I am sitting in a coffee shop in Oxford, MIssissippi listening to college students lament. The lack of wifi on this journey is starting to get to me. I have pictures, and things to say! But until I figure out how to get better WiFi in the hinterlands – and I have SEEN some hinter, much land – it will all have to wait. But so far, so good, and now I’m going to Hernando, MS, wherever that is. 41 miles away, anyhow, so, like, 3 hours. 🤔
After I left Lake Lowndes, I headed for Oxford, Mississippi. I wanted to see the Faulkner house and I had it in my head that there was a super famous bookstore in Oxford. I like bookstores, as you probably have guessed. And I like, or liked, Faulkner. I read every single thing he ever wrote when I was between 17 and 18 years old, guided at first by a much better than average English teacher and then by my own addiction to – to what, exactly? I would say purple prose, or flowery prose, but those are pejorative and that’s not where I want to go with this. Elaborate prose, perhaps. Metaphorical. Poetic. Beautiful, anyway, and I remember feeling drunk on it, like I could just go on drinking Faulkner and then swimming in his books. Prose like water, like bourbon, like something other than words. And I was a teenager, after all: you kind of lose that ability to get completely fucked up on literature, which is a pity. Or at least I seem to have lost it and I would like it back. I haven’t tried to reread Faulkner. I suspect I never will, because I suspect I couldn’t get that feeling back. And I suspect I’m less tolerant, too, and, honestly, he’s probably too hard for me nowadays. I don’t sink into prose anymore; I like to skim above it.
Anyway! Oxford! Oxford is adorable! I got into town – the Garmin has a regrettable tendency to route me right through the center of towns or, worse, their less salubrious neighborhoods – and I went around the courthouse roundabout. And then I did it again. And then I did it again! Then, for a change, I went up to the University and went around THEIR roundabout. It was extremely lovely, I must say, although I took no pictures: I was too busy worrying about navigating all these roundabouts with the camper and also, I confess, worrying about what a complete idiot I must look. I just wanted some wifi and a bookstore. I went back to the first roundabout, which is right in front of Square Books and LO! Two parking spots had opened up on the street! Amelia and Moby and I can park in two spots and we did. Yay us!
I went to Square Books, which is a super nice bookstore although not used. I am not sure if it is the famous one I was thinking of or not, but I liked it very much and bought a Donna Leon paperback and a T-shirt. There was a chair made of bones, which was sweet, and a balcony and several different levels. It smelled like books which is a smell that makes me happy. No wifi, though. Then I went to the coffee shop at the top of this paragraph and wified my little heart out for an hour or so. The college student next to me had an assignment in which he had to describe a book he wrote OR he had an actual book deal. I couldn’t tell which. Either way it was all very difficult for him and he was tired and had to tell his friends about it and either way I am jealous and sort of wanted to go Full Bore Mom on him and say “Kid! This is the best time of your life! Shut UP about how tired you are!”
Then I got back into my mobile hermitage and drove away and as usual that took HOURS longer than it should have so I got into the campground in the dark. The roads were shadow haunted (Faulkner country!) and the names were long and convoluted (Faulkner country!) and then finally I came to a lake and there I have stayed for the last couple days.