wrong eyed jesus

anonymous asked:

hi, alice! do you have any favorite books that deal with southern cultural identity?

yes yes yes yes! I have a few, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as some films/documentaries. 


  • Bastard Out Of Carolina, Dorothy Allison (memoir focusing on trauma and lesbian identity in the South)
  • to an extent I think Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle explores a lot of southern identity issues, such as class and gender. This doesn’t get talked about a lot in fandom because a lot of people who read the series have no real experience with the American South, but my enjoyment of TRC comes almost exclusively from my reading of it as a Southern text.
  • in a lot of ways Texan identity is separate from Southern identity (and certainly deep southern identity and culture as it exists in states like mississippi, louisiana, alabama, etc), but Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy hyper-focuses on the delight and absurdity of Southern and Texan culture.
  • You cannot talk about or explore southern cultural identity without talking about religion, so I’m going to recommend you read (if you haven’t already) O’Connor’s Wise Blood. I would read up on Flannery O’Connor in general? Especially her personal writings and prayer journal (read some excerpts)
  • likewise, you can’t talk about southern cultural identity without talking about race and I urge you to read southern texts written by writers of color, especially black writers. Zora Neale Hurston is essential, especially her most famous work Their Eyes Were Watching God, as well her short story “Drenched In Light”
  • I would also recommend Jesmyn Ward, who was raised in Mississippi, lived in New Orleans during the period of Hurricane Katrina, and now teaches in Alabama. She said in an interview, “The stories I write are particular to my community and my people, which means the details are particular to our circumstances, but the larger story of the survivor, the savage, is essentially a universal, human one.” She has a memoir coming out, I believe, if it’s not already out. I just read her Salvage the Bones.


  • Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress
  • Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts
  • Whistlin’ Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions
  • Bridging Southern Cultures


  • this is very self-indulgent but Sweet Home Alabama will always be a favorite southern film of mine 
  • True Blood is. one of the hands-down best representation of what it means To Be Southern, in all of the complexities within that “identity” 
  • Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus is a documentary about (mostly protestant) religion in the South and its relationship to music and social culture. PLEASE watch it, it’s fantastic. Some of the dialogue in this documentary (”I was lookin’ for the gold tooth in God’s crooked smile”, “the devil is alive in the South. What is God without the Devil? Nothing.”) is incredible and gives me chills.

by the time they find his body, 6 weeks later, well hell, she’s 1,000 miles away

Jim White performing ‘The Wound That Never Heals.'  Excerpt from 'Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus’

Also featured, among the patrons at the bar, is walking Faulkner novel Harry Crews, may he rest in peace.

Jim White: Wrong Eyed Jesus!

This album holds a very special place in my heart. It wandered into my life when I was in a very bad place, and spoke to me. I’m pretty sure I drove around for close to a month listening to this non stop. I was just telling this to Kerry, and she was surprised that I knew the album before we met. Funny thing is, just as this album popped into my life out of nowhere, it similarly disappeared. I rediscovered it many years later after Kerry and I were married.I asked the kids to think about how the sound of the songs made them feel.


Nick:  Really scary.

Isabel:  It’s going to make me cry to sleep.

“Book of Angels”

Nick: He has kind of a high pitched voice for a guy at that age.

Isabel:  I like the beat.

“Burn the River Dry”

Nick:  The lyrics don’t make sense to me.

“Still Waters”

Nick:  Sounds like a song a sad cowboy would sing in one of those cowboy bars.

Isabel: I like this one, but the story is kind of creepy.

“When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name”

Nick:   Sounds like a song that would be played in a poker place.


Nick:  The song sounds like it’s a really old recording.

Isabel:  To me it sounds like a lullaby.

“A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados”

Nick:  This song makes me want to sway my body back and forth

Isabel:  It’s a good song. It sounds a little bit sad and happy, I don’t know how.


Nick:  This is kind of like music for a chase scene in a movie

 “Heaven of My Heart”

Nick:  Hey, a happy song!

Isabel:  ( Isabel didn’t have much to say, but she was dancing around the living room)

“The Road That Leads to Heaven”

Nick:  This one is very calm. It’s a good finale.

Overall Impressions:

Nick:  Sometimes it was sad, sometimes it was weird, sometimes it was happy unlike most things that we’ve heard so far, it had more than one theme to it. It reminds me of songs that they play at funerals. I’d enjoy listening to this in the car. Oh, and the fact that there’s a secret track kind of freaks me out.

Isabel: I’m going to do 8/10. It was, like, sometimes it was like really happy. Sometimes it was glum. And sometimes it was awkward. Really awkward.

anonymous asked:

if you could just serve me up... a top 5 quotes ABOUT the south.......... i would appreciate

  1. my absolute favorite quote comes from, of course, Flannery O’Connor love of my life - “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”
  2. “The devil’s alive in the South. Without the devil, what is God? Nothin’. You need both, you need something dark, you need ghosts…It’s a God and a Devil you can touch, it’s hell all around you.” from Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus and honestly just this whole documentary, if you’re interested in the culture of backwater southern religion and its connection to music, I super recommend watching it. 
  3. “A southern moon is a sodden moon, and sultry. When it swamps the fields and the rustling sandy roads and the sticky honeysuckle hedges in its sweet stagnation, your fight to hold on to reality is like a protestation against a first waft of ether.”
  4. “Southern heat makes us grateful for southern trees.”, Evie Shockley
  5. “All forms of landscape are autobiographical”, Charles Wright. a line that still guts me every time i read it.