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Debt Is Freedom December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I am come from the underworld
to tell you your new gods
are concerned about your parsimony.

This country was built on credit, goddammit,
so spend it. You are not carrying your weight
in their grand scheme of things & things.

Their sisters will snip your disobedient cards &
abandon you to eating the happy employee meal
sweating at the bus stop over the rent.

They can take it all back at any minute,
a repossession worse than death:
carless, houseless, under the overpass.

The obsolete missionary gods slop contempt
on mercy’s plate. Get a job, their prayer but
there’s no good work for folk with your credit score.

I was as you once, and walked away, thinking:
freedom. It was then they came for me. No room
for bad examples except under the overpass.

Your new deities send me to tell you:
debt is freedom, the endless shelves
of choice beyond your grandparents imagining.

Spending and getting is all of heaven
you will ever know before the balloon note is due
& cold repo death, the only old god left

comes due at some month’s end.

Chicken Salad on Rye December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It’s 4 am and I’m hungry so I decide I’m not quite ready to go back to sleep. I make a sandwich. Chicken salad on rye, things that are good for turning around my pre-diabetes you have not through sloth and gluttony but because you sat too many hours through too many days in a job from hell, gaining weight while living in a constant state of molar-destroying stress. And you think chicken salad on rye not just because it’s on your safe list, and you are rapidly becoming one of those dietary obsessives, the vegan and gluten crowd, but because you know this drill. You father worked himself into a complete collapse, literally dropping at work followed by a week in the hospital and a month of doctor’s orders for no work. He had to piss on the tape back then but came back from it. I don’t know if he managed his stress by getting himself fired, or walking away (they always let you walk away, they let me walk away), owed $100,000 which was serious money back then. But he bailed, and he beat it. And I have walked away. And I’m going to beat it.

And if this is starting to sound like a Bukowski poem without line breaks I started reading Bukowski when I couldn’t sleep because Clarice Lispector is a madwoman of the first order, a twin separated at birth from Beckett but you’re just not ready for Lispector and her brilliant cockroach monologue, because that sort of concentration doesn’t come at 4 am. You are up because of an anxiety dream about your ex- who is freaking out because our daughter is bringing her dog home with her for Xmas, and you just know she doesn’t want to leave a nervous dog alone in her obsessively Southern Living-ready condo. And later this morning you have to call unemployment because they don’t want to give you unemployment. You have to call the insurance company because they’ve lost your crappy COBRA policy but at my age I need something. You have to call the life insurance company which canceled your life insurance policy because you spaced a bill with a rate hike. They’ve cashed the makeup check but you still don’t know. You have to get out and walk five miles to loose the weight gained sitting in the Herman Miller chair you splurged on to make sitting in that tiny corner of your apartment 12 hours a day slaving for people you hated a little more bearable, the job you kept only because they paired you with a single mom with two small kids who had never worked anywhere else who was also loosing her mind from all the work, and you just couldn’t leave it all to be dumped on her. (Asked once by an HR department if I had a friend at work, I declined to answer, finding it creepy and intrusive. But in the job from hell, I made a true friend at work. And I was not going to bail on her).

And you’re reading Bukowski because he’s not trying to be intellectual or clever in ways your brain can’t process at 4 a.m., and the other book on your bed is Grace Paley and while you love her stories she’s just so persistently cheerful through all of the mad lives of her characters you can’t stand it right now. Bukowski, he is just telling you brilliant little stories of life without Paley’s incessant optimism; stories of life’s moments of bullshit and beauty, and your own life right now is an endless freight train with moments of beauty glimpsed between the endless gondola and tanker cars of bullshit, the boxcars filled with sacks of bullshit, the boxcars half the politicians in this country would stuff you into if they were given the chance. Bukowski was first and foremost a journalist who looked deep into the cesspit of America and spoke what he saw. He afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted, unless he was drunk and the afflicted were making a scene of their affliction then he threw them out because they didn’t know how to suffer with class, because they couldn’t take a punch.

I should go back to sleep but in half an hour the lights will come on at the Fairgrounds across the street and maybe I’ll make some coffee instead, sneak in the back gate and stand at the rail and watch the horses warming up until someone tells me to scram. Maybe later I will go to the track instead of walking because the track is exercise for the mind and the body if it’s done right: first the form, to train the brain, a puzzle to keep the mind working; then off to the paddock to study each horse’s temperament, the way they manage themselves in a tight space surrounded by the competition; followed by a trot out to the rail for the post parade to see how they move, again a question of temperament but also how the muscles flow, if they prance with excitement do they do it with the grace of a dancer or a nervous wobble? Then watching the tote board, comparing what you’ve doodled on the form to the constantly changing numbers, probability and statistics meeting up on the mind. Then, at the last minute when the tote board seems to be settling in, the sprint to the window and back to the rail. Finally, the stationary cardiovascular circuit of the horses running, the blood pounding and your voice shouting encouragement.

Just maybe that is how Bukowski lived as long as he did with all the wine and beer, the cigarettes and cigars: he know how to exercise his mind and body in one place, how to celebrate the wins and how to suck up the losses; like the fighter he was, how to take the adoration of the winner and the humiliation of the loser, but most of all how to take the punches.

The sandwich is gone. I wonder if a glass of wine would help me get back to sleep, or if I should just call it a night and go watch the horses. The horses may disappoint, but they are always beautiful.

Honorary Thieves December 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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How does some rich asshole come to “Sponsor” a WPA bridge?

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How does some wealthy fuck come to “sponsor” a WPA bridge?

Baphomet’s New Orleans (17th Ed.): The Christmas Lounge December 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Baphomet's New Orleans, Christmas, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Uptown.
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The Christmas (or Christmas Tree) Lounge is a bad answer to any question. Located just over Lowerline Street from stolidly respectable Uptown–the tourist-bus haunt of gnarled oaks, neo-Classical mansions and money as old as Egypt, rooted in a river, cotton and slavery–the Christmas Lounge stands in the adjacent nineteenth century suburb of Carrollton, long ago its own town with a quaint neo-Classical courthouse turned school just where the streetcars turn at the spot called Riverbend by real estate agents but known to past generations Uptown as the Devil’s Elbow. Surrounded by the once modest but now fashionable bungalows of a prosperous antebellum bourgeoisie and their employees, like all good dive bars the Christmas Lounge has the low-roofed and neon ambiance of a place men once gathered to wreath themselves in cigarette smoke and drink away the day’s labor straight from the beer bottle.

Today it is more likely filled with weary service people after the manager has tossed them out of the bar and everywhere respectable is closed, and the children of local, Jersey and Long Island money who mingle with the confident ease of daddy’s platinum card, students at Uptown’s expensive if not precisely prestigious universities, scholars of the sort who have quiet forgotten exactly which class they are in. Here the next generation of waiters and lawyers assemble to while away the smallest hours of morning with a studied drunkenness handed down in New Orleans from generation to generation.

The Christmas tree can manage a quite respectable martini early the evening, but the specialty of the night is the beer and occasional shot. Upended bottles of Jägermeister stand half-empty in their chiller/dispensers, the inverted stag suggesting a tribute to the author of this guide. A bottle of cinnamon whiskey does not last long and sugary sorority girl cocktails can be managed at all hours. There is still an active jukebox, an increasing rarity in an age when bartenders are liable to dial up a Pandora channel on their smartphone, and the music is an indefinable mix best categorized as loud and danceable.

There is a small set of long overused couches near the front, available for whiskey-earnest arguments, public foreplay, and passing out to the Instagram amusement of your friends. Toward the rear are small high tables opposite the bar, stools across long taken by the time you arrive, and the usual, narrow obstacle course through the middle where drinks are apologetically sloshed back from the bar.

To truly appreciate the Christmas Tree, it is best to dress in casual and spill-sacrificial clothing, start drinking before dinner, and continue doggedly on through the evening at one of Uptown’s many music venues until the band tears down. If you think you can still drive the Christmas Lounge is for you, or one can simply stagger over from the nearby destinations on Oak Street as they close.

Ranking: Four horns out of five largely for its promising youthful depravity.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans December 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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& At 6 pm Monday New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson comes to Octavia Books to present & sign his new book, UNDER OUR SKIN. Can it ever get better? This is the question Benjamin Watson is asking. In a country aflame with the fallout from the racial divide – in which Ferguson, Charleston, and the Confederate flag dominate the national news, daily seeming to rip the wounds open ever wider – is there hope for honest and healing conversation? For finally coming to understand each other on issues that are ultimately about so much more than black and white? An NFL tight end for the New Orleans Saints and a widely read and followed commentator on social media, Watson has taken the Internet by storm with his remarkable insights about some of the most sensitive and charged topics of our day. Now, in UNDER OUR SKIN: Getting Real about Race – And Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us, Watson draws from his own life, his family legacy, and his role as a husband and father to sensitively and honestly examine both sides of the race debate and appeal to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing.

& Monday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Carol Reese, Tina Freeman, and Walter Stern’s Longue Vue House and Gardens. The stunning interiors and glorious gardens of New Orleans’ unrivaled jewel and architectural masterpiece. Longue Vue House and Gardens, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and listed as a national historic landmark, was designed and built between 1934 and 1942 by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman and architects Charles and William Platt for Edgar Bloom and Edith Rosenwald Stern, New Orleans’ foremost mid-twentieth-century philanthropists and civil-rights activists. The mansion and its surrounding eight acres of garden spaces, with varied designs ranging from the formal to the wild, draw upon Southern architectural traditions and native Louisiana flora, even as they echo the contemporaneous garden-design movement that set the stage for the creation of some of the most breathtaking garden estates in the country. Lush photography, supporting architectural drawings, and an informative text bring the main house and gardens to life and establish the estate as an enduring symbol to its creators’ contributions to building a just society.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Chef John Besh will be signing Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked Recipes at Maple Street Book Shop’s Holiday Party.In this, his fourth book, award-winning chef John Besh takes another deep dive into the charm and authenticity of the cuisine of New Orleans. “Besh Big Easy” features all new recipes, published in a new flexibound format and accessible to cooks everywhere. Much has changed since Besh wrote his bestselling “My New Orleans” in 2009. The book is dedicated to accessibility. “There’s no reason a good jambalaya needs two dozen ingredients,” John says. In this book, jambalaya has less than ten, but sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor. With 101 original, personal recipes such as Mr. Sam’s Stuffed Crabs, Duck Camp Shrimp & Grits, and Silver Queen Corn Pudding, “Besh Big Easy” is chock-full of the vivid personality that has made John Besh such a popular American culinary icon.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday the Robert E. Smith Library hosts an Author Visit: A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook. Cynthia LeJeune Noble’s cookbook offers recipes inspired by the delightfully commonplace and always delicious fare of Ignatius and his cohorts. Through an informative narrative and almost 200 recipes, Nobles explores the intersection of food, history, and culture found in the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, opening up a new avenue into New Orleans rich culinary traditions.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the Alvar Library presents an Evening with José Torres-Tama, Performance Poet & Artist. Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares is a debut collection that documents twenty-five years of José Torres-Tama’s poetry in his unique bilingual voice. Labeled a “Permanent Resident Alien” during his entry into GringoLandia at the age of seven in 1968, he explores the psychic, physical, and open wounds of an Ecuadorian immigrant balancing two languages and cultures, challenging the United States to live up to its mythic ideals as the beacon of democracy.

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the Edith Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& At 6 pm Wednesday the Norman Mayer Library hosts author Tiffany Monique talking to prospective authors about the process of self-publishing and promoting one’s own work. & Wildlife photographer C.C. Lockwood will be signing Louisiana Wild at Maple Street Book Shop, Wednesday, at 6 pm. Lockwood has lived and worked in fragile ecosystems whose preservation shapes his artistry. His work has earned him international acclaim as an environmental artist, including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. His newest book, “Louisiana Wild: The Lands Protected and Restored by The Nature Conservancy”, portrays the good work this organization is doing on over 280,000 acres of land in our state. The scenic images that Louisiana brings to mind—moss-draped cypress, lush marshlands, alligators gliding through bayous, herons coasting across an open sky—all spring from one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the continent. From the precious maritime forests of Grand Isle to the steep contours of Tunica Hills, Louisiana’s wild outdoors defines each region’s sense of place and value.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday meet Anne Butler and Henry Cancienne, creators of LOUISIANA SWAMPS AND MARSHES at Octaviva Books. Louisiana’s wonderful wetlands, coastal marshes, and swamps have meant much to different visitors over the years–sustenance for fisherman and trappers, food supplies for hunters, inspiration for artists and writers, hideouts for hermits and pirates, unbroken solitude for weary souls and assorted dreamers clinging to a vanishing way of life. But these wonderful wild spots are so fragile, and every year brings the loss of more of them. We have been so careless about our environment in the past, so sure our natural resources would last forever. Now we know better. Noted photographer Henry Cancienne has a passion for preserving our unique natural environments through his spectacular images, and in this book he shares some of his favorite walking trails and drives, most free and easily accessible via raised boardwalks and well-maintained paths. Significant spawning/nesting/breeding grounds and vital habitats for wildlife, including a number of endangered species, these wetlands and wildernesses are themselves in danger of vanishing as well. Visit them while you can.

