Imagination in the Small Town in the Deep South

“There was something in the very atmosphere of a small town in the Deep South, something spooked-up and romantic, which did extravagant things to the imagination of its bright and resourceful boys. It had something to do with long and heavy afternoons with nothing doing, with rich slow evenings when the crickets and the frogs scratched their legs and made delta music, with plain boredom, perhaps with an inherited tradition of contriving elaborate plots or one-shot practical jokes. I believe this hidden influence . . . had something to do with the Southern sense of fancy when one grew up in a place where more specific exercises in intellection — like reading books — were not accepted, one had to work his imagination out on something, and the less austere, the better. This quality would stay with one, in only slightly less exaggerated forms, even as a grown man.”–Willie Morris

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