All posts by Alex Joyner

Texture of a Passing World

sunlight coming through windows

The Remains of Quanah Parker & Eagle Park Follow Wayne Gipson down through the gate behind the trading post, past the concrete pad of the old amphitheater where Reba McIntire once appeared, and just behind the rusted ruins of the roller coaster and you’ll see one of the most legendary houses in America – Quanah Parker’s Star House. Schoolchildren of the southern Great Plains grow up learning the legend of Parker, son of an Anglo settler captured in a Comanche raid and the chief who took her for a wife. Quanah became a Comanche leader … Continue reading Texture of a Passing World

On Talking to the Dead

flowers and baseball on a grave marker

I talk to dead people. Oh, don’t get worried. It’s not like they talk back. Although, there was that time… What I’m saying is that I have some graves that are my favorite haunts. (And just to be absolutely clear—it’s me that’s doing the haunting.) My grandmother’s for one. But also David’s, because my grandmother is several hours away. David, the firefighter and preacher. As his assigned mentor in the ministry, I spent a lot of hours with him. I also helped with his funeral five years ago after he was thrown from the vehicle … Continue reading On Talking to the Dead

The Consternations of Traveling South with Paul Theroux


A few years back I took a trip to Texas with Bill Clinton. It was not a fun trip. Clinton is pathologically self-referential and by the time he’d repeated the phrase, “Let me tell you one more clever thing I said when I did something bad,” for the eleventy-twelfth time, I was ready to leave him by the side of the road in Alabama. I sputtered at the car CD player (which is where books-on-tape lived before they became books-on-Audible…did I mention Clinton was on the CD and not in the car?), “I don’t care … Continue reading The Consternations of Traveling South with Paul Theroux

The Coffee That Didn’t Happen in a Delta Town (and All that Did)


The coffee shop was closed. I would not have made the detour into Leland if it hadn’t popped up on my smartphone map. And who would have expected that a coffee shop would be closed at 9 am? So there I was peering in the dusty glass, trying to conjure some sign of activity inside, sweating already on a Mississippi August morning. It didn’t look so inviting anyway. Next door, by the package store (Cheer!), a brick facade failed to conceal the implosion beyond. One step through that door and you’d be in the middle … Continue reading The Coffee That Didn’t Happen in a Delta Town (and All that Did)

A World Intense and Strange


Two years ago I couldn’t have even told you that Carson McCullers was female. My familiarity with Southern Gothic was that limited. But this summer I found myself haunting Columbus, Georgia, her birthplace, seeking some sort of connection with the woman who wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.   Like Mick Kelly or Jake Blount, peripatetic characters from that book who wandered the streets of what is only a thinly-veiled Columbus, I walked the city, past the old cotton mills along the Chattahoochee, down by the old bus station from which Antonapoulos, “the obese and dreamy … Continue reading A World Intense and Strange