Deep South Message Board

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Deep South Message Board

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1Dystopos Primer missatge
jul. 27, 2006, 11:47 am

Welcome anyone and everyone. I started this group because no one else had. I hope you find it, and find it to your liking.

jul. 27, 2006, 12:04 pm

If no one had started a Southern group in the next day or so, thanks for starting one!

jul. 27, 2006, 12:57 pm

How about a transplanted Atlantan, now living in (gasp!) southern California?

jul. 27, 2006, 2:44 pm

Sounds great to me! Welcome aboard.

jul. 27, 2006, 3:06 pm

Hi! I'm not really from the deep South (or even the South, for that matter) - I'm from Ohio - but at one time I lived in Virginia and Tennessee, so I hope that qualifies :) I do like Southern fiction. Eudora Welty, Richard Ford, Anne Rivers Siddons, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, and Flannery O'Connor are some favorites.

jul. 27, 2006, 3:10 pm

Of course it qualifies! Welcome!

Looks like I need to highlight the last sentence in the group description.

Editat: ag. 8, 2006, 5:20 pm

By the way, if anyone wants to suggest a better picture to represent the group, feel free to nominate something. This is just something I had lying around.

By the way, if you get a chance to peruse one of Kathryn Tucker Windham's ghost books, I do recommend them. She's a lovely storyteller.

8trav Primer missatge
jul. 27, 2006, 3:19 pm

Hi! I'm glad you started this group. Could be fun!

jul. 27, 2006, 3:42 pm

I love the picture! It reminds me of a book I borrowed from the library once, Ghost Dogs of the South. (I don't remember the author's name, unfortunately). Southern ghost stories about dogs :)

jul. 27, 2006, 4:45 pm

I've seen that book. In fact, I think the guy whose library of Kathryn Tucker Windham books I photographed above has a copy under his coffee table.

It's not on LibraryThing so far as I can tell, but here's a review:

jul. 27, 2006, 8:32 pm

Thanks for starting this group. I'm originally from Tennessee which although a southern state, it is not technically in the deep south. I now live in a state, Louisiana, which is considered a deep south state. I love the South but hate our hot humid summers.

jul. 28, 2006, 3:44 am

Here's to it y'all! The South is the deepest thing there is! (salutations from Athens, GA)

jul. 28, 2006, 7:49 am

I really like the idea of a group dedicated to discussing Southern writers and their work, just as Dystopos outlined above, but I think the name "Deep South" doesn't plainly convey that idea, and I think there'd probably be many more joining this group if the title was a bit more inviting. You could easily call it "Deep South Lit" maybe, or some variation of that perhaps, and while we're at it, let's lose the picture of the ghost books too if we possibly could. That's the first thing you see when you land here and I think it's an unnecessary distraction, one that's totally misleading to any casual visitor.

jul. 28, 2006, 10:52 am

One of my favorite sections in the paper here in B'ham, Ala. is a small corner called "What They're Saying About Us". In it, they run snippets from papers all over the country that refer to Alabama.
Does anyone know of a book like this? Not so much newspaper articles, but a discussion of how the rest of the nation regards the South.

There were a couple of books I read about the last couple elections where a chapter here or there was set aside to discuss 'the South'. And I have a Civil War book where it talks about what the Europeans thought back then.

But I can't find anything that outlines a more current national perception of the South.

Thanks in advance for your concideration.


jul. 28, 2006, 12:38 pm

LouisBranning - Thaks for the suggestions. I'm fond of the name, myself. I will try to more plainly convey your more refined idea in the introduction. Also, I am actively soliciting better pictures, so if you have any, let me know. (PS: I don't think the photo of anthologies of ghost stories set in the south is "misleading", however)

trav - Welcome fellow Birminghamster! I enjoy that column too, but with a dose of guilt because I think we here spend far too much time worrying about what people think of us and not enough time doing the things that would shape those perceptions. I'll give some thought to your question and get back to you.

jul. 28, 2006, 12:42 pm

An article in this month's "Oxford American" suggests that Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" may be the best southern story ever put to paper.

