(bites fist)

August 8th 2008 by Donna Summer

I was born in the north of the US (Buffalo, NY) but raised in the southern US (Fort Mill, SC) and when I was a boy, I would have rather pulled out my own teeth than admit to being a “Sandlapper” (regional term for people from South Carolina). But as I got older I began to see the merits of the place, and by the end of College realized I fully loved being a southerner.  It’s a strange place, the American south, where the past used to be linked to the present not only in what seems like an older landscape than other places, but by the people themselves. Life was pretty slow down there for a long time, and people had a lot of odd tendencies, not necessarily shunned by the surrounding community.  It’s a region where hospitality and etiquette mix with racism; a place where there’s always some odd guy on the outskirts of town usually doing something creative and wonderful; a place baked by heat but alive because it too.  Of course the south even of my childhood has been bulldozed under in favor it empty suburban comforts (SUV culture) but the memories are still there.

So that makes it even more important to never forget one of the south’s most brilliant writers, Flannery O’Connor. She had a very short life and career, only publishing 2 novels and a hand-full of short stories and dieing at the age of 39; but boy, did they have an impact. She captured the slimy underbelly of a devout south in terms both picturesque and savage and did it with a sly, dark humor that makes you feel like a close friend.  If you never read any of her work, I highly, highly recommend it.

Accompanying this post is a track by Wade Nichols, a chopped and elaborated On The Road Again by Canned Heat. While it’s not really southern (Canned Heat - who are still around(!!) are from LA), you get that hot feeling, and well, it’s a hot day here in Berlin today, so yeah, close enough.

Wanda Road Again (Wade Nichols Edit).mp3 (direct link)

One Response to “(bites fist)”

  1. cunei4m

    Be sure to check out Carson McCullers as well if you need a fix of Southern culture. She completely embodies the South in her writing and her characters are so fully-developed that they seem as familiar as that next-door neighbor that you kind of think you know and talk to every once in awhile and speculate about their secret lives and contents of their cabinets but really have no idea and still call them “good neighbors” and “friendly” should anyone happen to ask about them or your new place. Tragic life and a true Southerner who had immense amounts of talent. (By the way…an easy way to tell if someone grew up in the South…is the capitalization of the word…and it’s totally warranted. Nothing is quite like that place…just a constant contradiction and juxtaposition of the extremes. Like bowling alleys…it’s at least 10 years behind, a time capsule, and truly a wonder to behold…something which has no parallel and has to be seen firsthand to believe.)

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