I have been haunted lately by dreams of warm, honeyed southern nights, and there were some, I remember them. I remember sitting out on a lounge chair in the front yard, sipping tea, listening to the cicadas. I remember gentle breezes and the bubble of the creek down the hill.
I have exiled myself from the deep south for more than half my life but it colors every inch of my life. One never truly escapes the south, not that I wanted to escape it. I just couldn't seem to find space for me there. I wasn't the pretty one, that was my older sister, I wasn't the smart one, that was my younger sister. I guess I never really had definition. I kept my soul to myself.
The south comes back to me in dreams-the graceful old house with the long front porch, two to three stories, and an enclosed porch on the back. Old comfy furniture, and plenty of books. This is often accompanied by the elderly lady wearing her old mink stole. We sip tea and talk about the past. She is obviously a cross between my mamaw and my Grandma Durkee. The two women I admire most. They were very different but equally graceful.
Last night I dreamed I was living in that house. The elderly lady owned it of course, and helped me find a beautiful, quaint building in which to open my bookstore. My dream life. The one I never had. I often think about living that life through writing the story.
All of this has gotten me in the mood for a deep, soft, southern story. I am heading off today to The Book Escape on Light Street in Baltimore to find one. Mine are still packed in boxes for the most part, either at the storage facility or still in the house in New Jersey. I have read many books since moving back to Baltimore and will be writing you about them soon. But today the south is calling me. "Carolina on my mind"