Who wants to start the debate?

jul. 28, 2006, 12:55 pm

Per request I have changed the picture. The new one is a photograph of the interior of Faulkner's Books in New Orleans, taken by Luke Robinson, found on Flickr, and used according to it's Creative Commons license.

Flickr's terms of service require that I link back to the photo page. So here you go:

jul. 28, 2006, 12:56 pm

Per request I have changed the picture. The new one is a photograph of the interior of Faulkner's Books in New Orleans, taken by Luke Robinson, found on Flickr, and used according to it's Creative Commons license.

Flickr's terms of service require that I link back to the photo page. So here you go:

jul. 28, 2006, 12:58 pm

Per request I have changed the picture. The new one is a photograph of the interior of Faulkner's Books in New Orleans, taken by Luke Robinson, found on Flickr, and used according to its Creative Commons license.

Flickr's terms of service require that I link back to the photo page. So here you go:

jul. 28, 2006, 3:27 pm

The picture is perfect--just my two cents.

jul. 28, 2006, 4:19 pm

Dystopos- Thanks for your willingness to give it some thought.
I just saw where Giles threw some kudos your way, over at Foreword. That's a great site.

jul. 28, 2006, 5:31 pm

A native Virginian, transplanted to Texas these days with a stop in Atlanta just prior.

Dystopos - I read that OA article on "A Good Man is Hard to Find". It is one of the few short stories I've read that never fails to make me laugh and feel horrified all in the span of a few pages, and that is quite the accomplishment. I'm terrifically fond of O'Connor in general, and honestly, I can't think of any other short story with that kind of punch to it. But maybe I just need to read more. :-)

As a side note, the OA has a really excellent collection of short stories (all southern of course) that I highly recommend: Best of the Oxford American.

jul. 28, 2006, 8:56 pm

Hi everyone - I live in Birmingham... UK (but I have been to the Alabama version too - including visiting the Whistle Stop Cafe!, as well as a few days in lovely Atlanta)

I guess you would say I like modern Deep South literature (as well as Southwestern But Not Cowboy books - maybe I'd better start a group for this!)

Examples include Anne Rivers Siddons, Jill McCorkle, Fannie Flagg, people like that. Books like these are really hard to find in the UK so I get quite a few through BookCrossing.

Looking forward to finding some new authors. My tag for these books is location - US - southern states, or it will be when I've sorted out my tags!

jul. 28, 2006, 11:59 pm

Re: the OA article
Does anyone else think Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" could stand up to "A Good Man..."?
Certainly some of the same themes are there. And it is just as Southern without being Redneck-ish like so many newer folks are doing (i.e. Erskine Caldwell, Larry Brown, etc.)

jul. 29, 2006, 12:55 am

Not a short story but my all-time favorite piece of Southern Lit might by Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. any other fans McCarthy in the group?

jul. 29, 2006, 1:48 am

Sorry for the triple-post above. I should know better than to fall for slow-server response.

I certainly don't want to dissuade modern Southern literature from this group. I am no voracious reader of fiction, so you all will be educating me as we go along.

So, if the bad news is that a poorly-read and only slightly competent LT'er has started tis group, the good news is that all you smart people will have all the say in how things go and you're already making a splash in the list of groups. (partly because of my error of triple-posting, perhaps)

Let me put some more authors in our description. I'm most familiar with the Alabama ones, so ya'll help me out.

jul. 29, 2006, 1:53 am

86 LT members own Suttree but none of you have written a review for us. How about it, georgedavidclark?

jul. 29, 2006, 6:08 am

Suttree blew my hair back. I think this novel is much better than his more popular stuff, simply because he seems to go out on a limb and try something different, as far as narration and technique go. Great one.

"A Rose For Emily" vs. "A Good Man IS Hard to Find." --Well, I think Faulkner's strong suit was the novel and O'connor's was the short story. But that being said, "A Rose for Emily" was as perfect a short story as you'll find--but so is " A Good man. . . "--so where does that leave this comment? I think they are both examples of how to reach short story perfection.

jul. 29, 2006, 6:33 am

Dystopos, my profuse thanks for the Faulkner's Books photo. I find it wonderfully apropos and equally charming, and I'm becoming a fan of your's already. Thanks again.

