Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Living in a Literary Town

SF and I live in Oxford, Mississippi and I admit, I totally take it for granted. Occasionally people write us and tell us how lucky we are to have each other with whom to "talk shop." I know. We are. I am consciously grateful for this fact. But there are so many other fun things about living here that I tend to forget. My husband thinks discussing this is bragging, but I really think it's kinda cool and interesting. Like I said, I am truly thankful for a best friend and critique partner in Sarah Frances, but guess what else?

*I live DIRECTLY across the street from John Grisham. My hood is on one side of the road and his palacial estate is on the other. Sometimes I want to leave him notes in his mailbox :-) He reads our blog. Hey John! (I'm totally kidding! He probably does NOT read our blog. Notice I said "Probably," 'cuz you never know, he might...

*We see many famous writers every day, from the poet in pilates, to the famous food writer in the bookstore.

*Today we are taking our children to romp around William Faulkner's backyard! (which is fun and has lots of nature trails.)

*Writers and books are REVERED here. Say you're a writer and someone will most likely buy you a drink.

*We have an annual Conference for the Book. As part of this conference, two children's authors are chosen--a middle grade and a young adult author. All of the 5th and 9th grade students from our city and county schools are given free copies of the authors' books and then the chosen author comes and talks to the kids about their work. So this author immediately sells at LEAST 500 copies of their book in ONE day in ONE location (actually, it ends up being a lot more books than that because they have a huge booksigning at our indie bookstore after school). Plus, the authors have an audience of hundreds of children who have read and have questions about their masterpiece. I hope to be one of these authors someday...

*Our Bookstore (which has 3 locations in the same block) is one of the most famous independent bookstores in the country.

*A famous actress and screenwriter lives a block over from SF and she is a delight to talk to as well as give us movie writing advice. Her dog and SF's wild animal are best buds.

*We hear of friends writing pilots for TV shows and short story anthologies on a near daily basis.

*We have lunch with three other non-fiction writers monthly.

*We couldn't get babysitters this weekend and had to skip the big Mardi Gras Literary Bash that celebrates reading of all kinds.

*Oxford now has a growing Film Festival with actors and writers flying in from all over.

*It's not weird to see Morgan Freeman at lunch.

*The manager of the children's bookstore gives us ARCS constantly and wants our advice as to what books are up and coming. Our advice?! We love this.

SF, anything else?

We are truly blessed to live here and I am sorry that I so often forget. Now if only we could be listed one day in the future on someone else's blog - ha! Like, "Sarah Frances and Katie live here and I see them sometimes in yoga. They are so cool." *swoon.

hee hee

P.S. that pic is Faulkner's house. The kiddos are sick of me taking their picture, so I had to steal this one.


Shelli said...

love Oxford and LOve square books ( i assume that is the one you are talking about right?) This post makes em want to visist for a writing retreat weekend :)

Christy Raedeke said...

You owe me 30 minutes of my life back - that's how much time I just spent looking at real estate in Oxford because of this post. My God it's beautiful there!

Would people call me a Yankee? Do you have fireflies?

hardystudios said...

Yankees are totally welcome. And, yes, we have fireflies. But, have you ever met the Mississippi cockroach?

Come down here and see us--both of you!

Also, Katie forgot to mention the Ten Minute Play contest. The winners get to see their plays performed (and the top prize is $1000). Oh my--the deadline for submissions is Feb. 15th!


Anne Spollen said...

I was clicking through blog comments and don't remember which strand of the web got me here, but my daughter (she's 10) saw the house and said, "WAIT, I have to look at that."

Then I read your blog - and I loved it. Yes, I'm a big time Yankee, born and raised in NYC, but Oxford...I have to get there one day.

Little Ms J said...

Hi Katini (love the mixture of health and libation)!

B-e-a-utiful picture! Such character. You are quite fortunate to live in such a wonderful place with writers writers everywhere! Las Vegas has talent (guys everywhere are nodding their heads), but literature is not worshipped here. Glossy ads, yes. Boobies, yes. The arts? Sigh. Not so much.

Irene Latham said...

Oxford is so on my list of places to go! We here in Alabama fight the same inaccurate stereotypes as you Mississipians do... thanks for a post that shows how inspiring and smart and current the south can be. :)

Anne Spollen said...

Wait - you guys write together, own bookshops, and live where Faulkner walked? That's like the premise of a novel I want to read...

Hardygirl said...

Oh wait. We don't OWN the bookstore--we're just there all the time!

Katie said...

Wow. I thought this post might be a snoozer...

So good to hear from all of you!

Come visit us anytime :-)

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

You two are SO LUCKY!!! Sometimes I feel so alone here in the Southwest.
That photo reminds me of the gorgeous Oak Alley plantation in Louisiana.

Guess what? I'm going to Louisiana and parts of southern Mississippi in early April for a research trip for the novel I have to write which is under contract. Any chance we all could hook up? Fun, fun, fun!!!

Stephanie Perkins said...

WOW! I had no idea Oxford was so literary! Cool, cool, cool.

(And -- might I ask -- is Morgan Freeman as sweet in person as he seems onscreen?)

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