Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Remembered, Fictionalized Ozarks . . .

Bridge Over an Ozark Lake

Mr. Harry Styron, a Missouri lawyer located in Branson, Missouri, has a blog post from late January titled "The Ozarks in fiction: a work in progress" and has requested that interested folks "work together to build an annotated list of fiction about the Ozarks," and some of you might want to help him on that.

Meanwhile, under the heading "The soul of the Ozarks in fiction," Mr. Styron has included our friend Mr. LeRoy Tucker, the 'Ozark Folk Liar', and notes that Mr. Tucker's "blog . . . contains fiction and tales." He then quotes, in an apparent update, an early February message from Mr. Tucker's blog:
Almost everything I write is set in my fictional town of Climax, Arkansas. I move around in time because to me, Climax was always there and I merely tell stories about what might have happened or might someday happen or something like that, stories that I don't understand any more than you do and I can't tell what is coming next either. There is no beginning and I suppose the end will come when I die or become physically unable to continue. Certainly there is no plan and never will be.
Readers who have been following me on Mr. Tucker's blog will know that the fictionalized town of Climax, Arkansas is set in the rather more fictional political and geographical entity La Clair County, situated somewhere in the Ozark region along the border between Fulton and Sharp Counties.

I say that Climax, Arkansas is "fictionalized" because Mr. Tucker tells us in May of last year that some of his ancestors "lived at Climax, the real Climax that died in 1918 and stayed dead: the Climax that I attempt to imagine back to life."

I thought of Mr. Tucker's 'fictional' pursuit as I was reading an article yesterday in The New York Times titled "Library Science," a review by Pagan Kennedy of Marilyn Johnson's recent book about librarians, This Book is Overdue. Kennedy lets us in on what fascinates Johnson about librarians . . . and about obituary writers(!):
They are people who struggle to bring the dead back to life. Johnson's characters desperately care about half-forgotten brawlers, freedom fighters and canine celebrities. They are the guardians of all there is to know. It doesn't matter whether they carry on their efforts in analog or digital format. For they are waging the holy battle to resurrect the entire world, over and over again, in its entirety -- keeping every last tidbit safe.
That's what Mr. LeRoy Tucker is doing with his fictional La Clair Country -- bringing the dead, the old Ozark dead, back to life.

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