I first read Cormac McCarthy's Suttree when it came out in 1979, read it once more in the early 90s, and just finished reading it yet again back in May of this year. I think it's hands-down the finest thing Cormac ever wrote, and along with a small handful of other works, maybe As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and To Kill a Mockingbird, rests quite deservedly at the very pinnacle of Southern lit, a certifiable masterpiece by any discerning reader's definition.

That being said, it's by no means a book for everyone, nor an easy book for mildly curious first-timers either. Many I've recommended it to over the years find the first 50-75 pages too dense, McCarthy's style more than a shade too eliptical, his language too protean, or they carp about his eschewing of proper quotation marks and by-the-book punctuation, all issues of person reading taste of course, and perfectly understandable I guess, but...I think the serious, persevering reader will only marvel at Suttree's style and beauty, be unable to put it down, and will finally discover one of the greatest American novels of the last century, and many will never forget it. (And for those who've already read it, please don't ask about the ending - I've read it through probably 50 times, still quibble with myself about it, and feel that every intrepid reader should parse it out to his or her own satisfaction.)

jul. 29, 2006, 9:25 am

Great discussion of Suttree! I humbly suggest you all copy your reviews into the review field of the "edit" page where the rest of LT can benefit from your experiences without having to read through all of our chit-chat.

31wilpotts Primer missatge
jul. 29, 2006, 10:42 am

Ghost Dogs of the South is by Randy Russell and Janet Barnett. It is a neat collection that has a couple nice examples of southern Appalachian (my pet sub-region of the American south) ghostlore and one I need to acquire for my library... thanks for the reminder.

jul. 30, 2006, 5:52 pm

Just wanted to put this out there. I am rereading Absalom, Absalom! again--fifth time I think--and I submit that it is the finest piece of Southern Lit ever written. Not for the weak of heart, but in the end, if I were ever stuck on an island for years and years, that would be the one book I would have with me (as well as a dictionary) because it would take years and years and then some to fully understand all of it.

jul. 31, 2006, 12:35 am

I have to admit, I only read Absalom, Absalom! as required summer reading in high school and I've been afraid of Faulkner ever since. That probably disqualifies me from this group. Perhaps you'd be so charitable as to attempt to convince me to give the book another chance by sharing the most crucial satisfactions of your reading.

jul. 31, 2006, 11:30 am

I'll be honest ands say that I only truly appreciated the book for the mastery that it is only after taking a class in college for which it was required reading.

Faulkner plays with the idea of history (southern especially in this one) and the novel and narration and race and family--blending all of these aspects together through the different viewpoints of Quentin Compson, his father, Quentin's Harvard roommate, Rosa Coldfield, and others--that it does cause confusion--but this then forces the reader to pay attention that much more such that the act of reading the book, time and time again, becomes more rewarding.

With the novel, he questions the idea of what history is and how it is told, and how history and storytelling become engrained in one another.

Plus, the language of the book is inspiring. People complain about Faulkner's twenty dollar words and the long sentences, but the use of those words create the world about which he writes.

But again, this all my opinion. There are those who hate Faulkner for all of these reasons. I will write a full on review eventually, but this is it for now. Cheers.

ag. 1, 2006, 12:22 am

No one has mentioned any southern poets yet. Any Charles Wright fans out there? Dave Smith? Bob Hicok? Andrew Hudgins?

ag. 1, 2006, 12:06 pm

I've never read any southern poets I don't think, besides what occassionally gets published in the OA. I'll have to correct that oversight at some point. Any particular suggestions georgedavidclark?

ag. 1, 2006, 6:08 pm


OK. In my second official act as founder and figurehead, I am instituting a monthly feature for this group. Each month a work will be selected. Those who have read it are asked to contribute a review to LibraryThing via the "edit info" page. Those who have not read it are encouraged, of course, to do so. The author of the best review (either my judgment or group consensus, depending on how vocal ya'll are) has the honor of selecting the next book to be honored.

The first Book of the Month, as already discussed above, will by Suttree by Cormac McCarthy. So far no reviews appear on LibraryThing outside of this message board, so the contest is wide open. Ya'll have until September 1, 2006 to tell us all about it.

