The Dock of the Bay
How could four walls, a bar and a stage mean so much to so many people? Real all about this fixture of the BSL collective memory.
- story by Pat Murphy
Good Neighbor Trent Favre
The Hancock County judge is a true "supporter of things that really matter" - particularly our children. The new "Halls of Hope" art collection in the Youth Court is just one project he recently launched to improve lives - and spirits.
- Story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
Brehm Bell, Attorney
He's proud to represent his clients and is working to improve life in Bay St. Louis through improving our court system.
- story by Dena Temple
“Our job is to clarify and then handle the immense amount of paperwork to expedite their claims."
“I get paid for helping people. What could be better?” says Brehm with a smile.
Brehm met his future wife, Jenny, while in college. Jenny is a Methodist, and Brehm is a member of the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
In another family this difference of faith might cause problems, but the Bells’ beliefs comfortably co-exist through mutual respect and understanding. The couple even attends each other’s church services once a month. Jenny runs a respected advertising agency and is a graphic designer.
The Bells raised three sons and a daughter in Bay St. Louis. The pride is evident in Brehm’s voice when asked about their current lives.
“Our eldest recently moved back to Bay St. Louis and is pursuing a career in printing,” he begins. “My second son graduated from Emory University with a divinity degree and is working as a Methodist youth minister in the Atlanta area.”
He pauses, then continues with a smile. “My third son is a senior at Mississippi State University studying business, and he intends to be an entrepreneur. Our youngest child, my daughter, is currently attending Southern Mississippi University.”
Volunteerism keeps Brehm Bell very busy. He is active in the Young Men Organization, an auxiliary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which promotes the growth and development of young men ages 12-18.
In addition, Brehm is still involved with the Hancock Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and its Teachers’ Appreciation Dinner, and the Bookworms program, in which volunteers read books to elementary-school classes to help engage students in books and reading.
A particular source of pride for Brehm Bell is Hancock County’s Youth Court system. Ten years ago Bell served as a Youth Court judge. At that time the position was part-time, and support staffing was inadequate to properly manage the case load.
Bell was instrumental in establishing a full-time Youth Court judge for Hancock County. Today, Judge Trent Favre holds the position full time, supported by a fully staffed DHS office. Backlogs are gone, and the public is far better served.
Bell and others sought to create the local County court system for reasons related to not only the Youth Court. Previously, Hancock County employed the Circuit Court System for handling all civil and felony criminal cases.
Bell explains, “We have four circuit court judges. Two spend three weeks in Hancock County each year, and the rest of their time is spent serving other counties. The other two circuit court judges serve here twice a year for three-week stints. These are all fine judges, but they have other duties serving Stone County and two separate courts in Harrison County, one in Biloxi and one in Gulfport.”
Bell pauses. “It was their responsibility to hear all the criminal and civil cases in the county. If there were more cases than there was room on the docket, the cases were postponed, sometimes for months or years. That wasn’t efficient, and it wasn’t fair to people who look to the courts for help with civil claims.”
Today, a full-time and fully staffed County Court judge can hear most civil cases without having to burden the Circuit Court judges. Hancock County Judge Trent Farve can hear most civil cases and youth court cases. This is helping to relieve the system of its logjam.
Improvements in the courts system help make life in Bay St. Louis a little better for its residents, and Brehm Bell is proud to have been partially instrumental in the creation of a full-time County Court judge position for this purpose. What else paints a bright future for BSL? Bell says smart downtown development will bring more visitors – and more tourism dollars – to our town.
What does the future hold for Brehm Bell? He says he has no plans to retire, but when he does, he is not leaving Bay St. Louis. “My home in Old Town will be my last,” he says.
“We love living here. We have everything we need –beaches, galleries, restaurants, and most of all, family and friends.” And Bell is working to make Bay St. Louis a better place, thanks to his tireless advocacy and desire to serve the community.
Barbecue on the Beachfront
Silver Slipper’s Smokehouse Cafe is serving some summertime favorites in a tropical setting.
- story and photos by Lisa Monti
A stage and chairs are set up on one side for the mostly local live entertainment offered weekly to customers. It’s generally a mix of locals along with hotel guests who have access via an elevator that delivers them right to the center of the Beach Bar and Smokehouse Cafe seating.
