Tag: Let’s Talk Jackson (Page 1 of 7)

Johnny Be Good: 3 ‘John’ Books You Have Probably Heard About

“John” is one of the most common names in the English language.

Go, Johnny, Go

Go, Johnny, Go

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that some of book publishing’s hottest commodities share the same cognomen. Two of the books I’m about to talk about were written by a John and published in October, and the other one a John is responsible for and, while not quite new, would make a great gift this holiday season.

John Green, in addition to appearing to YouTube on the Vlogbrothers and Crash Course channels, is responsible for some of this generations most memorable YA titles, such as Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and the ubiquitous The Fault in Our Stars. The latter two were made into movies, so you’ve probably heard of his works even if his name isn’t familiar. After a five-year publishing hiatus, Green returns with his new novel, Turtles All the Way Down.

turtles all the way downTurtles All the Way Down tells the story of Aza Holmes as she hangs out with her over-the-top friend Daisy, is awkwardly romanced bt her childhood friend Davis Pickett, and searches for clues as to what happened to the missing, tuatara-obssessed, shady local billionaire Russell Pickett (who also happens to be Davis’s father). Meanwhile, Aza struggles to live her daily life while continuously caught in her “thought spirals,” which is her shorthand for explaining the will-destroying nightmare that living with obsessive-compulsive disorder can be.

While Turtles has a touch of romance (and only a fraction of the turtles promised by the titles), it is far less melodramatic than the teenage cancer star-crossed romance that The Fault in Our Stars was perceived by some to be. Aza and her illness are thoughtfully represented by Green, who suffers from OCD himself. Although your mileage may vary, I also highly enjoyed the madcap levity that best friend Daisy provides. It’s an evolution in his writing, but still definitely a John Green work that both long-time fans and hopefully some new readers will really appreciate.

rooster barSpeaking of madcap hi-jinks, John Grisham released his second mystery novel for adults this year (Camino Island, an intensely readable Fitzgerald manuscript heist, came out in June). This book, The Rooster Bar (which has even fewer roosters than the previous book had turtles) tells the story of three low-rent law students moving from scam-to-scam in the wake of a tragic suicide of a friend and in the shadow of impending student loan debt and professional misery. Friends Mark, Todd, and Zola stop studying for the bar exam, attempting to practice law out of an actual bar on the far side of Washington D.C. from the substandard, for-profit law school they just dropped out of so they can attempt to hustle legal fees in traffic court and hospital cafeterias. They also use information left behind from their lost friend to (hopefully) nail the guy at the top of the disgusting-but-not-actionable law school scheme.

The Rooster Bar has one of those grand conspiracies that has become a Grisham hallmark, but those who seek to uncover it are not out for justice; they’re out for themselves. They not only skirt the rule of law; they barely seem to understand its intricacies. But, hey, when you enroll at a law school called Foggy Bottom, you deserve what you get. Plenty of rich atmospherics highlight a book that combines the the scheming of The Brethren with the delicious sleaziness of Rogue Lawyer. Both the plot and the main characters end up in a place you’d least suspect.

As for the final book I’d like to talk about, I can only repeat a familiar refrain: let’s talk Jackson. Ken Murphy’s luscious photography dominates the book, but I can assure you that it would not exist without the will and insistence of Lemuria owner John Evans.

JXNLAMAR-2TI’ve lived in the Jackson area all my life, and I love this city. I’ve spent a lot of time in Belhaven, Fondren, Downtown, the Interstate corridor, and parts all over. I find something new to love all the time, or  I rediscover a spot once visited that tugs me back into the past. Although the Jackson this book captures is frozen in the specific period of 2013-14 (here’s a neat trick: compare the Lemuria cover to the view from a half-flight up Banner Hall’s staircase and see what noticeable feature is flipped), there’s a timeless quality to the sense of place the photographs capture. Murphy’s beautiful, mostly depopulated photos allow us to imagine ourselves among the beautiful scenes of the city we share, in both memory and possibility. If you haven’t already checked out one of Jackson books, a Lemuria exclusive, I highly encourage you to do so.

Let’s Talk Jackson: Pat’s blog-not edited

Sometime back, around 1996, Willie Morris emceed a dog show and adopt-a-thon right in Banner Hall’s own Lemuria Bookstore. 10 dogs with colorful bandanas sashayed over the green carpet to the easy crooning of our dear Willie, a ham of a performer and a dog-lover himself. Most of the dogs got adopted that day, and mostly to the employees. It was a feel-good event for everyone and for dogs sheltered at the city of Jackson Animal Shelter, located across WLBT at the time (now located at 140 Outer Circle).

WilliePete-720x480

It’s amazing how much sheltering and rescuing is going on around this city. Jackson has two no-kill shelters, CARA and ARF. Then we have the Mississippi Animal Rescue League in a beautiful almost new building housing everything from dogs and cats to pigs, birds and horses or anything else brought their way. Of course, there is my own volunteer group, Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter, the support group for the city pound or City of Jackson Animal Shelter. There is Cheshire Abbey, a foster and rescue group without a building of its own. And if you go to www.petfinder.com, you will find quite a few small groups doing what they can to save specific breeds. It’s totally amazing how many more animals are being saved due to these shelters, the tireless volunteers, the individuals who pick strays up off the streets, vet them and find them homes.

My favorite phone calls are those that go like this: “I’m looking for a dog for my mother who lives alone or for a family whose kids are looking for a four (or three) legged best friend”. It’s a heartwarmer to see a family meet their new best friend at the city shelter on Sunday afternoons when all the volunteers are there from 1 to 3, washing, bathing, playing with, feeding dogs and cats. And the volunteers keep coming, new ones every week. The fellowship is extraordinary.

So talking about Jackson to me is sharing the good news that homeless furry friends stand a much better chance of a second chance than they did, say, just 10 years ago. There’s still a lot to do. And doing it together gathers so many people of all races and ages throughout our city. All for the love of dogs. . .and cats, too.

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Handsome Caesar is one dog that constantly has us scratching our heads. From his cuddly demeanor to his silly prancing, he is one of the most charming dogs at ARF. Unfortunately, he has also spent every day of his life – NEARLY EIGHT YEARS – sitting in the confines of a shelter pen. Caesar was born in February 2007, in the midst of chilling cold spell. His mama was a street dog, but she was resourceful: the pups were delivered under the hull of a boat at the Jackson Yacht Club! Two of the four puppies born that winter day have been adopted, but Caesar and his brother, Augustus, remain at ARF. Caesar is an active pup who is full of curiosity; the way he prances around the play yard with his tail curled high reminds us of a show pony! Despite his silliness, there’s no forgetting his handsome, regal face. He is good with dogs, good with people, and good to cuddle at all times. With many years left, this bright-eyed, medium-sized (~40 lbs.) dog is ready for a home NOW. He’s been a joy to have at ARF, and loved his volunteer walks and play time, but it’s time for Caesar to find a new home — help us find one for him today! For more information, call 769-216-3414.

It’s not too late to give a home to an animal who needs some love this Christmas!

Written by Pat

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com.

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: A Homecoming

Written by Mary Sellers

I recently returned to Jackson after having gone to college and subsequently staying an extra year in Oxford, MS. It was a strange return—I remember crying on the way home because of the empty room I was leaving behind, the memories that seemed to cease their glitter as soon as I removed all of my pictures from the walls. The room was bare, and I could see the thumbtack spots from my posters, the dust that had collected in the corners like small, grey clouds, my roommates’ faces.

But I moved, because deep down it was the right thing to do. I needed a fresh start because I wasn’t growing anymore in Oxford. I’d become stilted and a little depressed, and however much I still miss it, even now, it was just my time.

I was afraid of Jackson. Having grown up here, gone to school, and left, I never thought I’d be returning. Two years ago I would have literally laughed in your face. I’m only here for a year (well, that’s the plan, at least), but I was nonetheless terrified of losing myself, of becoming someone who I’d hate, who my Oxford self would hate. But instead, I found the warmth of friends, and for the entire first month, reconnected with some of my oldest acquaintances. I went to dinner, got lost in new places, and generally spent way too much money. But it was something I needed—a re-connection with the place I’d grown up in but never really experienced as an adult. It’s a completely different thing being old enough but young enough to enjoy the new Jackson. Luckily, I’m right in that sweet spot.