Have fun!

ag. 1, 2006, 6:09 pm

(sorry for the errors above, the first book "will be" Suttree)

ag. 1, 2006, 8:16 pm

Suttree is truly Cormac's magnus opus. He worked on it for 20 years, and after it was published, the good folk of Knoxville, Tn. generally weren't too happy with him or his reasonably grim portrayal of their fair city. Up until Cormac's book, Knoxville had been quite smugly content to be a James Agee kind of place, straight out of A Death in the Family.

ag. 1, 2006, 8:19 pm

I'm ridiculously excited--I bought Suttree a few weeks ago, and I just picked it up to start reading it last night. What timing!

ag. 1, 2006, 9:42 pm

LB, you've got two real contenders already, but they're both outside the ropes. Please post all reviews to the "Review" field on the "Edit" page of your copy of the book on LibraryThing. That makes it accessible to people who don't trawl this group for advice. Only reviews which become visible on the page that appears when I click the blue word "Suttree" will be entered into the judging.

For bonus points you might describe where the work stands in relation to LT's "Special Sauce" recommendations, which in this case include Pynchon, Carson Mccullers, and Hemingway.

ag. 5, 2006, 6:34 am

I had loved Cold Mountain and have been anxious to read Charles Frazier's too-long-in-arriving second novel Thirteen Moons, which isn't due until early Oct., but yesterday the first published review of it appeared in The Book Standard, courtesy of Kirkus, and here's a bit of what they had to say about it:

(Just as in Cold Mountain)..."Classical precedent likewise informs and shapes Frazier's long-awaited second novel, in which a rootless and restless protagonist...expends the energies of a long lifetime seeking permanent reunion with the only woman he'll ever love, who loves him in return yet moves in and out of his yearning orbit during the decades they are apart, but never entirely trusts him nor can bring herself to share his patchwork existence.

Like the beleaguered heroes of the books that are his lifelong sustenance, he's a visionary fixated on an ever-receding ideal: the noble knight Lancelot, cursed and burdened by his own divided and enervated loyalties.

She is Claire Featherstone, the etherally beautiful young wife of a "white" (i.e., half-breed) Indian who prospers as a landowner and patriarch in the Cherokee Nation that stretches westward from the Carolinas to Oklahoma....

Thirteen Moons brings this vanished world thrillingly alive, retelling the agonizing stories of "the Removal" (of Indians from their ancestral lands), and the lie of "Reconstruction"; creating literally dozens of heart-stopping word pictures...building unforgettable characterizations ..."

And finally at the end they say...."One of the great Native American, and American stories, and a great gift to all of us, from one of our very best writers."

ag. 8, 2006, 11:29 am

Reminder: 3 weeks left in this months "write a review, assign the next one" contest. The competition is white open as LouisBranning's excellent review was apparently withdrawn (??).

Happy reading.

(Also, MP3 of Flannery O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own": )

ag. 8, 2006, 11:35 am

Did I really say "white open"? I need an editor.

ag. 8, 2006, 3:11 pm

I'm still around, D, and my review is too (thanks for the kind words!), but heck, no one had posted anything in this thread since Aug. 1, so I thought everyone had fled.

ag. 8, 2006, 5:20 pm

I hope they've all got their noses in their books. I'm only in four groups and they're all pretty quiet these days.

I don't know why I wasn't seeing your review the last couple of days, but I see it again now.

ag. 8, 2006, 7:55 pm

I'm too busy reading to post quite as often as before. (Of course I'm bored at work now, so I'm posting all over the place.)

ag. 9, 2006, 5:51 pm

It's been a couple years since I read Suttree so I decided to refresh myself before contributing a review. Only 50 pages in (so much other reading simultaneously) but thoroughly enjoying it.

ag. 11, 2006, 6:49 pm

I have discovered Michael Lee West this summer...what fun. Crazy Ladies and She Flew the Coop are both a lot of fun and added greatly to my summer reading.

ag. 12, 2006, 9:09 am

Last night, I finished listening to the audio book version of Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson. If you like quirky fiction set in the South, I really think you should give this one a try. I fell in love with the characters and didn't want the book to end. I'm glad I listened to this one, too; although I'm sure I would have enjoyed reading the actual book, the author reads her own book and changes her voice for each character. It was a delight. I hope she writes a sequel!

ag. 13, 2006, 4:45 pm

My last audio book was Gods in Alabama also by Joshilyn Jackson and the reader was great. I will have to try Between, Georgia.

ag. 16, 2006, 8:41 am

Re: the OA article
Does anyone else think Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" could stand up to "A Good Man..."?