Some guests from Louisiana grabbed seats recently at the small beach bar before deciding what to order off the Smokehouse menu. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t their first visit to the Silver Slipper, which has a loyal following. They said they were back to enjoy the summertime events and food and drink offerings.
The Smokehouse’s meat-centric menu actually is an offshoot of the popular barbecue selections offered in the casino’s Jubilee Buffet. “We had such great response to the smoked meats on the buffet,” Chuck Anger, Food and Beverage Operations Manager, said, the casino crafted a small menu of barbecue classics.
There’s no one particular standout that the Smokehouse prepares on its custom grill and smoker, he said. All the food is served with a smoky, slightly sweet sauce made in Biloxi. And if you believe that barbecue goes especially well with beer, you may want to go for a Lazy Magnolia Easy Breeze. The Kiln brewery created Easy Breeze specially for the Silver Slipper.
The top item listed on the menu is the smoked rib platter, a half rack of fall-off-the-bone goodness that satisfies the craving for the hearty dish. The generous portion of Smokehouse Loaded Nachos are definitely shareable.
Anger said tables will order one, then follow up with two or three more portions. The chips are covered in slightly sweet pulled pork, baked beans and loads of rich cheese. You can customize these nachos - add jalapeños maybe - or stick with the basics. Either way, it’s all good.
For those who prefer a sandwich, there’s the Smokehouse brisket, always a favorite, and that delicious pulled pork. The fish taco selection features grilled trout, two tacos to an order, for a special seafood treat.
The one burger choice is a deluxe cheeseburger, and the dogs come in two varieties - the standard hot dog and the Gator Dog. All the items come with your choice of the classic barbecue sides: baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw or chips.
Prices for Smokehouse items range from $10 for the rib platter and sandwiches to $4 for a hot dog.
The Smokehouse Cafe is a place where you can go to enjoy a bite, a drink and some music in a relaxed atmosphere that’s definitely kid friendly. The place gets really busy on summer holidays, Cruisin’ the Coast and special events like the recent Jeepin’ the Coast, which drew a huge crowd. It’s also available for private parties.
Ol' Blue Eyes
Quirky, compulsive, lovable - and oh, those eyes - Frank climbed his way into Ann Weaver's heart.
- Story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ann Weaver
For Heidi, it was love at first sight. She adored Frank right from the start. Penny noticed Heidi’s attraction and hoped the street dog might have found his forever home.
Weaver was unconvinced. “Taking him in seemed overwhelming,” she says. Still, she couldn’t quite forget about the street urchin.
By the time Weaver decided she would take Frank into her home, it was too late. Frank had been adopted by a first-time dog owner in her 70s. But being just a year and half old and 40 pounds, Frank proved to be too much for his senior rescuer. He was, as Weaver puts it, “high maintenance.”
Frank was returned to foster care again at Penny’s Pampered Pets in 2008. This time around, Weaver was ready and willing to open her heart to the cocker with the big blue eyes. Frank had found his forever home.
From the beginning, Frank was “food insecure,” probably from living on the street without a family for the first year of his life. Regardless of how well Weaver fed Frank, he would still occasionally climb on the dining room table and even, on occasion, the kitchen counters. Weaver learned to keep crumbs at bay.
“I exercised him a lot,” she remembers, “because he would eat all day every day if I would have let him.”
Frank was also obsessed with tennis balls. A chaser of anything that moved, rabbits and squirrels above all, Frank would chase a ball until he couldn’t run anymore. If he couldn’t coerce a human to toss him a ball, Frank would gently nurse a fuzzy tennis ball, chewing it and whimpering all the while. Weaver speculates that Frank may have been separated from his mother too early.
At home in Bay St. Louis, Frank shadowed Heidi. As she aged and went blind a few years after his arrival, following Heidi around the house became a full-time occupation. Later, Frank companioned Heidi through the loss of her hearing and the onset of dementia. When Heidi died, Weaver didn’t have to grieve alone; Frank was right there beside her.