& At 8 pm Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series at B.J.’s in the Bywater hosts a special fiction night with Ann Glaviano and Alex Jennings. Jennings is an author, comic, actor and music writer living right here in New Orleans. He loves comic books, fancy beer, trashy movies, fine films, shoes, and jokes of varying quality. He spends way to much time procrastinating on social media, but it’s usually for a good cause, he swears. Glaviano is a multidisciplinary artist and a born-and-raised New Orleanian. In 2015 her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Atlas Review, descant (Frank O’Connor Award for fiction), Gravy, VIDA’s “Report from the Field,” Antigravity, and Please Forward: How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina (UNO Press). A novella, Dickbeer, is forthcoming from Day One in January.

& At 6 pm Thursday Maple Street Book Shops will be hosting Robert S. Brantley, author of the new book, Henry Howard, Louisiana’s Architect. One of the nineteenth century’s most prolific architects but also, until recently, one of the most historically elusive, Henry Howard (1818-1884) left an indelible mark on the landscape of his adopted home, Louisiana. Howard gave Louisiana some of its most iconic structures: the Pontalba buildings on New Orleans’s Jackson Square, the Robert Short house in the Garden District, and a string of legendary plantation houses along the Mississippi River. The photographer and architectural historian Robert S. Brantley provides a comprehensive survey of Howard’s career in this meticulously researched collection. Lavishly illustrated with photographs both new and historical, and interspersed with archival drawings and plans, Henry Howard: Louisiana’s Architect restores its subject to his rightful place in the pantheon of southern architects.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts a discussion of How Research Informs Both Fiction and Non-fiction with National Book Award Winner Adam Johnson, Gilbert King, Scott Hutchins and Eric Puchner. The authors books will be available for purchase and autograph. Fortune Smiles consists of six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before. In A Working Theory of Love, before his brief marriage imploded, Neill Bassett took a job feeding data into what could be the world’s first sentient computer. Only his attempt to give it languagethrough the journals his father left behind after committing suicidehas unexpected consequences. Amidst this turmoil, Neill meets Rachel, a naïve young woman escaping a troubled past, and finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her and the possibilities she holds. But as everything he thought about the past becomes uncertain, every move forward feels impossible. In Model Home the Zillers—Warren, Camille, and their three children—live the good life in a gated Southern California neighborhood, but the sun-bright veneer hides a starker reality. As Warren desperately tries to conceal a failing real estate venture, his family falls prey to secrets and misunderstandings, both hilarious and painful, that open fault lines in their intimacy. Their misguided attempts to recover their former closeness, or find it elsewhere, lead them into late-night burglary, improbable romance, and strange acts of betrayal.

& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. he purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& At noon Friday Octavia Books hosts a tasting & signing with Chef John Folse featuring his new encyclopedic cookbook, CAN YOU DID IT: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Vegetable Cookery. Readers can expect to find chapters on the swamp floor pantry, root vegetables, leafy greens, off the vine, grains, exotics and more. Recipes focus on vegetables as the primary ingredient in appetizers, soups, salads, sides, entrées, breads, desserts and even drinks. Like Folse’s three other “Big Books,” Can You Dig It begins with a look to the past by co-author Michaela York. The history of agriculture is told from ancient man and biblical perspectives; there are discussions of farming in antiquity including Egypt, Greece and Rome; gardens of the Middle Ages and Renaissance are explored; as well as the discovery of America and vegetables’ influence on population and power through the Colombian Exchange. The history section culminates in an overview of Louisiana’s deep roots in agriculture, with particular focus on the farming methods of the seven nations that make up Louisiana culture and cuisine.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books brings Katrell Christie to the store to share words from her newest book, TIGER HEART: My Unexpected Adventures to Make a Difference in Darjeeling, and What I Learned about Fate, Fortitude, and Finding Family. Her special guest will be husband Thanh Truong, news anchor from WWL Channel 4. Christie was a thirty-something artist turned roller-derby rebel who opened a tea shop in Atlanta. Barely two years later, her life would make a drastic change–and so would the lives of a group of girls half a world away. “I chose the name of my tea shop–Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party–because it sounded whimsical. India wasn’t part of the equation. Not even remotely. I didn’t do yoga. I had no deep yearning to see the Taj Mahal or tour Hindu temples. Indian food? I could take it or leave it.” Yet on a whim, Katrell did go and fell in love with a country that was gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once, where tragedy, humor, resilience and kindness were inextricably bound. From dodging feral monkeys, to slamming shots of whiskey to win acceptance at a local Rotary Club, to forging lasting friendships with the people who stepped up to help her cause, Tiger Heart offers a shot-gun seat on an inspiring trek across the globe, capturing the essence of India: its quirks, its traditions, and its people. Fate may have led Katrell to a tiny spot on a map, but it was a kinship that brought her back home a half a world away. Tiger Heart is a life-affirming look at the ties that bind and the power of each of us to make a difference.

& Saturday at 11:30 am Marti Dumas will be reading from and signing her latest Jaden Toussaint book at Maple Street Book Shop.Jaden Toussaint is a five year-old who knows it all. I mean, really knows it all. Animal Scientist. Great Debater. Master of the art of ninja dancing. There’s nothing Jaden Toussaint can’t do. The only problem is that grown-ups keep trying to convince him that, even though he’s really smart, he doesn’t know EVERYTHING. The thing is…he kind of does. This time our hero must use all his super-powered brain power to save his school and some possible alien invaders (which may or may not be caterpillars) from destroying each other.

& At 4 pm Saturday Kalamu ya Salaam and Kelly Harris-DeBerry read at Community Book Center to launch Kelly’s poetry CD, Revival.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series hosts GROUP READING BY UNO MFA Creative writing students studying with John Gery and Carolyn Hembree.

Cognitive Disobedience December 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Yesterday I walked away from the prospect of a job, a job job with health benefits for all the fun stuff that comes with growing old, life insurance to replace the policy I just lost (again, like my COBRA over and over) because, well, Aetna. Back to Moloch, with banker’s hours and all the usual holidays paid. Back to the racket, automating ways to shake you by the ankles until all the money falls out. A job job, in an office full of clones who wear a full undershirt beneath a polo shirt, with razor sharp faces and clean shaven hair. Razor cut. Razor. Cut. The blood of the lambs on my hands.

Again.

But I might die tonight.

Radiant Brains December 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Poetry as discipline (yes, mistress) the painstaking arrangement of the gunpowder flowers pounding the Anglo-Saxon drum of controlled explosions the crackling shower of non sequiturs of my radiant brains        Klonopin espresso shots! Wallace Stevens Terry Gilliam! Fellini Bugs Bunny! Gasoline-flavored rainbows! Clem and the Amazing Technicolor Radio!        the whizzing pinball governor humming Apple bomb chords of tilt resonating Steven Gould’s piano.

The trick is putting Xmas back neatly in its box–not a jingling crinkle out of place–with a just-so paper lady bow.

What The Cypress Knows November 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Once Upon A Bayou, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Cypress Turning It knows the warm spell is just that, a few days of enchantment before the cold returns. Few trees change color here, and I’ve never taken notice of the evergreen oaks, if there is a sudden November uptick in leaf litter. The cypress are among the few reliable barometers, turning colors of orange and sometimes a spot of red after the first cold snap. The short row of what I’ve pegged as burr oaks across the streets were unspectacular this year, quickly going roasted turkey brown without a hint of other color, but every neighborhood has its cypress. I walk through the park regularly and all along Bayou Metairie–what you probably know as the lagoon just north of City Park Avenue–has quite a few mixed in among the oaks, palms and bits of clumping bamboo. Those cypress know that while I ought to be in the shower on this 72 degree morning instead of capturing these thoughts, our octopus ride climate will soon come to a stop and settle in for its long winter’s nap.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans November 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This incredibly busy week in literary New Orleans, as the indie book stores crank up for the holidays, featuring an appearance and book signing by Gloria Steinem and a benefit for Room 220’s Big Class program for young writers.

& Monday at 5:30 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts the final Writing Session for NANOWRIMO. Any person who is writing a novel, short story, play, screenplay, or other work of fiction may come to the East Bank Regional Library with laptops where they focus on writing. These five nights are part of National Novel Writing Month, a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Come mingle, meet, commiserate with fellow writers.

& This Monday at 7 pm Shulem Deen presents ALL WHO GO DO NOT RETURN, his memoir of growing up in and then leaving the Hasidic Jewish world. The program will be at the Uptown JCC. Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow. Deen’s first transgression turning on the radio is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library, and later the Internet. Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely. Now a heretic, he fears being discovered and ostracized from the only world he knows. His relationship with his family at stake, he is forced into a life of deception, and begins a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most: his five children. In ALL WHO GO DO NOT RETURN, Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith, while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world. Octavia Books will have books for sale at the event, and there will be a book signing following the presentation.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Stella Mowen signing her book Until the Beat Stops. Five friends who despite personal struggles are able to create the First Hill–a social media website which connects millions of cancer sufferers and survivors, giving them continual hope and strength during difficult times. Lilac, an elegantly beautiful brunette, is the idealistic founder whose own family struggled fatefully with the disease and tirelessly propels The First Hill team to stay focused and never settle. Strong willed and yet still humble, she finds professional success early on, but her own romantic relationships are at best elusive. James, a British documentarian, adds humor and modesty to the novel as he struggles to interview the team and uncover the truth about the successful startup to establish his own career. Through personal interviews and revelations of many reminiscent memories, we not only learn about the struggles of the start up but also about the personal fears, losses, and successes of each team member as well as James himself. The authentic voices of each character in the novel remind us of our own best friends growing up, while their complicated personal relationships add depth and understanding of the tough choices which face us all when balancing the dynamics of friendship and family. By the end of the novel, Lilac, Mason, Dorian, Benjamin, and Ivy, are not just another bunch of characters, they are the memories of the friends we all shared growing up as we struggled with and embraced adulthood.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the 1718 Society will be hosting a reading at the Columns Hotel featuring Mark Yakich, author of the new book Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide. Playful and serious, unforgiving and compassionate, Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide offers an original take on a subject both loved and feared. In a series of provocative and inspiring propositions, the act of reading a poem is made new, and the act of writing one is made over. Questions of poetry’s difficulty, pretension, and relevance are explored with insight and daring. In an age of new media and social networking, this handbook-cum-manifesto provides fresh reverence for one of our oldest forms of art. Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand, selling copies of the book.

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday Reading Between the Wines returns to Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company from from 7 to 8 pm. Sally Asher, author of STORIES FROM THE ST. LOUIS CEMETERIES OF NEW ORLEANS, is a writer and photographer living in New Orleans. Her first book, Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names, was published by The History Press in 2014. She is a frequent contributor to Louisiana Cultural Vistas and regularly lectures on New Orleans history though the Louisiana State Museum. Her photography has appeared in many local, national and international media outlets, including Newsweek, U.S. World News, Penthouse magazine and New Orleans magazine. Also appearing is Maggy Baccinelli, author of NEW ORLEANS NEIGHBORHOODS. Before moving to New Orleans in January, 2014, Maggy Baccinelli, 28, spent almost a decade years writing about neighborhoods in Maryland and Washington D.C. Captivated by the Crescent City’s history and culture, she relocated to New Orleans in search of an adventure, and she found one through the process of writing New Orleans Neighborhoods: A Cultural Guide. Brandon Black, editor of CAIRO BY GASLIGHT, is a New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction writer specializing in steampunk fiction. He is the editor of Black Tome Books’ By Gaslight series, which currently includes New Orleans By Gaslight and Cairo By Gaslight, both steampunk anthologies of poetry and fiction set in Victorian times.

& Wednesday night join Big Class for “A Dark and Stormy Night” in the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain, City Park. Big Class is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating and supporting the voices of New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18 through creative collaborations with schools and communities. This spirited evening of cocktails and ghost stories will directly benefit the voices of New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18. 6:30 – 7:30: Patron Reception hosted by Wayne Amedee and Julie & Ted George, featuring live ghost stories, music, and cocktails by 12 Mile Limit. 7:30- 9:30: Cocktail and Dance Party featuring DJ Brice Nice, hosted by our “Ghostwriters.”- Jeremy Blum, Mary Carlton, Alvin David, Jayeesha Dutta, Natalie Girard, Sarah Granier, Jose Guadarrama, Kelly Harris-Deberry, Nicole Hershey, Jez Luckett, Kurston Melton, Nora McConnell-Johnson, Heather Muntzer, Sam Randolph, Glynnis Ritchie, Josie Scanlan, Emma Schain, Cherie Teamer, Kathleen Whalen and Emily Wilkerson.

& At 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop will feature John Freeman and Garnette Cadogan’s book Freeman’s: The Best New Writing On Arrival. Featuring startling new fiction by Laura van den Berg, Helen Simpson, and Tahmima Anam, as well as stirring essays by Aleksandar Hemon, Barry Lopez, and Garnette Cadogan, who relearned how to walk while being black upon arriving in NYC. Freeman’s announces the arrival of an essential map to the best new writing in the world. We live today in constant motion, traveling distances rapidly, small ones daily, arriving in new states. In this inaugural edition of Freeman’s, a new biannual of unpublished writing, former Granta editor and NBCC president John Freeman brings together the best new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about that electrifying moment when we arrive. Strange encounters abound. David Mitchell meets a ghost in Hiroshima Prefecture; Lydia Davis recounts her travels in the exotic territory of the Norwegian language; and in a Dave Eggers story, an elderly gentleman cannot remember why he brought a fork to a wedding. End points often turn out to be new beginnings. Louise Erdrich visits a Native American cemetery that celebrates the next journey, and in a Haruki Murakami story, an aging actor arrives back in his true self after performing a role, discovering he has changed, becoming a new person.

