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Sugar Skulls Rule Krewe du Vieux January 31, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, Toulouse Street.
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Pictures by Grace and Adrastos, with lots more here. More when I have revolved into something more fully human. Doctor John with the 911 Band was fantastic.

Hoo Doo Flambeaux January 30, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Well Krewe du Vieux comin and it won’t be long.
I been making my suit and singing this song.
Hoo Doo Flambeaux gonna come on strong.
Gonna Keep on dancing till the morning come.

Hoo Doo. Hoo Doo. Hoo Doo Flambeaux gonna get them Colts!

Fantabuloso cart art by Sam Jasper.

Who Dat Says De Own Who Dat? January 29, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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FYYFF. We are the Who Dat.

Odd Words January 28, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Between the NFC Champsionship and Krewe du Vieux this weekend, I don’t have time to pound out an Odd Words this week and a quick check of all the usual listings shows nothing much going on. (Did I mention its Krewe du Vieux weekend?) So I’ll leave you with this one bit from the last time I had space to wander the interwebs:

What possessed artist Zak Smith to create an illustration for every page of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow is probably beyond reasonable human ken, but it’s a fascinating project. Once you get to the page, click on illustration index to see the pictures. Once I’m past Carnival I could see myself spending way too much time looking at these.

Oh, and the 17 Poets series at the Goldmine Saloon should start up again next week after their holiday break.

Holy Holy Holy Shit! January 26, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Toulouse Street.

NOLA.Com is generally a wretched place (with the exception of Big Red Cotton), but then–with apologies with Allen Ginsberg–there are things like this from one wretched70:

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The Saints are holy! The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The noise is holy! The po-boy and crawfish and grillade
and boudin holy!
Drew Brees is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is
holy! everyday is in eternity! Every Yat’s an
Jabari Greer as holy as the seraphim! Today even da mayor is
holy as you my soul are holy!
The Under Armour is holy the Ben Gay is holy the blocking dummy is
holy the fans are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Archie holy Morten holy Buddy holy Hebert holy
Domilise holy Hap Glaudi holy Vic n Nat’ly holy Buddy Bolden
holy the unknown bag-heads and suffering
Aints fans past — holy the hideous human angels!
Holy ya mama up at DePaul’s! Holy the cooks
of the gumbos! Holy Kerlerec!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop
apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana
hipsters peace & junk & drums!
Holy Chris Owens and the mystery of eternity! Holy
Bourbon bursting with midwestern Girls Gone Wild! Holy the
mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone Kardashian, up in the skybox! Holy the YURPs and brangelinized newcomers! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebell-
ion! Who digs Marrero IS Marerro!
Holy Marigny Holy Ninth Ward Holy Calliope &
Harahan Holy Destrehan Holy Algiers Holy Gretna
Holy Gert-town!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the
clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy
the third down conversion holy the drive-thru daiquiri joints!
Holy the corruption holy the slothful holy the backward holy the
loving holy the visions holy the hallucina-
tions holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
kindness of the soul! Holy Saints in the Super Bowl. Ya heard?!

Super Sunday January 26, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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In all of America and most of the developed world, if you say Super Sunday people will know exactly what you’re talking about: that winter weekend when the whole world eats and drinks itself into a stupor while watching a football game.

Here in New Orleans, we have no problem with the first part of that proposition. Hell, we’re the experts when it comes to celebratory excess, and we don’t need the NFL to tell us when it’s a good idea to drink a bit too much. Thanksgiving is for us just one of a long series of meals that would give a Roman senator indigestion.

Super Sunday, however, is not about football but about the Mardi Gras Indians. Here on Toulouse Street, we admire the Odd way things in New Orleans sometimes come together, so here for your other Super Sunday enjoyment, Big Chief Howard Miller of the Creole Wild West gives us absolutely the best song for getting ready for the Big Day. No, not Mardi Gras. The Other Super Sunday. Don’t be fallin’ out of the house with no needle and thread in your hand.

Here Come The Saints.

I think he might need another Gloria de Cubana January 25, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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after last night. And maybe a wee tot of Jameson’s. OK, not a wee tot. I think a bottle. And po-bo. And another smoke as well, all before that date the rest of the world confuses with Super Sunday.

