Rowan Oak

Marble dyed silk blouse: Blooming Leopold
Skirt: thrift store
Bag: Etsy
Shoes: Dolce Vita
Sunglasses: Karen Walker

For the longest time my parents and I had talked about wanting to go see Mississippi. Well, I went there a year and a half ago with Jamie, when we took a thrift store shopping road trip around the deep South. We stopped briefly in small towns that looked like nothing I’d seen in real life, and I knew I had to go back. So this time around Drew and Rufus and I drove to Oxford and met up with my parents for a weekend of relaxation, mountain biking (well, Drew and my dad, at least) and historic site hunting.

William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak was definitely the highlight. I’d been wanting to go there ever since Meaghan did a post about her trip there a few years back.  Faulkner’s books confuse me most of the time.  The only one I’ve managed to finish is The Sound and the Fury, and that’s only because we had to read it twice in college, when I had my professor and a half dozen smarter students to help untangle that southern gothic mess of a plot for me. Later I tried to read Absalom, Absalom! on my own, but it was too much for me. For every paragraph I found absolutely beautiful there were five that made my head hurt.

But no matter.  I’m still fascinated by Faulkner as a person and as a writer. And even more fascinated by the idea of him as a character—one of the greatest writers of all time, holed away in an antebellum mansion in a small college town. There’s nothing all that Faulknerian about Oxford.  At least not nowadays, at least not to me. Granted, I didn’t see much beyond the courthouse square and the Ole Miss campus, but the Oxford I saw seemed like a typical Southern college town, sporty and scrubbed clean. I passed by buildings where Faulkner supposedly worked and hung out, but I couldn’t imagine him there as easily as I could picture him walking around the grounds of Rowan Oak, protected from curious neighbors and autograph hunters by a forest of cedar and oak.

I could just as easily see him in the house, which was really simple and modest and a little rough around the edges. His study, where he did his writing, seemed like a good place to imagine up stories and novels, looking out onto the stables and the grounds.  When Faulkner was coming up with a plotline for his novel A Fable he went ahead and wrote it right on the walls.  That was my favorite part.

All photos are by Drew, except for the last one, which I took. Surprise, surprise.

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  1. Posted November 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Ooooh that sounds like such a nice weekend!!!
    I’m on the very same page as you when it comes to Faulkner and his beautiful/impossible books. Most of the time I just sort of read his stuff for the words and don’t even know what the story is about….
    I liked the part about how he loved bourbon so much.

  2. Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I love these photos, so dreamy!

  3. Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I am currently reading Sound & the Fury, and because I read the Sparknotes beforehand, I am really enjoying myself. I would have been pretty lost without it. What an imagination Faulkner had! I also read “As I Lay Dying” this summer and thought it was funny, sad, and beautifully written, and I loved how Faulkner imbues his poor, country “low-brow” characters with such eloquent, poetic thoughts. It is the most accessible of his books, so I hear, if you want to give that one a go.

    Gosh, I really want to visit Mississippi too, even more so after viewing your photos of Rowan Oak. I hope to get out this summer for the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic.

    P.S: Loving your hair do.

  4. Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    It looks so lovely there x

  5. Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos. Would love to tag along on your next southern sojourn!

  6. Anthe
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Pictures look great! I’m sure you had a great weekend with your parents!

  7. Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I have a copy of Absalom, Absalom! with me and I never got past page 5.. I agree, Faulkner’s lines are heavy and headache-causing beautiful. I’d wish to finish the book someday. :) Thanks for the tour!

  8. frida
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    oh my god, i love your photos!! so beautiful!! and i’ve fallen in love with your bag in the first picture. i’m searching for a similar one for so long. can you please tell me where it’s from? xo, frida :)

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