And to my surprise, it’s incredibly fun. The Fondren area in particular is astoundingly cool; the restaurants are innovative and young adult-friendly; the bars here give a few of my Oxford favorites a run for their money, even. I’ve embarrassed myself at Karaoke, I’ve gone to a street concert series, and I’ve sipped margaritas on the porch of Babalu, surrounded by people that I respect and admire. It’s a warm place, and vibrant, too.

Fondren Corner_DSC0934

I live alone, which I’ll admit has been an adjustment. But I wouldn’t trade my location for anything. I can skip across the street to McDade’s at any point during the day, which feels strangely nostalgic—I’ve never been able to walk to the grocery store before. The cashiers are coming to recognize me, even greet me, and I them. I take advantage of the plethora of coffee shops that are scattered around town. As a writer, I welcome a nice office filled with the nutty aroma of coffee beans and subdued keyboard typings. At night, I sit outside in my porch chair and listen to the shocking collection of cicadas around my house.

It’s still an adjustment, but I’m glad to say that Jackson is feeling more and more like home each and every day. It’s taken time, but thanks to a strong support group of friends, and my own desire to rediscover my hometown for all that she’s worth, I think I can finally say that I’m trying for happy.

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. Ken Murphy will be at Lemuria on Tuesday, December 23 at 11:00 to sign and personalize copies of Jackson. Don’t miss it! 

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: Building Castles between here and New Orleans

Written by Jim Pathfinder Ewing 

Meeting Katy Simpson Smith at a book signing and reading at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, I was immediately captivated by her infectious smile, her sweet presence, her unassuming grace. She seemed baffled that her first book, The Story of Land and Sea, had excited such interest in the book world.
As the publisher HarperCollins describes it: Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, the novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave—characters who yearn for redemption amid a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.
But it’s much, much more.
It was happenstance that I was at Lemuria at all, much less buying her book. I had stopped by to have some signed first editions put in mylar so they might wear better on the shelf, and Adie and Maggie who work there, asked me if I was coming to the signing. What signing? I asked.
They told me about this young writer, 28, who grew up in Jackson and was making waves with her debut novel. In Jackson? How could I not know her? So, I bought the book and stayed, and was the first person to greet her when she arrived. We chatted and I thought, hmmm, sweet lady.
Little did I know that the surface of this woman was like the ocean she described — smiles and laughter like jumping fish and mermaids — covering unfathomable depths where leviathans live unceasing and unknown.
Once I picked up the book, I was hooked.
Lyrical, poetic, masterful, each page is a delight. I found myself not worrying about the plot, each page its own reward. My thoughts about the book became a barely conscious narrative itself: 
 
I don’t want it to stop. She skirts through the puzzles of people’s hearts like sure fingers on combination locks, first left, then right, then left again, releasing understandings that roll through me like waves. 
Young and old, they are all the same: transparent to her in magical ways. I am mesmerized as the pages glide by, getting my sea legs in this voyage of discovery. I cannot put the book down.
As the chapters flow, and I take breaks now and then, to rest, recuperate, gather myself. I plunge back again and again; from sea to land, from land to sea, taking deep breaths, from a gathering intelligence of who is who and how, to knowing I was unknowing, only thinking I knew. I gasp as each chapter forms a sea change in the facets revealed about each character. 
In the first chapter, my feet on solid ground, I don’t like Asa, the grandfather. He’s a hateful, self-righteous man, through his clinging to religion. In the next, I see him as a young man, and my heart breaks for him; I am him. How did that happen? And I hate Helen, the mother, his daughter, for her cold, callous pretension; even, as before, I had felt the husband’s and the granddaughter’s longing and loss for her. Now, I see, I had only seen her as a ship on the horizon, her gallant sails, the dim outline, defiant and wonderful as she sailed into the golden sunset of memory. But wait! What’s this! Quick as a riptide, the roles change again. Helen, the mother, in love; Asa turning, turning … into what he will become.
We delve deeper and deeper, exploring, finding, shifting, changing.
As the pages turn and mount, I grow fearful the book will end, and where will I be? On sea or land? 
 
Now, having made the voyage, I am spent; in awe and slightly resentful. Like the father, a privateer, she has stolen my admiration. It’s a prize hard won. Enduring.
Since I met her at the book signing, and sat with her, and conversed, and heard her speak to an audience, I wonder: How can someone so young, this author, fathom so many diverse people, and present them in all their mystery and unconscious revelation?
I think back to the photo I took of her, so full of life and easy laughter; how can such depth of knowledge reside there? Her bright face, her youthful demeanor, are like the book’s cover: beautiful, well crafted, but the inner pages tell a different story: of love and loss, poignant hopes and crushing realities. Unless you take the time to hear her words in your own mind, you will never know certain secrets that are universal, hidden in your own heart.
It is a joy and a wonder to have a Jackson author of such talent. She could live and write anywhere. But she doesn’t, building her castles between here and New Orleans.
I look forward to her next book, on land, sea or air.
Here’s a story about her in the New Orleans Times-Picayunehttp://www.nola.com/books/index.ssf/2014/08/katy_simpson_smith_grabs_natio.html
Jim PathFinder Ewing has written six books, published in English, French, German, Russian and Japanese. His latest is “Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating” (Findhorn Press, 2012). His next book — about which he is mysteriously silent — is scheduled to be released in Spring, 2015. Find him on Facebook, join him on Twitter @EdiblePrayers, or see his website,www.blueskywaters.com

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: Building Castles between here and New Orleans

Written by Jim Pathfinder Ewing 

Meeting Katy Simpson Smith at a book signing and reading at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, I was immediately captivated by her infectious smile, her sweet presence, her unassuming grace. She seemed baffled that her first book, The Story of Land and Sea, had excited such interest in the book world.
As the publisher HarperCollins describes it: Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, the novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave—characters who yearn for redemption amid a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.
But it’s much, much more.
It was happenstance that I was at Lemuria at all, much less buying her book. I had stopped by to have some signed first editions put in mylar so they might wear better on the shelf, and Adie and Maggie who work there, asked me if I was coming to the signing. What signing? I asked.
They told me about this young writer, 28, who grew up in Jackson and was making waves with her debut novel. In Jackson? How could I not know her? So, I bought the book and stayed, and was the first person to greet her when she arrived. We chatted and I thought, hmmm, sweet lady.
Little did I know that the surface of this woman was like the ocean she described — smiles and laughter like jumping fish and mermaids — covering unfathomable depths where leviathans live unceasing and unknown.
Once I picked up the book, I was hooked.
Lyrical, poetic, masterful, each page is a delight. I found myself not worrying about the plot, each page its own reward. My thoughts about the book became a barely conscious narrative itself: 
 
I don’t want it to stop. She skirts through the puzzles of people’s hearts like sure fingers on combination locks, first left, then right, then left again, releasing understandings that roll through me like waves. 
Young and old, they are all the same: transparent to her in magical ways. I am mesmerized as the pages glide by, getting my sea legs in this voyage of discovery. I cannot put the book down.
As the chapters flow, and I take breaks now and then, to rest, recuperate, gather myself. I plunge back again and again; from sea to land, from land to sea, taking deep breaths, from a gathering intelligence of who is who and how, to knowing I was unknowing, only thinking I knew. I gasp as each chapter forms a sea change in the facets revealed about each character. 
In the first chapter, my feet on solid ground, I don’t like Asa, the grandfather. He’s a hateful, self-righteous man, through his clinging to religion. In the next, I see him as a young man, and my heart breaks for him; I am him. How did that happen? And I hate Helen, the mother, his daughter, for her cold, callous pretension; even, as before, I had felt the husband’s and the granddaughter’s longing and loss for her. Now, I see, I had only seen her as a ship on the horizon, her gallant sails, the dim outline, defiant and wonderful as she sailed into the golden sunset of memory. But wait! What’s this! Quick as a riptide, the roles change again. Helen, the mother, in love; Asa turning, turning … into what he will become.
We delve deeper and deeper, exploring, finding, shifting, changing.
As the pages turn and mount, I grow fearful the book will end, and where will I be? On sea or land? 
 