No, imho. But I think "The Odor of Verbena" from The Unvanquished would, or "the Old Men" (forgive, if that's incorrect) chapter from Go Down Moses would. Am huuuuuuge Faulkner fan.

ag. 21, 2006, 9:16 pm

I have to agree that those are two VERY good short stories. And I may wind up agreeing with you on the "Go Down Moses" selection, I'm not sure.
It just seems to me that the depictions of community and the townspeople in "A Rose for Emily" makes it a stronger Southern short story.
These other two seem to deal mainly with family. Which as colorful as the families are, they're not unique to the South. Whereas, imho, Faulkner's community and sense of place pushes Emily to the forefront of Southern stories.
Having said all that, the way "Go Down Moses" deals with race (is definitely Southern) and the intermingling of families does allow a sense of Southern community and properness to creep in.
So I'm going to light a pipe and dwell on it.
Good picks markfrye!

ag. 24, 2006, 9:15 am

Louise Shiver's Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail is a very good southern novel. It's set in North Carolina.

ag. 24, 2006, 10:39 pm

The short story "The Old Man" by Faulkner is GREAT. I grew up in the Louisiana Delta and The River is an old man and we all respect its power. I guess that is one reason I loved the movie Oh Brother Where art Though...Parchman Prison is somewhere you don't want to go....

56jdouglas Primer missatge
ag. 26, 2006, 4:12 pm

Hi all,

Just discovered Library Thing today, and have been virtual-wandering around trying to get the hang of it.

I'm not from the South - or even from the US - but for some reason the literature always appeals to me, hopefully this is a good enough reason to be allowed in your group!

Re: Suttree, Cormac McCarthy is easily my favourite writer. Once I've read something I normally pass it on to friends or the charity shop once I've finished it, unless they're extra-special - I hardly ever re-read things. The entire set of completed McCarthy's are still sitting on my shelf, and I can't imagine ever getting rid of them. Some of the things he can do with language are just incredible. Suttree may not be the best place to start for a casual passer-by though - maybe All The Pretty Horses?

While he may be my favourite writer, All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren is my favourite book, and another I have just re-read. For some reason I was sure that was his only novel, but I see that was not the case - any other suggestions?

Anyway, this group seems a good place to linger around and pick up some good recommendations!

ag. 30, 2006, 7:28 am

I finished Jack Butler's 1986 novel Jujitsu for Christ a few days ago, and then immediately began rereading it, which I've only just finished, and it was no less than stunning, a brilliant book that can easily rank alongside any of the greatest works of Southern Lit of the last fifty years. Set in Jackson, Miss. during the racially volatile late 50s and early 60s, it's the story of a very earnest young man named Roger Wing who opens a jujitsu studio in an old laundromat set squarely in a depressed black neighborhood near downtown Jackson. What happens to Roger, and the black family who befriends him, is all related by an unidentified narrator who interrupts the story occasionally with some wonderfully sardonic asides, and I'll confess I had no idea who the narrator really was until a few pages from the book's end. And on top of all this, it's completely hilarious, especially Roger's sex scenes, and my sincere recommendation is that you beg, borrow, or steal a copy of this wonderful book to discover one of the greatest novels of the 'Deep South' ever written.

58Cromwell Primer missatge
Editat: ag. 30, 2006, 12:54 pm

Just a note to say hay, y'all. Native (coastal) North Carolinian, here, in Florida. Scanning thru messages I find good ideas for further reading.
My Dad's favorite author was E. Caldwell, at whose books I stuck up my nose. After many years I read TR and GLA. Now I know a little how he felt, and why.
Would you believe, my barber here in Jacksonville has a bookcase in his shop---you can take or donate whatever book. Plus, he has a Rowan Oaks poster and pictures of Eudora and others on the walls.

ag. 30, 2006, 1:22 pm

Adding "touchstones" for Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre.

ag. 31, 2006, 2:07 pm

Reminder: 1 day left to post reviews of Suttree to LibraryThing before we move on to the next book. (See Message 37 above)

març 18, 2007, 9:32 am

Good morning! I just found this group! I have made a pledge to myself to read more literature by Southern authors over the summer. I'm sure I'll find many suggestions here.

març 19, 2007, 10:12 am

That's great. It's too quiet in here.

