R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Page 3 of 29

Hillside Monday: 9/17/18

“Roof and Sky, Two Days Before Disaster”
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 June 2018
In memory of John McNamara (1961-2018)

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Caturday: 9/15/18

“Suspicious Gray Tabby Cat”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Buddy

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Friday Photo: 9/14/18

“Sunset, Yellow Jacket Creek”
Troup County, Georgia – 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 9/12/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 21”
Hogansville, Georgia – 2018

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Prelude to a Hurricane

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in coastal South Carolina. My late father worked as a golf course irrigation contractor. Many of his projects were in and around places like Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head Island.

By my estimate, between 1972 and 1997, my father installed systems on perhaps as many as 100 courses in the area. Over those years, I got to know coastal South Carolina pretty well. And I love all of it—from Little River all the way down to Daufuskie Island.

In September 1989, my dad and his brother were working on a project in Charleston when Hurricane Hugo arrived. They almost waited too late to secure the larger construction equipment on site, load the 18-wheeler lowboy trailer with smaller items, and drive inland back to their company base near Athens, Georgia. It was a harrowing drive, Daddy said. Even with all lanes on Interstate 26 designated westbound-only, the six-hour drive still took a miserable 14 hours.

Daddy told me how, from his seat high in the cab of the truck, he could see people’s entire lives crammed into their cars. Children’s toys, photo albums, color TVs. For the lucky: suitcases for clothes. For the not-so-lucky: garbage bags for clothes. Some people, he said, had thrown into the back seat whatever shirts and pants they could grab as they fled the storm.

Weeks later, Daddy and Uncle Joe returned to the job site. Despite some equipment losses, everything was in relatively good shape. The surrounding area, however, was almost unrecognizable. Hugo came ashore as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 140 mph.

As Hurricane Florence nears, I remember my dad’s Hugo story. I think of all my friends who live in Florence’s path. I hope they know I love them. I hope they can stay safe and dry, away from harm.

And I think of the South Carolina coast—the Lowcountry, the Grand Strand, the Sea Islands, the Pee Dee, the Waccamaw, US Highway 17, the Intracoastal Waterway—all of it. And I hope it knows I love it. Even though I fear the worst.

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 9/10/18

“Clark Street Laundromat”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2014

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Caturday: 9/8/18

“Caturday Study in Cream and Black Fur”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Models: Miller (solid black) and Otis (flame-point)

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Friday Photo: 9/7/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 3”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 9/5/18

“Sunset on the Chattahoochee”
Franklin, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 9/3/18

“Self Portrait with Guitar and White Shirt”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Caturday: 9/1/18

“Saint Clark of the Kitchen Floor”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Clark

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Thank you, patrons!

 

Many, many thanks to the following for their patronage!

Amanda Guyton
Bill Brown
Allison Fix
Kweilin Wilson
Lisa McGovern
Kelley Frank
Ali Lauer
Grayson Hugh
Nicole McLaughlin
Emily Katzenstein
Dana McGlon

Crystal Woods
Syd Mooney
Kit Ketcham
Cheryl Lougen
Carole Thorn

Scott Johnson
Kenny Gray
El Queso
Luann
Greg Clary
Marlena Frank
Danny Alexander
Dann Brown
Molly Kay Wright
Charlie Bruin
Eric Woods
Connie Frank

Val Williams
Gina Adamson-Taylor
Steve Taylor
T. Westgate

These folks’ monthly contributions help me produce more of the stuff they enjoy. They get my original photos, short stories, and creative nonfiction series not published anywhere else. Thanks again, y’all!

You, too, can help support my work. Even $1 a month earns you special patrons-only content. Find out more on my Patreon page.

Image: “Self-Portrait: Rabun Gap, Early October” (2017)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 8/31/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 2”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 8/29/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 2”
Columbus, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 8/27/18

“For Wes, Part 5”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Caturday: 8/25/18

“Black Cat with Quaaludes Jar”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Lucinda

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Friday Photo: 8/24/18

“Magnolia in Black and White”
Heard County, Georgia – 2017

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Three years ago today…

Grayson Hugh‘s newly-released album Back to the Soul arrived in my mailbox.

It’s still surreal to see my words on the inside of a CD booklet. Writing those liner notes remains my proudest achievement to date. I am also proud to call Grayson and his wife/co-producer/art director Polly Messer my dear friends.