Now, having made the voyage, I am spent; in awe and slightly resentful. Like the father, a privateer, she has stolen my admiration. It’s a prize hard won. Enduring.
Since I met her at the book signing, and sat with her, and conversed, and heard her speak to an audience, I wonder: How can someone so young, this author, fathom so many diverse people, and present them in all their mystery and unconscious revelation?
I think back to the photo I took of her, so full of life and easy laughter; how can such depth of knowledge reside there? Her bright face, her youthful demeanor, are like the book’s cover: beautiful, well crafted, but the inner pages tell a different story: of love and loss, poignant hopes and crushing realities. Unless you take the time to hear her words in your own mind, you will never know certain secrets that are universal, hidden in your own heart.
It is a joy and a wonder to have a Jackson author of such talent. She could live and write anywhere. But she doesn’t, building her castles between here and New Orleans.
I look forward to her next book, on land, sea or air.
Here’s a story about her in the New Orleans Times-Picayunehttp://www.nola.com/books/index.ssf/2014/08/katy_simpson_smith_grabs_natio.html
Jim PathFinder Ewing has written six books, published in English, French, German, Russian and Japanese. His latest is “Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating” (Findhorn Press, 2012). His next book — about which he is mysteriously silent — is scheduled to be released in Spring, 2015. Find him on Facebook, join him on Twitter @EdiblePrayers, or see his website,www.blueskywaters.com

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: Heat, Redfish, and Regret

Written by Matthew Guinn, a Jackson native and author of the Edgar Allen nominated book The Ressurrectionist. The following selection is a part of an upcoming essay collection titled 601. 

I came to Mississippi hoping to be a writer. I was just out of the University of Georgia, where I had read Larry Brown and been floored by his lyrical naturalism, and of course I was aware of the others—that grand pantheon running back to Faulkner and kept alive in that present day of 1992 by the likes of Larry, Barry, Steve Yarbrough, Richard Ford. Eudora Welty and Shelby Foote were still alive, and there were others to come: Tom Franklin, Cynthia Shearer, Donna Tartt. The concentration of literary talent was incredible.

Athens, Georgia, had that kind of artistic brilliance, but in music. The B-52s and R.E.M. had put the town on the map, and Widespread Panic was building its momentum; we used to go see them monthly at the Georgia Theater. I remember when ticket prices went up, from $3.50 to $4, some suspected that Panic had sold out.

It wasn’t too uncommon to cross paths with these musicians. Kate Pierson and Michael Stipe still lived in Athens then, and you might pass them on a streetcorner downtown, or shopping in Wuxtry Records, where the guitarist for Guadalcanal Diary worked. But Athens had a code regarding its celebrities: it was absolutely verboten to approach them. It was understood that you could perhaps nod in passing, but to speak would be a breach of decorum, and to engage one of these luminous talents in conversation would be downright gauche.

So perhaps you can imagine how I felt when, in the fall of ’92, in Jackson for the first time, with my soon-to-be fiancée and in-laws, eating at the Mayflower, I realized that the man at the table behind ours was Willie Morris. There, with a female companion and a brown-bagged bottle on the table, sat the former editor of Harper’s, the man who wrote North Toward Home and The Courting of Marcus Dupree. Eating broiled redfish like the rest of us.

“Don’t look,” I said, “but Willie Morris is at the next table.”

My future father-in-law looked over his shoulder—brazenly—at the table. Willie caught his eye and the two nodded to one another. “You should go talk to him,” my future in-law said. “Since you want to be a writer.”

I didn’t. Could not bring myself to interrupt his meal, to barge in, to impose on his time. I wouldn’t have in Athens and didn’t think I could in this new locale.

Mayflower_1_CMYK_DSC8376

What I didn’t realize at the time was just what it meant that Willie was a Mississippian, and a Jacksonian to boot. I hadn’t yet come to understand that in this new, strange terrain—with its flat vistas and searing temperatures—good manners took precedence over all else, that Mississippi holds itself to a higher standard of social graciousness than anywhere else. That Willie would have obliged me with a few minutes of his time—would likely even have asked me a few questions about myself.

I’ve come to suspect over the years—this has been my fourteenth Mississippi summer—that the heat has something to do with it. That manners do indeed, as Flannery O’Connor said, save us from ourselves. As though without them to hold us in check, we’d all snap from the heat index come July and August. And by September, we’d be down to the last Jacksonian standing.

