Tuesday, January 24, 2012

in which I am nostalgic for the South; thanks a lot, Faulkner

When I went to college in central Arkansas, my friends and acquaintences from Austin all made fun of me. I could, of course, see their point. That I actually chose to spend four years in a small town without a bookstore and in a dry county--especially after having spent my entire reign as a teenager at live shows, indie movie theaters, used bookstores, and vintage shops in a fairly hip city--seemed absurd. And perhaps it was. But I did not hate Arkansas. In fact, I rather liked it. There was an indie movie theater in Little Rock, 25 miles away. Down the street from campus there was a small antique shop with an entire room devoted to reasonably priced vintage clothes--and, bonus, the owner brought her four dogs and three cats to work each day and let them roam through the store! Every now and then a band I liked would hit Memphis or Little Rock, and if I was lucky, a band that I really loved would play in Dallas on a Friday or a Saturday evening so I could roadtrip there and back without class the next day. (Once, I drove to Dallas to see Stars on Halloween with my roommate and one of our friends; we drove back to Conway the same night and returned just a few hours before my first class on November 1st!)

I liked the ceremony of driving into Little Rock for a date night. And there was just something so delightful about walking down to the one local coffeeshop on a Saturday in the spring and working on an essay all day on the patio between vanilla-almond Italian sodas. How about the gluttonous pleasure of eating fried chicken at the fair every May? And the endearing misspellings of the welcome messages on church signs on the side of the road? Sketchy snow cone and taco carts in grocery store parking lots? Puppies being sold out of the backs of pick-up trucks on Saturday mornings at Wal-Mart? The fake Tex-Mex "cheese dip"?

Ah, nostalgia.

I bring this up because I've started reading Absalom, Absalom! for my Plantation Modernisms course this week. William Faulkner always reminds me of the south, and of Arkansas and Hendrix more specifically. I spent so many of my winter and summer holidays defending the South to old acquaintences from high school, and have subsequently felt the need to defend Southern writers to an academia who seems to have forgotten Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.

boots: gifted Clark's
tights: Sock Dreams
socks: Sock Dreams
dress: thrifted
cardigan: thrifted
beret: Urban Outfitters, old
belt: Ruche

Can I also just come right out and say that this belt is probably one of the smartest wardrobe purchases I made in the entirety of 2011?

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