Writer Rose Himber Howse (Boston, Massachussets) dedicated her residency to editing and performing research for her novel, The Stones They Broke. In her novel, Howse parses the tension between progress, tradition, and gender norms in the contemporary rural South. She (literally) places the sexuality of the characters between rocks and hard spots, setting soft bodies and emotions in the landscape of an industrial mineral extraction site outside a small town. Howse was attracted to North Mountain in part because our location somewhat evokes the settings and themes of the story. As part of her research process, we went on a group field-trip to a nearby limestone quarry. We explored grounds, marveled at the machinery, and excitedly interviewed quarry employees about the site’s history, operations, and culture.

A native of the North Carolina Appalachian, Rose lives and works in Boston.