God knows how much I could have learned from Willie Morris, how much a single conversation might have helped me with craft, tone, rhythm. In time, in Oxford, I would come to know Larry Brown. And find that he was a kind and generous man who made time to advise and help younger, struggling writers. That some unspoken standard obliged him to do it. I know now that Willie held himself to the same standard.

But I would never get to know Willie. Years later I was on a flight to Jackson from Atlanta with my squalling infant son on my lap, crying the entire trip. I’d shaken William Styron’s hand in the aisle when we boarded. I was thinking the entire flight, I hope Styron doesn’t put me together with this crying—I have aspirations to a writing career. Then, when we landed, I met Richard Ford at the baggage claim. From the same flight. Incredible. Staggering. Jackson.

They were flying in for Willie’s funeral. Too late to introduce myself, as I should have, that night in ’92, in the Mayflower. I could have. But I did not realize it at the time. Did not know, then, that Mississippi is that kind of place, that Jackson is that kind of a town.

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. 

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: The Medgar Evers Historic House

Written by Minnie Watson, curator of the Medgar Evers Historic House

For those visiting Mississippi, Jackson is fast becoming the most popular place to be in terms of good food, great entertainment, wonderful historical sites to see, and fantastic service–all delivered with warm welcomes and friendly smiles. How do I know this? Well, this is what I hear on a daily basis from tourists who visit the Medgar Evers Historic House. No matter what state or country they call home, they tell me, “People in Jackson are some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. Everybody speaks to you, give directions as to the best places to eat, shop and sites you need to visit.” They usually end their comments with “This is my first time in Jackson but it certainly won’t be my last.” I simply smile and say, “We’ll welcome you with open arms and a big smile.” When the Medgar Evers’ Historic House opened its doors to visitors some 17 years ago, one could not have not imagined nor understood the impact that this modest house, home to Medgar, his wife, and their three children, would have not just on Jackson and Mississippi, but the entire world.

MedgarEversHm_DSC6166_CMYK

As curator of this Historic House, it has been my pleasure to welcome visitors from basically every State in the United States and other countries as well as. I cannot tell you the impact that this position has had in my life. People come to see where “Medgar Wiley Evers, Field Secretary for the Mississippi NAACP, lived and died.”  Contrary to what they may have heard about Mississippi in general and Jackson in particular, while  visiting the House they get a chance to see the South, Mississippi, and Jackson through my eyes and experience, as one who has lived in Mississippi all of my life.  We share experiences, both good and bad, that happened during our growing up in a world perplexed with many problems. We usually come to the agreement that no matter what state we lived in, problems existed then and still do in some form or fashion. The difference, perhaps, is how we dealt and/or deal with the problems. As curator, I cannot tell you how many repeaters I have welcomed to Jackson and to the Evers House. As time goes on, I am sure there will be many, many more in the future. After all, Jackson’s “Welcome Mat” is always out and the Medgar Evers Historic House doors are always open.

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. 

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: St. Paddy’s Day Parade

Jim PathFinder Ewing has written six books, published in English, French, German, Russian and Japanese. His latest is “Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating” (Findhorn Press, 2012). His next book — about which he is mysteriously silent — is scheduled to be released in Spring, 2015. Find him on Facebook, join him on Twitter @EdiblePrayers, or see his website,www.blueskywaters.com

 

IrishGirl_CMYKIt’s huge now, but back in ‘82 or thereabouts, the germ of what would become Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade had an unlikely start as the brainstorm of, um, shall we say, a handful of “happy” people at the old George Street Grocery. A bunch of Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News folk were sitting around and somebody – Orley Hood? Lolo Pendergrast? Raad Cawthon? — said: “You know, we ought to have a parade.”

Everybody thought that was a swell idea to just jump into their cars and go downtown whooping and hollering. Since at the time I had an MG convertible, they tried to get me to join the “parade,” so they could sit on the back with the top down and wave at people, but I had been “visiting” there for a while and didn’t want to get pulled over by police. They went on without me, circling the Governor’s Mansion, the Clarion-Ledger building, and other sites of interest, and came back all happy and boisterous — and thirsty for more liquid inspiration.

