Writer’s Challenge, Day 2

Challenging myself to sum up a remarkable life in one paragraph…

Today: My college advisor

Floyd Watkins was not a tornado, stirring things up on a pinpoint, then moving out as quickly as he appeared.  No, Dr. Watkins was hurricane, powerful and awe-inspiring, who moved into a situation and settled in, leaving the lives of those involved changed forever.  His piercing gaze delivered your first test.  Was he just a good ol’ boy from Ballground, Georgia?  Or did that persona mask something more?  Accepting that a local redneck might have something valuable to teach was your admission pass to the presence of this Vanderbilt PhD whose ability to judge character and distill any situation to its essence made him one of the truly great literary critics of his time.  His  insights into Faulkner, Dickey and Penn Warren set the standard for the analysis of Southern literature and created pride in its heritage while embracing its flaws.  He gave us the greatest gift you can give any student of literature:  the ability to see past the words and conventions of the author’s art to the truth of what he says.

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