What can brown (water) do for you?
October 15, 2013 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Greenville, Mississippi lies in the heart of the Delta and claims a number of writers from its neck of the woods, including Walker Percy and Shelby Foote. What is it about Greenville that would produce such talent? Is there something in the water? Some people think so.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (9 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, strange things are happening there. People displaying themselves like baboons, a sense of disconnectedness. It's hard to describe.
posted by thelonius at 5:06 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Delighted to see a post about my hometown that doesn't involve anything horrible. Because we have a whole lot of horrible to go around. De facto, mutually observed Jim Crow right down the middle of 82 -- that's what brings the disconnectedness. Gorgeous, decaying buildings and streets from when we were the Queen City of the Delta, when there was an Opera House, a literary salon, an enormous synagogue and Catholic church, ethnic groups from all over the globe . . . I don't live there, and I miss it, and dream about it every night.

Everyone talks about Percy, Foote, Hodding Carter and Julia Reed as the town literary voices, but the words that describe Greenville to me best leapt out at me immediately when I first read Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth":
Haow'd ye like to be livin' in a taown like this, with everything a-rottin' an' dyin', an' boarded-up monsters crawlin' an' bleatin' an' barkin' an' hoppin' araoun' black cellars an' attics every way ye turn?

Looking forward to going home for Christmas. The water is delicious. It's spoiled me for any other.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

The water filters through three ancient cypress swamps, picking up particles from wood and vegetation thousands of years old

Could be something to it.
posted by stbalbach at 5:14 PM on October 15, 2013

It's like some kind of syndrome.
posted by mollweide at 5:37 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kind of like Muscle Shoals, in Alabama? But with music?
posted by bquarters at 6:52 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

That's strange, I've been assured that Mississippi water tastes like turpentine.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:59 PM on October 15, 2013

According to Mr. Clemens there's more to it than that:

"Ed said the muddy Mississippi water was wholesomer to drink
than the clear water of the Ohio; he said if you let a pint of this
yaller Mississippi water settle, you would have about a half to
three-quarters of an inch of mud in the bottom, according to the stage
of the river, and then it warn't no better than Ohio water--what you
wanted to do was to keep it stirred up--and when the river was low, keep
mud on hand to put in and thicken the water up the way it ought to be.

The Child of Calamity said that was so; he said there was nutritiousness
in the mud, and a man that drunk Mississippi water could grow corn in
his stomach if he wanted to. He says--

'You look at the graveyards; that tells the tale. Trees won't grow worth
chucks in a Cincinnati graveyard, but in a Sent Louis graveyard they
grow upwards of eight hundred foot high. It's all on account of the
water the people drunk before they laid up. A Cincinnati corpse don't
richen a soil any'."
posted by TreeRooster at 7:37 PM on October 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Was watching Ken Burns Civil War again on Netflix Instant, and I think I could listen to Mr. Foote read the footnotes in an obscure peer-reviewed Molecular Biology journal and be quite content.
posted by kuanes at 5:29 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another business opportunity from Mississippi. Lot of would-be writers out there.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2013

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