• Growing up in Fitzgerald, I lived in an intense microcosm, where your neighbor knows what you're going to do even before you do, where you can recognize a family gene pool by the lift of an eyebrow, or the length of a neck, or a way of walking. What is said, what is left to the imagination, what is denied, withheld, exaggerated-all these secretive, inverted things informed my childhood. Writing the stories that I found in the box, I remember being particularly fascinated by secrets kept in order to protect someone from who you are. That protection, sharpest knife in the drawer, I absorbed as naturally as a southern accent. At that time, I was curious to hold up to the light glimpses of the family that I had so efficiently fled. We were remote-back behind nowhere-when I was growing up, but even so, enormous social change was about to crumble foundations. Who were we, way far South? "We're south of everywhere," my mother used to lament

    Frances Mayes
  • He's already tan, and leaning on the rail in his yellow linen shirt, with the pure glory of Venice racing behind him, I think he looks like someone I'd like to run off with, if I already hadn't

    Frances Mayes
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