(PS, I finally read Jujitsu for Christ and I'd say it's more like chop-socky. Some of the blows do real damage, but some fail to connect. Definitely provokative, often astute, sometimes self-indulgent. I recommend it.

març 19, 2007, 11:31 am

Dystopos (great name by the way)

I wasn't around in October, but if there are more members now than then, would it be possible to try the BOMC thing again. This is a great way to read books one would not otherwise read. I guess I really ought to join this group if I presume to make suggestions for it.

març 19, 2007, 11:32 am

I've been reading books in other groups and it has worked very well. I would love to a southern book of the month.

Editat: març 19, 2007, 12:52 pm

I started a new thread to generate suggestions for the April 2007 Deep South Book of the Month.

abr. 2, 2007, 6:10 pm

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is Oprah's book of the month.

abr. 17, 2007, 1:29 pm

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is also this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Editat: maig 25, 2007, 9:54 pm

At Duttons Bookstore in Brentwood, CA
Thursday, May 31 at 7 pm

Kerry Madden signs Louisiana’s Song

Set in Appalachia in 1963, this heartwarming, and heart-wrenching, follow-up to Gentle’s Holler is narrated by the irrepressible Livy Two.

maig 31, 2007, 11:25 am

Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) just launched "H-Southern-Lit", a web forum for the study and discussion of U.S. southern literature by scholars, teachers, researchers, and other interested parties.

Editat: des. 3, 2007, 4:42 pm

i'm not good at blowing my own horn, but you might check out three of the four books i've written; those three are:
-- a candle in the rain: the anti-war movement in florida, the 1960s and early 70s

-- in the rooms; the life story of a recovered alcoholic: non-fiction story of a southern recovered alcoholic. takes place in florida.

-- zephrys --almost all the stories take place in the south.

see more at:

set. 14, 2007, 10:32 pm

I wondered if you ever managed to read Absalom,Absalom!? Just finished it last week, the first Faulkner I have attempted. I loved it, cannot say enough good things about it. I avoided Faulkner and all Southern writers for most of my life.
Don't ask, I don't know why! (kicks self)
BTW, I am from just outside of New Orleans, transplanted to the Northshore.

Glad I finally found this group!

set. 17, 2007, 10:28 am

I did read Absalom, Absalom! in high school, but I can't say I appreciated it that much. I know I'll get back to it at some point.

Tell me what you loved about it.

Editat: set. 18, 2007, 7:48 pm

The slow, inevitable layering and unfolding of the story, the trueness of the characters.
Rosa could be my relative...the way she thinks and reacts to change. hah. No change is more like it, the iron will of most involved.
I know and love these people.
They are me and mine.
And really, it is one exciting story standing all by itself. Even knowing what will happen to some extent does not cut the building of tension.
We have to know why.

set. 20, 2007, 7:49 pm

I'm new to the thread, from a un-mentionable place in the US, but Southern Literature has just come to my attention in a big way. Absalom, Absalom! is just fabulous in my opinion, south or no south. It is one of the best novels I have ever read, by an author who is clearly a genius. Currently mid-way with Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy, another amazing novel. Suttree I'll have to take a second look at, though, before picking it up.

set. 20, 2007, 11:19 pm

Karlus, if you want to read the good stuff get a copy of Flannery O'Connor's short stories. There are many, many wonderful Southern writers.

des. 3, 2007, 4:49 pm

I checked the sight and nobody seems to have mentioned a Floridian writer named Pat Frank.

He didn't write a genre, but his Alas! Babylon! about a nuclear bomb going off in Florida created a permanent nightmare for me.

Of course! this is Deep (Capital D) South (Capital S) group, not the Damned Yankee group. O well.

By the way, you DO know the difference between the yankees and the damned yankees don't you?