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Oxford SO & SO Publisher Aims to Give Southern Writers a Voice

Richard Burns is the current publisher of The Oxford SO & SO (Southern Owned & Southern Operated), a southern nostalgia journal that covers the Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee areas. Photo by Talbert Toole. 

Anna Grace Usery
Editor-in-Chief
anna.grace.usery@hottytoddy.com

Like some who sing in the shower or hum their favorite songs constantly, Yalobusha County native Richard Burns is always drafting a southern story in his head.

“Little Dummy”, one of his main characters, is a dog who tells stories of life in the old South about his master—Mayor Big Dummy—going away to the Vietnam War. The setting is a fictional one, but it embodies a town similar to Water Valley named Green Valley, he said.
As the current publisher of The Oxford SO & SO (Southern Owned & Southern Operated), a southern nostalgia journal that covers the Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee areas, Burns said his main goal for the journal is to offer a space for writers to be heard. So far, he’s extended that space to 296 writers.
“We believe there is a vast amount of southern nostalgia that is being passed over by those magazines which publish southern writers,” he said. “We intend to alleviate that problem, if at all possible.”
What began in May 2005 as a satirical, southern humor journal has grown into a well-respected publication for a variety of southern writers and poets. Burns said he scoured the Internet for people he thought might want to read The Oxford SO & SO and used the White Pages to send them old-fashioned letters. He quickly built more than a 1,000-person subscriber (and writer) base in a short amount of time.
First time writer and 96-year-old Oxonian Maralyn Bullion said she’s only had one story published in The Oxford SO & SO, but she’s been a reader and subscriber for many years.
“Many of the stories are about people, events or places that are familiar to me,” she said. “I grew up in Lafayette and Yalobusha counties and have seen a lot of history come and go. I am most grateful to Mr. Burns for keeping this little publication alive and well.”
Bullion said she sends extra copies to her son-in-law in Vermont and grandson in Kuwait.

The Oxford SO & SO is a journal that gives southern writers a voice. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

“I’ve never said this little journal taught people how to write, but it sure has encouraged people to write,” Burns said.
His journalistic endeavors began in 1964 when he created one of the largest baseball card magazines—Sports Trader—based in Coffeeville, Mississippi, which he later sold to a company in California. He said as a boy he read everything he could get his hands on but didn’t have much encouragement to write. He aims to change that outlook for others through The Oxford SO & SO.
Burns said a creative writing course he took 25 years ago reinvigorated his interest in writing. He credits his professor, Donna Tasker, with inspiring him and being his biggest supporter.
Submissions to The Oxford SO & SO journal are accepted year-round, with the deadline for the July-Sept. issue being August 1. Subscription rates are $20 for four, bimonthly issues of at least 48 advertising-free pages.
To submit a story, email Richard Burns at oxfordsoandso@yahoo.com.


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