Those Confederates and their Attics


To appease my curiosity I was blessed with a copy of Confederates in the Attic as I made my way to the airport the other day. Since then I have had this book randomly referenced twice in conversation, and as a salve for my concern and have found it factually satisfying. I couldn’t help but pick out this passage for being so dead on the nail about what I had seen:

Awakening the next morning in a $27 room at Salisbury’s Econo Lodge (“Spend a Night, Not a Fortune!”), I recognized the appeal of dwelling on the South’s past rather than its present. Stepping from my room into the motel parking lot, I gazed out at a low-slung horseshoe of ferroconcrete called Towne Mall, a metal-and-cement forest of humming electricity pylons, a Kmart, a garish yellow Waffle House, a pink-striped Dunkin’ Donuts, plus Taco Bell, Bojoangles, Burger King, the Golden Arches of McDonald’s and the equally gaudy signs for Exxon, BP, and Shell hoisted like battle flags above the melee of competing brands. A few exhaust-choked bushes poked from the greasy asphalt.

I’d gone to bed reading about the Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston, who urged his men into battle at Shiloh by declaring, “Remember the fair, broad, abounding land, the happy homes and ties that would be desolated by your defeat!” I wondered sleepily what Johnston would make of the view from the Econo Lodge.

-Tony Horwitz, page 27


However, as I was reminded by one of my students who has lived here (in Seattle), that we have our own “what the fuck” peculiarities that probably do not jive with the rest of the country including incessant bike lanes, extremist thought on organic food and other items that have us slotted into the frivolous liberal category. She reminded me of this after I returned from Dollywood and was appalled by what I thought was a catastrophic health care disaster written all over a population that was greedily consuming deep fried Twinkies and Snickers, football field sized powder sugar funnel cakes and showed a complete lack of shame for riding those mall scooters in caravans instead of walking the amusement park.


But we do have our strip malls and mall wastelands out here too, which I was abruptly reminded of as I got lost on a strip in Burien on my first day back. Just different signs and a severe lack of Waffle Houses.

New Drawing exhibit at Highland CC


After travel all day on Tuesday, a life of airports and shuttles, I touched down in Seattle finally. Very glad to be home!

Yesterday, after finding the drawings I had sent from North Carolina actually were in the vicinity (there is no such thing as overnighting anything from the Post Office there even though the Express Mail posters are hung front and center), I spent the day hanging my work at Highland CC, which is great as it is not often you punch out a new body of work and have the opportunity to exhibit it right away. The show will be up through July 31st.

Tuesday morning, sitting on my friend Harry’s porch before he took me to the airport, we were both trying to wrap our minds around the entity called the South. A friend of ours James who is from Kentucky used to spin the wildest tales about growing up there, I see now he was not using any exaggeration, I’m glad I got four weeks to try to decipher it for myself. In the mean time I came home to a garden fully in bloom and lots of peace and quiet.