Drawn initially to these images of displaced funeral bouquets as a distraction from his own grief, Joel Whitaker came to observe these abandoned flowers and sentimental ephemera as a necessary counterbalance to the somber etiquette of death, a reminder of the “impermanence of the original, well-planned, and ordered memorial.”
Every slight got raked into a sad little pile of hurt, which is why, I think, we both laughed with such obvious scorn whenever one of our acquaintances euphorically declared their marital friendship on social media. We laughed because we secretly wanted that friendship, too, and had given up believing it was possible in this particular marriage. But it was fine. Only a few more decades of this pathetic business and we’d be dead! It’s fine!
A Points South essay from the Fall 2018 issue.
The dock at Mountain Lake is everything a dock should be—whitewashed clapboard, punctuated by an airy pavilion with a red roof—but if you jumped off it, all you’d hit is earth. There is no water here. No puddles even. Just soil, sandstone, milkweed, sassafras, and the occasional pine sapling. Skirting the periphery of the lakebed, a belt of rhododendron holds back the woods. Jutting into a meadow as it does, the dock resembles a hitchhiker’s thumb. Well, I’m not needed here anymore. I might as well move on.
A Points South story from the Fall 2018 issue
In the evenings, after the day’s rain, my grandfather drove through Starke counting cars in the lots of other motels, doing the math and feeling like a winner. For guests visiting family members held in the nearby state prison, home of Florida’s electric chair, he offered a special rate, either out of sympathy or, envisioning the stream of customers who would return once a month, good business sense. (Probably both, my mother says.)
An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.
I listened to “Just Like You” by Keb’ Mo’ over and over again the same way I did when I was working at a coffee shop when I was in college. Keb’ is singing, “I feel just like you and I cry just like you and I heal just like you and I break down just like you,” and I'm wondering if people would actually live their lives differently if they listened to that song every morning before they went out into the world or interacted with other people.
The images in Michael Wriston’s project, Ask and it Shall Be Given to You, traverse the often unseen, rural corners of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, capturing the stillness and vivid life of small towns, their residents, and the land that holds them.
Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South is an unprecedented photography exhibition comprising fifty-six photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, it offers a composite image of the region. The project’s purpose is to investigate senses of place in the South that congeal, however fleetingly, in the spaces between the photographers’ looking, their images, and our own preexisting ideas about the region.
Anne Spencer’s ecosystem of art and activism
As I read, I fell in love with Anne Spencer’s fierceness and wit. In some ways, she reminded me of my own grandmother—a voluble woman, gardener, and scrawler of notes on the back of lists. Finding Spencer’s scraps, I felt the same sort of matriarchal literary presence amid the dailiness of domestic life: glimpses of how an ambitious, literary-minded woman might manage a house.