I Wish I’d Write in the Land of Cotton


“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”

– Flannery O’Connor

American author Flannery O’Connor was born on this day in 1925 (died 1964).

I need to read more of O’Connor’s works.

I’d like to think that someday I’ll be considered among the classic Southern writers.  I’ll never live to see that day, so I supposed I can die thinking that it could still happen.

I love living in the South.  I love being in the South.  And, I love writing about the South.

I’ve got three novels that I’ve completed.  All set in the South.  No, none of them are ready to be published.  But, they will be.

There’s just something about the South that non-Southerners just don’t understand.

It’s not just the sweet tea.  I’ve not intentionally had tea with sugar in nearly 30 years.  I don’t really even go for the artificial sweetener anymore.

And, trust me, I gave up on Bourbon even longer ago than that.

That’s not the point.

And no, it’s not just the war.  Although some of you would do yourself a lot of good if you studied history instead of snarking about the South.

Yes, I said that.

There’s just something about the style of Southern writers that I find appealing…

William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Truman Capote, and of course, Flannery O’Connor.

While other cities try to claim him, I’d also add Edgar Allan Poe to that list.  He certainly left his mark on Richmond.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever see my name listed among those authors. Well, unless I write the list.

But it’s the style.  The way with words.  That’s what I’m seeking.

I need to read more of each of those listed. And even more beyond that.

And I need to make some trips further south.  Charleston, Atlanta, Savannah, New Orleans.  I’ve been to most of those places, but I’d always like to go again.

If you’ve read here often enough, you know my dream is to live and write on a southern beach somewhere.  I’d be perfectly happy on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Then again, I wouldn’t snark at Florida or elsewhere on the Gulf Coast.

But for now, my writing is set in a small town in Southwest Virginia, where I grew up.  [See Change of Venue]

No, not my hometown.  A fictional hometown. It’s just safer that way. We all remember what happened to Alison Mackenzie.

‘Course, she wrote about Yankees.

Yeah, I went there.

O’Connor also said:

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

I love the South.


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