Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tom Franklin on William Gay

When I read this opening paragraph to Tom Franklin's tribute to William Gay, I knew immediately I'd have to post it here:

"He cut his own hair. In warm weather, hed bathe in the creek behind his house. He hunted ginseng in the woods when the season was right. He tended a vegetable garden that grew tomatoes, squash, okra, carrots, and onions. He smoked Marlboros. He sometimes wrote in a tree house on his property. Women loved him. They wanted to take care of him, to fatten him up. He never drove. He wrote. He wrote in yellow legal tablets, one stacked on another. His favorite restaurant was Waffle House. In the 60s, he heard Janis Joplin play in Greenwich Village, and when he requested a Bob Dylan song, she snapped, We don't do covers, sir. He loved him some Bob Dylan. He lovedDavid Letterman, too, and the Cubs. He loved SeinfeldDeadwood, William Faulkner, Bill Clinton, AC/DC. He loved movies, though he never went to a theater. Most of all he loved his children, and his grandchildren. He had high Cherokee cheekbones and small brown eyes that got lost when he smiled. The skin of his face had deep lines in it that seemed to hint at hard living. When the writer Janisse Ray met him, at Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi, she said, “You look like a man who's been shot at.” And he did, he looked like a man whod been shot at. Thered be weeks he wouldnt answer his phone. It might be disconnected, or it might just ring and ring. If it went on too long, wed all start worrying, his friends, calling one another. Have you talked to William? Have you talked to William?"

Read the rest of this amazing essay here: