Creative Writing

Published on October 7th, 2015 | by Rafael Alvarez

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The Great Magnolia Vagabond – Part 6

This is the tale—as brief as it takes the evening sun to set in Avalon, Mississippi—about a bluesman, a Nobel prize winner, and a young woman with dreams of riding her guitar to the big time. VagabondWeb

It’s early April of 2008 and I’m searching for the shack where Mississippi John Hurt lived long before he settled in Washington D.C. before his death in 1966.

Along the way, I befriended a teenage guitar player waiting tables in downtown Carrollton (just east of the Delta in Carroll County) with a passion for the stage. John Hurt’s shack I was told was just a mile or two away. Perhaps the spirits would be friendly there and bestow a deep blue benediction. 

Photo by Rebecca Long

“Well,” she said, leaning on a broom at the ender of her shift, “It’s my grandmother’s birthday and I’ve got to go to dinner with my family.”

I left her with a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, which had been a prop for the library-card carrying assassin Brother Mouzone in season two of The Wire.

She finished sweeping and I headed out to the shack, still and silent back in the country, hoping that the young musician would become successful enough to spend hours in a van traveling from gig to gig, reading Marquez and staring out the window when a passage moved her. The Local Voice Ligature

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About the Author

Rafael Alvarez is a reporter, short story writer & screenwriter based in Baltimore. He has been visiting & writing about Mississippi since 1984. A former staff writer for HBO's "The Wire," his new book is a collection of short fiction called "Tales From the Holy Land."



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