Photo
Of the many belts in the South the Biscuit Belt may be the most delicious. 
Read Jim Ruland’s Ode to the Fluffiest Biscuit. 

Of the many belts in the South the Biscuit Belt may be the most delicious. 

Read Jim Ruland’s Ode to the Fluffiest Biscuit. 

Photo
"Gospel belongs to God and the blues is the Devil’s business, and here the blues takes the form of Son Thomas…"
Son Thomas Makes A Lady Head
Son Thomas in Leland, MS

"Gospel belongs to God and the blues is the Devil’s business, and here the blues takes the form of Son Thomas…"

Son Thomas Makes A Lady Head

Son Thomas in Leland, MS

Text

And so it went, days of fun among dedicated artists and mysterious, glamorous women with Czech accents, getting to dress up “funny” and be someone else—an ideal situation for me, since I have always believed life was too short to be just one person.

The work days were long, it was unseasonably cold throughout my part of the filming and I got stiff in the joints from climbing in and out of vans, but I loved it.

I am bitten by the acting bug and eager to appear in another picture, perhaps playing an old army sergeant brought out of the nursing home to whip a batch of recruits into shape for one last assault on a fortified position.

People are always coming up to me and asking me what I do. I owe them nothing and never tell the truth, which is that I am a retired bicycle repairman. Instead, I claim to be a Methodist bishop, or the inventor of Styrofoam, or an opera singer who lost his voice to polyps on the vocal chords.

All that is in the past. From now on, when I am asked what I do, I will remove my black velvet trilby, throw my cape back over my shoulder and say, “I am a tragedian!

John Fergus Ryan, “My Dramatic Début” OA12

Photo
Liked Cree McCree’s Points South piece from our latest issue? Check out this photo essay from Rex Miller to see Son Thomas at work.

Liked Cree McCree’s Points South piece from our latest issue? Check out this photo essay from Rex Miller to see Son Thomas at work.

Text

Another from Anne Conway Jennings.

Photo
Another of Anne Conway Jennings’ haunting pictures from her Southern Passage.

Another of Anne Conway Jennings’ haunting pictures from her Southern Passage.

Text

They are mermaids. They’re also extremely hard-working hourly employees of the State of Florida. The state publishes its employees’ wages online; it was easy to discover that one of the senior mermaids makes thirteen dollars an hour, and none of them receives benefits. They work long days, responsible for training newer mermaids, running various mermaid camps, scrubbing the algae, which they call “scrunge,” off the spring-side of the windows, making sure the theater is clean and the costumes are in order, ensuring the other performers’ safety, choreographing routines, and directing the shows and in-water practices from a little podlike booth off the theater. They get to dolphin-kick and smile and make pretty shapes with their bodies underwater, but the rest of the time it’s a job, and it’s a job that requires freezing in icy water multiple times a day. It’s far more difficult than it looks. Their magic is in making it all look easy

Lauren Groff gets real with the mermaids of Weeki Wachee.

Photo
Lauren Groff visits Weeki Wachee. How much do you think a mermaid is paid? Read it here or in this summer’s OA. 
(Photo: Michael Muller / CPi Syndication)

Lauren Groff visits Weeki Wachee. How much do you think a mermaid is paid? Read it here or in this summer’s OA. 

(Photo: Michael Muller / CPi Syndication)

Text

Check out Anne Conway Jennings’ moody photos of “a place that lingers between worlds both mythic and real” in the latest Eyes on the South.

Text

 I peered through one of its windows and saw Tom Marek, the longtime director of West EMS, slumped in a plush recliner in front of a flickering TV. I knocked, but there was no response, so I knocked again. Nothing. I cracked the door, but he didn’t move. “Hi, Tom?” I said. Marek looked completely zonked out, his head tipped back and his mouth drooping open beneath a bristly mustache. “Tom?” I said, louder. He didn’t move. I wondered if he was dead, and then I wondered if he was faking—maybe this was his version of passive resistance to press intrusion. He looked like a parody of a man asleep. I stood there for a minute, maybe two, wondering whether it was appropriate to touch his arm. I decided that it was not. Finally, I got in my car and drove back to Waco, where I had dinner alone in a mediocre Thai restaurant and thought about heroes. “It’s my birthday,” I told the server, who looked at me like she thought I might be lying.

Rachel Monroe, “Fire Behavior" OA84

Photo
tammymercure:

Destrehan, LA. July 18, 2014.

tammymercure:

Destrehan, LA. July 18, 2014.

Photo
Tamara Reynolds; Southern Routes 

Tamara Reynolds; Southern Routes 

Photo
smithsonianmag:

Photo of the Day: Skeptical Swan
Photo by Erin Tucker (Apopka, FL, USA); Orlando, FL, USA

smithsonianmag:

Photo of the Day: Skeptical Swan

Photo by Erin Tucker (Apopka, FL, USA); Orlando, FL, USA

Photo
theparisreview:

“The act of giving milk itself is pleasant and soothing; it’s not that I am eager for it to end. And it’s not that it is uninteresting, between the strange palpable effects of the oxytocin and the mesmerizing face of the latched baby. It just doesn’t fit into the matrix of productivity or purpose or attention I’m accustomed to. It is simply being, mammal-animal being, layered with a human consciousness as thin and light as linen.”
Sarah Menkedick on breastfeeding and boredom.

Read Sarah Menkedick in the Paris Review and then look for her in the coming fall issue of the OA. 

theparisreview:

“The act of giving milk itself is pleasant and soothing; it’s not that I am eager for it to end. And it’s not that it is uninteresting, between the strange palpable effects of the oxytocin and the mesmerizing face of the latched baby. It just doesn’t fit into the matrix of productivity or purpose or attention I’m accustomed to. It is simply being, mammal-animal being, layered with a human consciousness as thin and light as linen.”

Sarah Menkedick on breastfeeding and boredom.

Read Sarah Menkedick in the Paris Review and then look for her in the coming fall issue of the OA. 

Text

ISSUE 74: The Refuge of the Classroom

A few of the other girls—white girls—and I find Mason in the bathroom and throw crumpled pieces of paper over the stall door. The same white girls write “Mrs. Mason Griggs” in newly mastered cursive in their notebooks. They whisper to me about their crushes on Mason, call him “cute,” with his mop of dark hair and tawny skin. To the white girls, I am safe, invisible. I listen dutifully, feeling smug inside because, while any one of them may well become Mrs. Mason Griggs, none of them will ever be his baby.

Read the rest of Emily Bernard’s essay about the effect of silence in the classroom, from our Education Issue.