Frank’s passing came more abruptly than Heidi’s, and his obsession with food factored in. One night he helped himself to an unopened box of dry, unsweetened cocoa powder that Weaver had left on the dining room table as part of a science kit. She planned to use the cocoa the next day at work to demonstrate how dirt interacts with water.
Frank consumed the entire box of cocoa powder and died of toxic food poisoning. Weaver hadn’t even thought of the cocoa as food - just part of a science experience - otherwise, she would not have left it on the table.
Frank was a senior himself at the time, after enjoying ten years of a lush life and lavish care by Ann. Nevertheless, Weaver remembers it taking many months to come to terms with the loss of Frank. Things that helped were allowing herself to feel the grief, to reminisce over pictures, and to talk about Frank - a lot - to her friends. Her advice for surviving the loss of a pet?
“Don’t go home to an empty house,” Weaver says.
At the time of Frank’s death, Weaver was lucky enough to be fostering four-year-old Willie, another cocker—a “sweetheart of a dog.”
“All my dogs in heaven must have looked down on me with compassion and decided to send me a really well-behaved and healthy dog,” Weaver says of Willie.
Why does Weaver gravitate toward cockers? The energetic dogs are a good fit for Weaver’s active lifestyle.
“I can play with them,” she says. “Cockers are always up for something, like if I pulled out a leash right now, even though we’ve already been out, Willie would jump at the chance to go again.”
“And they’re always happy - their tails wag constantly. They always crack me up!”
If Weaver is such a fan of Cockers, why doesn't she buy one from a breeder?
"I prefer to adopt," she said. "There are so many dogs that need homes, and although they come with their challenges, fosters are so unique and great companions!"
Hancock County Adoptables
The dogs below are available at the Hancock County Animal Shelter as of June 12, 2019. Call the shelter at (228) 466-4516 for availability.
BUZZ has the "head tilt" down pat, doesn't he?! This adorable 8-month-old Labrador Retreiver mix puppy is innately sweet, craves attention and affection, and despite being a baby among mostly adult dogs, he is incredibly confident and upbeat. He loves going for walks and looks forward every day to playing in our exercise yard. We find that he does best when walked using a harness. Buzz would be an awesome addition to any family large or small, or fill the role of BFF for a single person/couple or active retirees looking for a fun-loving buddy to share adventures. This little guy will likely require both house and crate training, but the rewards of the love and companionship this fella will bring you, are worth the responsibilities of puppy training. We hope you'll consider giving Buzz his forever home... he promises to love you "to infinity and beyond!"
Buzz's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. An approved adoption application always applies.
CAP has taken little Colette under his paw; they share a kennel and since doing so, she has blossomed and is no longer a fearful, trembling pup. Despite his stature, Cap is very gentle with small dogs and kiddos.
Cap is an affable, goofy, sweet-as-pie 4-yr-old Hound dog, who if he could, would likely sing a song about the woods, squirrels, and "the one that got away!" He is most definitely a country boy! He is quite content to hang out with his many doggie pals at the shelter, romp around our play yard, and follow our kennel techs around as they clean. He will pick up toys and carry them around, and then "zoom-zoom" around the courtyard, amusing himself. Cap is likely not house or crate trained, but he walks fairly well on a leash/harness. He truly loves people, and he is quite gentle with children.
While he is happy here at the shelter, he deserves to have a home and family of his own. He would do best in a home with a (privacy) fenced yard or with lots of acreage to explore. This agile boy can climb a 4-ft chain-link fence with ease. Cap would love to join active kiddos in their outdoor adventures, so please consider adding him to your family.
Cap's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
SIX MONTHS AND COUNTING...
That is how long beautiful, sweet DOTTIE has been hoping for her "second chance" family to come her way. Why doesn't anyone want her? We just can't figure it out. She is one of the sweetest, easiest, most loving dogs to come through the shelter. PLEASE come meet our sweet Dottie soon!
She came to us as a stray, so although we don't know much about this beautiful girl's past, her body gives us a few clues. Motherhood is behind her now, and we hope her future will be one of love and family. This 4-yr-old Pointer/Hound mix has a gentle nature and a sweet spirit about her. Dottie just wants to be loved, and she seeks out the affection of our staff and volunteers.
