“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”

— William Faulkner

Perrination: Prelude

Memory is a funny thing. Recollections slip in and out and around in time, leaving plenty of room to weave, backtrack, and drift, and glide. In my life, I've found that memories of the spirit linger and sweeten, long after memories of the brain have faded.

My fondest memories are of my childhood days, back in Yazoo, Mississippi. I can still see the town now, ten thousand souls and nothin' doin', where the old men sat drowsily in straw-bottomed chairs, watching the big cars with out-of-state plates whip by, drivers hardly knowing and certainly not caring what place this was...

I knew the place then better than I did my own heart—every bend in every road, every house and every field, the exact spot where the robin went for her first crocus. It was not in my soul then, only in my pores, as familiar to me as rain or grass or sunlight. The town was poor one year and rich the next; everything in it pertained to cotton, and hence to usury and mortgage, debenture and labor. We lived and died by nature and followed the whims of the timeless clouds. Our people played seven-card stud against God.

— Willie Morris, My Dog Skip