For Paris, Read New Orleans January 23, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I love the first part of this, which puts me immediately in mind of the peculiar charm of our own dingy city. If cleanliness is next to godliness then god only knows in which circle of hell New Orleans resides, but like the character who laughs at her comment on the Seine, clean is not something we particularly aspire to or would find complimentary. The ant-busy cities of the Midwest where I spent some years are typically as clean as the restrooms of their numberless chain restaurants, just as my own lawn was kept in good repair and I cleared the snow off my walks because frankly what the hell else was there to do there?

I would rather be New Orleans, be in the end (as the poem says) full of shit but marvelous anyway.

By Elizabeth Scanlon, from Ploughshares by way of Poetry Daily. Scanlon is an associate editor of The American Poetry Review but does not have a book. Some Googling brought up a half dozen wonderful poems, which I will get to some day in Odd Words. But for now, we’ll at least have Paris.


There’s a preponderance of dog shit in Paris
but no one says so, attracted to its other, finer qualities.
If people were stepping in that much crap in Detroit
you’d never hear the end of it. Motown my ass, they’d say,
without so much as a backward glance at the Miracles, the Temptations.
They might remember Ike & Tina since he beat the shit out of her,
but they’d be wrong. They were from Tennessee.
What you get for the price of Paris is a certain forgiveness,
a willingness to overlook the less scenic. I don’t know why.
I told a French guy once that I loved how clean and green the Seine looked;
he laughed till he almost puked. Because I was wrong, of course,
but also because cleanliness wasn’t his idea of a compliment.
So let’s be Paris. I’ll be blind to your porn habit
and you’ll elide the edges of my idiot rage.
We’ll be full of shit but marvelous anyway,
and the young will flock to us
as an eternal symbol of romance.

Warren Easton! January 21, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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One thing you won’t see anywhere else is your nearest high school band marching down a public street at 5:00 on a Thursday afternoon. Here in New Orleans, Carnival means that marching in formation down a narrow public street is as essential as drill on the football field is in Texas. My usual route home is down to one lane because of construction, so I cut over to Bienville a few blocks over for my ride home and was treated to this at early taste of Mardi Gras.

Odd Words January 21, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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What I love most about this literary city in the post-Katrina era is the way we treasure our own stories, the way we have listened to and sympathized and encouraged one another in telling those stories. Every New Orleanian is a storyteller now, knows his or her thread of our great urban narrative. We have learned to cherish one another, just as we have learned to value anew our city’s history, its mythology, its sturdy yet exuberant culture. Bookstores were some of our havens after the storm; festivals and readings became rites of civic renewal.

— Susan Larson, former book editor of the Times Picayune, in her final column

Farewell to all that: The Times-Picayune officially spikes any pretense of a book section, and Susan Larson writes her swan song. The remaining rip-and-paste wire reviews move to Sunday’s living section, but at least there will be a once a month column by former Times-Picayune Books section editor Suzanne Stouse. And so another pretense to being anything like a major newspaper slips away on Howard Avenue. I hope they can afford to keep someone on payroll to dust all those old Pulitzers.

§ As you know, I have an interest in memoir and particularly those with a strong tie to place. I’m going to miss Aristide Oconostota Marshal discussing his family history book The Trumpet Talked with Me! at the Latter Library but I think I am going to have to pick up his book. Sadly, it’s from Ex Libris which means that even if our local newspaper had a book section, they wouldn’t review it.

§ It’s almost carnival and the Saints are in the playoffs and the only thing of note I find listed for this week is author Scott Ellis discussing and signing Madame Vieux Carre. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The author discusses and signs his book Madame Vieux Carre: The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century. 1 p.m. Saturday. Garden District Book Shop, The Rink, 2727 Prytania St. This looks like a charming book, and I normally don’t go for charming.

§ Dan Baum, lately of the New Yorker and notable for among other things his pink bowler, will celebrate the paperback release of Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Books, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:00 p.m. Yes, I have picked on his newspaper writing but the book sounds interesting to me and now that it’s out in paperback I think I’ll have to break down and read it. But first I have to get that vision of his pink hat out of my mind.

