City Lights . . .

City Lights in Sylva, North Carolina, is in a house, like Inkwood in Tampa. I love bookstores in houses, where each room invites new discoveries. Les went exploring and found a used book by his favorite mystery writer of the moment for five bucks.

My friends Jean Ellen and Don prepared a harvest table with a colorful quilt, mums, newly pressed cider, and amazing maple-iced pumpkin cookies, made by the famous local baker, Annie’s.

My friend Ann Stark (who helped type the first version of The Last Resort–when it was a journal) was there all the way from Labelle, Florida.

Jean Ellen grew up in Mississippi, and I talked about southerners in exile and how we love finding one another.

One woman asked if I thought having servants, as we did back in the south, freed women to do better things. I said I thought servants were bad for the white women who had them and the black women who served. In the 50s and 60s women were encouraged not to work outside the home. Having servants freed my mother to play cards and drink.

Chris, one of City Lights’ owners, said whenever a writer is driving around, she should have a carton of her books in the car. I winced, remembering Miss Hosford and her trunkload of The Last Mississippi Spa, selling them out of the back of her car in parking lots and from the church vestry on Sundays.

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