Thursday, February 21, 2013

South Carolina's Low Country has inspired many Great writers

It is no question that South Carolina has paved its way for recognition in The United States of America. Not only for its beauty in the plains that grow and sow seeds of our fore fathers or the enchantment in the waves rolling in and out that at one time held Black Beard afloat or in the mountains reaching up to the heavens that were trailed by our earliest settlers, The Indians. The most famous thing SC is known for is it starting the Civil War. 
Fort Sumter, SC was where the first bombs and screams  were heard on April 12th 1861.  Fort Moutrie had its hand in the revolutionary war in 1776. South Carolina is not only known for its patriotism.  It played a huge hand in literature as well. We know the The Great Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moutrie In 1827. Only spending about about a year in the low country and registering under the assumed name, Edgar A. Perry. At 19 he had already published one book of poems. It's rumored he enlisted under an assumed name because of gambling debts he owed.  South Carolina must have had an impact on the literary man as Gold Bug, The Oblong Box and The Balloon Box were influenced by the low country. This is how he described Sullivan's Island in The Gold Bug.
“This island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than the sea sand and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the mainland by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh hen. The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant or at least dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near the western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands and where are some miserable frame buildings, tenanted, during summer, by the fugitives from Charleston dust and fever, may be found the bristly palmetto; but the whole island, with the exception of this western point and a line of hard, white beach on the seacoast, is covered with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle. …”
Sullivan's Island still has its tributes to the brilliant writer. If you are driving around the island you might come across Gold Bug Avenue, Raven Drive or Poe Avenue. If you cross The Intracoastal  Waterway going to Mount Pleasant you might happen to stumble upon Poe's Tavern, where some of items on the menu include hamburgers with names such as Gold Bug, Pit & Pendulum, Annabelle Lee, Tell-Tale Heart and, a tribute to Poe’s time on the island, Starving Artist.

South Carolina didn't stop there with its well know writers. DuBose Heyward wrote his 1925 novel Porgy which his wife, Dorothy, later adapted into a play in 1927.  Porgy inspired the opera Porgy and Bess with music by George Gershwin, (whom also enjoyed his time in SC)and later adapted into a movie in 1959. DuBose and his wife wrote the song Summertime for P&G sitting on their deck looking out at the beauty of Beaufort, SC. "summertime, where living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high, oh your daddy's rich and your ma is good looking, so hush little baby, don't you cry." Heyward was born in Charleston in 1885. His father, Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr was a SC signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Heyward  went on to write many more plays, novels and poems.

We also have been honored with other brilliant writers such as, Pat Conroy, who has written many books, but most famously The Prince of Tides which was filmed on Fripp Island, SC where the writer lives and still holds book signings in a little convenient store at the tip of the island. 

There is also Dorethea Benton Frank.  She writes romantic novels that always have a promise of true SC facts. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have known that much about my mysterious state that I've always been proud of but never needed any proof as to why. I've always known this state was special and that it grows and houses honest, smiling, down to the bone good people. Im proud to be a South  Carolinian and most proud the state I like to call my own was home, maybe just for a while, to some of literatures finest. Like our license plates once said, Nothing is Finer than living in South Carolina. 

Ryan Perry White 

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