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photo: Charlotte Observer
Doug Marlette, a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist and North Carolina native, was killed this morning in a single-car accident in Mississippi. Marlette’s controversial editorial cartoons and his comic strip, Kudzu, are syndicated worldwide. Read more.
Marlette was interviwed by Valerie MacEwan in the Spring (April) issue of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and had been a friend of Val’s for many years. His newest novel, Magic Time, has just been released.
A true southerner, Marlette told Val MacEwan,
“I write about the South and draw about it because it is what I know and because I believe it is where America reveals itself to itself. This nation, historically, seems to have been destined to forge its soul on southern terrain, to come into itself as a nation on the red clay and piney woods of our region. The South is where it has always played out its problems most vividly, fought and bled and suffered over its most basic principles, and where it has discovered its deepest convictions.
Our national spirit of rebellion, revolution and independence has always found some of its most passionate, eloquent voices in southerners from Patrick Henry, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Martin Luther King, Jr. We, as a nation and a people, came into ourselves during the crucible of the Civil War, the struggle for union fought mostly on southern soil, when we went from thinking of ourselves as a loose collective of disparate, individual states to thinking of ourselves for the first time as the United States of America. The civil rights movement of the Sixties, the struggle to extend and fulfill the promise of the Constitution to all of our citizens was fought and also played out on Dixie’s terrain.
And now the economic energy of the nation has shifted South, as has political power, with Southerners in control of the White House and Congress, the view from the bridge to the 21st century in a global economy seems to be one of a distinctly Southern perspective.”
Doug Marlette was Friend of the Mule who will be missed. He is survived by his wife and a grown son. May he rest in peace.
UPDATE: July 11, 2007
Val’s favorite Doug Marlette quote:
“People used to say to Kurt Vonnegut “you write short.” When they met him he was taller than they expected. I used to get something like that with my cartoons. I apparently draw like a short dark, bearded guy. But am actually tallish, and alarmingly have this somewhat affable, open- faced quality, like some Sunbelt Rotarian. It confuses people. They’re surprised when my inner pit bull shows itself.”
See more links at The Tulsa World, where Marlette worked.
Yesterday we went rail fanning in Western Virginia. We left home at 7:30 am and drove about three hours (north from Winston-Salem on 52 and I-77, then west on I-81) to Saint Paul, Virginia, where we began rail fanning, following a tour guide from Frograil for Norfolk Southern in Eastern Appalachia from Saint Paul, Virginia to Frisco, Tennessee.
We saw a train parked at Boody East, our first location, for a crew change. We didn’t see many more. What we did see was lots of track (interesting crossings, etc.) and some beautiful, beautiful mountains. We got about halfway (to Big Stone Gap) and realized it was 5 pm, so we decided to stop trying to locate each place in the guide and drive to Natural Tunnel State Park (also in the guide) before it got dark. We got there too late in the day to enjoy the park’s fascillities.
Natural Tunnel State Park is in Duffield, Virginia. (See pictures and official site) This tunnel has been called – by American poet William Jennings Bryant – the “Eighth Wonder of the World. ” A railroad track runs through the tunnel. Bill was able to photogragh some cars going through the tunnel but the engine had already passed. We would like to have been there longer, but a sign said, Park Closes at Dusk, so we went on our way. We heard another train in the valley as we were leaving and caught part of it a bit futher on. We then drove home, stopping for supper and arriving here about 11:15 pm.
We hope to finish the tour and return to Natural Tunnel State Park, perhaps in the fall.
To enter into solidarity with a suffering person does not mean that we have to talk with that person about our own suffering. Speaking about our own pain is seldom helpful for someone who is in pain. A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds. When we have lived through a painful depression, we can listen with great attentiveness and love to a depressed friend without mentioning our experience. Mostly it is better not to direct a suffering person’s attention to ourselves. We have to trust that our own bandaged wounds will allow us to listen to others with our whole beings. That is healing.