& Wednesday at 6 pm at Octavia Books author Todd Mouton be here to discuss and sign his book WAY DOWN IN LOUISIANA, joined by double Grammy-winning guitarist and vocalist David Doucet of the band BeauSoleil, one of the bands profiled inthe book , will perform a few acoustic Cajun tunes as part of the presentation and reading. This book is about the mysteries of the soul–and the magic born when you make music from your heart. With Clifton Chenier’s amazing life and career as the centerpiece, this collection of profiles, complete with 130 photographs, gathered across two decades unites some of the world’s most innovative creative forces. The propulsive, soulful sounds of Buckwheat Zydeco, the virtuosic blues-rock of Sonny Landreth, and the accordion-and-fiddle-driven bayou backbeat of BeauSoleil were all birthed in Cajun and Creole country, a place where tradition and innovation rub against one another from the kitchen to the festival stage. Singer-songwriter, poet, and activist Zachary Richard; traditionalists-turned-innovators Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys; and cross-genre artists Roddie Romero & The Hub City All-Stars are among the many gifted players spearheading their cultures’ ongoing reinventions. In words, images, and music, the lives of these artists and culture-bearers speak volumes about the power of identity, influence, perserverance, and triumph. From Lil’ Band O’ Gold to Bonsoir, Catin and beyond, these artists make music that resonates in the hearts of listeners everywhere.

& At 8 pm Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater hosts their penultimate show for the 2015 season with author and musician Peter Orr. Tall, distinguished, Lithuanian—none of these words describes Peter Orr. Since moving to New Orleans in 1993, he has managed to alienate audiences in nightclubs throughout the Metro area, without ever getting arrested as far as you know. He has signed with two different record labels, both of which went out of business. Prior to his arrival here, he worked as a magazine editor in New York City, contributing to such diverse periodicals as Fangoria, Details, Reflex, Starlog, High Times, Psychotronic Video, Black Teen Superstar, American Astrology, Cinefantastique, Comics Scene, International Tattoo Art, and of course Juggs. His fiction has appeared in The Sun, The Double Dealer Redux, Grue, Not One of Us, and other similarly high-profile venues. In recent years he has published a trilogy of books that take place in New Orleans during the 1990s: the collection Stay Out of New Orleans in 2012, followed by the novels The Breathtaking Christa P and Naught but a Shadow, both of which were finalists in the Faulkner-Wisdom Literary Competition. To the extent that Peter Orr has grown up at all, he did so in the glamorous Borough of Queens.

& Thursday at 4:30 pm a Spoken Word Workshops for Teens is offered at the Algiers Regional Library in Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM). At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& Thursday at 5:30 pm Maple Street Book Shop will host an evening with the Creative Writing Class of Lusher School. Students will read from their original work. Lusher’s Creative Writing program is designed to establish a supportive community of writers and to foster the artistic and intellectual growth of each writer in that community. Creative writing is a highly academic arts discipline, requiring strong critical and imaginative skills as well as a mastery of writing techniques. Thus, the curriculum emphasizes both reading and writing, with expectations becoming progressively more challenging within each level of study and from one level to the next.

& Thursday at Octavia Books at 6 pm friend of the store, designer of their new bags and T-shirts, and photographer extraordinaire Tom Varisco joins us to share his new book NEW ORLEANS LOOKING UP/NEW ORLEANS LOOKING DOWN. This book is actually two books in one. A partial record of the humor, resilience, strangeness, and charm that makes New Orleans so unique and memorable. Varisco and fellow photographer Erik Winkowski split their focus in half — Looking Up and Looking Down — to better capture the many moods of their ever-changing yet strangely dependable home town. The photographers, along with writer John Biguenet, who contributed two essays, offer an irreverent celebration of one of America’s most intriguing destinations.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop hosts David D. Plater and The Butlers of Iberville Parish, Louisiana: Dunboyne Plantation in the 1800s. In 1833, Edward G. W. and Frances Parke Butler moved to their newly constructed plantation house, Dunboyne, on the banks of the Mississippi River near the village of Bayou Goula. Their experiences at Dunboyne over the next forty years demonstrated the transformations that many land-owning southerners faced in the nineteenth century, from the evolution of agricultural practices and commerce, to the destruction wrought by the Civil War and the transition from slave to free labor, and finally to the social, political, and economic upheavals of Reconstruction. In this comprehensive biography of the Butlers, David D. Plater explores the remarkable lives of a Louisiana family during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. In 1870, with their plantation and finances in disarray, the Butlers sold Dunboyne and resettled in Pass Christian, Mississippi, where they resided in a rental cottage with the financial support of Edward J. Gay, a wealthy Iberville planter and their daughter-in-law’s father. After Frances died in 1875, Edward Butler moved in with his son’s family in St. Louis, where he remained until his death in 1888. Based on voluminous primary source material, The Butlers of Iberville Parish, Louisiana offers an intimate picture of a wealthy nineteenth-century family and the turmoil they faced as a system based on the enslavement of others unraveled.

& At 6:30 pm Thursday the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& At 7 pm Thursday Baskerville, 3000 Royal St., will host a reading and broadside release party featuring work by our three readers, designed and letterpress printed by Jessica Peterson, Laura Thomson, Brigid Conroy, and Amelia Bird.

& Friday at 6 pm Anis Mojgani will be signing at Maple Street Book Shop. Anis grew up at Maple Street Book Shop. We are so excited to have him with us for a reading. He’ll be sharing his latest work, The Pocketknife Bible. What if your future life came to you as a child in dreams? What if you wrote down those dreams in words and pictures, in the language we spoke as children but forgot once grown? What if as an adult you unearthed this book of dreams and prophecy from your past and translated them out of that long lost tongue into poems that those now grown could understand? The Pocketknife Bible seeks to answer those questions through the author’s poems and pictures, being the bridge between a grown-up book for children and a children’s picture book for adults.

& Also at 6 pm Friday Garden District Book Shop presents Katherine Clark’s The Head master’s Darlings: A Mountain Brook Novel, in a conversation with bestselling author Pat Conroy. Clark and Conroy (Author of The Death of Santini, My Reading Life, South of Broad, Beach Music, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, The Boo, My Losing Season, Pat Conroy Cookbook) , discuss Katherine’s new book, The Headmaster’s Darlings: A Mountain Brook Novel. Katherine and Pat will both sign copies of her book following the discussion. Copies of Pat Conroy’s new book, Conversations With the Conroys, will be available for purchase and autograph, as well. The Headmaster’s Darlings: A Mountain Brook Novel is a satirical comedy of manners featuring the morbidly obese Norman Laney, an unorthodox, inspirational English teacher and college counselor for an elite private school in Mountain Brook, a privileged community outside of Birmingham. A natural wonder from blue-collar Alabama, Laney has barged into the exclusive world of Mountain Brook on the strength of his sensational figure and its several-hundred-pound commitment to art and culture. His mission is to defeat “the barbarians,” introduce true civilization in place of its thin veneer, and change his southern world for the better. Although Laney is adored by his students (his “darlings”) and by the society ladies (also his “darlings”) who rely on him to be the life of their parties and the leader of their book clubs, there are others who think he is a larger-than-life menace to the comfortable status quo of Mountain Brook society and must be banished.

& Deborah Burst will sign her latest book, Southern Fried and Sanctified at Maple Street Book Shop Saturday, 11:30 am. Celebrating a decade of writing and photography, Deborah Burst has combined some of her most prolific work and talents of southern storytelling in her third book, Southern Fried and Sanctified: Tales from the Back Deck. Like life itself, each page brings tears, laughter, and the kind of adventure only the south can bring. Five chapters in all, the book begins with some of her fondest travels. Poetic trails from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states with shrouded bayous, jungles of bearded oaks and beaches flush with seashells and stingrays. Then a rolling picture show of Georgia, South Carolina and roaming the mountainsides of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. The Friendly Folk chapter introduces the kind of people you never forget. From a Tennessee farm boy realizing his dream, to WWII vets sharing stories of sacrifices and heroism. In the Country Confessions chapter, Burst reveals some of her most personal reflections with tales of those youngin’ days, the dark side of writing, and the erotic beauty of nature.

& At 2 pm Saturday its the Poetry Buffet, at the Latter Memorial Library, featuring readings by poets Ralph Adamo, Laura Mullen, and Andrea Young.

& Sunday at 3 pm please join Octavia Books in welcoming journalist, activist, and international icon Gloria Steinem when she presents MY LIFE ON THE ROAD, her first book in twenty years, an all-new memoir of a lifetime of listening and learning from people, traveling America and the world. This rescheduled event has been moved to the auditorium at the New Orleans JCC – 5342 St. Charles Ave – just over half-a-mile away from Octavia Books due to demand. You must purchase the book from Octavia Books to attend the event. My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world. In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and on the road state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other. Visit OctaviaBooks.com to reserve your copy and chance to meet Ms. Steinem.

& At 6:30 pm Sunday Join Slam New Orleans for the last open mic/slam of 2015! New poems, new friends, same ol Team SNO. Doors open at 6:30pm, show starts 7pm. Get there early to sign up for the slam. POETS: its your last chance to compete for your chance to be on the 2016 edition of Team SNO! In order to qualify, you have to have won or placed 2nd in one monthly slam, and competed in another. AUDIENCE: It’s your last chance to hear from members of the 2015 edition of #TeamSNO whose members were Akeem Olaj, A Scribe Called Quess?, FreeQuency aka FreeQ Tha Mighty, Honey Sanaa and Preach!

Bloody Bourbon November 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Murder, New Orleans, Remember, The Dead, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I think it is time to take up again the Victims list pages I abandoned from emotional exhaustion, and to pursue another shelved project on the subject; to take it up again as something like chanting prayer, an invocation against that which I chronicle. Sweet teachers, pray for us.

I have some serious catching up to do.

Bloody Bourbon

Thanks anyway November 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is too easy to slur Columbus Day and ignore Thanksgiving, for fear of upsetting the neighbors. Today we sit down to celebrate the complete incompetence of European settlers to feed themselves and contemplate the gratitude they showed to their Native neighbors, to offer our thanks to their omnipotently paranoid god who blessed the casual erasure of humans and bison from sea to shining sea, to engorge ourselves on indigenous corn and potatoes and African yams without a thought to their origins, eat thick slices from the engineered breast of a native bird bred like Chevrolets in a feed house it could not survive without constant dosing with antibiotics.

Let’s just fess up and admit that we are setting out to a glutton’s banquet at which we will eat until we are barely able to bend forward and reach the bottle to pour yet another glass of wine. I am Orleanian to the bone and have no problem with this. The gods of my hearth are not cosmic, are small and indigenous to this place and take great pleasure in our banquet. They are the absent ancestors whose places we have taken at the table, and food is their holiest sacrament. I will give thanks not to a remote god but to the stooped-back women who picked the cranberries and the men who wielded the death hammers of the slaughter house. I will wish them joy of a tall boy and pre-paid card from the corner store to call their distant families, camaraderie over food as best they can manage, and a day of rest.

Poetry Is Not November 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.

— Nicanor Parra

Poetry Is Not

 

Allen Toussaint Circle November 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in 504ever, je me souviens, Memory, music, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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They may think it’s a MOVEMENT, and that’s what it is. . . and all you gotta do to join is to Sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

— Arlo Guthrie, “Alice’s Restaurant”

The single most important figure in music to emerge from New Orleans since Louis “Pops” Armstrong passed away Tuesday in Madrid while in tour. Think of your favorite New Orleans song. Google it. Look at the author credit. Yeah, it’s like that. As the city struggles with the “Confederate monument issue” a simple solution emerges out of the tragedy of Allen Toussaint’s passing for the most contentious of all the monuments in the city. And the answer is so simple. Allen Toussaint Circle, with an appropriate memorial.

Join the Movement today. Like the page if you’re a Facebook sort. Share it widely. Most importantly,  write Mitch Landrieu at mayor@nola.gov and tell him it is the right thing to do, the least contentious, most universally appealing and most fitting possible decision he could make. Rechristen Lee Circle as Allen Toussaint Circle and start casting around for an appropriate memorial.

Come on. You know that we can, can.

https://www.facebook.com/AllenToussaintCircle/

The Magnolia Gate November 9, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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20151031_095057If I do not leave as I entered, between the two trees I call the Magnolia Gate (careful of the fallen fruit), have I really returned? Or is some small bit of me still circling the Bayou Metairie lagoon? Such a small haunting would not a bad thing in this ghost-peopled town. If you think you catch sight me of walking that path in the park late at night or in some inclement weather, then perhaps I am forever a bit of that part of the Back of Town.

 

A Single Step November 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Twelve more days, and then…

“You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life.”
― Carlos Castaneda

fool_tarot_card_by_xochicalco-d3hvovl

Image by xochicalco.

