This long essay from 2010 by preeminant William Faulkner Noel Polk reflecting on the past, his relationship with his home state of Mississippi and his father is stellar.
My war, finally, then, certainly: it of course always had been, it and all its afterglow, and I never feel that it is mine more bitterly, and bemusedly too, than when I travel and meet people who type me because I am a Mississippian. I’m bemused because I know better; bitter because I know our accusers have so often had ample reason to think of all Mississippians that way, given how often we shoot ourselves in our social and cultural and political feet; and over the years when candidates for jobs came to my campus for interviews and were still surprised that we had sidewalks and McDonald’s and Porsches and BMWs, and reported, with some shock, how many of their friends and family had questioned their intelligence, not to say sanity, by presuming to seek employment in savage, redneck, racist Mississippi. It was my war, my history, most galling of all in my recognition that I was going to be tarred with it no matter what I said or did or was or tried to be: I was redneck, racist, ignoramus.
Atlanta to Georgia: “It’s time to break up.”
No one can deny we’ve had a long run. You were one of the original 13 colonies, and while I was started more than 50 years later at the intersection of some of your railroads, we’ve been inseparable ever since. Sure, I got burned when you tried to secede with the confederacy, but those things happen and I was happy to start over again while taking in many seeking refuge after that messy ordeal.
From there we grew together, you and I, through dark times and prosperity, through depressions and growth. But after World War 2, I started noticing something was wrong. More of my people started moving from me to you. At first I thought this was normal and fair - people move after all! When we added interstates across both of us, I had some complaints, but surely it would just be a better way to have your people and mine enjoy both of us more, but sadly that hasn’t been the case.
In the 70s when MARTA was created and later when the airport began to boom, I looked to you for support, and instead was spurned. I had become a refuge for people treated with disdain and sometimes violence with you, but I continued to be happy to take them in. While we had our differences, I was shocked to find you actively working against the initiatives and investment that I needed to grow. You were proud to brag about the economic growth I brought to you, and I thought I was happy to share, but it seemed like the seeds of discontent were planted and at times I felt we were going in two different directions.
It turns out those feelings were correct. Even though we’ve shared so much (1996 Olympics!?) - whenever I try to improve myself, I’m now met with resistance from you. When I try to improve my transportation - I’m blocked. I hoped that we could get on the same page, but it appears that you’re only happy to use me - letting people work at the business I’ve brought in, only to send that money and opportunity out to your suburbs, while leaving many of the people in me underrepresented and sometimes in dire need.
I hoped we could come to an understanding - to realize that our fates and futures are linked, but it may be better if we go our own ways - you can keep being a largely agrarian state, sure the suburbanites will be jobless without me, but they didn’t want to help me, so why should I care if I stop helping them. I’ll continue to be a huge city full of culture, but I will only become more hollow and more neglected than before. It seems like that’s what you’ve always wanted, so even though It’s the worse thing for both of us, it seems like our only option.
If you decide you want to work together, if it seems like you realize how much I help you, and how much you help me, maybe we’ll be able to work things out, but until then I think this is best for both of us.
Don’t call, I won’t answer and if you see me hanging out with other states, please don’t interrupt us. Maybe they will be more interested in supporting me than you have ever been.
People will tell you that you can’t do things because they think they can’t do them either.
— Somebody, but I forgot.
- Keep good company
- Notice the ordinary
- Preserve the ephemeral
- Design not for the elite but for the masses
- Explain it to a child
- Get lost in the content
- Get to the heart of the matter
- Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
- Remember your responsibility as a storyteller
- Zoom out
- Prototype it
- Make design your life… and life, your design.
- Leave something behind.
Mississippi State is #12.