Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers
it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it,
loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

 ~Joan Didion

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Sack of Salt

Joe and Miss Eda were a sweet little couple. They lived in our neighborhood and went to our church. They could often be found in their yard, Joe mowing the lawn or tinkering with his mower, washing windows, trimming shrubs, raking leaves; Miss Eda shaking out rugs, sweeping the porch, hanging out laundry, taking laundry off the line. They were very friendly, always smiling and waving as we drove past their neat little house.

And then one day, without warning, Joe jumped into his car, raced down the highway, zigzagged across the grounds of Mississippi Baptist Church, plowed through the cemetery and down into the woods where he hit a big Oak tree.

How do I know? Well, Maw Maw Wilson and I saw the car, bumper still resting against the tree, on our way to pull weeds from Paw Paw's grave.

"Why is Joe's car down there?" I said.

"He had a little accident," said Maw Maw.

I stared at the car, a very old, dusty convertible. There was a huge sack propped up like a passenger in the back seat, and I thought it was a sack of salt. I was fascinated. But a little scared. It reminded me of a story our Sunday School teacher had told us about God ordering Lot's wife not to look back at a city. If she did, she would be turned into a pillar of salt. Well, she looked. And she was turned into a pillar of salt. 

I thought Joe had looked at something he shouldn't, and he had been turned into a sack of salt. And he would always be there. In the back seat of his old convertible.

I don't know why I didn't voice my concerns to Maw Maw. Maybe I didn't know how to put it into words. I was very young at the time, maybe three or four years old.
I have visited the cemetery many times in the years since, and sooner or later I find myself gazing beyond my grandparents' graves and down into the woods, seeing that old convertible again, bumper still resting against the big Oak tree, Joe trapped forever in a sack of salt.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Family Pictures

My Great-Great-Great Grandfather
John Montague Elsey

Monday, July 16, 2012

Write Only

Write only if you cannot live without writing.

Write only what you alone can write.

~Elie Wiesel~

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mr. Arthur's Story

My nonfiction piece, Fish Bones, is now online at The Cossack Review.

Mr. Arthur's story had been floating around in my head for a very long time before I finally wrote it.  Fifty-six years, to be exact.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Advice From a Sage

Have a heart that never hardens,
A temper that never tires,
And a touch that never hurts.

~Charles Dickens~

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley