Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September in Columbus, Mississippi

Lots of fun, interesting, and thought provoking activities in September...

One of the reasons both Cliff and I were interested in Columbus, Mississippi, was that it appeared to have all sorts of cultural, historical, musical, and art activities. Columbus is one of the top ten downtown revitalization cities in the United States, and it shows. Downtown is like the downtowns of yesteryear, cars line the busy downtown streets from dawn until midnight, and it doesn't matter what day of the week. I knew I couldn't partake of all the activities when I first got here, and so in June I attended a fiddling concert at the arts council auditorium. I also joined the writer's group in June and have been going every second Tuesday since then...I'll get back to that in a minute.

But it looks like September and October really crank up the kinds of activities that will appeal to people of all ages. Already past was the 15th annual Tennessee Williams Tribute. There were plays, movies, workshops, and the Stella Shouting Contest. I attended the Stella Shouting Contest. It was free and held on 5th Street South in front of the Hollyhocks Gift Shop. People came for the event from almost every direction that afternoon before dusk began falling, and by the time the contest started at six p.m. both sides of the street were lined with people, around the corner in a kind of on-street patio, amid vendors and the music setup were more people. In just a little over three months, I actually knew some of the people who were attending the event. Hollyhocks Gift Shop has sponsored this event for many years, and it's one of the fun activities that bring people out. After that I ate dinner at J. Broussard's New Orleans Style Cuisine restaurant just two doors down, and I had a Cajun spiced chicken dish with New Orleans rice. If you live in Columbus, definitely plan to go to the restaurant, if you're not here, make it a must stop on your way through or as a destination point if you ever come visit.

I won't list all the events scheduled for September/October, but I do plan to attend the Possum Town Tales Storytelling Festival. Specifically, I plan to attend to hear Donald Davis, who is known as the Dean of Storytelling. He has received numerous awards and has performed all over the world. Possum Town (aka Columbus, MS) is lucky to have him for this fifth annual storytelling festival.

Along the Tom Bigbee River in Columbus, MS
Even though there's hardly any difference in the heat and humidity as we move past mid-September, I do find that the mornings are cooler and the afternoons are balmy enough to sit out on my front porch a little before sunset. My house looks south, and the porch is deep enough to escape the direct sunlight that lights up the front yard. But I can almost feel autumn coming on. I can see it in the yellow-tinged leaves of the trees; the grass has begun to go to sleep, not yet brown but not so brilliant green as it was at the beginning of the summer. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, and this will be the first time I have lived through the fall in the Deep South.

Back to the Writer's Group
The writer's group is gelling into quite an inspiring monthly activity. Last night, Tuesday the 13th, six of us exchanged samples of our writing that each of us is to edit, based upon our individual levels of understanding. It was nice that Dorris Brown, the moderator of the group, had asked me to work with the group for the editing exchange. And I was glad to hear several say they didn't want to wait a whole month to see how each of the writers would edit their work. I felt the same way. Although I've been a writer/editor for at least 35 years, it is always a pleasure to be edited by fellow writers. If I were actually conducting a writing workshop, of course, I would expand the editing samples to actual whole manuscripts from each of the writers, and the workshop would last six weeks, with one manuscript being edited and discussed each week. I just know we're going to learn a great deal from one another when we come back together in October with edited samples in hand.

I leave you with a Blues event on the Columbus Riverwalk...

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