Sounds like the setting for a good Southern novel, doesn’t it? Or maybe just the inspiration we needed for the first meeting of the Yoknapatawpha Writers Group, a spin-off from the Yoktapatawpha Summer Writer’s Workshop held in Oxford in June. By the way, “Yoknapatawpha” is a native American word meaning “slow water traveling through fertile land.” William Faulkner used it as the name for the fictitious county that was the setting for much of his writing. We’re not borrowing it from Mr. Bill… we’re borrowing it from the Indians. We think it’s quite appropriate for a group of Southern writers.
Herman King from Hernando
Patti Trippeer from Memphis
Others were invited and hope to join us in the future.
We started with discussions of what we want to be and what we don’t want to be. We want to be a critique group, not an actual guild (like the Mississippi Writers Guild) which organizes conferences and the like. We want to be humble and friendly, not competitive. As Joshilyn Jackson shared at the Mississippi Writers Guild Conference in August, “No no one breaks out of the pack.” The whole pack shares each other’s successes and struggles and journeys. A good critique group is honest, but also supportive.
Our final two meetings for 2007 are scheduled for October 27 and December 1, both in Oxford. If the weather is too chilly for the balcony at Square Books, we’ll find an indoor spot and let everyone know.
You think your pain and your heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people who are alive, or who have ever been alive. – James Baldwin