About: Cynthia Sipes
Writer | Photographer
Cynthia Sipes is a native of Alabama who moved to Jackson in April of 2016. She works at Starbucks full-time while pursuing an MA in Art Therapy. She is happily married and enjoys photography along with other creative endeavors.
Check out Cynthia's latest contributions to Our Jackson Home:
Even though I’ve lived in Jackson for almost twenty years, I still feel like a newcomer in a lot of ways, so it surprises me when somebody I think has lived here for quite a while tells me they didn’t know that Jackson has a third post office. It makes sense, when I think about.
2018 has been a year to remember, and much of that is thanks to our talented contributors who have poured themselves into telling the stories of Jackson in such a compelling way that they become part of our lives. With that, we are proud to share this year's top ten stories from our blog, encouraging you to read any you missed and to high-five the writers, photographers, and subjects featured.
My daughter is in the fifth grade. She’s just beginning that transition from child to full-blown adolescent. And with that transition inevitably comes the time when I’m not fun enough to hang out with on a Friday night. I’m experiencing that right now. Sure, it wounds the pride a little, but I knew it was coming, so we’re dealing with it. By “dealing with it,” I mean that we’re inviting her friends to do stuff with us on the weekends now instead of putting a puzzle together or playing Mario Kart or watching Andi Mack.
When you drive around Jackson, what are some of the thoughts that travel through your mind? Do you ever find yourself in awe? Is there a moment where you wish you were somewhere else? No matter what your thoughts are today, there comes a point for everyone in life where they feel a little lackluster about the place they call home. For one Jackson native, his hometown seemed to be the one place on earth that lacked inspiration for his photography.
Professor Haelim Allen’s office, like the rest of the art department at Union University, is in beautiful disarray. There are paintings on the walls, half-completed sketches on her desk, various models in differing states of completion on a bookshelf, and of course a second bookshelf overflowing with literature that seems a staple of every teacher’s office. Just outside of her office door is a gorgeous light box which fills the hallway with a sense of peace and calm. The building itself is not by any stretch beautiful, but Professor Allen has transformed her office and the hallway leading up to it into a peaceful, welcoming environment.
Something unique is happening in Jackson: a space dedicated to handmade pieces by a collective of artists, many of whom are local to the area, where people can feel a connection to the items they purchase. While micro-retailing has seen a boon in large metropolitan areas across the country, Jackson now has its own venture in theLOCAL, a collection of small shops curated by local entrepreneurs in downtown Jackson.
When you interview a guy you’ve known for years—a guy who has had dozens of articles and interviews published since the launch of his business—the thing you are probably the most aware of is the desire to be original in what you put on paper for the whole world to see. If nothing else, don’t be cliché about it. So that was my goal as I mentally prepared myself to interview Sam Bryant, owner of Samuel T. Bryant Distillery here in Jackson.
Small Town Big Sound started off with a dream: Keegan Paluso’s desire to use his musical background to help others in West Tennessee realize their potential. What began as this idea soon formed into a community of local artists, each with different and diverse experiences, working together to create original music. Keegan shared with me about how Small Town Big Sound writes, records, and produces the music of our area.
It seems like we are constantly bombarded by fast food commercials and diet ads. If we aren’t getting a burger then we need to be taking a weight loss pill. Or hey! Why not both at the same time? Our society is constantly on the go, grabbing whatever we can reach to put into our body. We approach every part of life with this fast-paced mentality, including the most important thing: our health. Advanced medical knowledge is still crippled by bad lifestyle habits.
“For Sale” signs and broken windows adorn a large portion of buildings within Jackson’s city limits. Right next to thriving businesses can be found abandoned restaurants or forgotten startups. In the northern part of the city, the lack of uninhabited buildings is less obvious, but take a ride down 45 and it will become more apparent. It is a very sobering sight for those who call Jackson home.
Yoga. The word creates images of handstands and people twisting their bodies into pretzels. I always thought that in order to be considered a true “yogi” I needed to be able to contort my body in painful, unnatural ways. Despite that, yoga was intriguing to me. I watched videos online and became more familiar with the terminology, slowly understanding what makes millions of people practice everyday. I even started to notice a shift in how I carried myself.
Some of my favorite things about Jackson’s many weekend entertainment options are the gambling, exotic dancers, and running from the cops. Of course, I am a sucker for the more romantic selections as well, including salsa dancing and island-inspired drinks, all of which can cause a woman’s inhibitions to wave bye-bye at the door. All of these are what make Jackson what it is—a lively city teeming with less-than-honest citizens looking for even less honest entertainment.