Flowers that Stink

I like flowers that stink. But then, growing up, I loved the smell of dry cleaning fluid that seeped through my grandparent’s Everyready Cleaners. Driving to their house, when we passed the linseed plant, I’d roll the window to suck in the sickly sweet air. Unwatched, I’d crawl into the back dash of Mamo’s Dodge to get close to the hot cardboard...

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Two Southern Authors

Carson McCullers? Eudora Welty? What better company could I ask to be in? Take a minute and read the wonderful review Susan Cushman wrote on THE HART WOMEN. Plus, read all the way to the blog Comments on for more on this gem: “An intergenerational story set in Mississippi, I was intrigued from the first page and finished the entire...

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I Assumed You Were Like Me

I wrote a book, and I made an assumption. I assumed you were like me. I assumed that, some nights, as you fall into that state before sleep actually takes you, you startle awake. When that happens, you remember that moment when you quit going to see your grandmother in the nursing home because you were flush with new love and you abandoned her as...

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Buy Your Tickets Today!

We’re having a grown-up event at Novel Memphis. It’s happening two weeks from today. The celebration is for THE HART WOMEN. I wrote the story. Marisa Whisett Baker is hand-sewing it into a novel. The event will have tickets and everything (the tickets are so Marisa will know when she’s made enough books). You can read about Marisa’s...

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Eternity or Bust

When I read the theme for the summer issue of Exterminating Angel Press was “Eternity or Bust,” I knew I had the perfect submission. Thank goodness Tod Davies of EAP: the Magazine thought so too. I’m grateful to her for including my piece in her fabulous magazine. The short story is an excerpt from my novel THE BONE TRENCH....

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My America

This is my America. Where three white Mississippians stand in the heat and praise the knowledge of Raul, a landscape artist, because he knows what the heck he’s doing in this demanding climate. Because, in my America, we value competence, period. Where all the windows on the antique stores and clothing stores and breakfast hang-outs...

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Odd Ellen Facts

It’s time once again to offer some Odd Ellen Facts (is the adjective on the facts or on Ellen? You decide). They’re “Strange but true” statements from my life, unembellished, unfootnoted. Let’s begin: My uncle once wrote me a letter to suggest I buy a Roomba. Not only would the robotic vacuum cleaner keep my house...

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Memphis: Cradle of Creativity

The Brooks Museum is constructing a new building on the river. The lead architects want a one word description of Memphis to help them envision what this building will look like. Let me take the opportunity to (again) promote my (long-running but largely-ignored) campaign to have Memphis adopt as its new tag: Memphis: Cradle of Creativity. “Cradle...

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One Liners

We, the most Southern couple on earth, are going to Michigan! Mackinac Island, to be specific, which my grandmother Bigmama talked about all the durn time when I was a kid. I’ll share photos. We’re having a book launch at Novel Bookstore in Memphis this July for The Hart Women! The Hart Women is a different concept (a limited...

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