Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting Ready for my Hattiesburg Adventure

A book club in Hattiesburg will be discussing one of my novels in August, and I have been invited to attend...

Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a lot closer to the gulf coast than Columbus, and on the phone map app, it looks almost like a straight southern shot to Hattiesburg from Columbus, but I have learned that I can depend on two things when it comes to actually driving from place to place in Mississippi: trees will line the highway and the roads will be somewhat curvy. I will only know which direction I'm headed by trying to see the sun in the sky.

I've never liked this cover, because
the story takes place in southern
New Mexico. This looks like an
northern NM mountain town.
But that is beside the point. I'm looking forward to hearing what book club readers have to say about my first novel, Common Sons, which is now twenty-seven years old. It's part of the "Common Threads in the Life" series, which developed as a result of wanting to write a single "sequel" to Common Sons.  If anyone reading this lives in Hattiesburg and wants to check out the book club, here is the address.

I'll be leaving early enough (the drive is almost two hundred miles) so that I can get there and drive around downtown and maybe try to find the historic neighborhoods of Hattiesburg. The town is approaching 50,000 people, with a metro area of over 140,000. In another post I said that Mississippi is really a rural state with only two cities over 50,000 people, but that's apparently not true in the southern part of the state. Also during my research of Hattiesburg, I realized that the bulk of Mississippi's population is in the lower third of the state, which leaves northern Mississippi deliciously under populated. Columbus is in northern Mississippi...but barely. It's also in the Mississippi Hills designated area, but once again, barely.

Hattiesburg is only an hour's drive from Gulfport, and when I go on August 6, I expect to encounter muggier weather than even here in Columbus. It was hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, and is well over the tornado prone average in the U.S. But it continues to grow. It is one of the best places to start a new business.

Hattiesburg is a historic town and the city takes its heritage seriously. There are five historic districts that come with provisions on remodeling and maintenance within those districts.  Once I get really settled, here in Columbus, I have a feeling I will be making the trek to Hattiesburg and the gulf coast, but methinks I will do that mainly during the late fall. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to my trip, coming up in just seven days.

Of course there is a body of water in Hattiesburg. There are bodies of water everywhere, which is one of the reasons I selected Mississippi. I will be writing a postcard titled "On the Road to Hattiesburg" once I get back from my day trip, there.

 If you're interested, its about as far from here to Hattiesburg as it is from Mesilla, New Mexico, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, maybe 50 miles less, so it's doable as a day trip, but I suppose spending the night and driving back the next day would be ideal. I can't do that, though, because I have my girls, Ellie and Mae. I already know they will plow through their cat food in a single day, and they'll be tapping their paws and looking at their iPhone clocks once the day passes into evening!

Part of the reason I am doing these postcards from Mississippi is to help seduce you into considering all that Mississippi has to offer, despite its reputation as a backward and conservative (ultra conservative) state. In many ways it is, but in many significant ways it is progressive and the people are friendly. That is one of the expectations I had that has so far not been proven wrong!

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