We think her "dots and spots" are unique and beautiful, and so is her personality. She is friendly with other dogs and seems oblivious to our shelter kitties. Her calm nature would make her an ideal companion for active retirees, a single person/couple, or even a family with children. She is just that well-socialized and trustworthy.
We do not know, however, if Dottie is house trained or crate trained, but she does keep her kennel clean and "goes potty" as soon as we take her outside. She looks forward to going for walks with our volunteers, who equally look forward to hanging out with her. She is pure joy and happiness! Please consider adding this mature, curvaceous gal to your family. She has so much love to give her forever family!
Dottie's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, spaying, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Dottie is heartworm positive, but she is currently on a heartworm preventaive and doing great. An approved adoption application always applies.
This handsome boy is MATT, a 2 yr old Treeing Walking Hound, with a stellar personality who never meets a stranger. He can often be found lending a paw to our kennel techs as they clean kennels and make their rounds. He has many doggie pals here at the shelter, and he loves to play with kiddos of all ages. Matt would love to join an active family or single person/couple, seeking a fun-loving canine partner and friend. Matt walks well on a leash/harness, and although he keeps his kennel clean, we are unsure yet if he is 100% house or crate trained. This sweet boy exudes all of the wonderful qualities for which the Hound Group is known and beloved... except for the trademark "hound dog" barking. Matt is kind of quiet and prefers the company of people to raising a ruckus. If you've never had the good fortune to share your life with a hound, well, here's your chance! ?
Matt's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Matt is heartworm negative. An approved adoption application always applies.
ZESTA is as sweet as she is lovely! This 1-year-old Calico loves to be rubbed behind her ears and settle into the first available lap for cuddles. She has very discerning tastes, which includes listening to country music, dining on yummy fish dinners, and relaxing on a comfy bed (when not in your lap). Zesta would be a welcome addition to any family large or small. She is great with other friendly cats, too. She is litter box trained and utilizes a scratching post. Go meet this beautiful, gentle cat, and you're sure to fall in love.
Zesta's adoption fee is $30, which includes worming, spaying, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. An approved adoption application always applies.
SEAL loves people, and can't get enough of his BFF here at the shelter... our dedicated volunteer Nancy Dahlgren, who volunteers her time working with our doggies. She is especially fond of this sweet 2-year-old Labrador Retriever mix with lovely light green eyes and reddish-blond fur.
While Seal is friendly with the other dogs in his living area, he can be dog selective when choosing new pals. So, we recommend a meet-and-greet at the shelter with existing family dogs, if he is to join a home with multiple pets. He is great with older children, and would also be a fun companion for a single person/couple, or active retirees.
He enjoys being outdoors, so a home with a fenced yard and daily walks are a must. Seal is very affectionate and will reward your attention with lots of kisses. We are unsure yet if he is house or crate trained, but he does keep his kennel clean. Please give this fella the chance to show you the same love and affection with which he showers our staff and volunteers.
Seal's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
This happy, loving boy is LANE, a 3 yr old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, who is not only handsome, but very charming as well. He gives great hugs and kisses, and never meets a stranger. He a pretty calm fella with other dogs, and makes friends easily. He is a super friendly and loving boy! Lane came into the shelter in very good physical condition and is very well-socialized, so we feel he was part of a family very recently. He walks well on a leash and never seems in a hurry. Lane is a very content and obedient dog, and is best described as having a medium energy level. He sits for treats, and seems eager to please, so it may a great bonding activity to continue Lane's learning of new commands. If you've been seeking a buddy for companionship and to share in your adventures, then Lane is your dog. He would also be a great choice to join a family with children of any age because he dotes on even the smallest of kiddos. We hope you'll stop by and meet this terrific boy.
Lane's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
PRINCESS is a lovely one-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, who possesses a gentle spirit and sweet nature. She is very quiet and would rather impress you with her good manners than with "showy" barking and silly antics. Instead, our Princess is quite regal, as her name implies, but very warm and appreciative of affection. Our techs are observing her kennel habits in hopes of determining if she may be house trained; thus far, she has kept her kennel very clean. She behaves cooperatively in her kennel and walks cautiously on a leash/harness, but she does not pull.
