Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Southern Writers

More Specifically, Mississippi Writers...

One thing that is undeniable about Mississippi (and the South) is that this state in particular and the South in general has produced some of America's greatest writers and literature. It says something about the contradictions that I hinted at in the header paragraph in Postcards from Mississippi. It is a complex, brooding, conflicted...place. And the fact that Mississippi ranks low on the quality of education belies this.

Available at Amazon
But this literary heritage and Mississippi's love of great writing, especially here in Columbus, Mississippi, is one of the reasons I chose Columbus as a place to live in my golden years (read that as becoming elderly, but I hope not mentally incapacitated).

I have time to read now that I'm retired, even though the last fifteen years of my working life at New Mexico State University and working for Amazon as an editor in my spare time kept me reading newbie writers, to the tune of well over five hundred books. But now I can choose which books I read.

I was at the Coffee House on 5th this afternoon, where I like to take my newspapers as I have coffee, and I ran across a small tidbit on the front page of the Commercial Dispatch. A Columbus writer, Michael Farris Smith, who has been compared to Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx will be reading from his works at the Columbus Arts Center this coming January 5th. I definitely plan to attend.

Michael Farris Smith: website
He will also talk about launching a Mississippi Writers series. In fact, I have a lot of local writers to find out more about, and I hope add such activities as readings to my other activities with the local writers' group, which will take place January 10 in the same location.

Some writers like to stop in small Mississippi towns as a way of paying homage to Mississippi's rich history. Earlier in the year I attended a reading at MUW and met the students in the MFA writing program. And I hope that when possible I learn about other visiting writers. Especially now that the weather is colder and turning my thoughts to reading and writing seems the natural thing to do during these dark, gray days and cold nights.

Even though it's not quite winter, yet, the temps have dropped, and a cozy, warm house makes me want to settle back in a comfortable chair and read, while sipping hot chocolate. But I go to the coffee house for such delights—because Ellie-Mae. My two girls would be gnawing the pages and smelling of the hot chocolate and more than likely start a wrestling game in my lap. They're only nine months old, and so I have to wait to enjoy such a liesurely activity as reading in a comfortable chair until they're sedate enough for me to do so. Right now, my lap is one of their favorite places to wrestle.

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