e c l e c t i c a n o n f i c t i o n
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Mississippi Justice Runs Like Molasses in the Summertime
I left my home state 40 years ago, but unlike Mose Wright, I can never be "done" with Alabama. Like Quentin Compson, I will always love/hate it with a special force. What I feel about our neighbor to the immediate west, though, is strangely more complicated. Mississippi, though its landscape and people are virtually identical to Alabama's, isn't home. I am one of those Alabama people who has uttered the phrase "Thank God for Mississippi" when considering the educational or economic rankings of the 50 states.
An oncologist prescribed chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and then surgery to remove it, by lumpectomy or mastectomy if necessary, then more chemo to make sure. She spoke in such stanch, definitive terms, one would have thought no reasonable alternative existed. The prognosis was good, not great; the hardship and potential side effects of chemo, and perhaps losing Bernie's breast, for a 75 percent chance, or something to that effect.
Pretty Little Lies
Something similar happens when poems that disappoint me receive a prestigious prize, the kind that even non-poets hear about. To the non-poet, these poems stand for quality according to people who know quality—i.e., the judges, typically well-known poets or critics. So this trusting reader reads the prize testimonial followed by the poems and again my protective hackles rise up and I want to shout, "No, that's not quality, and whoever says it is isn't reliable, regardless of credentials."