Princess is great with other friendly dogs, and enjoys the company of calm-natured children. We are unsure yet how she feels about cats. As soon as we know more about this sweet girl, we will update her profile. But, in the meantime, please stop by and meet her. She may be the perfect addition to your family, whether it be a single person/couple, active retirees, or a family with children.
Princess's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, spaying, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating. Princess is heartworm negative. An approved adoption application always applies.
Restoring "God's House" a Labor of Love
The list of needed repairs was long - but the dedication of the designers, carpenters, craftsmen and artists returned this house of God to its former glory.
- Story by Lisa Monti,
photos by Nina Cork and Drew Tartar
The parish footprint has been in the same beachfront spot for almost 175 years. The current brick church was completed in 1908 after a devastating fire the year before that also destroyed St. Joseph Academy and other buildings on the beach road. It withstood many storms over the years and rebounded from the damage. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the church’s roof was torn off, the interior flooded and the marble altar rail was broken into pieces.
Major repairs were made after the storm, including a new roof, but problems persisted. “We had leaks in the roof for the last 12 years, and termite damage,” said Joe Monti, a lifelong parishioner. After those issues were finally resolved, the parish was able to move ahead with plans to restore the church interior with new paint and lighting and other needed improvements.
The project was a year in the making, said Wikoff, who selected the new color scheme for the church.
In January, church services were moved to the adjacent Community Center as paint contractors set up scaffolding to prep and paint the ceiling, walls and columns. Parishioner Rick Martin directed the scaffolding placement, wall restoration and the painting contractors.
There was so much scaffolding, the work being done wasn’t visible from below. “It was like the Sistine Chapel,” Monti said. “You didn’t know what it looked like until the scaffolding was gone.”
Parishioner Nina Cork, an artist, used her talents and background in iconography to restore the canvas murals depicting Mary as Our Lady of the Gulf attached to the dome and the ceiling panels of saints. That required her to work 50 feet up in the air and without the benefit of seeing her progress from the vantage point of a pew. She also added the gold leaf throughout the sanctuary and on top of the columns. “I spent my entire 10 weeks on scaffolding,” she said. “I’d never done that before.”
Cork repainted the top third of the image of Mary to keep it as close to the original image as possible and to keep the church’s namesake as the focal point above the main altar. It’s not known who originally painted the church’s murals.
To brighten up the church’s interior, LED lights were installed to illuminate the space and highlight the stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross and to put the focus on the altar. The LED lights on the side aisles now match those in the large center aisle and new lighting has been added to the various niches around the church.
The church’s stained glass windows, some of which were crafted in Germany decades ago, were outlined in dark blue paint and cleaned up so the colors and features were enhanced.
The Stations of the Cross along both sides of the walls date back to the 1920s and were taken down for the church renovation. Parishioner Joann Hille hand painted the plaster, three dimensional Stations some months ago and did some retouching where it was needed after the stations were hung back on the church walls.
Parishioners got to see their renovated church on Easter weekend, after volunteers cleaned and dusted, all the Carrara marble statues were uncovered and the artwork was back in place. “It was a long process but it came together at the last minute,” Monti said.
Cork called the renovation “a wonderful team effort, with everybody using his or her skills. We all had our own vision but to see it all pulled together, it’s just amazing.”
There’s still some work to be done, most notably the return of the original altar rail severely damaged by Katrina and a redesign of cabinets in the sacristy behind the altar.
Father Mike said that OLG has always been recognized as a beautiful church and that made the prospect of changing some interior features a bit daunting.
“Due to the research, hard-work and talent of so many, I believe we have really made almost everyone happy. I feel truly blessed by the results of the renovations, and I am happy for the parishioners of OLG and the many visitors we host here,” he said.
“Going all the way back the Temple of Solomon, we recognize that the beauty of ‘God’s house’ should raise the mind and heart to contemplate the beauty of God’s truth and presence. I believe OLG does that as good as ever. I could not be more grateful for the team of professionals and volunteers that made this renovation a success.”
Over a lifetime, an author's signature may change, or evolve. But a book signing is still an intimate experience between the writer and an appreciative reader.