And the colored girls say: FFF FYYFingF January 20, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“[The HBO show Treme’, set in immediate post-Federal Flood New Orleans] wasn’t a bummer. It was more looking at (the setting) and having the same feeling that John Goodman’s character had. ‘There’s something wrong here and it needs to be fixed.’ It didn’t bum me out as much as it made me want to jump up and say, ‘We need to do something for New Orleans. Look at all this wonderful flavor. Look at all these great characters. And why are they still having these problems? I don’t want them having these problems.’”
– Susan Young, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay area whose writing appears in People and Variety, following the critics premiere of the first two episodes.

The NOLA.Com summary of critical reactions by Dave Walker, both on his blog and for the Times-Picayune, gives a capsule on Goodman’s character: [he] plays an Uptown New Orleans college professor who struggles to contain his rage at media misconceptions about post-Katrina levee-failure flooding.”

Hmm. That sounds familiar.

One critic quoted by Walker, Joel Keller of the online TVSquad.com, doesn’t like Goodman’s character much. ““I guess it needed someone to defend New Orleans,” Keller said. “He just seemed kind of out-of-phase with the rest of the cast. I’d like to see what happens as he kind of integrates himself into the rest of what’s going on. Right now, he feels like a totally different story, as opposed to the other stories that are going on.” Others were more kind: “Goodman’s wonderful,” said Ellen Gray, critic for the Philadelphia Daily News

Simon told a small group of bloggers privately last year that his team was writing a character into the show based, at least in part, on Ashley Morris. (We have got to get that boy a Wikipedia page so I don’t have to recap it all here). I am very anxious to see Ashley’s Goodman’s character. Having a commenter outside of the main story line may seem a bit weird to someone who reviews cable television on the Internet for a site hosted by AOL, but it seemed to work for writers back in the day.

The question I have: does America really want to see a sympathetic portrait of an alternative to the mainstream American culture, that banal plate of airline food served where everyone sits in their tiny little assigned seat reading the same in-flight magazine or watching the same movie, wishing they were in first class? (You do remember airline food, don’t you?) Treme’ gives us “those people”–you remember, the ones from the Convention Center and the Superdome–living in a world just minutes from America where playing bass drum or tuba is honored career choice because the parade season is 40 weeks long, people who don’t just live for the weekend like most Americans anxious to escape their little cubes for the big boxes but a people who live for the parade and the po-boy and if that by chance happens on a Wednesday afternoon well they might be late back to work without a thought.

I am not so sure, but I admire the hell out of David Simon for trying.

Yes. January 16, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Odd Words January 14, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Just back from a gruesome business trip and thinking about Haiti a lot and there really isn’t much on the literary calendar in New Orleans this next week. So while Haiti is much on our minds:

§ I have never read Madison Smartt Bell's widely praised All Souls’ Rising (a nominee for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award) but its going on the book pile. I did read his Master of the Crossroads, which focuses on Toussaint Louverture and the intersection of Haitian voodoun and the apocopyltic revolution. Highly recommended. I will also need to polish off this trilogy at some point and read The Stone that the Builder Refused

§ And now, for something complete different courtesy of HTMLGIANT: In 2006, Adobe Systems commissioned an art installation titled San Jose Semaphore by Ben Rubin, which is located at the top of its headquarters building. Semaphore is composed of four LED discs which “rotate” to transmit a message. The content of the San Jose Semaphore’s message remained a mystery until it was deciphered in August 2007. The visual art installation is supplemented with an audio track, transmitted from the building on a low-power AM station. The audio track provides clues to decode the message being transmitted. The San Jose semaphore has been broadcasting the full text of Thomas Pynchon’s 1966 novel, The Crying of Lot 49.

§ And, um, Odd Words. I think someone got an OED for Christmas, or is just making some of these up. There are some gems. Comic Sans, however, is an abomination but consider the source. I’m with these folks.

Help Haiti January 13, 2010

Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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The world is not after Haiti as so many of us feel. The cold truth is the world’s indifference, and if there is one thing a Haitian hates it is to be unconsequential. It does not matter what is said about you, as long as you are the subject of conversation. Perhaps at some international soiree idle chatter passes to Haiti, but I doubt it.

–The mysterious stranger on the hotel veranda speaks to author Wade Davis in Chapter Six of his book on voodoo The Serpent and The Rainbow

Here more than anywhere else in America we should remember what it is to suffer, to lose everything (and for people who have so little as the people of Haiti it is a short fall with a very hard landing), to see the dead in the streets.

The ties of New Orleans are old and run deep. In the entrance to my house are portraits of two Franco-Haitian ancestors who fled to New Orleans after the Haitian revolution, a bitter irony when I look at the descendants of their slaves suffering so. Me, I have an extra burden to discharge. You should give because you Remember.

I have taken down the link to Wyclef Jean’s site after reading an internet report at thesmokinggun.com suggesting he had paid himself handsomely to appear at a benefit organized by the group. Instead I pass on the recommendation of a local acquaintance whose wife studied in Haiti, is Doctors Without Borders.

Another thought: I still read regular reports that the American Red Cross is sitting on $170 million in money donated to aid Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims. Our experience on the Hurricane Coast: please, do not give to the American Red Cross.

Update: Read this excellent article by the Preservation Resource Center. on New Orleans’ historic ties to Haiti, and the island nation’s contributions to New Orleans.


Down In The Hole with David Simon January 10, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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I don’t usually write about politics here because I try not to think about it much. That’s a part of my life that’s behind me, my years working the phones and the street in New Orleans, my time on and around Capitol Hill. I don’t even watch the cable news anymore because it makes me absolutely crazy. If I ever got it into my head to buy a gun it would have to be a choice between the gun and cable television, because if I had both it would just be a matter of time before I needed a new set.

On that note, this from David Simon: “I guess what I’m saying is that the overall theme was: We’ve given ourselves over to the Olympian god that is capitalism and now we’re reaping the whirlwind. This is the America that unencumbered capitalism has built. It’s the America that we deserve because we let it happen. We don’t deserve anything better. The Wire was trying to take the scales from people’s eyes and say, ‘This is what you’ve built. Take a look at it.’ It’s an accurate portrayal of the problems inherent in American cities.”

One thing I tried to do in the months after the Federal Flood was turn a hard eye on what this country had become, using New Orleans as case study. That was not a pleasant exercise, and when I started referring to the United States as “the central government” I knew it was time to step back. When the last piece on that blog wrote itself, I knew it was done.* I am anxious to see how Simon and his team turn the hairy eyeball of a thoughtful camera on New Orleans. After watching part of The Wire I was a little scared that the show is going to turn me into Jay Arena, the sectarian communist blowhard we had to toss out of Rising Tide a couple of years ago. Until I read this interview, that is. Simon says: “New Orleans has created such unique cultural art in terms of music and dance, and it’s a very idiosyncratic culture, it shows the value of what the American melting pot is capable of. It does it in a way that is visual and musical and demonstrable, and it does it in the fucking street every day. Somehow this city is trying to find a way to endure while the political essence of the country doesn’t give a fuck. That, to me, is a fascinating dynamic.”

I guess I’ll be keeping cable to get HBO and passing on the handgun, which is probably a good thing. The dead are with us enough in this city, and I don’t think I would ever want to add to that number.


* A related thought from Simon: “nobody wants to write endings in television. They want to sustain the franchise. But if you don’t write an ending for a story, you know what you are? You’re a hack. You’re not a storyteller. It may not be that you have the skills of a hack. You might be a hell of a writer, but you’re taking a hack’s road. You’re on the road to hackdom and there’s no stopping you because stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

It is a winter’s tale January 10, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.

“Time sings through the intricately dead snow drop. Listen”
–Dylan Thomas, “A Winter’s Tale

It’s cold to the bone and nothing here is fit for it: not the collapsing tropical plants or the city’s vast swarms of feral cats which have vanished from the streets, not the ancient galvanized pipes strung under the raised houses or the houses themselves, built for the hot damp of the subtropics and not for this invisible glacier of arctic air that has somehow slipped off the top of the world and run all the way down to the Tropic of Cancer. I have four fireplaces. None of them work.

I lived for thirteen years with cold as this and worse in and around Fargo, N.D. I learned to deal with it, even to embrace winter as I discovered life where there are clear seasons and winter not the least beautiful. If you could stand outside on a perfectly still night and listened to the vague hiss of a dry snow falling, dressed well enough that you take a stroll around the house and watch the snow collecting on branches, you too would discover that Dylan Thomas was not raving mad drunk but wise enough to listen when only silence is expected and you too would stand and marvel in the snowfall and forget you are cold. An old friend sent me a set of snow shoes and I learned the pleasure of tramping through the woods or along the river on a still and sunny 10 degree day, learning how to turn the unwieldy beavertails to pass through low brush and how to edge up a slope.

