Friday, March 19, 2010


I have been at home now for two days, unable to work because of a minor case of shingles.  While at the beach last week, I contracted what turned out to be shingles and because they are contagious to those that have not had chicken-pox and pregnant women and I work with small children and pregnant women, I have not been able to work for the last two days.

Today, as I was catching up on my blog reading, I had plenty of time to let the internet take me where it may and I spent hours reading and researching and finding new and interesting stuff.  

It started with a blog I read regularly, The Sunsphere is not a Wigshop, and this post which led to this article questioning whether my home city of Knoxville is Appalachian.  I have lots of opinions on this topic of Appalachia and it’s people so, although the piece is very long, I had plenty of time to read it and I did.  Do people really think that ALL people in East Tennessee are poor, uneducated, drug-addicted and toothless?  Really?  Although it’s a stereotype and not that simple, this idea was interesting to me.  I have lived all over the United States and the world.  There are poor, uneducated, drug-addicted, toothless people in every culture, in every city, in every state, in every country.  I have seen them. To paint a region of the country with so broad a brush is just plain ignorant.  There are well educated, successful, amazing people in my region just as there are everywhere.  But it would also be ignorant to ignore that the reality of the stereotype does exist here as well as across the country.  The article brings up some very interesting points and I am going to keep looking at this issue and learning more.

As a part of that Wigsphere blog post, I also looked further into the local musician RB Morris who is quoted on the poster pictured.  His name sounded familiar and I seem to remember some friends recommending him.  Turns out he is a talented poet, songwriter, singer, and playwright.  After browsing his website and googling more info on him, I downloaded his music from ITunes and I am a real fan.  Here he is singing his song “Empire”.
As it turns out, while learning about RB Morris, I learned he wrote a play about James Agee, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “A Death In The Family” Loonywho happens to be from Knoxville.  Morris’ play was entitled “The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony” and it suddenly occurred to me that I have a photo that I took in Market Square of a poster in a window with that very title.   I had no idea why it was there but thought it was quirky and unusual.  Now I know what it was.  Turns out, the phrase, and title of the play, was something someone wrote on James Agee’s door.

So this got me interested in James Agee, his life and his book.  I had long known of him as a son of Knoxville and had been previously interested in his book “A Death In The Family” but had never gotten around to reading it.  The autobiographical novel is about the events surrounding his father’s death in an auto accident when he was 6 years old.  I again went to google and it turns out you can preview the book on Google Books and I have downloaded it on my Kindle.  Agee was also a screenwriter (“The African Queen”) and poet and, from what I have read so far, his life was both interesting and tragic.  I am really looking forward to learning more about him but that’s going to take some time which I seem to have right now.

Earlier today, I was frustrated because I was confined to my home and numbed by the TV.  All I did was read a blog.  And in a few hours this afternoon I questioned my “regional identity”, found an interesting author to investigate, and supported a local musician whose music I can’t get enough of.  I love discovery.
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Mike said...

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