When Oxford American
and The Nation
arrived on the same day, I turned to the table of contents for both magazines. Of course I'm always drawn to the type of story in Oxford American
In the spring issue: a story about Florida's Burmese Python hunt. While I'm not a snake enthusiast, I am intrigued with those who hunt snakes. A number of years ago while hiking in the Adirondacks, I walked right past a timber rattlesnake sunning on a rock.
The article, long form journalism, explored everything from conjecture on how a species of snake not indigenous to the area is now —along with the alligator—on the top of the feeding chart. While they are not being blamed, save by a few, for the decline in raccoon, possum, and bobcat population, they are changing the balance of power.
And who hunts the python during the Python Challenge? A cross section.
These pythons refuse to remain in the Everglades—they are heading for the Keys. And these aren't garter snake size. August of 2012 researchers "captured a 17 foot-7 inch, 165 pound female carrying 87 fertilized eggs."
When a hunter was asked if the snake bites, he replied, " It will definitely bite. It will only hurt for a few minutes, but the pride of catching a Florida python will last forever."
Steve Featherstone, the author of the article, never did catch a python—but he was close.
Where else would I find a long essay on Flannery O'Connor's book A Prayer Journal
? The journal was written before O'Connor's short stories were published.
Jamie Quatro writes, "The journal's movement is spirit to flesh; the fiction, flesh to revelation."
It's time to reread O'Connor—my favorite writer.