In the last week I've had a delightful exchange with Padgett Powell. It has been a colorful and great honor.
For reference, this interview will give you a hint of Powell's greatnesshttp://www.believermag.com/issues/200609/?read=interview_powell
Here is the crux of my exchange with Padgett first week of Feb 07
Enjoying this exchange.
Thought you might get a jolley out of this Florida native, now in Seattle, who like me is fan of Vesta.
See his comment line for the Talladega Nights blog.
Hope the link here works gonzohttp://jamieca.blogspot.com/2007/01/talladega-nights.html
From: "Padgett Powell" To: "stephen fox" >Subject: Re: John TateDate: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 23:26:42 +0100
Absolutely no need or call to change blog. I am not correcting you, just curious about Tate. I do not recall ANY gym segmets in DROWN so am not about to try to correct anything. Nothing needs it. Proceed.
I have seen [another author] around, we have probably met briefly, I have not read him. He is a very well liked guy among readers and followers in the know. I left Carolina and its concerns a long time ago; he has the up-country, and he can take the low- when he wants it. He is regraded as an agreeably crazy sort. I have not the energy for all that anymore. Glass of water, some sunshine, some fish to fish for if I don't have to impale a poor worm. It's come to that. Even some rain.
I can't tell if you are referring in re a lunch to something in EDISTO or to something I may have written about how I was received after it came out. Part of EDISTO was in New Yorker. I do vaguely recall writing about how I was transformed in the lowcountry from someone who was no one to someone who was a lying bastard if he denied he was from Colleton County (which I had maintained I was while it was maintained I was no one, certainly not from Colleton County), but I cannot recall where this was published, or even if it was published. If I should suffer a moment of light on this I'll let you know.
MFA@FLA is the MFA program in writingat the University of Florida.
----- Original Message -----
From: stephen fox
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:13 PM
Subject: John Tate
I lived in Knoxville on the East Side, Alice Bell in the early 80's. Was a fighter then who had one big shot, and lot of talk in the Knoxville papers about it, but he got koed in the first round with a left hook or something to the jaw. Went down like timber.
I am not saying this is the boxer you had in mind when you wrote the gym segments in Woman Named Drown, but that is the way it registered with me.
Unintended legends grow out of fiction. In no way did I want to diminish your illustrious work, honestly, one of my all time novel favorites.
Will be more than happy to attempt to rectify any bad memory or misplaced appropriation about John Tate and Woman Named Drown. With your permission, will cut and paste your correction below in the blog and apologize.
Could be good for new life for a great novel.
I have every intention of reading the novel for a second time between now and May.
In the meantime I am taken with James Wood's intro to the Golyovov family at the classics link at www.nybooks.com
Out of the blue, are you familiar with [another author]? He is a grad though I have never made his acquaintance. Seems like yall cover similar territory
Random here, but the Charleston story, where you are having lunch with some blue bloods and it dawns on you circumstances have changed with your relative celebrity, and you have the high status. Where was that published.
Always an honor to get a reply.
Hope you get regulated in France.
From: "Padgett Powell" To: "stephen fox" Subject: Re: Padgett Powell blog referenceDate: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 23:25:17 +0100
Have read blog, see this:Padgett Powell and Big John Tate with the glass jaw. Powell immortalized him in Woman Named Drown, a must read for any of you
I am happy to discover I have immortalized anyone or anything but made a little anxious by not knowing what it is, in this case Tate and his jaw. Can you refresh my memory, and quick, I am apparently in France with an African worm of some sort devouring me and would like to know what I have immortalized before I am unmortalized myself. I do vaguely recall a boxer Tate, maybe even from Knoxville, but have no recall of ever having occasion to write about him.
Meanwhile I will check out this Vesta from WND. This world of blogging is new to an old fogie like me. (Can't seem to do it, locate a gator Vesta)
----- Original Message -----
From: stephen fox
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 8:35 PM
Subject: Padgett Powell blog reference
Thought you might get a smile out of my reference to you today in my blog. Googled up Vesta from WND last week and found a Gator Blogger who landed in Wash state for the time being.
Apparently he is a fan as well.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Cold Day in Alabama/Frozen Musings
Had a plan when I left the house, but not sure now how it is gonna play out. Left early today, deciding to get the Friday Fish Fry on the cheap at the Cracker Barrel. The lunch time crowd usually has less a wait than supper.Fire was cracklin. I sometimes wonder if the, rather would like to see the CB study about how much traffic the fire brings to their chain. I'm sure they study things like that. I think it is one of the biggest strokes of genius to their marketing plan.Shorty was there. Didn't notice him till 3/4 way through my meal. He was there with the family. The former librarian, Gail Rowan, like me an admirer of early 90's 16 month stay UMC minister Dee Edwards, played high tribute to Shorty before he retired from the City. Said monument ought to be put up on Main street cause he was the man who in the end kept the place going. I think she was right. Much more efficient and deserving than the likes of some who pass for note these days in the berg.Was wearing my Banana Republic jacket today, about the best one I ever owned. Often wear it when I shave and shower; rotate the others for less presentable days.Spoke to what I thought mighta been a homeless man on the way out. Was eating on the bench in the front of the place in upper 30 degree weather and had his backpack. I asked if he was homeless, said, no just hitching a ride. Was almost home, said he lived nearby and was from Knoxville where he studied sculpture and psychology. I shoulda told him about the guy who had sculpture in the front yard on Marjorie Lane when we lived up that way; often the guy played pickup basketball in the rec whose administrator was the widow of the Knoxville Sheriff back in the 60's. She said he could predict by the weather in August whether there would be a killin that night somewhere in the town.I think that was before Cormac McCarthy got Suttree published. John Morgan III has read it and I have read good portion of it and I think that about totals it out for Dekalb County Alabama.But what the UT student and I discussed was Padgett Powell and Big John Tate with the glass jaw. Powell immortalized him in Woman Named Drown, a must read for any of you who live half way between David Lynch and Gabriel Byrne, Lyle Lovett and CArlyle Marney.I allowed in the building that I was in despair, kinda jokin, kinda honest. A good lookin woman expressed her concern and I told her I appreciated it. My waitress today looked like she coulda been distant kin of Willie Ruth Medaris who I understand did a stint at the Gardendale CB in the 80's. In the 60's Willie Ruth often served the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who resided in the area. Said he was a handsome well mannered man around her, but not to say she tolerated his darker side. I don't think Willie Ruth ever met Will Campbell, but I am confident they woulda understood each other. I do know for a fact she is acquainted with Kate Campbell's in laws.Yall have a nice day.Oh, Bill Shepard showed the Property. His bro in law runs www.thenade.org . I promised I would get a plug in on my blog and I just did. Couldn't do it if his Precocious Doctor Daughters didn't have a sense of humor. The older one once heard me on a call in program in Bham, thought it was a hoot.
Friday, February 02, 2007