Unfuck Yourself November 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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UnfYourself

Your temporal/spatial forecast for today November 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Your temporal/spatial interaction forecast for today extends outward for a very limited ~8-10 hours and an associated radius of two miles from the Fortress of Squalitude due to continuing limiting factors. Sleep, concentration and social interaction remains deeply disrupted by the massive adharmic rent in the fabric of the universe located somewhere on the 41st floor of a building in Long Island City, NY. Energy drain remains as a very high peak flux along a fixed, occluded trough extending from LIC to the Fortress. The static potential associated with this trough has reached gigavolt levels, with a high possibility of random discharge. Bridges are at particular risk from such events. The previously forecast dissolution of this persistent trough has moved out to Nov. 20. (The event itself will continue to consume disproportionate energy in a generalized mode until the dissolution of the corporate vortex occurs. There is no visibility in this forecast suggesting this would occur soon.) Catastrophic amounts of coffee and associated chain-smoking continue, punctuated by weekends of continued pre-dawn awakenings combined with frequent naps, will continue. Social interaction remains at an extremely low 1.5, depending on your son’s work schedule and the possibility of exhaustive disassociation or meetings with Singapore on Date Night. Due to continued libidic disruption and extreme dietary restrictions of minus 1 on the Leidenhiemer scale associated with the high level of sheer stress from extreme cognotive dissonance resulting from this extended event, interaction with Arabella the Ghost Stick and the Speaking Tequila Skull is contraindicated. Do not wear your Trout Mask.

One’s Inner Daemon October 31, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Getting in touch with one’s inner daemon, not infernal but an amoral engine of perception whose only purpose is music, not of the spheres, of the equinoctial routine but rather the assembly of images like maenads, words raving and tearing at each other’s clothes until assembled, naked and purposeful, in union, in invocation: the earth shifts its ecliptic and the divine eye is opened.

Every time a bell rings, someone has entered the shop door of Hell. October 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Potter

THE MIRACLE

“Things are tight, ” the man
said, tightening his
quasi-friendly grin.
“We can’t give you a
job, we can’t give you
any money, and
we don’t want these here
poems either.” He
tightened his tie. “Fact
is, the old cosmic
gravy train’s ground to
a halt. It’s the end
of the line. From now
on there’s going to
be no more nothing.”
He went on, lighting
a cigar: “We don’t
wish we could help, but
even if we did,
we couldn’t. It’s not
our fault, by God, it’s
just tight all over.”
He brought his fist down
on the burnished desk
and lo! from that tight
place there jetted forth
rivers of living water.

  • Everette Maddox

The voice, it is not madness October 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Or rather, the divine madness, a woefully freighted gift of the gods.Bill Evans

A melody, a rhythm, the solo that lives inside them. Words as melody and rhythm, the solo that makes a poem. The voice of god in the bell of a mad saxophone. The poem as illuminated gospel. The artist in the corner frantically keeping time, the signature of pencil or charcoal capturing in her imagination the melody of colors to follow from the notes.

Listen. Listen to his tune. Calls it his duty-free gift for the Traveler.

— Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Theme for the Eulipions”

 

Bjarkarímur, or The Slaying of the Bankastarfsmaður October 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Debt2

 

The cognitive dissonance between who I am and what I do (or rather for whom I work) is rapidly spinning itself into vortex which, upon its eventual collapse into itself, will produce a singularity in my personal universe out of which will emerge…

Something. Who I was once, and wish to be again. Or Something entirely new.

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

I don’t know. I don’t fear the CERN Supercollider. I fear myself.

F.E.A.R

As in Fuck Everything And Run.

P.S. If E.P. hadn’t been a Fascist dupe and anti-Semite, mistaking Il Duce for Confucious(rather a steep course of hurdles to vault, I admit) his image would push beret Che (who had plenty of his own baggage) off the shelves. E.P. also wore stylish hats. 

P.P.S Google the title. Then Google the obvious geographical reference in the result and “banks.”

P.P.P.S Beware the  Bankastarfsmaður my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that snatch.

P.P.P.P.S One two, one two, and through and through, the vorpal blade went snickersnack.

Odd Words: This Weekend in Literary New Orleans October 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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& At 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shpo Jennifer Schreiber will be reading from and signing copies of her new book, Monday at Jelly Roll Dog Park. This children’s book that features a group of dog friends who gather daily at their neighborhood dog park, Jelly Roll, in New Orleans. It’s Monday and a new dog, Muttley, arrives at the park. Ostracized by the group because he isn’t a purebred, Muttley is consoled and mentored by Jelly Roll’s guardian angel, Daisy Mae the bulldog, who is a former friend of the in-crowd at the park. It is through discovering his own strengths that Muttley is able to rise above the bullying and earn the respect of the other dogs

Saturday at 3 pm go to Octavia Books to meet author Taylor Kitchings when he comes to present and sign YARD WARhis new novel for middle-grade readers.

Perfect for readers of Christopher Paul Curtis’s Bud, Not Buddy and Vince Vawter’sPaperboy, Yard War explores race relations during the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of a boy who accidentally sets off a ‘yard war’ when he invites his maid’s son to play football on his front lawn.”

It’s 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi, deep in the civil rights movement, and the one black person twelve-year-old Trip Westbrook knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, Trip discovers the ugly side ofhis smiling neighbors. Even his loving grandparents don t approve. But getting to know Dee and playing football, being part of a team, changes Trip. He begins to see all the unspoken rules he lives by but doesn t agree with, such as “respect your elders.” What if he thinks their views are wrong? This engaging, honest, and hopeful novel is full of memorable characters, and brings the civil rights era South alive for young readers.

& Also at 3 pm the Robert E. Smith library hosts a Book Signing & Author Talk: Alys Arden, The Casquette Girls. Local Young Adult author Arden will sigh and talk about her debut hit The Casquette Girls, a stirring supernatural coming of age story of unbelievable events set in a very believable New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

.

Pedestrian I: Lost Flamingo October 18, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Pedestrian I, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Fone 10-18 070Its bright pink eroded by so many suns, nearly hidden in the shrubbery, faded to something like the waterbirds in the nearby park who also hide themselves along the marge, it is reduced to a muted respectability appropriate to a neighborhood which takes its name from that park, and is entered between two pillars.

Unhappy: hcolom October 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Odd Words October 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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Thist week in literary New Orleans:

&  Kristin Hersh, founding member of the bands Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave, comes to Octavia Books on Monday at 6:00pm to read & sign her new book, DON’T SUCK, DON’T DIE Monday at 6 pm. A haunting ode to a lost friend, this memoir by the acclaimed author of RAT GIRL offers the most personal, empathetic look at the creative genius and often-tormented life of singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt that is ever likely to be written. “Friend, asshole, angel, mutant,” singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt “came along and made us gross and broken people seem . . . I dunno, cooler, I guess.” A quadriplegic who could play only simple chords on his guitar, Chesnutt recorded seventeen critically acclaimed albums before his death in 2009, including About to ChokeNorth Star Deserter, and At the Cut. In 2006, NPR placed him in the top five of the ten best living songwriters, along with Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen. Chesnutt’s songs have also been covered by many prominent artists, including Madonna, the Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Sparklehorse, Fugazi, and Neutral Milk Hotel.

& Tuesday at 5:30 pm Meet Chelsea Clinton when she comes to Octavia Books to sign IT’S YOUR WORLD: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going. To attend, you must purchase a ticket which will be exchanged at the event for one copy of IT’S YOUR WORLD, to be signed by Chelsea when you meet her. You may come as a family—one signing ticket admits up to 4 family members. To ensure that you will get to meet Chelsea in person, please reserve your ticket now by visiting OctaviaBooks.com.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the Edith Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop welcomes Cynthia Lejeune Nobles signing The Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook: Recipes from Ignatius J. Reilly’s New Orleans. In John Kennedy Toole’s iconic novel, Ignatius J. Reilly is never short of opinions about food or far away from his next bite. Whether issuing gibes such as canned food is a perversion, or taking a break from his literary ambitions with an occasional cheese dip, this lover of Lucky Dogs, cafe au lait, and wine cakes navigates 1960s New Orleans focused on gastronomical pursuits. For the novel’s millions of fans, Cynthia LeJeune Nobles’ A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook offers recipes inspired by the delightfully commonplace and always delicious fare of Ignatius and his cohorts. Through an informative narrative and almost 200 recipes, Nobles explores the intersection of food, history, and culture found in the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, opening up a new avenue into New Orleans’ rich culinary traditions.

& At 11 pm Tuesday poet and artist Thaddeus Conti And Friends and over the stage at Igor’s Checkpoint Charlie for poetry and music.

& Wednesday at 6 pm John Pope launches GETTING OFF AT ELYSIAN FIELDS: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. No city in America knows how to mark death with more funerary panache than New Orleans. The pageants commemorating departed citizens are often, in and of themselves, works of performance art. A grand obituary remains key to this Stygian passage. And no one writes them like New Orleanian John Pope. Collected here are not just simple, mindless recitations of schools and workplaces, marriages, and mourners bereft. These pieces in GETTING OFF AT ELYSIAN FIELDS are full-blooded life stories with accounts of great achievements, dubious dabblings, unavoidable foibles, relationships gone sour, and happenstances that turn out to be life-changing.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Esoterotica: Original Erotic Readings by Local Writers presents Cameryn Moore’s Smut Slam! A chance for you to share your sexiest story for a chance to win fabulous sexy and sensual prizes from NJOY, Esoterotica, Dynamo: A Romantic Boutique in the Deep South and More. SMUT SLAM was created by Moore, an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator. She tours the world seven months out of the year, but is always glad to come back to New Orleans. When not performing, Cameryn writes Sidewalk Smut: custom type-written pornography as street performance and literary art.

& Wednesday, at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series presents Fiction Night featuring Louis Maistros and Lisa Pasold. Pasold is a Canadian writer and journalist who lives part of the year in Paris. Her most recent book is ANY BRIGHT HORSE. Her first book of poetry WEAVE, was hailed as a masterpiece by Geist. Her second book of poetry, A BAD YEAR FOR JOURNALISTS, was nominated for an Alberta Book Award. Her debut novel, RATS OF LAS VEGAS, was described as “enticing as the lit-up Las Vegas strip and as satisfying as a winning hand at poker” by The Winnipeg Free Press. And Freefall described the book as “the incredible experience of being told a story rather than reading a book. As if reading a fairy tale, you are pulled into Millard’s world, and it is a world so compelling that you can’t bring yourself to leave.” Maistros is a longtime resident of the New Orleans 8th Ward neighborhood. His New Orleans historical novel, The Sound of Building Coffins, was published by The Toby Press in March of 2009 and is currently in its third printing. It was nominated for an SIBA Award and has garnered rave reviews from publications including The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The St. Petersburg Times, Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, The Roanoke Times, Kirkus Review, The Times of Acadiana, The Anniston Star, The Alabama Press-Register and Baltimore Magazine.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 4 pm the Algiers Regional Library presents a Spoken Word Workshops for Teens in Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM). At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& Thursday at 5:30 pm Octavia Books welcomes Michael Hearst, author of EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Some of the World’s Most Fascinating Individuals, back to the store! Michael will do a PowerPoint presentation and play some music for us. Inside this book, you’ll find stories of 50 extraordinary people such as: Evel Knievel, who jumped his motorcycle over 14 Greyhound buses; The Iceman, the most well-preserved human, found in the ice after 5,300 years; Sam Patch, who jumped Niagara Falls for $75; Helen Thayer, who walked to the North Pole alone; and, Roy Sullivan, who was struck by lightning 7 times. These intriguing facts and hundreds more await curious readers, amateur historians, and anyone who aspires to the altogether extraordinary. Hearst is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer. He is the author of Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals and is the founding member of the band One Ring Zero.

& At 7 pm Thursday the Nix Library presents an Author Night featuring Tina Freeman and Artist Spaces, New Orleans. Freeman is a photographer of architecture, landscape, portraits, and interiors. Her work has been in numerous magazines and her fine art photography has been exhibited in New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles and London. In Artist Spaces, New Orleans, more than one hundred extraordinary photographs taken by Tina Freeman and over a dozen artist interviews by Morgan Molthrop highlight the spaces of New Orleans artists.

& Also on Thursday at 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public.

& Saturday at 10 pm the Keller Library & Community Center hosts Poems & Pink Ribbons©, a community writing workshop that allows breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families a way to use writing to navigate grief, loss, and find support. Now in its 5th year, Poems & Pink Ribbons© welcomes anyone affected by cancer to share in this healing workshop. Participants can register to participate at EventBrite.

& Also at 10 am Saturday The Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This monthly meeting features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft

& At 11:30 am Saturday Maple Street Book Shop present sJennifer Schreiber reading from and signing copies of her new book, Monday at Jelly Roll Dog Park. Monday at Jelly Roll Dog Park is a children’s book that features a group of dog friends who gather daily at their neighborhood dog park, Jelly Roll, in New Orleans. It’s Monday and a new dog, Muttley, arrives at the park. Ostracized by the group because he isn’t a purebred, Muttley is consoled and mentored by Jelly Roll’s guardian angel, Daisy Mae the bulldog, who is a former friend of the in-crowd at the park. It is through discovering his own strengths that Muttley is able to rise above the bullying and earn the respect of the other dogs.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Sunday Oct. 18 Garden District Books features Garth Risk Hallberg and City on Fire at 3 pm. A big-hearted, boundary-vaulting novel that heralds a remarkable new talent: set in 1970s New York, a story outsized in its generosity, warmth, and ambition, its deep feeling for its characters, its exuberant imagination. The individuals who live within this extraordinary first novel are: Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s largest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor; and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park. Their entangled relationships open up the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the infamous blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever. A novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock ‘n’ roll, about how the people closest to us are sometimes the hardest to reach–about what it means to be human.

& At 3:30 pm Sunday The Faulkner Society and our partner, the Louisiana State Museum, cordially invite you to attend our first author event of the Fall season, featuring Jenny Tilbury, Elizabeth Sanders, and Mary Helen Lagasse, New Orleans writers with new novels just out. The event, free and open to the public, will take place on Sunday, October 18 beginning at 2:30 p. m. at the Cabildo at Jackson Square and will include complimentary refreshments.

(That’s It For) The Other One October 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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He ends his day by slipping comfortably into the third person, as into a pair of slippers formed to his feet by long use. This shift is not among his many disorders, those of the mind, of the body, the derangement of his bookshelves or the irregular draping of his room in laundry. This narrative shift out of of day’s I shall, I must, I have forgotten, I must never into a comfortable distance quiets the incessant, neurotic scissoring of memory and its demon familiars, regret and doubt.

The plural simply won’t do. What shall we have for dinner evokes loneliness, the absence of so much as a cat. He had a cat once, his daughter’s, which he watched die, taking with it the last possibility of a plural innocence. His son, who loved the cat perhaps more than his daughter, assisted at the end, and by doing so helped erased their childhoods from his life.

He is incapable as that other, self-aware and self-centered person of meditation, of stilling the mind. The inexorable scissors, clattering from the moment he awakes–often bodily exhausted and short of sleep–that slice open the envelope of worry and empty its contents onto the bed. Then it is did I? Will I? How shall I and so on to coffee and a cigarette, his ego’s faithful companions in preparing to confront the mirror, his I standing their red-veined and unfocused, stumped by the choice between washcloth and toothbrush, the dangerous razor.

He lives to survive another day, his I fixed on the computer screen and the unending stream of work. To Them he is a third person, a distant figure time zones and plane changes away, a receptacle for tasks to be emptied every night, but this is not him, and evening’s distanced and remote person is his own creation, something beyond Their reach. He lights a cigarette and reaches for his book or his e-reader, ready to surrender to someone else’s story, allowing their omniscience to fill his world with hims and hers and them.

Later he will brush his teeth and wash up without reference to his tiny shaving mirror, the bathroom conveniently disarranged with a set of shelves before him and the mirror off to the side. He knows where his mouth is, the familiar shape of his face under the washcloth. The brush and rag are always in the same place, one bit of stability among all his disorders, the unstable arrangement of his unwashed dishes faintly rattling as he passes, the dishabille of his bedclothes, the absence of pajamas in his overstuffed drawers. When he is done he can pass through the house switch by switch, enveloping it in a comfortable darkness. There is no need for his I to guide him down his familiar path.

Sleep will come without too much difficulty as long as it is he and only he who climbs into bed, having closed his I hours ago.

Odd Words October 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This poignant week in literary New Orleans Octavia Books celebrates it’s 15th anniversary as local stalwart Maple Street Books announces it will be closing.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books celebrates the release of Michael Allen Zell latest New Orleans novel, RUN BABY RUN.

Though New Orleans has always been a remarkable setting, few authors can mine its rich veins and still tell a fine tale. Michael Allen Zell does both.”
— David Fulmer, author of the Storyville mysteries

Criminologist Bobby Delery has just returned to New Orleans after decades away, and NOPD is begging for his help to find almost a million dollars stolen from a French Quarter club. He’s only one of many after the money, though. Thieves, church-goers and everyone else ride the sweaty pace from the Ninth Ward to the foot of Canal Street. With Run Baby Run’s compelling mix of gritty realism and dark humor, Michael Allen Zell inaugurates the Bobby Delery series and does for New Orleans what Chester Himes did for Harlem and Dashiell Hammett did for San Francisco.

& Also at 6 pm Monday Garden District Book Shops presents Sybil Haydel Morial presents and signs her new memoir, WITNESS TO CHANGE: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment. In 1950s New Orleans, a young woman steps into her white tulle gown and glides down the long hallway of her parents’ house into the front garden. Her father, a respected physician, drives her downtown, where she will make her debut into Negro society. Sybil is mesmerized by the debut rituals but cannot help noting their irony in a world where she daily faces the barriers and insults of Jim Crow. So begins WITNESS TO CHANGE by Sybil Haydel Morial. Throughout her memoir, Morial revisits moments—from Brown v. Board of Education to Hurricane Katrina—that have defined her own life, the black community, and the nation. Thirteen years after her debut, Sybil lies sleepless in bed next to her husband, Dutch Morial. Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s Field Secretary, has just been murdered in Mississippi. Dutch, the organization’s New Orleans president, has just received another chilling death threat. In halting whispers, the couple discusses how to protect their three young children. The Morials first become legal, then political, activists. Testing Brown v. Board of Education, Sybil attempts to enroll in graduate school at Tulane and Loyola. She and Dutch challenge a statute restricting political activities of public school teachers. Barred from the League of Women Voters, Sybil forms an organization to help register Negroes held back from voting. After serving as judge and Louisiana legislator, Dutch is elected New Orleans’ first black mayor.WITNESS TO CHANGE reveals Morial as a woman whose intelligence overrides the clichés of racial division. In its pages, we catch rare glimpses of black professionals in an earlier New Orleans, when races, though socially isolated, lived side by side; when social connections helped circumvent Jim Crow; when African American culture forged New Orleans—and American—identity.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books also presents Sybil Haydel Morial presents and signs her new memoir, WITNESS TO CHANGE: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment. See details above.

& On Tuesday at 7 pm the 1718 Society will host a reading by Peter Cooley, recently named poet laureate of Louisiana, at the Columns Hotel. Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand, selling copies of Peter Cooley’s books. With the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans his initial subject, Cooley meditates on transience and mortality as he moves through the landscape of the Gulf South, the sky and his inner weather reflecting one another. Poet and editor Peter Cooley was born and raised in Detroit. He earned a BA at Shimer College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Divine Margins (2009), A Place Made of Starlight (2003), and The Astonished Hours (1992). His poems have been widely anthologized in collections such as Best American Poetry (2002) and Poets on Place (2005). Cooley served as poetry editor for the North American Review from 1970 to 2000. He teaches at Tulane University. He lives in New Orleans.

& At 5 pm Wednesday at Tulane University it is the 5th Annual Taste New Orleans, Savor Literacy. an on-campus food gala where local restaurants donate food, we charge one ticket price of $20, and 100% of the proceeds benefit local non-profit Start The Adventure in Reading! STAIR has been working in New Orleans for the past 30 years to reduce the literacy crisis, and has served over 4,000 children in the Greater New Orleans area! Our fundraiser helps to keep the program free to all students who receive services and ensure that STAIR continues for years to come! This event is open to the public, and tickets are available via EventBrite.

& At 6 pm on Wednesday, Maple Street Book Shops features will Margaret Eby, author of South Toward Home, a literary travelogue into the heart of classic Southern literature. What is it about the South that has inspired so much of America’s greatest literature? And why, when we think of Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner or Harper Lee, do we think of them not just as writers, but as Southern writers? In South Toward Home, Margaret Eby-herself a Southerner-travels through the South in search of answers to these questions, visiting the hometowns and stomping grounds of some of our most beloved authors. From Mississippi (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright) to Alabama (Harper Lee, Truman Capote) to Georgia (Flannery O’Connor, Harry Crews) and beyond, Eby looks deeply at the places that these authors lived in and wrote about. South Toward Home reveals how these authors took the people and places they knew best and transmuted them into lasting literature.

& Wednesday at 7 pm Reading Between the Wines at Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company presents: Michael Allen Zell, author of RUN BABY RUN, is a New Orleans-based novelist, essayist, and playwright. Zell’s work has been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Cerise Press, Disonare, Entrepot, Exquisite Corpse, NOLA Defender, Room 220, and Sleepingfish. Errata, his first novel, was named a “Top 10 Book of 2012” by The Times Picayune. His first play, What Do You Say to a Shadow?, was named a “Top 10 Play of the Year” in 2013 by The Times Picayune. He has worked as a bookseller since 2001; Michael Pitre, author of FIVES AND TWENTY FIVES, is a graduate of LSU, where he studied with Andrei Codrescu and Mark Jude Poirier. He joined the US Marines in 2002, deploying twice to Iraq and attaining the rank of Captain before leaving the service in 2010 to get his MBA at Loyola. He lives in New Orleans. Fives and Twenty-Fives is his first novel; and, David Armand, author of THE GORGE, has worked as a drywall hanger, a draftsman, and as a press operator in a flag printing factory. He now teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. His first two novels were THE PUGILIST’S WIFE and HARLOW. He has a chapbook, THE DEEP WOODS, coming out later this year from Blue Horse Press; and his memoir, MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, is forthcoming Spring 2016 from Texas Review Press. David lives with his wife and two children and is working on his sixth book, THE LORD’S ACRE.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Tulane University presents a reading by Danielle Evans, Zale-Kimmerling Visiting Writer. Evans is the author of the short-story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, which was a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection for 2011, the winner of the 2011 Paterson Prize for Fiction and the 2011 Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and an honorable mention for the 2011 PEN/Hemingway award. It was named one of the best books of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and O Magazine, and longlisted for The Story Prize.A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, Callaloo, The Best American Short Stories 2008 and 2010, and New Stories from the South. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

& Also at 7 pm Wednesday the Tennessee Williams Festival and Jefferson Parish Library launches their annual Coffee and Conversation series with George Washington Carver: A Life, by Christina Vella at the East Jefferson Regional Library. Nearly every American can cite at least one of the accomplishments of George Washington Carver. The many tributes honoring his contributions to scientific advancement and black history include a national monument bearing his name, a U.S.-minted coin featuring his likeness, and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Born into slavery, Carver earned a master’s degree at Iowa State Agricultural College and went on to become that university’s first black faculty member. A keen painter who chose agricultural studies over art, he focused the majority of his research on peanuts and sweet potatoes. His scientific breakthroughs with the crops both of which would replenish the cotton-leached soil of the South helped spare multitudes of sharecroppers from poverty. Despite Carver’s lifelong difficulties with systemic racial prejudice, when he died in 1943, millions of Americans mourned the passing of one of the nation’s most honored and well-known scientists. Scores of children’s books celebrate the contributions of this prolific botanist, but no biographer has fully examined both his personal life and career until now. Christina Vella offers a thorough biography of George Washington Carver, including in-depth details of his relationships with his friends, colleagues, supporters, and those he loved. Despite the exceptional trajectory of his career, Carver was not immune to the racism of the Jim Crow era or the privations and hardships of the Great Depression and two world wars. Yet throughout this tumultuous period, his scientific achievements aligned him with equally extraordinary friends, including Teddy Roosevelt, Mohandas Gandhi, Henry A. Wallace, and Henry Ford.

& Wednesday, at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series welcomes poets Todd Cirillo and Marcella Durand. As always grab a bite to eat before the show at BJs in the Bywater, and bring work to share at the open mic.  We are reading Alice Notley’s Disobedience this season as well. Durand is the author of Deep Eco Pré (with Tina Darragh), AREA, Traffic & Weather and Western Capital Rhapsodies. She has written, taught and talked about the potential intersections of poetry and ecology in a number of venues, including the (eco(lang)(uage (reader), ecopoetics, and Jacket2. Her published translations from French include poems by Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Nicole Brossard and Michèle Métail. At present, she is working on a book length poem written in alexandrines, titled In this world previous to ours, and a collection of poems, titled Rays of the Shadow.  Cirillo is co-editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. His latest book is Sucker’s Paradise other books include ROXY, This Troubled Heart, Still A Party, and The Dice Are Always Loaded. He is one of the originators of the After-Hours Poetry movement and has been a featured reader in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with the musician David Amram, Los Angeles, Nevada City, Paris and Sacramento. His work can be found at afterhourspoetry.com.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 4 pm the Algiers Regional Library presents a Spoken Word Workshops for Teens in Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM). At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features photographer C.C. Lockwood as he presents LOUISIANA WILD: The Protected and Restored Lands of The Nature Conservancy. The scenic images that Louisiana brings to mind—moss-draped cypress, lush marshlands, alligators gliding through bayous, herons coasting across an open sky—all spring from one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the continent. This varied and inviting landscape gives rise to one of the state’s many monikers, “Sportsman’s Paradise,” which rings true whether you are boating on picturesque Lake Martin or bird-watching among the ancient live oaks of Lafitte Woods. From the precious maritime forests of Grand Isle to the steep contours of Tunica Hills, Louisiana’s wild outdoors defines each region’s sense of place and value. After trekking and canoeing through more than sixty properties managed by The Nature Conservancy, Lockwood presents a vivid photo narrative that journeys from the little-known Copenhagen Hills, a prairie habitat with the largest variety of woody plants in Louisiana; to the swampland lake of Cypress Island, with its massive rookery of roseate spoonbills and great egrets; to over a dozen other sites that showcase Louisiana’s distinct environs.

