The Mississippi that Might Still Be

When I heard that Mississippi during this massive moment of potential change was focusing on its racist flag, at first I thought, oh, dear Lord —that’s what Mississippians think matters now? But. I lose count when I try to say how many generations I’ve been from Mississippi (’cause, you know, we’re not very good at...

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My Best Reader has Left Me

Mother at her 90th birthday party Marguerite Virginia Price Van Hecke died on May 29, 2020, following emergency surgery. Virginia was born on June 9, 1929, on the Road of Remembrance in Jackson, Mississippi, as the second child of Maggie Mae and James Murray Price, a little girl who was to have been named George William. From the start, she never...

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When a White Woman Accuses a Black Man

He was a writer, a man I’ll call Jonathan. Jonathan was in writing group with me one hour before he was accused of having snatched a purse from a woman on the street, a felony even though the purse had less than $10 in it. I told the investigators that Jonathan had just left writing group when this crime supposedly occurred; there was no way...

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Christians Leave Trump in Droves

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church condemned it. Trump “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes. This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement. The Episcopal Bishop of Washington...

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That Which Soothes When All Begins to Crumble

Though I welcomed—after our terror subsided—the stillness of our shelter-in-place life, we who had been circling and circling for years, the last few days I have felt as if I might crumble, my “dust to dust” having become friable, my feet of clay exposed, a descending that was not helped when the priest who understood me and yet encouraged...

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Doing Church

As the service began, I was agitated. My husband and I had seated ourselves in our chairs, he in his overstuffed armchair, me in my rocking chair. I had set up my laptop on a folding table with the volume up. He followed along on his iPad. I was in real clothes and jewelry. He was in his t-shirt and shorts. Every Sunday since sheltering-in-place...

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Where We Are….

Last summer, I got an agent for my mystery. Once reason I chose her was because she had good ideas on improving the manuscript. I made those revisions, which were not insubstantial, and in the fall the agent submitted to publishing houses. We didn’t get any bites. We confabbed in January, and she suggested I change the gender of the amateur...

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Weird or You too?

New things have been happening to me during our coronavirus sheltering-in-place. Have they been happening to you too? Or is it just plain weird me? Rate each one: * JPW for just plain weird* Utoo for Universal I’ve been getting a steady stream of Friend requests on Facebook. (Yes, they’re real people, not fake accounts.) I’ve...

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A Virus is Not Godzilla

A virus is not Godzilla. Its takeover of the world is not inevitable. Nor is a virus an act of God or a hurricane or tornado or anything else we have to passively accept as bigger than ourselves. A virus can be stopped. How? Quit giving it hosts. You can quit giving a virus hosts in two ways. First, you can let the tipping point of your population...

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Saturday Morning Bulbology

Everything I know about bulbs I learned from my Uncle Hebron. He came to our river house in the red clay hills of Alabama, post knee-replacement. At the time, Hebie was about 75 years old. He brought a netted bag of daffodil bulbs. The house had a hill, and he painstakingly walked up and down that hill, covering it with daffodil bulbs. Watching...

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