“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”
I’m not sure if Mr. Faulkner’s words are true or not. I hope they are. I want them to be. What I do know is that this state, the Mississippi Delta particularly, is rich in culture and artistic heritage.
Writers, painters, musicians, photographers, actors – many of the most talented and accomplished American artists – attribute their influences to this area. The Delta is known primarily for its fertile soil, but the work of folks like Faulkner, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, William Eggleston, Robert Johnson (the list is endless, really) shows that this region fosters the creative spirit and its growth.
Perhaps it is the wide open expanses of flat land that entice our curiosity. It could be that to bide our time we must generate our own entertainment. Or maybe it’s simply that we prefer to create our own adventures rather than rely on someone else to do it for us. I read somewhere once that a free spirit needs room to wander, and goodness knows we have lots of room and lots of wandering. Creating is a way of life here. It’s how we earn our living. It’s how we pass the time. It’s how we define ourselves.
Take a lazy drive down Highway 61 and you’ll not only see it all around you, but my bet is that you’ll feel it too. Highs. Lows. Life. Death. Joy. Sorrow. Energy. Expression.
Ours is a land of contrast, and it’s that contrast that lets you know you’re human. Lets you know you’re alive. In an interesting case of the dog-chasing-its-tail, a rock-and-a-hard-place, the-chicken-or-the-egg (you get the point) a former art teacher once told our class, “To be alive is to create, and in order to create you must know what it’s like to be alive.” I suppose that’s what Mr. Faulkner meant when he wrote the words above.