• bbrianfoster

"Not Studying the Blues" (Oxford Magazine, 2018)

Foster, B. Brian. 2018. "Not Studying the Blues." Oxford Magazine.


I've been writing about the blues—blues music, blues people, blues living—for some time now. I used to didn't think I was cut out for it, that I wasn't even interested in it.

In this Oxford Magazine essay, I reflect on that tension...coming from the blues, and liking then not liking then becoming it again.

Here's a selected excerpt:

"It’s 5:30 in the evening—an April evening in Mississippi, so the sun is barely dim, and outside is still hot. Like clockwork, I hear the horns, then a voice: “Hello! We are the Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland Orchestra.” I am sitting at momma’s house working through the final edits of my dissertation, which now has a name—“I don’t like the blues”—while my daddy’s favorite blues record plays in the background.
I laugh at the irony.
“You know, (your dad) was a blues man.” Momma explains to me, a preemptive to what she must have expected would be another flurry of questions about the man we had buried eight years earlier.
“I think I’m like him,” I respond. I listened to the album all the way through."

Full story here.