So, I wanted to create a blog post here as a reference point for friends of the Piney Tribe website, Facebook page, and Instagram. If you or a friend needs more information on what the Piney Tribe is, you could point to this post. And if you were seeking information on who the author of New Jersey’s Lost Piney Culture is and what the book is about, you could find it here. Please share and or contact us on Facebook or Instagram.
New Jersey’s Lost Piney Culture
The book New Jersey’s Lost Piney Culture is due out Monday January 25th, 2021. It will be sold in many of the major retailers like Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com. Author signed copies will also be available at many local retail venues. The image at the top of this post is the official front and back of the book published by History Press which is a subsidiary of Arcadia Press best known for the local town history books. We are hoping in 2021 to bring limited but safe distanced ‘Meet the Author’ events to a location near you.
Now about the book itself. I wrote it to give the definitive answer to what a Piney was and what a Piney is today. It tackles some sensitive subject matter of how the word Piney was once a derogatory term and how today many people wear it as a badge of honor. Throughout the book you get a glimpse into the Piney life many never fully understood, and you get a contemporary telling of how pop culture has influenced the people of South Jersey. Some of those rare oddities play out in short stories like the confession of a Piney mother who describes her alcohol-induced Jersey Devil sighting. Several New Jersey pop culture figures are mentioned in the book like, “Did you know the original Weedman of New Jersey was from Mt. Holly, not like that Cheech & Chong funny stuff?” And what’s the MTV “Jersey Shore” connection to a Piney and the continued propagation of that negative stereotype all about? Oh, and another little-known fun fact bet you didn’t know was that Pineys were the first to wear Chuck Taylor Converse shoes, or what the kids today call Chucks? Many of these stories are fading away, as the memories of those few remaining kin to tell the tale of those legends are dwindling.
Official Back Cover Blurb
“Deep within the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Piney people have built a vibrant culture and industry from working the natural landscape around them. Foraging skills learned from the local Lenapes were passed down through genarations of Piney families who gathered many of the same wild floral products that became staples of the Philadelphia and New York dried flower markets. Important figures such as John Richardson have sought to lift the Pineys from rural poverty by recording and marketing their craftsmanship. As the state government sought to preserve the Pine Barrens and develop the region, Piney culture was frequently threatened and stigmatized. Author and advocate William J. Lewis charts the history of the Pineys, what being a Piney means today and their legacy among the beauty of the Pine Barrens.”
It seems the best way these days is to produce good content and parse it out on the internet and on the various social media platforms. Social media has transformed how books are written and sold today in the 21st century. If you write a book you want people to read it but there are many obstacles to getting the story out. Social media is a great way to remove some of those obstacles and take the positive interactions and engagement from the public who follow you and turn that into greater storytelling and writing. Since writing the first book I’ve go on to develop a children’s book and a coloring book using the Piney Tribe Facebook page’s Unofficial Mascot Piney Joe. Also, several other promising book projects are in the works. All from listening to Piney Tribe fan page members in an open sharing environment.
At the Piney Tribe Facebook page, we have a set format and schedule of posts. All posts and opinions are solely those of the author William Joe Lewis (nothing political). They are distributed on a Banker’s schedule. Meaning one post by 9 am, possibly a pick-me-up post around lunchtime, and a 3rd post by close of business around 5pm. In between when creativity hits a random additional post may be lodged at the reader. Posts contain photography from the Pine Barrens, short 3 paragraph stories early in the day, and usually video clips are shared in the afternoon. There is a closed group called Piney Tribe Under the Radar where members are encouraged to post all things Pine Barrens. If you haven’t already join us by following along using our handle Piney Tribe both on Facebook and Instagram. All photography when used personally has no restrictions. Meaning if you wanted to take a photo that William Lewis took and paint it we encourage you to! If you want us to email you a higher resolution image and have it printed and framed for your home or office, we welcome it! Just don’t take advantage of our kindness by trying to profit from it.
As a writer, you want to create more than you imitate. And to be a writer you must write daily. Each of the various social media platforms provide opportunity to write and share photos. In addition, this website’s blog is another empty canvas waiting to be painted. We started a series of interviews hoping to highlight the diversity of the community that makes up the Piney Tribe. The series is named the 21st Century Pine Barrens Explorer. We publish it every two weeks on a Friday. You would be surprised by how many different people consider themselves Pineys and how differently each of them interacts with the Pinelands yet all share a deep love for the people and places within that 1.1 million acre national reserve.
“Travel with us on a quest to write untold stories and share joyous memories while we also create opportunity to make new ones. We have an official slogan- Piney Tribe Knows. Many of the stories and feelings our community members share would be forgotten if no one was around to listen. It is our attentive listeners who become in the ‘Know’. Much of the flora and fauna of the Pinelands is unique to the area and we seek to educate ourselves and when we do we become in the ‘Know’. Our slogan and many of the images contained in the various book projects can be attained on Piney Tribe fan merchandise. Hopefully soon our storefront will be hosted on our website but currently we use bonfire.com as our apparel company. So become a fan today!”Yours truly William Lewis