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Singing July 30, 2012

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In the dark time, will there be singing? Yes. There will be singing about the dark times.
— Berlolt Brecht

The Drafts of August July 29, 2012

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Actually, July, but the first sounds better. I either never finished them or abandoned them without remembering to publish them. And so direct to you from the Royal Courts of Europe (time served and a small fine), for the first time ever in these United States of American and now in your very own home town, for just two bits, a trifle, step inside my July.

The Holiday Nod

To live in the collapsing moment: a couch, a particular picture on the wall, a cup of coffee. You just want to go on the holiday nod but the vacuum lurks in the next room, the piles of paper and books around you, all of it must go first. The laptop a glowing post-it note for homework. The collapsing moment, so many monks in their temples and once, long ago, on their mountains, the forest as company and example but the wind must never stop on the mountain. Mountains live in the wind and the trees are never still but if you sit quietly long enough and contemplate the trunks the motion of the crowns is just the sound of the invisible wind, the endless rustling drowning out the world, living in the collapsing moment until suddenly a dragonfly.

You are not a monk. You are a man with an apartment that appears ransacked by primates. Your son hast left a trail of crumbs that mark his path through the house. You don’t own a vacuum and you have to give it back at some point. The litter to pick up first, some of the papers are important and others are garbage. Sit and sort. Pass the vacuum. Sweep and mop the kitchen, clean the bathroom. Two men can turn the once acceptable porcelain and chrome of a week ago into a public urinal. It’s an old bathroom in an old house, clean is relative but toothpaste scraped from the basin, the spigots still polish, the toilet needs a good scrubbing. Ammonia and Pinesol, the scent of fresh chemicals, the American obsession. Then a lecture on the nomination of candidates. You returned for your degree in English but 30 years ago you kept you English courses and dropped the others. You have one English course remaining and a stack of electives, intellectual drudgery. PoliSci 4600. Chop wood and carry water.

The collapsing moment. The nod as inverted desire. You begin to understand heroin but then just another frantic chase. Your life is already a rodent’s wheel until you collapse on the couch and the nod comes naturally. Who needs heroin? Coffee on the other hand a necessity. Something the kind doctor warned against. . Anxiety the diagnosis and of course he asked you how much you smoke, how much coffee you drink and you lied. Symptom of addiction. Coffee and tobacco are difficult. Aroma, flavor, ritual: all the temptations accompanying the habit. Try walking in for a cigar and not leaving with cigarettes.

The coffee is clearly working or I would not be typing this. I would still be on the couch contemplating how to make the digital antenna on the wall into another work of art. Get up and work and later the bicycle, your birthday and Father’s Day present to yourself three weeks ago and so far just another thing to vacuum around. An hour around the park and then home, the pretense of a book, the nod. No mood for fireworks later but you know you can’t resist the ritual. Instead you sit in the yard with pine branches snapped from a neighbor’s tree, shucking the green needles into a pile. Tossed on the glowing dinner coals they pop and snap, send red sparks up into the night and somewhere else in China a thousand years ago a man at the bottom of the mountain watches the sparks and imagines fireworks.

Lay back in the prone folding chair. Imagine the mountain, the wind, the sudden dragonfly. Not a nap exactly, but the collapsing moment.
As the neighborhood firecrackers and bottle rockets drift off to bed, only you remain. No cars or laughing people in the street stumbling home pass. If they do you do not hear them over the rustle of the trees.

Over the Hills and Faraday

I must start the class paper due midnight tonight. I’ve already decided to take the five point penalty and turn it in tomorrow. When I am done with this post I will turn off the wireless radio in the laptop so I can sit and work on the couch without untangling the cord. I am considering turning off my cell phone.

In this Year of Our Motherboard Twenty and Twelve I will let the information stream pass me by. I will briefly cease to exist in our increasingly intemporal world. Facebook and Twitter will count off the minutes since posted and I will not be there. There will be only one time event of indeterminate duration inside this imaginary Faraday Cage, its only flaw a tiny signal leakage between The Paper and JSTOR. If you know what I’m doing, you won’t know when. There will be no orthogonal alternatives, unless the stars unwind and the clocks run backwards.

I will occupy this one point in space/time called The Paper, reduced to three dimensions shrinking rapidly toward a dimensionless line because I will not give a fuck about the outside world and that world will not notice me because I will not be available for chat, wholly consumed by the task at hand. Who knows, time travel may be possible this way, but that is just wishful retrospection, looking for hours lost under the bed. I am a prisoner of a clock-less personal and singular linearity until the paper is done, after which bat shit all might happen. Billions of years from now astrophysicists may identify the birth of their universe in what they decide to call, during one fabulously drunken night of shop talk, The Mark Zero Anomaly.

A Bicycle Built for You

So, you go out and buy yourself a belated birthday/Father’s Day present: a brand new matte black single speed coaster bike with shiny red-hubs, a pedal back to break bike one like you had when you were a kid. Hey, you read on the Internet that all those pictures you see of people wheeling home with a baguette and tonight’s dinner in their panniers are riding single speed coaster break bikes, and it’s not like I’m about to enter triathlon unless the categories are cigarettes, Belgian Ale and napping. Mostly the bicycle sits. Your life is a roaring shop fan and a shower of sparks: they keep tossing you more and more work but hey, you get paid and paid well by the hour so who’s to complain. And then there’s that Internet course you signed up for. Some readings, a couple of lectures that will only play in the dog awful Windows Media Viewer. Chat in the discussion board (minimum three posts) and a couple of short answer questions.

Short answer: what does that really mean? Probably not something you need to edit down to 1,500 words. Show off, but then you fucked up the first assignment, posting one in the wrong place (score out of ten: zero) and turned the other one in late (score:seven). It is easy to become disoriented when you reach age when a.m. and p.m. are easily confused, especially if you laid down for a nap and set your phone alarm for six and when it starts its long awful ringing you aren’t quite sure which six it is. It doesn’t help if you’re taking medication and the agate package insert mentions “bats” and “emergency room” in the same sentence, but doesn’t specify how many bats. May cause loss of coordination is funny when you spill coffee on a brown rug. Falling into the bayou helping someone launch a kayak is not so funny. s. I’ve already started taking half of what was prescribed even after a phone chat with the doctor who said, well, you’re coming in next week and let’s see how you’re doing. No point mentioning those bats, I think. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

Through a highly technical analysis involving my $29 on-sale-at-Walmart weather station (which has lost communication with the outside sensor; again) and the ancient Indian method involving rolling up the magic window scroll until the sky reveals itself, it looks like today might be a good day for a bike ride. You live 10 blocks from the park. You are going to ride that damn thing. But you’re not going to go to close to the bayou. And no matter how geeky it makes you feel you might run out and get a helmet, at least until you do something about that “loss of coordination” problem. And those bats.

South Lakeview Safari July 29, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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I tried to leave a friend’s house the other night, following Woodlawn Place south toward the tracks and confronted what is possibly the worst stretch of road in New Orleans. To call Mound Street where it turns at tracks a road is generous. There are places in this world it might be considered a road. Any semblance to what is considered a street in the developed world is gone. Track might be a better word. I stopped just short of this stretch and turned on my pothole lights (known as fog lights in the developed world) and considered my options. Anything resembling pavement had crumbled into dust which apparently reset itself like a cooling lava flow every time it rained. The way was crisscrossed by transverse ruts and pot holes where I suspect fragments of meteorites might be found.

My car is a Saturn VUE, a sort of mini SUV I bought to pull my boat out of the water. (Hint: if you try to pull a boat of any size out of the water with a front wheel drive station wagon the weight of the trailer’s lever action reduces your traction on a wet and slimy boat launch so much you have to recruit a couple of standers by to sit on the hood and a couple more to push). When I was looking for a car I discovered that there is an Off Road Club for the VUE, but I decided I wasn’t going to try Mound Street in anything less than a Toyota Land Cruiser with a bumper winch. I grew up watching Wild Kingdom, and during some despondent moments found myself addicted to the Discovery Channel (the equivalent in my world of standing on a ledge throwing pigeons at the fire department. If you ever call or email me and ask me what I’m doing and I reply watching Ice Road Truckers, an immediate intervention is required. Bring The Medicine and a bag of limes.) I actually enjoyed the show about the desperate people from the lower 48 who hock everything they own and buy an old gold claim in Alaska. Yes, it is an opiate for the long-term unemployed masses but there is something just too Jack London about that show. I don’t think young boys read Jack London anymore except under English class duress and with no pleasure. I just read a book of poems by an older gentleman, and one ends “the boy disappeared into the map on his wall.” I am that boy.

I am fairly certain I am going back to Mound Street. Orleanians are a proud people, and it is not just a culture of music and food and art but our triumph over kiddie roller coaster streets, sub-tropical weather and incessant insects. I am cursed with a Pandora curiosity about what lies at the other end of the aptly named Mound Street. It is the same curiosity that led me past the Road Closed for Season sign in the Everglades, a glimpse of dark, mangrove swamp just visible. I wanted a picture. I doused myself in enough Deet to probably take a year or two off my life, grabbed the camera and discovered that Everglades bugs are weaned on Deet, that there is a species of Stukka-diving, biting flies who come at you to fast to even notice the nasty chemical you have doused your body with. The pictures were rather blurry.

I can’t afford a new axle or drive shaft any more than I can replace the duct tape that substitutes for a working gasket on my sunroof. A strike plate bolted to the bottom of the car would be advisable. In the absence of a bumper winch when you get stuck you just jack yourself up and drive off. I did this once not long ago when, in a hurry, I drove over an abutment in a multi-level outdoor parking lot. Thankfully screw jacks just tip over and don’t go flying like an old GM bumper jack when you drive off.

Mound Street taunts those of us who daily traverse streets logging trucks would avoid and ford fast-running streams like Palmyra Street without having to leave the comfort of the city. I am fairly sure at the other end of Mound Street is just more backwater, post-war suburbia, the sort of small wood frame houses you find in the corner of a neighborhood crowded up against a tall railroad embankment, homes comfortable with the rumbling of late night locomotives. Then again, I’ve never seen an actual wildebeest.

Odd Words July 27, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I have almost finished McSweeney’s No. 38. That means I can move onto McSweeney’s 39 and 40. It is a quarterly. You do the math. I have a stack of The Believer at my bedside. The more time I try to find to read the further I fall behind. It doesn’t help that the weeks my son is with me we spend entirely too much time watching old television series on NetFlix. We have been sucked into the Battlestar Gallectica otherverse, and found a good stopping point and have moved onto Breaking Bad Season Four. I just sent off my tuition reimbusement form for two classes for the fall semester, only two because Moloch is going to renew my contract. No English courses, mind you. I finished most of those 30 years ago. It’s all those pesky electives I kept dropping to spend time on the newspaper. In another few weeks it will be Biology 1053, a required science course for dribbling Liberal Arts idiots, and a sophomore survey of cultural anthropology. I miss Geoffrey Chaucer already. My reading priority has been The Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection of the month, and a valiant attempt at whatever’s on my book night stand before I fall asleep.

Once my son goes home Sunday and before I have to start to crack a text book, I will have two weeks to make a major attack on the stack of McSweeney’s and Believers, and a dent in my unread list. When he is here I have begun cutting off the Netflix series of the week somewhere between nine and ten at night giving me a window of at least an hour to read. Once school starts both my son and I will have other things to do, and the transition from biology to a book will be as natural as falling asleep a few hours later. When I will get to Infinite Jest, Against the Day and a close re-read of 2999, well, I’m thinking of buying Powerball tickets to use as bookmarks.

It’s another quiet week but everyone is storing up energy for Satchmo Fest in August, an endurance test for festival-happy New Orleanians approaching a triathlon of dance, eat and drink all in the August sun. However, keep in mind that the local bookstores and libraries have what the signs used to call “conditioned air.” If you are as overwhelmed as I am, a quiet hour in a cool and quiet bookstore is more tonic than all the gin and Schwepps a hot summer evening might require. And if I buy that copy of Against the Day and place its 1,000 plus pages on the nightstand where it will glare back and me morning and night, at least I have a fighting chance.

& Join Octavia Books at Tales of the Cocktail® 2012 where we will be operating the book store in the lobby of Hotel Monteleone at the most spirited festival this summer. Browse the expansive offering of spirits literature and meet the world’s most accomplished cocktail writers, including this year’s Spirited Awards finalists and Tales of the Cocktail® from A to Z. You will you be able take home signed copies of spirited titles you can’t get elsewhere. And, for the first time this year, along with the books, we will be offering a wide selection of bitters from around the world, including rare and hard-to-find labels. 10% of all sales will go to the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society. The on-site bookstore hours are Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00 AM till sometime in the afternoon. Tales of the Cocktail is an internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture held annually in New Orleans. At the Hotel Monteleone.

& At the Maple Leaf on Sunday Poet Anthony Olawo, visiting Robertson Scholar from Duke University at the Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, will read from his work. Sunday, July 29 at the Maple Leaf Bar. Sunday July 29 at 3 p.m.

& Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& Ryan Holiday, author of TRUST ME, I’M LYING: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, will be at Octavia Books on Tuesday discussing his expose of the machinations behind the manipulation of the media by the marketing industry. Ryan Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results…this whiz kid is the secret weapon you’ve never heard of.” Tuesday, July 31 at 6 p.m.

& I want to get out these Monday Black Widow Salons early as seating is very limited. On Monday Aug. 6 Uriel Quesada (San José, Costa Rica) is the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola University. His areas of interest are Central American and Caribbean literatures and cultural studies, U.S. Latino studies, Queer studies and Latin American Popular Culture studies. He has written about Central American detective fiction, Latin American masculinities and travel writing. In 2009 he co-edited a special issue of the academic journal Istmo devoted to the study of gender and sexualities in contemporary Central American literature.vAs a writer of fiction, Dr. Quesada has publised seven books, including El atardecer de los niños (short stories, 1990; Editorial Costa Rica Award and Costa Rica National Book Award 1990), Lejos, tan lejos (short stories, Áncora Award in Literature, 2005), El gato de sí mismo (novel, Costa Rica National Book Award 2006) and Viajero que huye (short stories, 2008).

The Moloch laptop calls with its WWII-era Model K-41 electro-mechanical submarine klaxon guaranteed to rouse me from a lunchtime nap when I should be reading. It’s time to help shovel innocents into the maw of 21st century finance.

Odd Words July 20, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Well yes its Friday again not Thursday but the attendant has apparently left the ride unattended and as far as I stretch out toward that red lever like it was the old brass ring on the flying horses (long ago sent to the lawyer junkyard) I can’t quite reach it. But first: Learning to Type with the Raymond Carver method or What I Learned in Writing Class.

Quick, fox, jump the dog. Jump and run. The fox merged with the bloddy sunset. The dog, confused about what just happened, licked itself a few times and padded home for dinner.

& A Night of Poetry and Fiction featuring Aqueous Books, Ampersand Books, Prick of the Spindle Literary Journal will be at the mothership Uptown location of Maple Street Books for A Night of Poetry and Fiction on July 25th. The authors are all affiliated with one of these presses: Aqueous Books (New Orleans), Ampersand Books (St. Petersburg, Florida), and Prick of the Spindle Literary Journal. (Do I get my Ampersand Evangelist merit badge now?) Participating Readers include:

  • Carissa Halton, from her novella, The Mere Weight of Words (Aqueous Books, June 2012)1
  • Ben Rogers, from his novel, The Flamer (Aqueous Books, February 2012)
  • Derrick Medina, poetry featured in Prick of the Spindle literary journal
  • Clark Theriot, New Orleans-based author, reading his flash fiction piece Mr. Fix-It
  • Thaddeus Conti, New Orleans-based poet
  • Benjamin Lowenkron, Baton Rouge-based poet
  • Eric Elliot, poetry from his collection, The Graves We Dig (Ampersand Books, 2011)
  • Carrie Causey, poetry from her collection, Ear to the Wall (Ampersand Books, 2012)

&OMG there is nothing else going on in the bookstores this week! If you don’t rush and buy a book right now they may all close their doors and you’ll be stuck going to Barnes and Noble in Near Kenner or, if you don’t have a car, taking the Esplanade/Jackson to WalMart and picking something from that wonderful selection just outside electronics. (Chicken Soup for the Soul of Those Who Have Just Lost Their Ferret looks new and interesting). (And there are lots of books with guys on the cover who look like they have just gone through The Incredible Hulk transformation and absolutely no books with topless women.) And really, if you don’t buy more books than you can read how are you going to pass the time during the zombie apocalypse?

& At the Maple Leaf on Sunday Poet Kim Vodicka reads from and signs her new book, Aesthesia Balderash (Trembling Pillow Press 2012) 3ish in the back patio Sunday, July 22.

& Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

That’s it. I’m serious. So what book are you going to buy this week and what book are you going to read?

Going Home July 16, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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When I pitched face down on the floor of The Barrel with no assistance from the tricky step up to the bar, I knew it was time to go look for the second line. Sam and I split a sandwich from the grocery across the street earlier, I think, but clearly I needed movement, fresh air in my face. “Purpose,” I shouted as people helped me up from the floor. “I’m going to scout for the second line.” I glanced at half a Jockamo on the table but decided I was fully prepared to reconnoiter over the broken sidewalks leading to St. Claude and Elysian Fields. “Are you su..?” “YES. I’ll text you when I see them.”

Outside the overcast broke for a moment, a good omen for Uncle Lionel’s sendoff I thought. The glimpse of blue, the air on my face as I moved up Frenchman, focused on Royal Street just ahead, my artificial horizon, a dancing bear balanced on the balls of my feet, I moved through a lucid dream, wide awake and walking through an invisible gelatinous substance. Right at Frenchman, a glance at the old folks’ apartments where Uncle Lionel spent his last days at which the second line would stop soon, then a left at Elysian Fields, St. Claude just ahead. Purpose, I thought, walk with purpose, my internal gyroscope, leaning forward at the precise angle that converts the lifting of feet into momentum, a swagger stagger as straight as a swizzle stick.

At St. Claude there were hot sausage and cheese po-boys $7, two women waiting for the bus and no sight or sound of a second line. When I came to a stop purpose got all wobbly and I leaned against the newspaper machine, shielding my eyes. Someone switched on the sun the moment I stepped out onto St. Claude. Nothing. I sent a text back to The Barrel: “638 no sifn od daocid/or/Wnd/lon @ Stclaude/and/ukusian.” The newspaper machine did not seem particularly steady so I crossed the street into Walgreens and bought an energy drink, and took out some more cash. I was on the route and I knew the second line was somewhere down St. Claude so I crossed to the neutral ground and headed in their direction. Purpose, gyroscope, horizon, movement.

The worthless sun-sensitive lenses in my glasses finally adjusted and I could hear but still not see a band in the distance. I stopped and sent another text: “Indinana hwew ehwy comw.” I managed the two blocks down to Touro and saw the second line, police in front. “Police comin 2ns line c”5 +3 %!e+32&8”#,” I wired back to The Barrel. “Drums comin’,” I managed two minutes later. The second line had come to a halt at Touro Street, the scheduled end of the route. “Srtopped at tojro,” I sent back at precisely 7 p.m.. The parade was to come up to Frenchman Street, past the bars where Uncle Lionel spent the last evenings of his long life, dressed in smooth, perfect suits, diamond stick pin and cane, a sharp hat. Everyone was waiting on Frenchman Street not realizing the parade permit had expired at seven and the police forced a stop, that the second line had managed six blocks in two hours and was over. I noticed a group of tubas above the crowd turning down Touro. A piece of the crowd peeled off and followed and so did I. It didn’t matter that the official second line had shutdown at Sweet Lorraine’s and the police didn’t seem to notice the impromptu parade escaping on a side street.

I lost my artificial horizon but was caught up in the flow and the music, just another fish in the school, swinging and swaying in time with the crowd, and no thought of how or where to go. No point to counting blocks or moments. What thought does the fish give to the river except to drink deep and follow the current? I took a few camera phone pictures and three seconds of video. Later I liked the ones of blurry feet dancing in second line in particular, and the two that are upright and in focus. I had abandoned the thought of another text message. We would be there soon enough, the high, bright tubas trumpeting the herd toward Frenchman.

No one expected a parade to come up Kerlerec and hook down Chartres. We were coming from the wrong direction and found no one on the street but the usual crowd you might watch from the Barrel’s bench. The now silent tubas moved as a group toward d.b.a, the crowd scattered and dissolved into the bars. I lurched toward the Apple Barrel where, according to the one reply text message I stopped to read, there was whiskey and Herbie and the umbrella I’d left behind. I arrived just in time to save tee totaling Herbie from the devil whiskey and recover my umbrella, apparently not as attractive as the vanishing Zippo I’d once left on that bar for a minute. I managed my way to the table without another fall and someone slapped a Jockamo in front of me. The Marigny had their parade for Uncle Lionel and no one noticed, except the lucky hundred-and-some who followed the tubas home.

Odd Words July 14, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, Odd Words, Poetry, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I promise, we’ll get to Odd Words in a moment, but first a word from our sponsor” The Typist.

I think you have the right to tell your story and like I said I think you should do what you can to protect the privacy of those you write about . . . ultimately, what you’re really trying to do is tell the story of who you are. Sometimes you have to include other people, but mostly it needs to be about you.”
— Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the pseudonymous column Dear Sugar on The Rumpus.

The explosion of auto-biographical writing and creative non-fiction (and the line between the two is not at all clear unless autobiography appears somewhere in the cover, making the other people in the writer’s life just fuzzy enough to not be easily identifiable), may be the last gasp of the Me-X-Y generation. The seminar leaders take up the line as old as Hemingway: write what you know. That is what so many writers are doing, except they are not concerned with fictionalizing their material but with creatively structuring real lives, real people. If they do not do it well it will not be compelling and will fall by the wayside. Joan Didion has not fallen by the wayside. Tom Wolfe has not fallen into obscu1rity. Grab the reader by the short hairs and drag them into a compelling story and the lines between autobiography, creative non-fiction, roman de clef, and first-person New Journalism become matter for academics.

It would take more time than I have to find the point at which Toulouse Street began to become something other that just Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans. It begins with the first person nature of the vignettes that filled the early blog and I don’t think it happened all at once. First Moloch entered the picture, the large national bank I work for. I was not writing about the bank. I was writing about my own descent into burn out working for a corporate monolith. I don’t have time to scan through 1,150 posts to find the real tipping point but I jetted all the way to the back of the list and on Sept. 21, 2007 I posted up a You Tube video of Radiohead’s “Fitter, Happier” not just as another “I have nothing to say today bit of music I like but as a clue, no not a clue because I didn’t consciously know where I was going at the time, where it would lead. By October 2010 it has progressed to this:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin

the that appeared Oct. 17, 2010, just a few weeks after I left the house on Toulouse Street, grabbing what I though most important and fleeing to the St. Vincent Home for Wayward Boys, the hotel on Magazine noted for its low rates, interesting clientele and bed bugs. I have not mentioned the world divorce in the first person until this moment. I searched and checked. If you are still hear not just for Odd Words (and yes we will get to that in a minute) you may or may not have found The Narrative hidden among the other posts. Perhaps you had to know me already. I hope not as that would mean I have failed in some sense, been too cryptic or simply failed to tell a compelling story. No, this is not a swan song. I am not about to stop now. Some things bear repeating, a technique known at tautology when it is used in writers as sparse as Raymond Carver. I am not half to clever. I am simply going to repeat the quote that has probably appeared too often in the main column in recent months, and cannot be repeated often enough: “I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning. – Samuel Beckett.

Enough.

& If I were a timely person I would not be telling you about an event that starts in less than an hour, but I’ll stick it in here anyway as we are in the summer doldrums at the bookstores. Garden District Book Shop features novelist Pamela Binnings Ewen and her book Chasing The Wind starting at 1 p.m. and running until 3 p.m., although by the time you see this the reading will probably be past and she’ll just be signing books. Shame on me.

& Today is Bastille Day and there will be all sorts of festivities just up the block and the Bayou (Faubourg St. John) location of Maple Street Books will be having 20%$ off sale. In fact all of the shops will be having a sale but I’m trying to lure you down to Esplanade. The party starts at 5 but the bookstore is already open. All day July 14.

& On July 18th the Healing Center location of the Maple Street Empire Bookshop will host Kim Vodicka and her first full length book of poetry AESTHESIA BALDERDASH, published by New Orleans’s own Trembling Pillow Press. July 18th, at 6:00 P.M. Aesthesia Balderdash is Kim Vodicka’s first, full-length book of poems which “both mock and exalt femininity and feminine “types”. The text is drunk most of the time on seduction and repulsion. It satirizes the American girl’s desire to be an elle—a woman worthy of the belles and whistles of the French feminin suffixes (-ette, -euse, -enne). In short, Aesthesia Balderdash is “whispery, pink-packaged poesie signed by Elizabeth Arden and sealed with an adulteress.”

And that’s it for bookstore events, which I knew before I started and lapse into my rambling thoughts above. Open mic at the Maple Leaf on Sunday, and the weekly Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

An event I missed entirely until I was led their last night was the Southern Comfort Tour reading at the Mudlark Theater last night. The most memorable was local author Utahna Faith’s piece featuring Exile on Main Street. Somehow Sam Jasper and I managed to avoid rehashing, except for a raised eyebrow reminding me of our disagreement, the long standing argument over the place of Keith Richard’s triumphant monument’s place in the Stones’ discography. If I’d had Piano Dave there to back me up we might still be there disputing this point. We all got dinner at the St. Roch instead and grabbed cabs home.

“It doesn’t matter if I get a little tired” July 12, 2012

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Fortin Street, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Someone said to me the other day “If you don’t slow and and catch up on your sleep deficit, you’re shortening your life,” to which I replied:

I don’t think 12-hour conference calls or 12 hours of school work a week for one lousy credit is exactly what Zevon had in mind, but the rest of it’s pretty apt. (I do not own a .38 Special, so no worries).

Warren Zevnon died at 56.

Uncle Lionel July 8, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Jazz, je me souviens, music, New Orleans, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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NEW ORLEANS — Legendary Treme Brass Band leader and drummer Uncle Lionel Batiste passed away Sunday morning. He was 81.

04 – Gather by the River

I Sing the Body Domestic July 7, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I sing the body domestic. The laundromat is calling, but lets not talk about the sheets. There are clean sets in the closet so they can wait. The borrowed vacuum needs to be returned. The precarious stacks of paper and books, reshuffled off the floor to make way for the vacuum need re-arranging. Some go into the folder labeled File. I need a bigger folder. Having a salad for breakfast while writing a grocery list. I remember the first episode of The Odd Couple, Jack Klugman slicing a head of lettuce in half, pouring on dressing and eating it over the sink, but I like salad olives. Another dirty bowl. Afterwards the precarious dishes must be disassembled, the plates off the bottom pulled out to find their place at the end of the drainer. Pick out the delicate glasses first. I don’t use them much but they are nice to have for occasional company. The second-hand bar ware can fend for itself. The inexpensive ham for lunch again, I guess, before I forget to put it out on garbage day. Fruit flies prove spontaneous generation, appearing an hour after the rotten peaches come out of the refrigerator. Slobs should never buy a glass-top desk and I’m out of Windex. (Grocery list). I cleaned like a maniac on July Fourth. A bachelor’s holiday is not some fantasy yacht of ascots, bikinis and martinis. My son grew up in a Southern Living fantasy of hospital cleanliness and I actually dust before I try to slaughter the dust mites in their millions, manage some semblance of clean in an old, rental bathroom.It is possible to make the plated spigots shine with some effort, to scour the toilet white but hairy men should not clean bathrooms in their boxers, scattering hairs behind every sweep and wipe. This is annoying on a pot-of-coffee cleaning jag and a leading cause of divorce. I don’t think my son really cares given the litter of wrappers and water bottles I must collect before I can vacuum his room but I try. I own a Swiffer but unless you use it every day it’s too much trouble and expense to change the cloths every two minutes. Mop, bucket, and the stuff I used to clean the lake scum off the bottom of my boat. The moderately expensive couch slouches mockingly, the back pillows sewn on. Nothing to be done but get the crumbs out of the crevices. Brown carpet is no defense against clumsiness and coffee. The next major holiday I will dust the bookshelves properly but once your book collection reaches a critical mass you blast it with canned air before vacuuming. The forty hours work is a myth in the era of working couples and divorce. I would rather straighten the art that covers the wall, a quick swipe around the cheap and leaky coffee pot, then pick up a book from the floor and climb onto the couch (my end is the one with the slumpy pillow). A few chapters and the afternoon nod, but the gruesome work week is days away and I would rather not spend Sunday doing all of this. Sundays are for a bike around the park to sweat off the hangover and an afternoon on the couch reading. Make quick instant jambalaya before my son comes (grocery list: french bread).I only hope the laundromat isn’t mobbed but it’s Saturday and that happens. Bring a book and a journal.

Somewhere today men play golf and women crowd Target. I do not envy them because they do not as a habit stack books around their couch within easy reach.

Odd Words July 6, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I guess what I want to tell you (which is to say, what I want to tell myself) is that we should get our hands dirty. We should write the things about ourselves and others that we never thought we could. We should not be silent in our quiet rooms and offices. We should hold our words in our bare hands.
— Poet Matthew Siegel from his recent contribution to Letters in the Mail

It is hot. It is slow. These two things are one. {Pages of illustrations}

& Saturday at the Latter Memorial Library poets Thaddeus Conti, Jonathan Kline and Melinda Palacio read from their work at the monthly Poetry Buffet hosted by Gina Ferrara. July 7 at 2 pm

& New York Times bestselling author Chef Jeff Henderson – COOKED: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove – is coming to New Orleans to cook some of his down home Deep South dishes and sign his book alongside friend Chef Dominique Macquet at Tamarind, the new French-Vietnamese eatery in The Hotel Modern on Lee Circle. Octavia Books will be on site at the restaurant with Chef Jeff’s book during the event. Books may be purchased from us there and may also be pre-purchased/reserved by calling Octavia Books during store hours, or online here anytime prior to the evening of the event. Saturday, July 7 at 7 p.m.

& I haven’t gotten an update on the Maple Leaf Bar reading series this week. You could always stop by and have a drink at 3 and see what’s going on.

& This and every Sunday Spoke Word New Orleans hosts Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& There is true crime and then there is this: Joseph Scott Morgan – Blood Beneath My Feet: The Journey of a Southern Death Investigator. Have you ever been locked in a cooler with piles of decomposing humans for so long that you had to shave all the hair off your body in order to get rid of the smell? Joseph Scott Morgan did. Have you ever lit a Marlboro from the ignited gas of a bloated dead man’s belly? Joseph Scott Morgan has. Have you ever wept over a dead dog while not giving a shit about the dead owner laying next him? Morgan did. Were you named after a murder victim? Joseph Scott Morgan was. This isn’t Hollywood fantasy, it’s the true story of a boy born into the deprivations of a white trash trailer park who as an adult gets further involved in the desperate backdoor sagas of the “New South.” No hot blondes here, just maggots, grief, and the truth about forensics and death investigation. Maybe I should get this for my daughter, who wants to be a forensic psychologist. Then again, maybe not. Garden District Book Shop, Tuesday, July 10 at 5:30 pm.

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