My Photo

Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

America and the True Religion

Diane Rehm show of Weds June 29 was stellar, a three person panel on Marilyn Robinson's Gilead. The evening before I attended an Immigration panel discussion at Highlands UMC in Bham and was considering the True Religion in the context of Mark Noll's June 6 New Republic Review of Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt; and Dan Williams God's Own Party.
If you take Jesus and America serious you will search out the Noll Review.
In the discussion on NPR the pastor of the 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and a Right Reverend of the National Cathedral discussed the Civil War, Pentecost, an Abolitionist with One Eye, and a prodigal son who fathered a Mixxed race child before the Civil Rights movement.
Every human being is an aesthetic unto himself and his own civilization, and when embers catch fame, there is the Kingdom of God; but who has the courage to see it.
Read the book. Listen to the easily googled discussion at Diane Rehm show. Listen to Weds week ago when I called in on Clarence Darrow.

Copy and paste:

My nephew Andrew sang at the University Baptist Church near UVA yesterday. I txted my sister to take him to meet Bonhoeffer Biographer and my friend Charles Marsh; and to get a picture of themselves on the John Grisham pew at UBC. They visited Monticello today.
Momma never made it to Maine. But I think she woulda been proud of her patriot children; Jim Willie, Katie and Chad included. She was born on July 6, 1923
God Bless America.
P.S Where I bought gas today a young woman said True Religion Jeans will cost you about 253 bucks but she can ebay you a pair for around 60.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Trial of Joseph Brodsky

May 23 issue of New Yorker Magazine was a great one. Great story on Clarence Darrow that provoked my interest in last Thursday's NPR Diane Rehm show to which I called in. Found out Friday at least one person in Collinsville heard me on air.
Also short story The Trusty by my friend Ron Rash.
Couple days ago this part of the profile of Nobel Poet Joseph Brodsky registered with me. I hope some readers of my blog appreciate it and read the whole thing online, simple google search
Quoting New Yorker at some length:

mong the intelligentsia, it later be came a point of faith, if not exactly of pride, that the Soviet regime had intuited Brodsky’s greatness earlier than just about anyone. Loseff deflates this notion; in fact, he explains, the initiative for the arrest came from the head of a community-watch group; he had heard of Brodsky’s local fame and Brodsky happened to live within his jurisdiction in Leningrad. That was all. The Soviet regime stumbled onto one of the great prodigies in the history of the Russian language pretty much by accident.

Brodsky’s trial took place in two sessions, several weeks apart, in February and March of 1964; in between, Brodsky was confined to a mental hospital, where it was determined that he was psychologically fit to work. The trial was a farce, its outcome predetermined. “Trial of the freeloader Brodsky,” a sign outside the courtroom read, a little prejudicially. Inside, neither the judge nor the people testifying against Brodsky had any interest in his poetry. Brodsky, who remained unpublished, made what money he could doing translations, sometimes working from literal translations when he didn’t know the source language; his accusers wanted to know, among other things, how this was possible, and whether Brodsky wasn’t exploiting his collaborators on such projects. Much of the case turned on whether writing was a real job if it brought little or no income:

CITIZEN ACCUSER: We checked. Brodsky says he got 150 rubles from a job, but actually it was 37.
BRODSKY: That’s the advance! That’s just the advance! It’s only part of what I’ll get later.

Brodsky at the time was not yet twenty-four. His friend Rein recalls how the second session of the trial fell on Maslenitsa, or Butter Week, the traditional pancake-eating holiday in advance of Lent. Consequently, on the day of the trial, Rein and some other friends went to the restaurant at the Hotel European to eat pancakes. Then, at four o’clock, they went to the courthouse. Not everyone, in other words, had a sense of the gravity of the occasion.

Brodsky did. Throughout the short trial, he appears to have been serious, quiet, respectful, and firm in his conviction about what he was put on earth to do:

JUDGE: Tell the court why in between jobs you didn’t work and led a parasitic life style?
BRODSKY: I worked in between jobs. I did what I do now: I wrote poems.
JUDGE: You wrote your so-called poems? And what was useful about your frequent job changes?
BRODSKY: I began working when I was 15 years old. Everything was interesting to me. I changed jobs because I wanted to learn more about life, about people.
JUDGE: What did you do for your motherland?
BRODSKY: I wrote poems. That is my work. I am convinced. . . . I believe that what I wrote will be useful to people not only now but in future generations.
JUDGE: So you think your so-called poems are good for people?
BRODSKY: Why do you say of the poems that they are “so-called”?
JUDGE: We say that because we don’t have any other idea about them.

In the end, the judge sentenced the so-called poet to five years of exile and labor up north, to straighten him out.

Read more

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bronwen Dickey and Lake Jocassee

On Monday I had several email exchanges with Deliverance James Dickey's daughter, Bronwen, about her fascinating piece in current Oxford American Magazine about the communites at the bottom of Lake Jocassee in Oconee County, Upstate South Carolina.
It is the same territory Ron Rash write about in his grand novel One Foot in Eden, now in 6th or 7th printing in French.
I told Bronwen about grand time my Dad and I had watching the Bill Moyers interview of her Dad in late 70's. I was still in Gaffney, South Carolina at the time. Dickey told great story about fellow in Ball Ground, Georgia who had problems gettin his suit to fit him for the Easter Sunday parade.
Great story. I couldn't remember the fellow's name, but Bronwen emailed me back:

"Oh yes, I remember the "Robert Hall" suit story quite well. It closely mimics the process of revising stories, actually! "

Wish Gaffney's Willmon Wright were still with us so I could tell him. I emailed Bronwen back Dad worked for a Mr. Deedaubalier in Rome Georgia in the 40's in a clothing store, so story resonated with him.

Great exchange and an honor. She has great piece at her site on Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution, piece formerly published in Oxford American if you want to do some further reading.

Clarence Darrow, Bishop Willimon and KT Windham

My Conscience does not reproach me. Clarence Darrow's response to allegations he attempted to buy off the jury in the McNamara case at the turn of the Century.
I read the story first in the May 23 New Yorker article by Jill Lepore--incidentally same issue as great short story by my friend Ron Rash, The Trusty. Today I got on air nationally with a comment on NPR Diane Rehm show interviewing the author of new bio on Darrow by Farrell. My comment is in about the 25th minute if you want to google and listen.
I spoke of the similarity of Darrow's Father to the father of Hugo Black. Black's father was voted out of his Baptist church in Clay County, Alabama; obviously having an independent streak like the father of Darrow, an Abolitionist as Farrell reveals him in this new bio.
Also made brief comment about Rachel Held Evans of Dayton, Tn and her book Evolving in Monkeytown and the New Yorker story.

Catch all blog here with couple other items briefly noted.
Proud of UMC Bishop and Duke Chaplain Will Willimon for his grand statement on Alabama's Immigration Law. The SBC meeting in Phoenix last couple days had an interesting discussion as well.

And finally Two great folks in the Furman community died in the last few days. Former Presidnet Plyler's Wife, Bea; and Holocaust Survivor and great friend of several Furman presidents of the last 50 years, former Greenville Mayor Max Heller.
Great fellow who held no grudges, though Lee Atwater caught him in his sights in 78 US Congressional Race when Heller was backed by Furman President Blackwell.

Here in Alabama Kathryn Tucker Windham. Several great stories about her in NY Times and Anniston Star's Hardy Jackson.
Some of good friends were big fans, one who knew her well and was known to her.
I heard her talk once on a Sunday Afternoon in Bham about this time of the year on Shiftlessness.