I've been in a melancholy, pensive mood this week. When I feel this way I like to listen to sad music. When I'm sad I like to feed the feeling I suppose. Gosh, when I feel this way I like to feed myself. I've been remembering things, things that make me sadder, but things that have shaped who I am today.
While driving home listening to sad music and thinking my sad thoughts I began to muse about Southern writers and soul food. Southern writers seem to have more to say about life, happy or sad than almost any others. Their writing feeds your soul. It is rich with the gravy of life and love.
We know we've come home to where we're known best when we read Lee Smith. We feel part of a genuine community when we read Fannie Flagg. William Faulkner is a visit to the psychiatrist's couch for a look into the psyche (although no Southerner worth her salt would ever let anyone know she needed THAT type of help). We finish a Tennessee Williams' story knowing we are not the most dysfunctional family in the neighborhood. Dorie Sanders writes wise fairy tales of simple dreams come true. Harper Lee teaches us to value and respect all human life. Anne Rice adds the gothic touch that reflects the brutish and macabre in us. Kaye Gibbons writes about confusion and pain and the triumph over both. We are more profound because of Eudora Welty; her vision is so perceptive.
These writers remind us of our heritage, our unique voice, our history, our worst selves and our best selves. Their books are like a meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, greens and cornbread. When we finish reading their words we are satisfied and content.
Do you have a favorite Southern writer or book? How does it feed your soul?