Thursday, September 10, 2015

The South sure is full of cliches

By Steve Weddle

I've written a few stories based in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Sometimes people say southern lit has a tradition. Sometimes they say it's full of cliche. Sometimes they don't say anything because they're full of bourbon and despair. People are weird.

The Toast just posted a fun little "Ha Ha. Southern Gothic is so dumb, you guys, look at this" post. People who generalize are always jerks. (If you like the southern lit post, you'll enjoy the Every Scottish Novel one.)

Anyway, might be fun to take some of these here fancy talking words on the webbernet and turn them into some down-home stories. I reckon I might just fancy using one or two so as to write my own tellings of what folks are up to down to the store.
7. Best Not To Ask Too Many Questions About The Smell Coming From The Old Widder-Woman’s House On Yon Hill
8. No One Listens To What Old Pap’s Got To Say, On Account Of This Deformity, But I Say It’s You All What Has The Deformity, In Your Souls, I Knows What I’ve Seen
9. They Always Did Think Too Highly Of Themselves
10. We Bury Our Feelings And Our Relatives Alive
11. It’s Too Hot For Justice Today
12. I Drink Because This House Is Filthy And All The Servants Have Fled

Haha. Yeah. I say "yon" and "widder-woman" all the time because I'm from the south and my cousin-wife don't want me talking too uppity.

And yet. And yet. And yet. That #9 is something I could use. People thinking too highly of themselves. Is that a southern thing? Can people who write in Brooklyn coffee shops also think too highly of themselves? Thomas Mann made a living from writing novels that build up a family just to tear them down again. Was he from South Germany? I should prolly look that up, 'cause we never went in for none of that book learnin.

Number 12 is odd. Well, even. Fine, wiseass. You know what I mean. Drinking because a thing went wrong. Maybe that happens ni New York, too. Not the servant part, of course, seeing as how all them New Yorkers reckon everyone is their servant. But maybe one of them New York folks lost his beard balm and or his fancy mixed drink had cubed ice instead of crushed. Maybe she missed the boat what takes them from one island to another. And burying feelings? Hell fire, don't we all do that? And too hot for justice? Too hot? Hell, I once saw Ol' Man Varney's best cow catch far right there in front of the church. The minister then, this was back before we found out about him and the widder-woman what come from up to Memphis, he said somebody run fetch him some water and that's what we did and so we all sat down and had us some fine steaks and iced tea. Too hot for justice? Ain't never too hot for anything, 'cept Yankee bullshit.
2. There’s A Sense Of Malaise And Decay Hovering Over This Old Plantation; I Can’t Imagine What Lies In The Not-So-Distant Past That Caused It
Don't reckon I know, 'cept maybe some smart-ass from New York got hisself in a mess of trouble, then into the bottom of a well.
16. The Outsider Wore Shoes And A Smug Expression
Yup. That'll do it.


reverenderyk said...

Sic 'em, Steve.

Al Tucher said...

Reminds me of Thurber's send-up of TOBACCO ROAD. (I forget the title).