& Thursday at 6 pm Michael Llewellyn’s Creole Son and Ciji Ware’s That Winter in Venice. Llewellyn’s is subtitled Novel of Degas in New Orleans. In 1872, French painter Edgar Degas is disillusioned by a lackluster career and haunted by the Prussian siege of Paris and the bloodbath of the Commune. Seeking personal and professional rebirth, he journeys to New Orleans, birthplace of his Creole mother. He is horrified to learn he has exchanged one city in crisis for another—post-Civil War New Orleans is a corrupt town occupied by hostile Union troops and suffering under the heavy hand of Reconstruction. He is further shocked to find his family deeply involved in the violent struggle to reclaim political power at all costs. Despite the chaos swirling around him, Degas sketches and paints with fervor and manages to reinvent himself and transition his style from neoclassical into the emerging world of Impressionism. He ultimately became one of the masters of the new movement, but how did New Orleans empower Degas to fulfill this destiny? In That Winter in Venice New Orleans natives Serena Antonelli, an Italian-American costume designer, and Jack Durand, a Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter, meet on a fateful flight bound for Venice where they confront a shared destiny spawned by a national tragedy and a connection they could never have imagined or foretold. While fierce storms blow in from the Adriatic, inundating the Global Rising Waters Conference where Jack is a keynote speaker, the acqua alta also threatens to drown Venice’s legendary carnival celebrations and sink Serena’s desperate plan to rescue her U.S. family’s century-old costume company from its post-Hurricane Katrina insolvency. Soon they are entangled in a spellbinding interplay of history and romance that jeopardizes their chances of sustaining the passionate bond they’ve forged. Exposed, too, are threads of public corruption and private wounds that must be healed before the pair can put to rest the tumult back home in New Orleans and remake their lives as one.

& At 7 pm Thursday the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 6 pm Romance Writers of America Unite at Octavia Books. From the Crossroads Writers Chapter in Indiana, Jeana Mann, LeNora Mangano, and Teresa Keefer, will join NOLA chapter members, Colleen Mooney and Dawn Chartier, for a meet and greet, panel, and signing. You also get to meet Fiona Riplee who is about to release her first book! Panelists will include: Jeana Mann, author of DRIFT: A Felony Romance and IMPULSIVE: A Felony Romance; LeNora Mangano; Teresa Keefer, author of A HOME FOR DIXIE (Possum Creek Series) and BLESSED BE (Sisters Trilogy); Colleen Mooney, author of RESCUED BY A KISS (Book 1); DEAD AND BREAKFAST (Book 2); Dawn Chartier, author of BEWITCHING THE ENEMY and MASQUERADING WITH THE CEO; and, Fiona Riplee.

& Saturday at 10 pm the Keller Library & Community Center hosts Poems & Pink Ribbons©, a community writing workshop that allows breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families a way to use writing to navigate grief, loss, and find support. Now in its 5th year, Poems & Pink Ribbons© welcomes anyone affected by cancer to share in this healing workshop. Participants can register to participate at EventBrite.

& At 10:30 am the Nix Library will present a Creative Writing Workshop. Trisha Rezende, MFA, leads a dynamic writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.

& Saturday from noon to 3 pm it is a celebration of Octavia Books 15th Anniversary. Join Tom and Judith and their fabulous staff in celebrating their 15th anniversary as we serve up some fun music, cake, and refreshments. Dress as your favorite literary character for a chance to win a prize.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

The Future Is Fun October 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The President:
Many busy executives ask me, “What about the job displacement market program in the city of the future?” Well, count on us to be there, JIM, because, if we’re lucky tomorrow, we won’t have to deal with questions like yours ever again.

(How does he make his voice do that?)

Dream Song 103: I consider a song will be as humming-bird September 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I consider a song will be as humming-bird
swift, down-light, missile-metal-hard, & strange
as the world of anti-matter
where they are wondering: does time run backward—
which the poet thought was true; Scarlatti-supple;
but can Henry write it?

Wreckt, in deep danger, he shook once his head,
returning to meditation. And word had sped
all from the farthest West
that Henry was desired: can he get free
of the hanging menace, & this all, and go?
He doesn’t think so.

Therefore he shakes and he will sing no more,
much less a song as fast as said, as light,
so deep, so flexing. He broods.
He may, rehearsing, here of his bad year
at the very end, in squalor, ill, outside.
—Happy New Year, Mr Bones.

— John Berryman

The Not So New Orleans Book Fair September 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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To: First Lady Chery Landrieu:

My name is Mark Folse, and for the past five years (since the TP folded their book section and laid off Susan Larson) I have invested countless hours and thousands of dollars (in Facebook promotion) to prepare and widely circulate all literary event listings in the city of New Orleans.

I am terribly disappointed to find that again this year the so-called “New Orleans” Book Festival is sponsored and promoted in partnership with a company which does not even have a store within the city of New Orleans.

Originally, this even was done in partnership with a local, independently-owned book shop. For the last several years a local company was dumped in favor of a national chain store that does not have an outlet in the city. This is disgraceful.

Odd Words’ immediate reach via the weekly listing post on ToulouseStreet.net is over 100 viewers weekly. The advertising-supported Facebook placement reaches thousands of self-identified lovers of literature in the metropolitan New Orleans area. It is also shared with several hundred Twitter followers and more on Google+.

Because Ms. Landrieu and this administration chose to snub local businesses in favor of Barnes and Noble, I will do everything in my power over the next few weeks to 1) call attention to this, observing that in the past this event involved local businesses and 2) discourage attendance until this again because a true New Orleans event featuring New Orleans book stores.

Mark Folse
Publisher
Odd Words

Odd Words September 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans, Odd Words takes on Mark Zuckerman by lowering the age targeting on the complimentary Facebook page in observance of Banned Books Week. Events which are age restricted due to alcohol or content are clearly noted. I have emailed the Facebook Ads Team and Mark Zuckerman to challenge their policy that bans promoting this literary listing to persons under age 21 if an event takes place in a bar. You will never see these posts on Facebook, even though you have liked the page, unless I pay them for advertising. Those ads have been rejected numerous times in the past due to the location or mention of alcohol unless I restrict targeting of the ad to persons age 21 or older. This is ridiculous. Odd Words promotes literature, not alcohol, and the promotion of literature is for all ages. Happy Banned Books week, Mr. Zuckerman.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Barbara Sillery for a discussion and signing of her book, BILOXI MEMORIES. Return to the beach in these vintage images and stories. Based on the acclaimed documentary Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel, produced and written by Barbara Sillery, this illustrated celebration of the community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast looks at its history from the first inhabitants until today. Sillery has captured the memories of generations who visited the shores through vintage postcards, photographs, and memorabilia. From the famous visitors and residents including Elvis Presley and Jayne Mansfield to the curious characters like the “Mad Potter,” from the grand old hotels like the Edgewater Inn and the Broadwater Beach Hotel to the expansive beaches, and from unique products including Barq’s root beer to the thriving seafood industry, Sillery captures it all.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books presents Dr. Frederick “Rick” Barton for a reading and signing of his newest novel, IN THE WAKE OF THE FLAGSHIP, a blistering satire chronicling one man’s battle against bureaucracy and corruption.

Barton has a lot of important human business on his mind in this exceptional novel: race, history, the South, hurricanes, laughter, love, and much more. In the Wake of the Flagship is wonderfully inventive, and addictive to read.
—Richard Ford

Basketball coach Richard Janus has found himself interim rector of Urban University, a woefully underfunded public college in Choctaw, Alkansea. After Hurricane Hosea devastates the city, Janus must go to war with the unscrupulous heads of Alkansea’s flagship university, facing down massive layoffs and rabid football fans. The absurdity of the American experience is on full display here as Metacom, the legendary Indian sachem, narrates Janus’s struggle, recounting academic intrigue and hypocrisy with searing humor. Barton’s insight into human contradictions earns In the Wake of the Flagship a place beside other campus novel luminaries.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Hubbell Library observes Banned Books Week at the Old Point Bar. Enjoy a beverage and listen to people read from banned books. (Contact the Hubbell Library at 596-3113 to sign up to read an excerpt from your favorite banned book.) You must be 21 years of age or older to attend this literary event.

& Also on Tuesday the The East Jefferson Regional Library begins its observance of Banned Books Week at 7 pm with Banned Books Week Presentation – The First Amendment. The speaker for this event is Marjorie R. Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana since September 2007, after 20 years in the private practice of law. Her law practice focused on copyright and trademark issues, as well as First Amendment litigation concerning the freedom of speech and religion. She was a member of the ACLU of Louisiana board of directors from 1995 and the ACLU National Board from 1997, until she resigned both positions to become executive director. In addition to her law degree (Tulane 1987), Esman holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University (1981) and has taught at Tulane, LSU, and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL). She serves on the board of Parkway Partners, a New Orleans organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the green spaces in the City of New Orleans.

& Michael Murphy will be signing Fear Dat at Maple Street Book Shop, Wednesday, September 30th, at 6PM. Fear Dat New Orleans explores the eccentric and often macabre dark corners of America’s most unique city. In addition to detailed histories of bizarre burials, ghastly murders, and the greatest concentration of haunted places in America, Fear Dat features a bone watcher’s guide with useful directions of who’s buried where, from Marie Laveau to Ruthie the Duck Girl. You ll also find where to buy the most authentic gris-gris or to get the best psychic reading. The Huffington Post tagged Michael Murphy’s first book Eat Dat, about the city’s food culture, the #1 essential book to read before coming to New Orleans. New Orleans Living called it both reverent and irreverent, he manages to bring a sense of humor to serious eating and that’s what New Orleans is all about. In Fear Dat, Murphy brings similar insights and irreverence to New Orleans voodoo, vampires, graveyards, and ghosts

& Wednesday the East Jefferson Regional Library continues its observance of Banned Books Week with a Special Movie Screening of Storm Center at the East Jefferson Regional Library at 7 pm. Widowed librarian Alicia Hull (Bette Davis) becomes the center of a McCarthyist firestorm when she refuses to remove from her library “The Communist Dream,” a book seen by her town council as incendiary anti-American propaganda. Condemned at a town meeting by her former assistant Martha Lockridge (Kim Hunter) and Martha’s opportunist attorney boyfriend, Paul Duncan (Brian Keith), the principled Alicia chooses the moral high ground even as she must endure the town’s oppressive rancor. Release in July 1956.

& Wednesday, at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series welcomes Fiction writer and Dogfish Series host Jessica Kinnison and Poet Madeline Levy celebrating her new collection, Perfume & Cigarettes. Kinnison holds an MFA in fiction and travel writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh where she taught creative writing in the Allegheny County Jail, as part of the Words Without Walls program. Her stories have appeared in Juked, Pif Magazine, Fiction Southeast, The Fourth River and The Southern Humanities Review, among others. Her play “Baby” won the Southwest Theatre and Film Association Short Play Contest in 2008. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Jackson Free Press, The Clarion Ledger, and Art Voices Magazine, among others. She serves as Operations Manager and Director of the Wellness University at Project Lazarus, a nonprofit transitional housing facility for people living with HIV/ AIDS. She currently teaches creative writing in the Project Lazarus Wellness University, at Orleans Parish Prison as part of the Humanities: Orleans Parish Education Project (H:OPE), and the Loyola University New Orleans Writing Institute. The poems in Perfume & Cigarettes by Levy come at you like Tom Waits driving a 1957 Cadillac onto the sleek asphalt of night, with only the red glow of taillights sending kisses on the road to everywhere. These poems take us places, somewhere between the proper and the profane, the dive bars and the five-star restaurants. These are poems with wicked grins and sharp edges that will leave a “tiny-sized cut in the back of your heart,” and make us believe that “apple pie & cyanide” are a good idea.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Dick Wall’s Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart, a true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing and ultimately everything in common. Carol Wall, living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are grown; she has successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents are getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening. Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But Carol and Giles both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever. Carol Wall received her third cancer diagnosis in 2012, just a few months before Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening was published by Amy Einhorn Books. Wall was too sick to make appearances, and she passed away in December 2014, just nine months after publication. Since Carol’s death, the Wall family, led by her husband Dick, has redoubled their efforts to promote Carol’s work.

& At 7 pm Thursday come to Pelican Bay restaurant for the launch party of Micheal Allen Zell’s new novel Run Baby Run, featuring some excellent–and complimentary–food from the kitchen, cash bar, door prizes including copies of the book, and readings by the author, joined by : Chester Himes scholar Robert Skinner, author of the Wesley Farrell crime novels set in 1930’s New Orleans, and recently retired Xavier University head librarian; Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, Kenyan born, New Orleans based spoken word artist, organizer and youth worker. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and other sources for her work on and off the stage; Jason Kerzinski, a native of Chicago who writes plays and short fiction. His work appears in New Orleans Review, Flash and Pen, and Caper Literary Journal, among others; and French Quarter poet Cubs, who can often be found composing poems on Royal St. amidst laundry lines holding his work. Cubs performs, writes, and publishes his own work. You must be 21 years or older to purchase alcohol at this event.

& Thursday the Alvar Library offers Naughty Poetry Night in observance of Banned Books Week. The branch has coupled with Esoterotica to expose you to a night of naughty poetry featuring local poets and provacateurs and hosted by Bill Lavender and Nancy Dixon. At this Banned Books Week event, sexy is relative; scandal is guaranteed. You must be 18 years of age or older to attend this event.

& Thursday at 7 pm the Nix Library presents “Lewd Poetry Night” for Banned Books Week. More details on this event forthcoming.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday from 6-8 pm the Main Branch New Orleans Public Library features another Banned Books Week event, With the help of the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association and American Civil Liberties Union – Louisiana Chapter, we’re shining a spotlight on famous acts of media censorship. We’ll present movie clips and perform scenes from iconic plays. We’ll read polarizing poetry and prose. You don’t want to miss this event. You must be 18 years of age or older to attend this event.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Greed, Stupidity and Censorship September 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in literature, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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To: The Facebook Ads Team:
I am about to post this week’s column Odd Words promoting literary events. I don’t believe a listing of over a dozen literary events must be limited to people to people over 21 because one of them takes place in a bar. I am dropping the targeting on my listings back to age 16, where it was for the longest time.
Having had many ads rejected, I fully understand your policies. However, many literary events take place where alcohol is served, or served as a refreshment. And because of your algorithms, the only way to actually reach the close to 1,000 people who have Liked my page is via advertising. Unless I refuse to divulge the location of certain events, it is effectively impossible for me to share them.
If you wish spend Banned Books Week in a very public debate on your platform and every other one on the Internet regarding your policy, and the inability of the people who screen your ads to discern the difference between promoting alcohol and promoting literature, then by all means go ahead and reject it.

Mark Folse
Editor
Odd Words

Furthur September 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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City Park 5c

“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.”
― John Crowley, Little, Big

Odd Words September 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& At 7 pm Monday Tulane University presents a reading by A reading by Julia Kasdorf, 2015 Arons Visiting Poet, in the Woldenberg Art Center, Freeman Auditorium. Kasdorf, professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State, has published three collections of poetry. Eve’s Striptease was named one of Library Journal‘s Top 20 Best Poetry Books of 1998, and Sleeping Preacher won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and the Great Lakes College’s Association Award for New Writing. Her poems were awarded a 2009 NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize and appear in numerous anthologies. She has written a collection of essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, winner of the 2002 Book of the Year Award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and a monograph, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American. With Michael Tyrell she co-edited the anthology, Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. In addition to teaching poetry workshops, she established the Writer in the Community course in the MFA program.

& At 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a lecture and book signing with historian Christina Vella celebrating the release of her new biography, GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER: A Life. George Washington Carver — the famous peanut wizard we all read about in grade school — developed thousands of products from swamp mud, clay, weeds, oil sludge, feathers, barnyard bones, kudzu, and other throw-away materials. Aside from his genius, Carver had an intense personal life that included a deep friendship with Henry Ford and FDR, and a fraught relationship with Booker T. Washington, who contributed significantly to the suicide of a woman Carver loved. When Carver was 60, he began a long love affair with a 23-year-old white man. Christina Vella explores the many dimensions of the man Einstein considered among the ten most brilliant scientists of his time.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops presents Stuart Stevens’ The Last Season: A Father, a Son, and a Lifetime of College Football. Fathers, sons, and sports are enduring themes of American literature. Here, in this fresh and moving account, a son returns to his native South to spend a special autumn with his ninty-five-year-old dad, sharing the unique joys, disappointments, and life lessons of Saturdays with their beloved Ole Miss Rebels. In the fall of 2012, after working on a presidential campaign that suffered a devastating loss, Stuart Stevens, having turned sixty, realized that he and his ninty-five-year-old father had spent little time together for decades. His solution: a season of attending Ole Miss football games together, as they’d done when college football provided a way for his father to guide him through childhood–and to make sense of the troubled South of the time. Now, driving to and from the games, and cheering from the stands, they take stock of their lives as father and son, and as individuals, reminding themselves of their unique, complicated, precious bond. Poignant and full of heart, but also irreverent and often hilarious,The Last Season is a powerful story of parents and children and the importance of taking a backward glance together while you still can.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Wednesday brings the return of return to the living room of poetry in BJs in the Bywater for our 5th season of poetry, music, fiction and fun! Our opening night features poets Brad Richard and Aran Donovan as well as open mic poems from our community of amazing writers. Richard’s poetry collection Motion Studies won the 2010 Washington Prize from The Word Works, and will be forthcoming in 2011. He is also the author of the collection Habitations (Portals Press, New Orleans, 2000) and the limited edition chapbook The Men in the Dark (Lowlands Press, Stuttgart, Germany, 2004). He is a recipient of fellowships from the Surdna Foundation, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and poetry winner in the Poets & Writers’ 2002 Writers Exchange competition, he is chair of creative writing at Lusher Charter High school in New Orleans. Donovan works and writes in New Orleans. A graduate of the Arkansas MFA program and Middlebury Summer Language Schools, she was a 2012 resident at the Edward A. Albee Foundation and a 2010 Walton Family Endowment for Creative Writing fellow. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Barrow Street, CutBank, Rattle, and New Ohio Review, New Orleans Review, and Rattle, and has earned her Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Award and a spot in Best New Poets 2013.

& At 6 pm Wednesday the Young Leadership Council’s One Book One New Orleans and Dillard Univeristy Present “Lil Wayne and America’s Idea of New Orleans”: A Panel Discussion. Inspired by Chapter 17–“I Am Your Great Time”–of Brian Boyles’ “New Orleans Boom and Blackout,” we will hold our third event of the season, Lil Wayne and America’s Idea of New Orleans: A Panel Discussion at Dillard University’s Lawless Memorial Chapel (2601 Gentilly Blvd) from 6:00-8:30p.m. We are honored to welcome Alison Fensterstock, who has covered entertainment and popular culture for several different publications, as our moderator for the evening. She will be joined by panelist Myan Sandifer, a Dillard junior majoring in Biology, Wild Wayne, DJ on Q93.3 FM, and Ethan Brown, author of Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& At 6 pm Wednesday it’s a Big Easy Author Night featuring Richard Campanella at the New Orleans Main Library. Campanella is a geographer with the Tulane School of Architecture and the author of numerous articles and seven critically acclaimed books, including Bienville’s Dilemma, Geographies of New Orleans, Bourbon Street: A History, and Lincoln in New Orleans. He is the only two-time winner of the LEH “Book of the Year” Award.

& Thursday at 6 pm meet Elise Blackwell, author of The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish, when she reads and discusses her newest book, THE LOWER QUARTER at Octavia Books.

The authenticity of Blackwell’s New Orleans experience is clear on every page, from the bars the characters frequent to the sense of a city rebuilding itself … will grip readers and keep them turning pages. —Publishers Weekly

A man murdered during Katrina in a hotel room two blocks from her art-restoration studio was closely tied to a part of Johanna’s past that she would like kept secret. But missing from the crime scene is a valuable artwork painted in 1926 by a renowned Belgian artist that might bring it all back. An acquaintance, Clay Fontenot, who has enabled a wide variety of personal violations in his life, some of which he has enjoyed, is the scion of a powerful New Orleans family. And Marion is an artist and masseuse from the Quarter who has returned after Katrina to rebuild her life. When Eli, a convicted art thief, is sent to find the missing painting, all of their stories weave together in the slightly deranged halls of the Quarter.

& At Garden District Books at 6 pm Thursday meet George Sanchez who will discuss and sign his book Exploration’s End. Jeff Chaussier has left his mediocre career as an actor in the Midwest because of another family problem, this time with his cousin Cal. Back in New Orleans with another mystery to solve, he discovers his old friends are dealing with a thriving drug trade. His search sends him to the university theatre, drug lairs, and Bryna’s patio to see if there is still a flame burning there. Has she healed from her injuries suffered in their first adventure? As he pokes about, learning new secrets about Bryna, he receives a second task from the same “certain mysterious gentlemen” who helped him last time. Jeff’s family and friends offer aid as he tries to discover Bryna’s secrets, help his cousin Cal, and keep those “certain gentlemen” placated. Without detective skills, but with a colorful collection of friends, old and new, Jeff pokes and pries, discovering new corners of New Orleans and plots within plots.

& At 7 pm Thursday the Dogfish reading series presents poet Andy Young and her recent collection All Night It Is Morning, among other works at Old N. Villere Bakery 2448 N. VIllere Street New Orleans.

Andy Young’s powerful debut, All Night It Is Morning, sweeps us from the American South to the Middle East and back, in lyric poetry limned with precision, sympathy, and her wise spacious stance. Young’s poems are made from tumult—whether it’s the shattered Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or the perilous strife of Cairo’s Tahrir Square—yet reach, time and again, for peace. This poet shows us how to distrust, even to dissolve the inaccurate distinctions we too handily make—among the personal and political, among the familial, natural, and aesthetic—to find a more synthetic blending. Such is the poet’s most revolutionary achievement: To embrace difference is to find likeness, even perhaps to find hope.
—David Baker, winner, 2011 Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday at 10 am the Jefferson Parish Library Mystery Writers Conference meets at the East Bank Regional Library. “Cops and Authors” is designed to provide hands-on, practical information to local mystery and crime writers, but it is also open to anyone who wants to understand more fully the concepts of police procedure. Three panels will be presented: 10 a.m. – “New Orleans as a Partner in Crime”; 11:15 a.m., “Cop Culture”; and, 12:30 p.m. – “Inside the Mind of a Police Sniper” and “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Full details of panelists and each topic are on the Jefferson Parish Library calendar page.

Saturday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop Lea Michelle’s signs her book You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life. In this book, Lea, teaches readers how they, too, can be their best-selves. In her opinion, keeping a journal and asking yourself the hard questions about what you want out of life is the best way to achieve your dreams, so she has outlined a series of exercises, prompts, and lists based on her own personal program. Lea’s guided journal will address all the topics she wrote about in her first book, Brunette Ambition, including fitness, diet, work, school, and relationships, but with all-new material to help readers reach their goals. Peppered between the advice and exercises will be fun personal anecdotes from Lea to motivate and inspire readers to put themselves first and live their best life. This is a wrist-band event and we are limited to 600 wrist-bands. To receive a wrist-band you must purchase the new book, You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life, from Garden District Book Shop. This book goes on sale Sept. 22.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& From 3-7 pm the local event for 100,000 Poets for Change features poetry, music and art to celebrate Peace and Sustainability and an Environment to support life for generations to come at St. John’s Coffeehouse, 535 E Boston St. in Covington.

Odd Words September 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& At Garden District Book Shop Tuesday at 6 pm Melinda Rose presents Of The Rising Tide: A Photo Essay of the Vanishing Bayou Community of Isle de Jean Charles. Somewhere…down in the forgotten reaches of the Louisiana marshes, a community clings tenaciously to what remains of its homeland. Isle de Jean Charles, is a fragile, finger-like Island, attached to the mainland by a narrow 2 mile-long road. A good steady wind could leave you trapped on the Island for days. Enter the hurricanes…vicious storms with sweet sounding names like Katrina and Rita swallow up this Island again and again, each time ripping up more lives and eroding away more of the Island’s land mass. “Oh we’re use to hurricanes alright,” says Chris Brunet, who is raising his orphaned niece and nephew from a wheel chair. “But since the ’50s, our barrier Islands have been eroding away…and now the salt water rushes right in and kills just about everything.” Chris is one of 40 remaining Islanders, all descendants of the Choctaw- Chitimacha Indian tribes. These Native Americans have inhabited a once-thriving gulf community for more than a Century. The elders share stories of a once-lush prairie land textured with a variety of trees, including fig, pecan and persimmons. Today the horizon is left to tend the hauntingly beautiful remains of mighty oaks and bald cypress, their lonely bleached-out bones rising defiantly out of the soggy marshes. The people of this battered and broken Island are living on borrowed time. And, as if they haven’t suffered enough, the massive BP oil disaster managed to strip all of the Island’s commercial fishermen of the only livelihood they’ve ever known. Yet, somehow, these gritty and determined people of Isle de Jean Charles continue to live out their lives. The children frolic and play on the new levee. The men take their boats out on the Gulf. Families of three generations come together on a swelteringly hot Sunday afternoon. And life goes on…for now.

& Tuesday at 6 pm join Octavia Books for a reading & signing with Tom Piazza celebrating the release of his new novel, A FREE STATE.

A Free State has great kinetic energy, a gripping central narrative, and a host of indelible characters. And, in the current age of identity politics, it speaks to the prevailing cultural obsession with ‘authenticity’ by exposing the fragility of that very notion. A hugely rewarding novel.” —Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane

The author of CITY OF REFUGE and WHY NEW ORLEANS MATTERS returns with a startling novel of race, violence, and identity. The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he lives by his wits and earns money performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass leader of the Virginia Harmonists, a minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles who senses that Henry’s skill and magnetism could restore his show’s sagging fortunes. The problem is that black performers are not allowed to appear onstage, even in Philadelphia. Together the two concoct a dangerous masquerade to protect Henry’s identity, and he creates a sensation in his first appearances with the Harmonists. Yet even as the troupe’s fortunes begin to improve, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed by Henry’s former master to track down the runaway and retrieve him, dead or alive.

