Hawk’s Bill Crag in the Ozark Mountains – A spot in the Ozark Mountains that is 38 miles from my house. Hawk’s Bill Crag is at Whitaker Point, and Whitaker Point is one of the most beautiful spots along the Buffalo River—America’s first national river. In fact, it has been called One of the Most Scenic Spots in America.
While the Ozark Mountain region is not the Alps, it is a hilly-to-mountainous region, and in places, the terrain is downright steep. Although Hawk’s Bil Crag is only 38 miles away from me, the drive there takes at least an hour–in fact, it is more like an hour and a half’s drive for me to get to Hawk’s Bill Crag, and that is because the trek is so very steep. Yet, because I have loved Tuck Everlasting for such a long time, that is one of the first places I visited after I moved here. At least part of the movie Tuck Everlasting was filmed at Hawk’s Bill Crag. You see a bit of Hawk’s Bill in the official trailer of the movie.
In the very first scene of the movie Tuck Everlasting, Jesse drives through the modern town of Treegap, and the view of that town is almost a spitting image of the town square in Harrison, AR, where I currently live.
I took the photo above on the day that the rodeo came to Harrison one year.
I took the above photo of Harrison’s hometown square early on the 4th of July.
And I took the above photo of one of the bezillion creeks that trickle across the countryside where I live. In many ways,
I have moved to the Ozark Mountain Region, which is the embodiment of the setting of Tuck Everlasting. I live in a place where the woods and nature are the hub or the center of life, and the running creeks and waterfalls are the blood that rushes through its veins. I live in the heart of Tuck Everlasting, and I decided that this would be a perfect time to sing that song.
My picture book The Donkey’s Song will be released on September 20, 2022, and I want to do several things for the public to honor its publication.
The Donkey’s Song by Jacki Kellum – Published by Doubletree for Young Readers at Penguin Random House Kids. Release Date September 20, 2022
About a month ago, I decided that I would launch an online book club at least by the date of my book launch. I’ll be teaching a writing class at my local college this fall, too–the name of that class is Writing about Literature. To prepare for that class, I have spent the summer re-visiting some of my favorite writers. I agree with Natalie Babbitt that the best way to improve at writing is by reading.
I decided that a great way to celebrate my book release would be that of sharing some of the literature that has helped me along my writing journey. That is why I have launched the free Looking at Lit online book club. Tuck Everlasting will be the first novel that I’ll “look at” in the Looking at Lit Book Club.
Looking at Lit Book Club – A Jacki Kellum Free Online Book Club
Since Natalie Babbitt mentions the month of August in the first sentence of her book Tuck Everlasting, I decided that it is only appropriate that I begin sharing my thoughts about Tuck on August 1.
The fact that I live only 38 miles from one of the filming locations of the movie Tuck Everlasting is only icing on the cake.
The first lines of the movieTuck Everlasting are not the same as the first lines of the book:
“For some, time passes slowly. An hour can seem like an eternity. For others, there was never enough. For Jesse Tuck, it didn’t exist.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Although I have lived in the Deep South most of my life, I lived on the New Jersey Shore for the 18 years immediately prior my moving to the Ozarks. I believe that things happen for a reason or for several reasons. Having lived outside of the South for many years, I am abundantly aware now that I have moved back to a place where the clocks seem to have stopped, and I believe that timelessness in the Ozarks has made me love Tuck Everlasting even more.
As I begin my celebration of Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, I’ll be speaking from my heart about many things–including that of my current Ozark Mountain home.