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Hill Country Living

New Columnist Seeks Inspiration, Takes Abuse

By Coulter Fussell


Hello! I am Coulter Fussell. And that, readers, was my third introduction in the North Mississippi Herald in the past six weeks. Mickey Howley first introduced me in his column this December, right before I began a month-long gig subbing as “Street Talk” writer while he vacationed in Europe. As he skied the German mountainsides, I wrote the first of four “Street Talk” columns for him and introduced myself again.
And, now, like Mickey rolling down the Die Bergen in dem Schwarzwaldes, things have snowballed and I have my own bi-weekly column. Thanks for skiing, Mickey! But three introductions is enough because if you don’t know me by now then you are not a regular reader of this matchless publication and that’s your problem, not mine.  
But one problem I most definitely did have was naming this column. I suffered my first bout of writer’s block over the column name before I had even written a single word, so I decided to take my dilemma to the social network. I’d like to give a big ‘thank you’ to all my Facebook friends who gave me those 116 really funny albeit really bad suggestions.”Dupuy Diatribe” was a favorite of mine, while “What the Fussell?” was a favorite of everyone else.
I would especially like to thank those Facebook friends that suggested names that seemed completely unrelated to anything what-so-ever (“Nina’s Notebook” and “Otis and Me”…what? Who are Nina & Otis? I don’t know those people.) I would also like to thank my little brother and a few of his friends who turned titling my bi-weekly column into an exercise in perversion. They really entertained themselves.
“Coulter’s Corner” was suggested as this column’s title more times than I face planted into the front door of the Piggly Wiggly last month when its automatic-open mechanism was broken. Much like when my metaphysical-minded father used to torment me as a child by challenging me to “Think of everything except a white horse,” I couldn’t escape “Coulter’s Column.” It always came back to that and, man, I hated it.
Finally, it occurred to me to do what one should always do when one has lost one’s way and is in need of direction, when one has nowhere else to turn and all hope seems lost. And when one wants to hear what vegetables were eaten with a pork chop dinner. I turned to the literature; I turned to “Betty’s Week.” Now, that is a great title. It’s direct and minimal while somehow managing to be oddly poetic. And, most importantly, the title says exactly what the column is about: Betty’s week.
My column will be about living in the hill country. I moved to the north Mississippi hills in 1998 from my much-loved home state of Georgia and I have never looked back. There are many reasons I stay here, and I’m thinking I might figure them out if I write them down and publish them in the paper every two weeks. I’ll write about the day-to-day ins and outs that make living in our place special. So, check back with me in two weeks when I write about being chased down Railroad Avenue every Sunday by a pack of homeless dogs outside Spring Hill North Missionary Baptist Church. I’ll also say a few things about the Sprint Mart beef jerky selection, so be sure your subscription is up to date!

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