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Tag: Mississippi

Mississippi, You Have the Power

Mississippi, You Have the Power

You have the power to propel Mississippi into the future, to show the world that the state is more than a bunch of racists longing for the good ole days. Because, let’s face it, for many Mississippians, the good ole days have yet to arrive.

Chatting with Strangers

Chatting with Strangers

I spent the past week traveling through my home state of Mississippi. I read from my latest novel at bookstores in Oxford, Greenwood, and Jackson, before heading to New Orleans for the Tennessee Williams Festival. My mother and my husband stuck with me through Mississippi, but I am on my own in New Orleans. I don’t mind traveling alone. When you explore a city on your own, you can do it any way you please. And it’s a good way…

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Age is No Excuse for Hatred

Age is No Excuse for Hatred

In the same week that our president was spewing some of his worst racist comments, Edgar Ray Killen drew his last breath at the state penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. Killen is the notorious klansman behind the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He was not convicted for the brutal crimes until more than 40 years after the fact, and even then he was only declared guilty of manslaughter. He spent about a dozen years in jail…

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We Read, Joyce Carol Oates. We Read.

We Read, Joyce Carol Oates. We Read.

Give anyone enough time and they will break your heart. I am a southerner. I live in Denver now, but I spent the first 21 years of my life in Mississippi. I first read Joyce Carol Oates’s short story, “How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again” as part of an English class in the Jackson, Mississippi public school system. I knew I wanted to read more and over the years,…

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Banned Books I Have Loved

Banned Books I Have Loved

It’s Banned Books Week and organizations from the American Booksellers Association to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (who knew?) are commemorating our right to read without censorship. When we think of banned books, we often think of books forbidden by the government ala the plot of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,  but that isn’t really how books are banned in America today. Our books tend to be banned one school district or library at a time. And it’s often aimed at…

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Mama Knows Best? Not Always

Mama Knows Best? Not Always

This weekend my home state held its annual Mississippi Book Festival. I didn’t go. It’s a long way from Denver to Jackson, but my mother gave me a full report. She told me Ellen Gilchrist was super funny and charming at the morning session. No surprise. She told me about young adult author Angie Thomas and the road to publication for her debut The Hate U Give. I can’t wait to read it. And she told me about the powerful…

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Christianity and the Modern Girl

Christianity and the Modern Girl

Warning: It’s not a pretty picture. I’m worried about Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She seems to have no moral center. Sanders has been the White House’s water carrier for the president’s cruel and misogynistic attacks on women. It makes sense to turn to her. Can you imagine Sean Spicer trying to defend the latest round of tweets? I fear he’d implode before speaking. Sanders is in every way cooler, calmer, and better at taking fire from the press. But why on earth…

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Welcome to the Real World, Ivanka

Welcome to the Real World, Ivanka

Ivanka Trump is surprised to discover the world is cruel. During an interview this weekend she said she’d encountered an unexpected “level of viciousness” since moving to Washington, D.C. Ivanka has lived too long in a cozy cocoon of wealth and power and privilege. Now she is emerging, not as a butterfly but as a common moth. She’s drawn to the light of fame and adulation, but she cannot take the heat of actual scrutiny and disapproval. It’s odd. She ought to be comfortable with viciousness. She grew up with…

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In Praise of an Ordinary Marriage

In Praise of an Ordinary Marriage

I got married ten years ago today. I was never one of those women (or little girls) who dreamed of a big, elaborate wedding day. I never thought being married was a particularly lofty goal. Coupled or uncoupled, I intended to live a full life. But a decade into this joint venture with my husband and I think I got a pretty good deal. The husband is currently producing a travel series in Italy. Thus, he is gallivanting around Florence while I sit…

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