Here are some more atmospheric pix of the deep South, Natchez to be exact. I spoke at a conference at the Monmouth Plantation over the weekend. Everyone was lovely, welcoming and hospitable, and I feel like I made about 80 new friends. In the coffee shop downtown yesterday, I met a woman who did her Ph.D. dissertation on Flannery O'Connor. I made the sign of the cross, made as if to genuflect, and grasped her hand as if it were a first-class relic.
What was really interesting, though, was not having a spare moment to myself for approx. 52 hours other than when I was sleeping. I thought of the Ryszard Kapuscinski passage from The Shadow of the Sun about the capacity of the people of Africa to wait, in their case, for the bus, or village official, or rain, in my case, to have a mental breakdown. Apparently they go into a kind of fugue state, a kind of inward gathering or reserves, not moving, not breathing, not rising to relieve themselves. Though outwardly appearing to be fully functioning, I more or less felt/feel that way myself.