John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer magazine features stories by special writers

Around The Panolian office, we have been anxiously awaiting delivery from the printer next week of the summer edition of Batesville, The Magazine.

It arrived Thursday as these lines were written, necessitating a change from future to present tense in this column.

We’re especially excited that this edition will carry two stories written by students whose work we’ve not published before.

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We learned in April that South Panola sophomore Grace Guntharp’s short story, “Lightmares,” had won the Jack H. White Literary Competition sponsored by the Honors College at Mississippi State University.

That announcement coincided with our decision to add pages to the magazine because of the enthusiastic response from advertisers. We needed another story, and Grace graciously agreed let us publish hers in The Magazine.

Several months earlier Stephanie Cosby had sent us a story that she had originally written for a creative writing class at Northwest Mississippi. Her instructor suggested that she share it with us. She did, and we are glad because now we can share it with you.

Guntharp has written a fictional account of a special dream her main character experienced in the year 2082. I hesitate to tell more, but you will enjoy reading it yourself. Her writing is concise and with a punch. She handles the dialogue between characters seamlessly. When you read it you will agree with the judges who selected her story as best from among entries from high schools all over Mississippi.

Cosby has written a first-person, non-fiction account of the years-long bond that grew between herself and her horse, Pepper. It is both warm and heart-rending, exploring a relationship that cannot really be quantified. It’s just that sometimes between a person — a very fortunate person — and an animal — also fortunate — there develops a relationship of communication and understanding that lies in a realm somewhere outside our normal receptors of senses and intelligence. Her story captures the essence and quality of that life-defining experience.

That’s what we like about publishing Batesville, The Magazine. It provides additional space to publish special stories by and about people we know.

We thank the advertisers who make the magazine — and this newspaper — possible. Without you, there is no space for any of this.