So the MTA won’t stop my morning drink & ride, which is a great development, but some Mondays I could snort a 10-ounce can of Café Bustelo and it still wouldn’t be enough to get me going.
Although the email and work backlogs aren’t much worse than usual, for the last week or so I’ve spent my days blinking like a toad at everything I should be doing. Please don’t take it personally if I’m late getting back to you.
Today, every self-repecting Southern college has itself an arts festival where Southern writers can be heard and where they are actually read and commented upon, and people in general see now that the type of serious Southern writer is no longer someone who leaves and can’t come home again, or someone who stays and is not quite appreciated, but someone who is a part of what he writes about and is recognized as such.
All this sounds fine, but while it has been happening, other ground has been shifting under our feet. I read some stories at one of the colleges not long ago — all by Southerners — but with the exception of one story, they might all have originated in some synthetic place that could have been anywhere or nowhere. These stories hadn’t been influenced by the outside world at all, only be the television. It was a grim view of the future. And the story that was different was phony-Southern, which is just as bad, if not worse, than the other, and an indication of the same basic problem….
Prophets have already been heard to say that in twenty years there’ll be no such thing as Southern literature. It will be ironical indeed if the Southern writer has discovered he can live in the South and the Southern audience has become aware of its literature just in time to discover that being Southern is relatively meaningless, and that soon there is going to be precious little difference in the end-product whether you are a writer from Georgia, or a writer from Hollywood, California.