I don’t know if Malcolm White counts that as the first parade or not. But after that, the parade became a real event with several of the same characters involved. By the way, the chief of security at the bar was none other than longtime sheriff Malcolm McMillin, who was a moonlighting Jackson police officer at the time; so I guess you could say, he was in on it, too.

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. 

Let’s Talk Jackson: Thinking about one’s thinking

As I thumbed through Ken Murphy’s Jackson book, I was initially confused at the photo for Millsaps.  While I was a student there, the observatory wasn’t used often.  Occasionally, a campus-wide email would announce that the observatory would be open for viewing some lunar/ stellar/ otherwise spacey event, but I never managed to show up.  And when I think of Millsaps, my iconography of the college revolves around other structures:  the Christian Center, the Academic Complex, the bell tower.

Millsaps Observatory best_DSC2375

I didn’t understand Ken’s reasoning behind the observatory being the representative image of the college.  But, since I have an English degree from Millsaps, I thought.

At the risk of sounding too metacognative, I thought about all of the thinking I did while I was there.  [Metacognative:  thinking about one’s thinking.  A word I learned at Millsaps.]  One of the texts I read my freshman year was Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” (thank you, Dr. Wilson) in which the philosopher challenges the idea that seeing something means it is absolutely true.  When the poet John Milton met Gallieo, Milton’s understanding of what is versus what he could see was expanded beyond his own failing eyesight (thank you, Dr. Page).   Despite my status as a WASP male, I was able to read and understand writers like Alain Locke (thank you, Dr. Smith) and Toni Morrison (thank you, Dr. MacMaster) and Palo Frerie (thank you, Dr. Middleton).  I was introduced to Eudora Welty’s writing, and her stories have stuck with me like a kind memory (thank you, Dr. Marrs).  With my minor in secondary education, I was given insight into the way students learn best (thank you, Dr. Schimmel, Dr. McCarty) and how to effectively transmit instruction to them (thank you, Dr. Vaughn, Dr. Garrett).  I learned to see both broadly and tightly, to make connections between ideas and people that, at first glance, might be worlds apart.  There is only one story that’s been written over and over and over again, and that story is the weird journey of humanity (thank you, Dr. Miller).  So many of my professors forced me to think about things I had never considered, to look at things in a way that wasn’t easy or natural for me, and to understand that my view of the world isn’t the only way of seeing things.

It turns out, Ken was right.  Observatories allow us to look beyond ourselves, to see what we normally wouldn’t be able to, just like Millsaps did for me.

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. 

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: We got here as soon as we could

Written by Richard D. deShazo, MD, a Billy S. Guyton Distringuished Professor, and professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University Medical Center. Dr. deShazo hosts a weekly radio health and wellness show on MPB stations throughout the state called “Southern Remedy”. 

We came to Jackson and the University of Mississippi Medical Center after having lived in many other locations; including Washington, DC, Denver, CO, Birmingham and Mobile, AL, as part of my career as a physician educator, administrator, and researcher. The first thing we noticed about Jackson was the extraordinary hospitality of strangers we received at almost every turn. My wife was startled when she was tapped on the back by a stranger in the grocery store while she was searching for a grocery item. When she turned, fearing she was going to be accosted as would have been the case in other locations, she was met with a big smile from another customer who said, “Honey, can I help you find something? I have been shopping here forever.” This was something we had never experienced. When we visited churches, we felt welcome in every one immediately.

One of our initial roles was to recruit new faculty to UMC, and during the time I was a department chair here, we assisted over 60 new families in coming to Jackson to serve in various medical roles at UMMC. Their experiences were always similar to ours, and we never feared sending them into the community for a sampling of what life was like here because they were always pleasantly surprised.  It was easy to recruit people to jobs at UMMC once we got them here to see what a great place Jackson is to live.

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As each day goes by, we discover new, interesting things about Mississippi. The convenient location and the hospitality and diversity of folks in the Delta, the pinelands, the coast, and of course, the greater Ole Miss community in the northeast are unique to our state. As the saying goes, our family was not born in Mississippi, but we got here as soon as we could.

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com. 

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