Hollywood Blues

A Culture of Grand Illusions

“A fact is not a truth until you love it.”

—Shelby Foote

A while back, I wrote a piece for a Festschrift in honor of Walter Sullivan—Place in American Fiction: Excursions and Explorations.  My piece, “Places We Have Come From, Places We Have Been,” argued that my own fiction and poetry, like that of so many other Southern writers of my generation, inevitably included more places than only home bases and home places.  I said that, to be honest, we must at least acknowledge the other places, foreign and domestic, that we had lived in and written about, using myself as an example: the academic world I had lived in to earn my keep, places such as Middletown, Connecticut; Rome, Italy; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Charleston, West Virginia; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Lexington and Charlottesville, Virginia.  Not to mention other places where I lived for a time—York Harbor, Maine, and my days in Trieste (Free Territory of Trieste) and Linz, Austria, courtesy of the U.S. Army.  I must also openly confess to having lived some time in New York City.  I argued that, for a writer of my time and age, the Armed Services were a deeply rooted place, much the same in Trieste or Linz or anywhere, as well as an institution that we shared and a common...

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