The haunted “third of June” cannot pass without calling out Tommy Tomlinson‘s classic piece on the essence of story, via Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” Tomlinson, a onetime Pulitzer finalist who now writes for Sports on Earth, explores the lyrics for detail, dialogue, suspense, and more. The piece was one of Storyboard’s Top 10 most popular posts of last year. Click through and you’ll see why:

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Pair with: 

— Tomlinson’s other “Liner Notes” columns. In this one, he “wrote” Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” as a news feature; in this one, he Venn-diagrammed Kendrick Lamar and Mary Gauthier.

— Tomlinson’s popular “Everything You Need to Know about Storytelling in 5 Minutes.”

Creole fried chicken, a recipe adapted by New York Times columnist John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of critically acclaimed food-culture books including Fried Chicken: An American Story. (A worthy alternative: chef Ashley Christensen’s fried chicken from Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, in Raleigh.) Preface with a Ramos gin fizz and you’re good to go.

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