-Day) Search for Everything” by Susan Cushman

Tuesday morning, 7:30 a.m. Paul Newman’s Special Blend Organic Decaf K-Cup goes into the Keurig brewer.  Eight ounces of steaming java flow into the white mug with the blue logo from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, on one side, and a quote fromWinnie the Pooh Goes Visiting on the other. Remember the scene where Pooh ate too much and got stuck in the hole in the tree, so he asked Christopher Robin to comfort him? Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness? Breathing in the full-bodied aroma from the handpicked Arabica beans, I stir in three packets of raw sugar until they completely dissolve and then add a quick pour of Land O’Lakes fat free half-and-half. Seventy calories and zero grams of fat. Not as sustaining as a Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, which I gave up after discovering that each grande Caramel Macchiato (withoutwhipped cream) has 240 calories and 7 grams of fat. With whip? Add another 5 to 11 grams of fat.


Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality

“In this rich collection, 20 writers ‘crossing faith, class and denomination’ have contributed essays on, among other subjects, growing up as a Jew in Tennessee, finding healing through art and Eastern Orthodoxy, calling God ‘Mama.”

Shelf Awareness

Circling Faith is a vital, welcome, eclectic and ecumenical collection, and an important addition to contemporary works exploring spirituality. To students of southern culture, women’s studies and contemporary American divinity and religious studies, this book will prove to be a valuable resource.”

—Melissa J. Delbridge, author of Family Bible


sb_-book_coverThe Shoe Burnin’ Stories of Southern Soul (2013)

Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (2012)