Commonplace

“Southern writers are asked over and over to try to account for the burst of creativity in the South during the twentieth century: Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor, Warren, Ransom, Percy, and so on. Usually they say things like ‘It’s because we lost the war.’ That is: failure produces more art than success. Or they say, ‘It’s because there is a still vital tradition of tale-telling in the South.’ But there is a larger answer, it seems to me. Our writers have been nurtured in the kind of network I’ve been speaking of. From early childhood people in a small town or stable country world lived with and were accountable to some form of the past. We all became fascinated, bemused, by the people we knew so intimately, by the subtleties of relationships, the moral ambiguities and choices, the need to understand and take into account behavior of other people—by character and fate.”

—Ellen Douglas, “Where Is Bynam Woods?,” Witnessing (2004)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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