- Story and photos by Scott Naugle (unless noted)
For many, an author’s signature on a book is both a momentarily intimate personalization as well as an opportunity to briefly connect with a favorite writer. A signature signifies that for at least a moment the writer held your copy in his or her hands, underscoring and reaffirming, perhaps, the connection and impact that the work itself left with the reader.
With an effective work of fiction or nonfiction, a bond forms between the reader and writer during the many quiet hours of reading. Often, a reader, if the prose is elegant and insightful, will connect emotionally, enhancing the perception of a personal connection with the author. A signature is a physical manifestation of this intellectual bond.
A successful author may sign thousands of books over the span of a career, sometimes hundreds within the span of an hour or two at a well-attended book-signing event. Would a writer, and who would blame him or her, grow weary of the repetitiveness of signing, eventually cutting corners with less precision, not crossing the “t” nor closing the loop of the “o”?
I looked first to Eudora Welty to analyze two of her signatures, one done early in her career and the second at the very end.
Eudora Welty was born in 1909 and lived most of her life quietly in Jackson. In 1941, her first work of fiction, "A Curtain of Green," was published. Welty won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Optimist’s Daughter" in 1973. She died in her Jackson home near Belhaven College in 2001.
In August of 1949, Eudora Welty signed a copy of her recently published short story collection, "The Golden Apples." Her signature is small, taking up very little space on the free front endpaper of the book. It is 4 inches long and 1.5 inches high. The letters are rounded, not sharp, and the full signature is somewhat illegible.
Advancing to 1991, Welty signed a copy of "Photographs," a 1989 collection of her black and white photos from the 1930’s taken during her employment by the federally funded Works Progress Administration. Undoubtedly, she had signed thousands of her books from the time of "The Golden Apples."
The signature again measures 4 by 1.5 inches. The letters remain loosely connected, flowing as if part of an undulating wave. She crosses the “t” in Welty differently than before.
From "To Kill A Mockingbird," Harper Lee’s 1960 tale of race and class in the mid-twentieth century Deep South, the author’s signature is straight, neat, and underscored with a dash. Each letter is clear, nearly perfect in execution.
Just prior to her death in 2016, HarperCollins published Lee’s second novel, "Go Set A Watchman." She signed very few copies of either of her books. Lee’s signature in Watchman is exceedingly scarce.
Health took its toll on her autograph, not repetitiveness, since she rarely signed her books or appeared in public. By 2015 when Watchman was published, she had suffered a stroke and resided in an assisted living facility in Monroeville, Alabama.
It is painful to look at Lee’s later signature when compared against an earlier version forty years prior. It is a scrawl, jagged and uneven. Slow and deliberate, determined, I assume, to push through and finish, it is an act of will on Lee’s part to sign her name. Still, it is lovely, when one thinks of all she has survived. “I’m still here, damnit,” it announces.
I detect little difference in best-selling author Walter Isaacson’s 2003 signature between "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" and his 2017 "Leonardo Da Vinci." He is a studious, accurate, and gentlemanly scholar and it is reflected in his graceful and elegant signature.
But, back to Jesmyn’s original question: had her signature changed over the years? I believe it has.
In 2008, "Where the Line Bleeds" was published by Agate Publishing in a trade paperback format. The initial print run was small and Jesmyn, a first-time author, was relatively unknown. Her signature is rolling, free, fresh, unbounded, gushing across the page.
After dozens of national and international honors, including two National Book Awards, seemingly endless book tours, and several thousand autographs, Jesmyn’s signature on her 2017 novel, "Sing, Unburied, Sing" is somewhat shorter in length. It is a bit more bold, sure-footed, proud, resting on the page, I feel, as a literary placeholder in American Letters. It is in motion as if it wants to run off the page into the liminal space where Jesmyn sources her creativity.
I’ve watched hundreds of authors sign their work. My sense is that each is proud that a reader cared enough to ask for a personalization of his or her novel or non-fiction work. The author is in the moment with the reader taking pride in signing. Art, including literature, is about connecting us through an imaginative work. A signature brings it into the tangible moment, fleetingly, yet ironically, eternally.