Saturday, July 11, 2009

Musings on a Saturday

Larry Brown, umcssc

Larry Brown has become a bit of an obsession for me. I've read Joe, On Fire, Billy Ray's Farm, and Facing the Music. I'm now on Fay, and enjoying it thoroughly. I want to watch the movie on him, The Rough South of Larry Brown. Something about his writing reminds me of my father and truthfully, he looks a bit like him too. The tone smacks of home for me.

Reading these books have sparked a few ideas for my own writing as well, and I can't help but hope I'm coming out of a long drought into a productive time. Where Brown speaks of riding around the truck with beers, dogs, sweating in Mississippi, I see coal mines, suburbs, the sprawl taking over the smaller Alabama towns, Church of Christ Sundays, and some sort of neo-South idea of who we are all in this new generation.

Someone recently told me he believed air conditioning revolutionized the South. I think it was the trauma of the 50s and 60s, the Civil Rights wounds, and the death of the small farm. And that none of us are doing better than our parents, which is every generation's hope. We're mired in structures and processes our government tells us that we have to operate in and under. We pay the cable, the power, the insurance, gas up the car, and at the end of the month, we have nothing left. We go to work five days a week and can't catch up. But at least we have a job in times like these, right? That's what you have to think.

My dream is to own a farm with livestock. To be able to do as people used to do. Grow their own vegetables, live their lives away from an urban sprawling commercial trying to feed us foreign-grown food and sell us cheap products. To retreat from what they keep telling me I need. All I need is my family and a place to live.

I just wanted to mention how much I adore this man and his writing. I'm stupid for him and unabashedly so. I hate he died so young and we weren't able to have more from him. Selfish, I know, but I think that if we had met one afternoon, in Oxford, we'd have a good time talking about Blue Mountain, fishing, and maybe we'd even play a song together. And he and Taylor would stand in Proud Larry's side by side and smoke cigarettes.


avant garde said...

i have to admit, i don't know much about him or his books, but you have me intriqued beyond words. enjoy your weekend. oh, and i love your idea of heading to a farm to live, away from the things of man. :)

Cabbage Babble said...

Thanks for the note. I hope you do check him out, he's a great new southern writer. Brad Watson, who wrote Heaven of Mercury, is great too.