Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann:
It’s not easy working in the South. Playing on a southern pronunciation of “Beaux-Arts,” H. L. Mencken once dismissed the South as “the Sahara of the Bozart,” and he had a point. Urban museums have little interest in artists who live down here or those who don’t live in a city. We lack a collector base, and enjoy little support or artistic fellowship. As my friend Billy Dunlap remarked the other day, the rest of the world seems to love us only when we act like characters out of a Tennessee Williams play.
Cy would have loved that quip, and I miss not being able to tell him, to hear his snort of merriment. I miss his almost childlike glee at the most elementary human gaffes. Every time we would leave his house and catch a glimpse of the neighboring Reid White house behind the trees, one or the other of us would repeat our favorite line from a story my mother used to tell about the occupant of that house, Mrs. Breasted White. That’s what I swear I remember her saying: “Mrs. Breasted White.” But now, writing that name, it somehow seems highly improbable.