Wednesday Photo: 8/22/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 1”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 8/20/18

“Sweet Gum Leaf, Autumn”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Caturday: 8/18/18

“Gray Cat with Peach Towel”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Hank

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 8/17/18

“Ripening Peach, Early Summer”
Heard County, Georgia – 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 8/15/18

“It’s Lonely at the Cart Corral”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Hillside Monday: 8/13/18

“Brocade, Velvet, Patent Leather”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Caturday: 8/11/18

“Caturday Yawn”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Model: Otis

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Friday Photo: 8/10/18

“Kudzu and Concrete”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 8/8/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 11”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 8/6/18

“Any Porch In a Storm”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 8/4/18

“Cat Nap with Cabinet and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015
Model: Buddy

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 8/3/18

“Keep Your Faith”
Stovall, Georgia – 2016

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Love and thanks, with all my heart

Amanda Guyton
Bill Brown
Allison Fix
Kweilin Wilson
Lisa McGovern
Kelley Frank
Ali Lauer
Grayson Hugh
Nicole McLaughlin
Emily Katzenstein
Dana McGlon

Crystal Woods
Syd Mooney
Kit Ketcham
Cheryl Lougen
Carole Thorn

Scott Johnson
Kenny Gray
El Queso
Luann
Greg Clary
Marlena Frank
Danny Alexander
Dann Brown
Molly Kay Wright
Charlie Bruin
Eric Woods
Connie Frank

Val Williams
Gina Adamson-Taylor
Steve Taylor
T. Westgate

These folks’ monthly contributions help me produce more of the stuff they enjoy. They get my original photos, short stories, and creative nonfiction series not published anywhere else. Thanks again, y’all!

You, too, can help support my work. Even $1 a month earns you special patrons-only content. Find out more on my Patreon page.

Image: “Self-Portrait, Two Weeks Before Disaster” (June 2018)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 8/1/18

Dale Chihuly, Amber Cattails (2006)
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, Colorado – 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 7/30/18

“For Wes, Part 3”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Feline model: Smokey (2008-2018)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 7/28/18

“Ella and Sherwin, at Sunset”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2014
Models: Ella (gray tabby/white) and Sherwin (white/orange tabby)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 7/27/18

“Afternoon Light with Pecan Leaves”
Heard County, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 7/25/18

“Poolside, 5:04 PM”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Hillside Monday: 7/23/18

“For Wes, Part 2”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Caturday: 7/21/18

“Toes: Breakfast of Champions”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Model: Moo

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Friday Photo: 7/20/18

“Self-Portrait with Porous Concrete”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 7/18/18

“Whitley, with Yellow Cherry Tomatoes”
Heard County, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 7/16/18

“For Wes, Part 1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

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Caturday: 7/14/18

“The HR Director Wants to See You”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Nooz (aka Tennessee)

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On Returning from Maryland

As of 5:42 this morning, I was physically home from Maryland. Never have I cried so hard at a memorial service as I did on Tuesday, at my friend John “Mac” McNamara’s funeral. A thousand thanks to all of you who’ve helped me make this pilgrimage of sorrow, of loss, of gratitude, of goodbyes.

Despite having come there because of tremendous heartbreak, I did not want to leave Maryland. Emotionally, I’m still in College Park, Silver Spring, Annapolis. I can’t explain why. My intuition told me to stay: “Don’t go just yet. You’re not done here.” We shall see.

For the rest of my days, forever, I will be grateful to John. His kindness and encouragement literally saved my life on that March afternoon 16 years ago. When death felt like the only thing that would stop my suffering, John appeared almost out of nowhere to challenge that notion.

John was the first professional writer I ever met. He was the first person to take me seriously as a writer.  He was the first person to suggest I write about my father’s 1997 murder. Not only did I have a story, he said as he smacked his hand on the table for emphasis, but a story that I told as no one else could. He was the first person who meant it when he said I had talent. He was the first person who wanted me to understand, more than anything, that my stories were worth sharing with the world.

John’s words have buoyed me for almost two decades.

In the weeks since his murder, I’ve made almost no new photos. I’ve written hardly any new words. Words fail me, as does my sense of what makes a powerful image. At least I know this is normal. It’s how grief and trauma work.

But on the way to Maryland, at the Virginia state line rest stop, I did finally snap an image that fits the entire trip. Next to the sidewalk, this dead butterfly lay beautiful and broken—for no apparent reason. I saw it and sobbed like a little kid.

Dearest Johnny Mac:
Thank you, sweet friend.
You are the reason I am still here.
You are the reason I am still telling my stories.
I will miss you forever.
I will see you on the other side.
And when I see you, I expect you to roast me (again) for being a Celtics fan.

Always your friend,
Rachael

 

Friday Photo: 7/13/18

“Back Yard, Monday, 11:25am”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 7/11/18

“Yellow Gladiolus at Sunset”
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, Colorado – 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 7/9/18

“Sepia Storm Clouds”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Caturday: 7/7/18

“Caturday Gray”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Zora

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 7/6/18

“Bass Fiddle, at Rest”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 7/4/18

“Shore Erosion, Horace King Park”
Troup County, Georgia – 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 7/2/18

“Cat Waiting, with Light and Shadow”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Smokey (2007 – Jan. 2018)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

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