John Oliver Hodges

My friend Jim did himself in. I wrote about it. Here now twenty-five years later the story sees print. A version. The original was much longer, as originals often are. I was a photographer then, and loved poverty. I grew up middle-class, but moved into a poor country folk kind of lifestyle, maybe to disconnect from suburban complacency, I don’t know, but I wrote this book called The Sexual Life of Rednecks in the Florida Panhandle. I called it a post-modern ethnography. It was a blend of true stories, fiction, and photography, a nod here to Bronislaw Malinowksi of 1929 “Savages” fame. The stories were over-the-top vulgar, but true to the Wakulla redneck lifestyle I had adopted. The book was thick, varied. It would have been published, but the publisher kept asking who I was dating, and saying weird stuff, so I “decided to pull it,” which is what Larry Silverstein said about WTC7. Jim’s suicide, anyway, hurt. If you’re interested in Jim’s story, you might check out, “Devil Be Strong,” which fictionalizes its aftermath. It’s up at the online crime fiction journal Near to the Knuckle and, as is the case with “Guilty Jim,” was composed over twenty years ago. Call it vintage. Here’s the link: