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Louisiana Book Festival: Dispatches from the Back October 29, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.

I cannot get a decent wireless signal anywhere in the Louisiana State Library (really?) So this will be of necessarily brief and badly spelled. I am not anxious to recreate my painful kalimba typing hilarities of the last Tennessee Williams Festival. In brief:

& Were vaudeville to rise again Roy Blount Jr. Would find no better straight man than the unflappably professorial Louisiana Book Award winner James Wilcox, famous for a series of immensely comic novels.

“This probably should go really badly,” Blount opened his conversation with Wilcox, ” because  Conversations in Jim’s books always go off the tracks. If this were a conversation in one of Jim’s books one of us would have far too little will power and the other far too much, we would both be talking past each other and we would each have a/completely erroneous notion of each other which we would be depending on  relentlessly, and it would just go off the tracks, get gloriously incommunicative. And yet somehow Jim or the Great Spirit or somebody would cause this communication, over the course of  the novel, come to this startling fruition.” 

In no regard did Blounts’s preescient introduction fail to come to startling fruition, but I am not about to try to recount  45 minutes of insightful literary hilarity via The Druid’s Chicklet keyboard.

&  Lori Waselman’s discussion of Grace Before Dyingm her photographic account of the prisoner run volunteer hospice at Angola State Prison, would reduce the hardest case on either side of the bars to tears or prayer or both.

Men who have not felt the touch of another human being in 20 years are lovingly cares for by volunteer prisoners in their dying days, by once hard men who support their program by making amazing quilts sold at the Angola Rodeo, the same quilts they make for each of their dying comrades, which is given after death to the deceased’s family.

The stories she recounted and accompanying photographs are perhaps the most moving story of compassion you will hear outside the Bible. Run don’t walk and go get her book.

That’s it for now. My thumbs hurt and I have other events to catch so look for more here later.



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