R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Page 2 of 65

Friday Photo: 6/22/18

“Michael’s Fine Clothes for Men”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 6/20/18

“Something (Not) Borrowed”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Hillside Monday: 6/18/18

“Pink Blossom Party”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Caturday: 6/16/18

“Baby Booplesnoot”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Hank

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Friday Photo: 6/15/18

“Mining Camp Ghost Accident”
Leadville, Colorado – 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 6/13/18

A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.
— Diane Arbus

“For Wes, Part 18”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 6/11/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 20”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Caturday: 6/9/18

“Black Cat, White Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018
Model: Miller

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Friday Photo: 6/8/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Nashville, Tennessee – May 2018

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He was an itinerant millwright, the story goes, a handsome fellow who never stayed long in one place. Women loved him. He loved them back. His mistake was in messing with one whose husband hid in a roadside thicket and shot him off his horse on a fine summer evening.

The doctor tried to save him—removed all the lead he could find, tied and pressed and tourniqueted against further bleeding. Too late. They buried the good-looking millwright at the back edge of the cemetery, sheltered by oak, hickory, poplar, scuppernong.

The chest wound told what the dead man could not. A muzzle-loader, yes. Homemade shot. Wadded tight with paper. The doctor unfurled the biggest blood-soaked piece: a long front page strip from the Franklin newspaper, dated a few days before.

Only one local man still used a muzzle-loader. Years later, the sheriff shook his head when he recalled how the fellow still had that newspaper with the piece torn out. It lay right there on the table when he and the doctor arrived.

They hanged the murderer at the jail in Franklin. Where they buried him—or what became of his wife—nobody knows. But Charles M. Bailey remains here, a mile and a half from where he fell.

Gravestone of Charles M. Bailey
Glenn, Georgia (Heard County) – 3 June 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 6/6/18


“A Quiet Moment in KC”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

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Notes from the Past

Twenty-three years ago today, I sat in a University of Georgia classroom taking brief end-of-term notes on final portfolio requirements. The seminar instructor, Dr. Christy Desmet, remains one of my all-time favorite professors.

No, I don’t know how I managed to save this notebook for over two decades.

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Hillside Monday: 6/4/18

“Sunset in Blue and Flame”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016

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Caturday: 6/2/18

“My Writing Companion”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Clark

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Photo: “Self-Portrait in Kitchen Floor No. 2” (2015)

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Friday Photo: 6/1/18

“Shadow with Methodist Clubhouse Wall”
Glenn, Georgia – 3 April 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 5/30/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 19”
Anniston, Alabama – 2017

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Last Day of School, 1981

On this day in 1981, I finished 1st grade.

Last summer, my mother found in her attic this worn, yellowed sheet of Blue Horse tablet paper. I’m not sure how it survived 37 years of moves, heat, and humidity. Check out the black Sharpie smiley-face at upper right. Somehow, Mrs. Reba Taylor even managed to check everyone’s work before first-grade cookout pandemonium descended upon her classroom.

Friday, May 29, 1981
Today is the very last day of this school year. We are going to have a cookout to celebrate. I hope all of you have a nice summer!

At first, I thought the oversized-pencil handwriting was my sister’s. It looks like the pre-3rd-grade-cursive, little-kid version of her grown-up print penmanship. But Val reminded me that in 1981 she hadn’t yet learned to write, and wouldn’t until the fall of that year.

This is unexpected. It’s also the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

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Hillside Monday: 5/28/18

“Hillside Neighborhood Watch: Block Captain”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 October 2014
Model: Moo

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A Menthol Prayer

I asked the lady at the tobacco counter for Virginia Slims, like my grandmother used to smoke—”the ones with green on the box.” Turns out Maw-Maw’s favorite cigs were also menthol. Not sure how I missed that and thought my grandfather was the only menthol fan in the family.

I don’t smoke. My grandparents made me promise that I’d never start. But the smell of cigarette smoke comforts me. I can’t help it. It’s a major note in the perfume of my first 23 years on this planet.

Whenever I find myself unable to write my way out of a sticky place, I light a Virginia Slims. I wave the lit end around the room a bit, then set it in the thrift-store ashtray on my desk to invoke my grandmother. I watch the strange secondhand smoke incense curl around my chair, then up, up, up and around the room along with my prayer.

And somehow, before long, I’m writing again. Palms together, I bow in gratitude: “Thank you, Maw-Maw.”

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