Mid/South Contributors: Jim Beaugez
Learn more about one of our fiction writers who will be reading with us this month
Jim’s story in our Mid/South Anthology, “The Dog Hunter,” was one of our Pushcart nominations for good reason: it’s riveting, artfully written, and captures the feel of its place wonderfully. I [Casie] was really surprised when Jim shared that it was his first fiction publication. We’re looking forward to hearing Jim share more about the story in our upcoming virtual “Deep South” contributors reading, but in the meantime you can read on below and then sign up to join us on March 21.
Name: Jim Beaugez
Current Location: Clinton, MS
Links: jimbeaugez.com, Twitter
Bio: Jim Beaugez, a Mississippi native, has written profiles and essays for Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Outside and other publications. He also contributed to the 64th and 65th Grammy Awards official publications and created and produced “My Life in Five Riffs,” a docu series for Guitar Player that traces contemporary musicians back to their sources of inspiration. His work has been cited in books like “Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise and Fall of SST Records” [2022, Hachette] and “Americanaland” [2021, Univ. Press of Illinois]. “The Dog Hunter” is his fiction debut.
1. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your work that appears in the anthology?
Real-life events have inspired plenty of works of fiction, and the demarcation between fact and fantasy is often blurred. “The Dog Hunter” was inspired by an experience I had while hunting on public land in southern Mississippi. It’s an imagining of what can go wrong when people engage in conflicts away from civilized life and authority, where they are convinced their attitudes and actions are justifiable, and where the arbiter is whomever outsmarts, outmuscles or outguns the other.
2. How would you describe your work overall? Do you have other publications you’d like us to highlight?
To this point, all of my published work has been nonfiction. But as I have written profiles for publications like Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Oxford American and Garden & Gun, I have also kept notes for short stories and potential novels. At this point, my fiction work tends to examine inner and outer conflicts among characters living in perhaps unassuming corners of the South.
3. How does the Mid-South and/or larger Southern region influence your perspective (personally and/or in your writing)?
Discovering writers like Michael Farris Smith, David Joy and Lee Durkee, and Larry Brown through them, confirmed to me there are successful writers who share my curiosity about lesser-observed pockets of the South, and what motivates people who live on the margins. I’m particularly interested in how these characters’ lives intersect with people who operate in what’s considered the mainstream—and how those assumptions themselves can be illusions.
4. What do you wish more people knew about this area?
The South isn’t a monolith of people, beliefs or lifestyles.
If you haven’t yet, get your copy of our anthology here and sign up for the reading to come hear Jim and three other contributors: Tuesday, 3/21, at 7pm Central via Zoom.
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Hello from Jackson--Jim and I are basically neighbors! Enjoyed this profile and getting to know a talented writer in my area.
Michael Farris Smith? Was he "Anonymous (michael farris)" at Ozarque.LiveJournal.com?