If you never venture out except to drive the snow blower and shovel you will go stark raving mad before spring, and by spring I mean June. “The ice is off the lakes” doesn’t quite qualify as a sign of spring to a boy from New Orleans. Still, as the years pass you’re damn glad to see the last of the snow and ice, will stand out on your deck in a t-shirt in the sun at fifty degrees and try to catch the first whiff of spring, not exactly warmth because face it its fifty degrees out but the infernal chill that burns the skin is gone and the bare brown ground is at least visible and you can contemplate the reappearance of life. And you are free, free at last of that stubborn mule snow blower that won’t go straight and how many nights did I stand between those handles, wrestling the beast with my hips and wonder if this is what is was like to plow with a mule, except it’s not spring dirt but more damned snow blowing up and back into your face until your beard and mustache are caked in sweat and snot and ice.

The taps have been running on Toulouse Street for two days straight and I don’t even want to think about what the water bill will look like, or the electric bill either. Its been cold long enough that I’ve dug out the flannel lined jeans, the old insulated ankle boots I wasn’t sure why I brought back south, the sweaters I rarely wear and it seems as I drive out to pick up my son that I’m quickly readjusting to it. It’s cold. So what. I’ve seen worse and know from my time where the seasons aren’t Carnival and Hurricane (and from suffering through endless summers here that steam role spring and swallow half of autumn) that all weather will pass and it will warm up again, that the deeply rooted plants will come back and by the time my old neighbors up north get their seed catalogs I’ll be sweating as I haul new plants in from the car in the first heat of March.

Odd Words January 7, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Here’s something to swipe the last of the sleepy holiday goo out of your eyes: T.S. Elliot’s “The Wasteland “as a graphic novel. I am reading through the Sandman GN’s along with my teenage son, both because I have exhausted everything else by Neil Gaiman and because I have a fondness for comics going back to the days of the “underground comix” of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

After reading and rereading the first few of the Sandman series, I have to agree with the author’s premise that, “in a number of ways…comic books more closely resemble poems than novels: they use text sparingly; they frequently ‘break’ lines for dramatic or tonal effects; and much like lyric poetry, comic books often juxtapose images to create meaning, without any clear narrative or syntactic relationship between the images they present.”

Just what I don’t need: another book I absolutely have to buy. On the bright side, the sponsor of this project–Gulf Coast-A Journal of Literature and the Fine Arts–has a contest I’m planning to enter with a reading fee that includes a subscription. I plan to make sure I get the hard copy with the sample chapter of “The Waste Land”.

§ While we’re on the subject, let’s not ignore the project to turn James Joyce’s Ulysses into graphic novel format, UlyssesSeen.

§ The Latter Library on St. Charles Avenue will host “Poetry by Candlelight” on Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 7:30-9:00 pm, featuring ten local poets and king cake. I wish I weren’t going to be out of town for this. Scheduled readers include Laura Mattingly, Danny Kerwick, Chris Champagne, Jonthan Kline, Valentime Pierce, Gina Ferrara, Moose Jackson, Thaddeus Conti, Jimmy Ross, Jefery Ward and Mona Lisa Saloy.

§ Just a guess but if Thaddeus Conti is reading at the Latter Library on Jan. 12, I suspect that his own Dinky Tao series at the back bar at Molly’s at the Market may start later than usual. Or, as we did last week, in his absence.

§ These people are insane, in a good way. H/T to B. Rox for highlighting their Facebook page, which is how I found them

§ I just finished reading Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, a fascinating book about the obsessions and slow dissolution of a small avant garde movement in 1970s Mexico. I think this will join the small list of books that I buy multiple copies of because I keep pressing them on people, urging them to read it, and some of those copies never come back.

The books on that list often leave people scratching their heads, wondering what the hell I was thinking, but that is at least part of what has me fired up: something unique that you won’t get just anywhere. I just finished reading my first Zola (Germainal) t the urging of a friend and loved it, but it was not the sort of cerebral experience of the books that make my “you must read this” list. It was like my experience of classical music, something I enjoy but don’t profess to deeply understand (or care to think about that hard), a simple thing like a hot bath, an immersion in something pleasurable not requiring a lot of specific thought. Most books on my “read me” list–Gravity’s Rainbow, Hopscotch–tend to require a certain investment of thought and time to fully appreciate. Others, like Little Big by John Crowley, fall more into the Zola category of immense family saga well told and are are among the simple pleasures, but I tend toward being carried away by puzzle books that require multiple reads.

I had skipped over the introduction but immediately recognized the The Savage Detectives’ affinities with Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch: its non-linear structure, its focus on a small set of bohemians in search of what–truth?–in the person of a mysterious writer, the wanderings and gradual dissolution of these fictional Visceral Realists. I think I know why I am drawn to tales of bohemia–Kerouac’s, Cortazar’s or Bolaño’s–as I sit here waiting for the Counting House’s laptop to reboot before I go off for a routine midlife physical, sitting in my small office next to my recently redone kitchen with its quarter-sawn oak cabinets and elegant granite, where my wife is taking out a large package of toilet paper and remarking on what a bargain it was. I think you get the idea.

I don’t buy into the idea in this article that North Americans have embraced Bolaño because he gives them a new patron saint to replace the tired icon of Marquez in their South American literature niche, but then I live at the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean, and I don’t share the typical North American’s “worst paternalistic prejudices about Latin America…like the superiority of the Protestant work ethic or the dichotomy according to which North Americans see themselves as workers, mature, responsible, and honest, while they see their neighbors to the South as lazy, adolescent, reckless, and delinquent…” largely because New Orleans straddles both worlds, and the joy of it is precisely that which is not Anglo-Saxon.

I think I may have to journey down this path for a while, now that I’ve been through a pile of Haruki Murakami. If you’re looking to immerse yourself completely into another world, to step through the looking glass for a while (and who doesn’t want to, really) I recommend you give Savage Detectives (or just about anything by Murakami) a go.

§ But first, you really need to read Mystic Pig, which the original liner notes describe as “…a novel about sex and sexuality and race and madness and violence and fine dining. Not necessarily in that order.” I let the publisher know I had set up a Facebook group for some people in New Orleans who have also picked it up recently, and he responded kindly by setting up a coupon code so that people could get the book at a deep discount, as it is not in US distribution at this time and after currency conversion and shipping a copy of what should be a $15 trade paperback rings up at about $30. So Oleander Press is offering the book at a 50% discount (enter coupon code: FBPIG) , and is also reaching out to offer terms to local independent book stores on the book. I found a copy of a first edition in near fine condition for $40 bucks online, so if you can’t wait to get a copy my Oleander Press edition is available for loaning.

I Dreamed I Saw Ms. Hill Last Night January 4, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Crime, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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This morning’s reading assignment: get thee to Billy Southern’s Imprefectly Vertical blog and read the entry Helen Hill, You Are Missed.

I have not done a lick of work over my holiday escape from the Counting House on my annual list of the victims of murder in New Orleans, instead working on a long poem titled Murder Ballads, but I plan to get the list together and up here soon. (Bad luck, I know, to speak of the unwritten or the unfinished.) Until either of my own bits of handicraft on the subject are done Southern’s piece from the New York Times, originally published under the headline Taken By the Tide, will have to stand (admirably) in their place.

Je me souviens.

No. 11 January 2, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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This may be my favorite New Year’s post and decade recap because No. 11 is No. 11.

I’ve been tardy in keeping up with the NOLA Bloggers in spite of being off all week because I seem to have amassed this immense pile of books, and books take time to read well, to savor or make notes or to walk out onto the porch to have a cigarette and think about what you’ve just read. In spite of the conspiracy of the televisions I am managing to make some headway, but I guess I need to start to reintegrate into the world. So it’s back to reading the blogs Catch you back in 50 posts or so.

The Turning of the Year January 1, 2010

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Toulouse Street.
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As the wheel turns away from the dark, let us all follow and second line into the light.

The wheel is turning
and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go
and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back
and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you
then the lightning will

Won’t you try just a little bit harder?
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more?
Won’t you try just a little bit harder?
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more?

Round round robin run around
Gotta get back where you belong
Little bit harder, just a little bit more
Little bit farther than you than you’ve gone before