The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 September 2004

Beautiful dreamer

Courtesy of the Baseball Crank, the last days of Stephen Foster, American composer, as recounted by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre.

This paragraph caught me:

While writing "Old Folks at Home," for example, Foster needed a Southern-sounding placename to fit his opening lyric's "Way down upon the (beat, beat) River." He couldn't find one that fit — so he just knocked a syllable off Florida's Suwanee River.

Which, if you've ever seen the Suwanee, you know the old folks would have abandoned at their earliest opportunity. South Carolina myth, of which there is an abundance, holds that the river Foster really meant to enshrine was the Pee Dee, but he probably never saw it either; most of Foster's tender, wistful Americana was written in the city of New York.

Peripherally: MacIntyre, for his part, is best known at Surlywood for writing The Woman Between The Worlds, a Victorian-era science-fiction novel written in the middle 1990s, an utterly unfilmable story that I hope to see someday translated to film.

Posted at 1:15 PM to Tongue and Groove