Gut Rumbles

February 16, 2007

Southern writers

Originally published January 14, 2005

Somebody asked me this question the other day: "What makes a 'Southern" writer?" Okay, here is how I answer:

A Southern writer sets his stories in the South, but the scenery and the geographical location are not all that permeate the tale and give it a distinctly Southern flavor. You experience the sights, sounds, traditions and tastes of the South when you read a good Southern writer. And only a Southerner can pull off that trick, because he's lived it and he knows it. Southern writers put a flavor in their words that no one outside the South can duplicate.

A few examples are Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, James Dickey and Lewis Grizzard.

In MY humble opinion, the best Southern writer alive today is Pat Conroy. I disagree with his politics and I probably would not like him personally, but he's a Southern writer. Just read The Great Santini and savor how he describes the flavor of a raw oyster. You can taste it YOURSELF when you read his words. That's damn good writing.

If you don't know a Southern writer when you read one, you ain't from the South, and you'll NEVER get it.


I remember when Rob wrote this. I once shared a seat next to Pat Conroy aboard a puddle jumper on a stormy night ride into Hilton Heads tiny little airport...I agreed with Rob on all points, except I think Rob would actually have liked Conroy personally...Of course, Rob was every bit as good with his own writing as the writers he some ways perhaps better. I can see Rob now having a spirited discussion with Faulkner and Williams over the magic of the written word!

Posted by: vizsladog3 on February 16, 2007 03:13 PM
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