Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sure, I am Southern, but drop the attitude...

This has been stuck in my craw for a while, so I need to get it unstuck.
There is, of course, a bit of a backstory...

Recently, I enjoyed brunch with a good writer friend at a small local eatery. Wonderful company. Of course we discussed our works-in-progress and an upcoming writers' retreat we attend each year. At the next table--inches away--a clutch of men of varying ages discussed books they were reading, or had read. Couldn't help but overhear.

Being the kind of person who often talks to strangers, I stopped by their table on our way out, to compliment them, as the future of the written word is important to me, as a fellow reader and author. The men smiled and nodded, pleased, I suppose.

I mentioned as an aside, that both my friend and I were authors. The youngest man--the one with the loudest opinions--asked what I wrote. When I replied "fiction set in the South," he leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. "I'd never read anything Southern." Mean tone. Snarky, huffed laugh. Judgment intended and received. He went on to further talk down this part of the country.

Those of you who know me well, know I am seldom at a loss for words. His comments stunned me mute for a beat. We managed to smile and wish them a good day. After my friend and I stepped outside, all I could manage was "wow."

As with such things, I thought of a handful of rebuttals afterward. How I might have listed notable Southern authors or somehow stood up for us, for myself. I am not one for conflict, being raised to step away from such. Given the current mood in our country, perhaps being able to zip it and walk away is in my best interest, not wanting to wake up dead.

So...here I sit with my indignation still simmering. I don't cotton to simmering indignation; it keeps me from moving on to more useful projects, like the current work in progress.

Just because I am from the South, do not EVER decide I am illiterate, racist, or narrow. Yes, there are things I do not like about this part of the country. But there is much to love, too. Biscuits. Big ones--catheads--with butter and Tupelo honey. Chicken 'n' Dumplings and pecan pie and pickled everything. Country roads carpeted with sugary sand. People who will nod and smile, and wish you a good day and mean it. People who'd rather pass the time on a rocking chair porch, shelling peas and listening to the crickets sing. People who will put down the dang phone and actually look you in the face. People of differing races and creeds who are doing their dadgum best to reach across the abyss and forge a better future.

I feel better now. I'll forgive, but being Southern, I probably won't forget. Somewhere down the line, in one of my novels, I shall get the last say.
Writers do that, you know.

Y'all have a good day.

Rhett DeVane
Southern fiction author
Rhett's website

No comments:

Post a Comment

Deep Thoughts, Bruises and All. First of all, Happy Holidays . No matter your outlook or what you celebrate, I wish you renewed ...