& At 7 pm Tuesday at Cafe Istanbul Lost Love Letters launches a monthly event where regular folks read vintage letters, bad love poetry, childhood diaries, and other artifacts of youthful angst. Inspired by the Mortified Nation events held in other cities, but this event is based on the theme of love. Events are held on the third Tuesday of each month. This month’s kick-off is a benefit for the Lafayette Grand Theater shooting. We are seeking readers for our next event. If you are interested in reading, please contact us at lostlovelettersnola@gmail.com or facebook.com/lostlovelettersnola.

& Wednesday at 6 pm at Octavia Books Michael Murphy, author of EAT DAT, is back with the second book in his planned three-book set, FEAR DAT New Orleans: A Guide to the Voodoo, Vampires, Graveyards & Ghosts of the Crescent City. Cari Roy, the #1 rated psychic in America, joins him to celebrate and offer free five-minute readings. It’s a reading with readings! New Orleans is famous for many things: smoky jazz clubs, spicy gumbo, sweet (but strong) cocktails. But the city is also known for its affinity for the dark side. Walk around the French Quarter and you’ll be greeted by centuries-old cemetery vaults, flamboyant fortune tellers, and—if you’re lucky—maybe something a bit more supernatural. Fear Dat provides a complete tour of all the sights and scares the Crescent City has to offer. Travel writer and New Orleans resident Michael Murphy takes readers through a brief history of Voodoo, and tells many of New Orleans’s best ghost stories and most gruesome murders. But, like Mardi Gras and Second Line Funerals, the point is to participate; Fear Dat encourages visitors to enrich their stay in the Big Easy by doing something, not just reading about it. That might include getting the most reliable psychic reading, buying some authentic gris gris, or finding the grave of a Voodoo queen.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop presents Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light. Twenty-three years after the fateful summer of 1990, Trevor Riddell recalls the events surrounding his fourteenth birthday, when he gets his first glimpse of the infamous Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have separated, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with Aunt Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, and divide up the profits.
But as young Trevor explores the house’s hidden stairways and forgotten rooms, he discovers secrets that convince him that the family plan may be at odds with the land’s true destiny. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

& Wednesday at 7 pm THE WAVES returns for a second year at Press Street’s Antenna Gallery! Come out to hear Megan Burns, Jen Hanks, Marisa Clogher, Foster Noone and perhaps more! The Waves Reading Series at Antenna Gallery: a new LGBTIQ reading series presenting student voices, local writers, and visiting writers side by side.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& If you missed it Tuesday, Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Books hosts Tom Piazza’s A Free State. See the details above.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with Edgar Award finalist Mathew Guinn featuring his new novel, THE SCRIBE. If you came to Guinn’s event last year for THE RESSURECTIONIST, his debut book, you already know how good he is at atmospheric, storytelling with gruesome twists. THE SCRIBE ramps it up another notch.

“….a heady mix of history, sizzle, punch, and danger.”—Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author of The Patriot Threat

On the eve of Atlanta’s 1881 International Cotton Exposition, disgraced former detective Thomas Canby is called back to Atlanta to track a serial murderer who seems to be targeting the city’s wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer’s distinct style is unusually gruesome: on each victim’s body, a letter of the alphabet is inscribed. Intent on shielding the city’s celebration of New South industry, its cabal of prominent businessmen—“the Ring”—pressure Canby to tie up the case quickly. Paired with Atlanta’s first African American officer, Cyrus Underwood, Canby must face down persistent racism, including his own prejudices, to find the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.

& 7 pm Thursday it is an Author Night at the Nix Library featuring Richard Sexton, a fine art and media photographer whose work has been published and exhibited worldwide. His most recent book, Creole World, was published by the Historic New Orleans Collection. Previously published titles include a monograph, Terra Incognita: Photographs of America’s Third Coast, and the best-selling book, New Orleans Elegance and Decadence. Sexton will present a slide show of his work.

& Also at 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 2 pm at Octavia Books Leslie Zemeckis will read, sign, and discuss GODDESS OF LOVE INCARNATE. Lili St. Cyr was, in the words of legendary reporter Mike Wallace, the highest paid stripteaser in America. Wallace was so fascinated by Lili that out of all the presidents and celebrities he interviewed over a long career, she was the one he remained fixated on. Her beauty had that kind of effect. Lili led an incredible life six marriages, romances with Orson Wells, Yul Brenner, Vic Damone, arrests on indecency charges, a number of suicide attempts all alongside great fame and money. A bigger star than Gypsy Rose Lee, Lili was named one of the world’s ten most beautiful women alongside Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. Yet she lost it all, becoming a recluse in her final decades. Goddess of Love Incarnate is the definitive biography of this legendary figure, done with the cooperation of Lili’s only surviving sister. But the book does more than fascinate readers with stories of a byone era; it reveals that behind the g-strings and the pasties stood a complicated, eccentric, brilliant woman, much loved and little understood. As an award winning documentary filmmaker and writer, Leslie Zemeckis restores Lili to her rightful place in American history in a way no other writer could.

& Saturday at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts a meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Local agent Pamela Gray Ahearn and authors Farrah Rochon and Candice Proctor will talk about the value of traditional publishing.

& Every Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series hosts and open mic and featured artists. This Sunday’s event is TBD, but there is always an open mic unless in conflict with a late afternoon Saint’s game. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (interrupted only by Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Agape September 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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By César Vallejo 

Today no one has come to inquire;
nor have they asked me for anything this afternoon.

I’ve not seen a single cemetery flower
in such a happy procession of lights.
Forgive me, Lord: how little I have died!

On this afternoon everybody, everybody passes by
without inquiring or asking me for anything.

And I don’t know what they forget and remains
strangely in my hands, like something that’s not mine.

I’ve gone to the door,
and feel like shouting at everybody:
If you’re missing something, here it remains!

Because in all the afternoons of this life,
I don’t know what doors they slam in a face,
and my soul is seized by someone else’s thing.

Today no one has come;
and today how little I have died this afternoon!

The Hollow Man September 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Stop and try to describe exhaustion. Not the animal pleasure of worn muscles, the kind that stands sipping a beer over some job well done, or the sort that loses itself in an almost scalding shower after a hard work out at the gym. Mine is a hollowness, an absence rather than a sensation, a blankness that comes from sitting too long at a task, the repetition of which has absorbed more than a decade of my life. I was once very good at it but it is work, not a sport. You can play a lifetime of tennis and even if you are far beyond the ability to jump a net, never lose interest. Working alone and from home it is hard to sustain enthusiasm. Your team are voices on the telephone. Those like me who have been cast off into contracting are denied the chumminess of an office, where some flabbergasted co-worker might someday utter, “Wally writes poetry?” Working as I do everything becomes increasingly distant and unreal, except the walls of my living room office. Those are omnipresent, the walls of a cell neither monastic nor penitentiary, with no promise of redemption. More of a box, really, and mine painted the same dull cardboard color as the boxes that deliver the shopping you have no time to do except online. To work alone in a brown box is to recognize you have become a commodity, something purely utilitarian and disposable, a rechargeable wireless device sold for the improvement of someone else’s lifestyle.

Cut loose from a community of co-workers, you feel like a broken toy in a book you once read your children and long to be found, the missing button of a real life–stepping out to lunch, lingering at the coffee pot in conversation–tenderly sewn back on. You are not a corduroy bear, are far beyond such innocence, have no expectation of a happy ending. You labor long hours for some unrealistic deadline and, whoops, at the last minute, when you have swallowed the last cup of coffee you think you can stand, They move the deadline those of us toiling to reach it knew was unrealistic. A new date is set. Begin again. Lather, rinse, repeat: the old code-monkey’s joke, the inescapable zombie deamon loop that repeats until all resources are exhausted.

Exhaustion: that is where we began and how we end. I am on the wrong computer. I cannot believe I am on a computer at all, but typing is the quickest way to capture a thought. The other computer sits in its bag next to me, untouched. If I don’t open it I will have dumped a huge pile of work on the one person in this situation who is a friend, my assigned partner in a real office. She is the only reason the other computer is here. There are things I must do this weekend, not for my current owner, but for her. A single mother in over her head in the world of projects, she is why I am reluctant to just up and quit. My friend, who has worked for the company her entire life, is a single mother with two small children and a mother who does not speak English and must be chaperoned to the doctor. She cannot just up and quit, and if I were to walk away today or tomorrow all of my work would fall on her. A good arrangement for Them, this pairing of the hired guns with an employee, calculating the value of manipulated human emotions like cash assets with the virtuosity of someone accomplished on the ten-key. That is why, for at least another week, until the next deadline, I will go back and try to push the rock up the mountain one last time.

Today it is hard to start because the hollowness is not just an abstraction, but something tangible. It can be measured by a phone app in sleep debt, in white blood cell count and hemoglobin 1Ac, in bottles of antibiotics, a system stretched to the breaking point. This is the sick root of exhaustion as hollowness. It almost reached a crisis point two Saturday’s ago when I felt at once the fullness of the hollow shell, and a frightening numbness, as if the shell were filled with laughing gas, the cause quite clear but the symptoms undiagnosed until I stumbled into my physical this week. I spent part of Thursday and most of Friday in shock, and then the exhaustion conquered coffee and obligation, and I begged out of the rest of the day. Still, after a few cups of coffee and an aimless morning walk, I jumped in my car and ran home to get the other computer. There is that rock of obligation, almost two days lost, and bills to pay. And however crappy the high-deductible health insurance the agency which hires me out provides, I am genuinely sick and fear going on without a net.

T.S. Eliot coined the term but the real hollow men are not that lost post-war generation coming to cold intellectual terms with a godless mechanistic modern world. We are the products of that godless, mechanistic world, a machine run out of control gobbling up everything in its path to fuel itself until it will someday reach that desert in which there is nothing left and swallow up Eliot’s red rock. Until then, the machine feeds itself on a steady stream of anxious young people who are deep in debt to my employers for an education they finds buys them–instead of a job, perhaps an internship–as the machine churns on, trying to squeeze blood out of a red rock. My kind are valued for our long experience, only because we are available and disposable, because we are an example to the remaining employees of what might happen to them, because we will labor in our brown boxes to keep body and soul together until worn out. They can always order replacements.

We are the hollow men.

A Moment of October September 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The air is heavy with September in this barely peninsular city, surrounded by bath water swamps and a large, shallow lake, where the Yankee Farmer’s Almanac is purely a source of amusement. Humidity respects no levee and as the sun burns through the morning stratus the air warms slowly like a pot of soup. Soon it will bubble and the vanishing stratus will be replaced by clumps of cumulus that will rise to the boil of thunderstorms. I took a walk this morning to see what the crows were so excited about. One cawed not far to the north, a block I would think, and its companions came shooting toward the call with unusual urgency. I followed them up the street but whatever the excitement was, it was further away than I thought. The single caw had moved off toward the railroad tracks, and was lost in all the other bird call. In spite of the whine of Saturday morning lawn work the sound of a half-dozen different sorts of birds rose above it all. The birds know something is up. There is a cold front just over the horizon but nothing except the morning paper and the restless flutter of the birds indicates it is coming. There are no warning signs darkening the horizon. The air merely simmers. The leaf-rattling winds will come tonight, one hopes. The chill winds, blowing away all the clouds and leaving the air cool and dry, the first pleasant moment outside of a passing thunderstorm in months, one brief day of October arriving early like a scouting party. Tomorrow around 7 a.m. it will plunge to 66, just minutes after sunrise, as a temporarily gentler sun crests the trees. If you are not out looking east tomorrow, shame on you. It is only a single day, say the weathermen, and then it will be back to September again, summer’s close cousin. Leave a window open tonight. As the winds clock north, let the restless trees replace the sound of the air conditioner. Let the chill be your wake up call, and the warmth of the coffee welcome as you step outside.

Row September 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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HokusaiHokusai’s Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa

Through the lens of imminent disaster Fuji–the looming ink stroke over innumerable sepia washes–is an insignificant bystander. The mountainous water towers over the iconic peak and the doomed boat. The sailor’s backs are turned to the crest of threatening fingers, their hands clasped in muscular prayer, heads bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, rain on their fields and fish in the sea. The sky is a mirror of the sea, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall they live except between the sky and the sea, those promising and pitiless fields of blue? They know the tales of typhoon and tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own boats. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.

Odd Words September 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday all area libraries will be closed in observance of Labor Day. Check your favorite Indie Book Store for holiday hours as well.

& Andrew Malan Milward, author of I WAS A REVOLUTIONARY, will chat with M.O. Walsh, author of MY SUNSHINE AWAY at Octavia Books Tuesday at 6 pm. Grounded in place, spanning the Civil War to the present day, the stories in I WAS A REVOLUTIONARY capture the roil of history through the eyes of an unforgettable cast of characters: the visionaries and dreamers, the radical farmers and socialist journalists, the quack doctors and protesters who haunt the past and present landscape of the American heartland. MY SUNSHINE AWAY unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the Hubbell Library in Algiers hosts an Author Night featuring Deborah Burst, author of Louisiana’s Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries, and Voodoo.

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& At 7:30 pm pm Tuesday Randy Fertel, most recently author of A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation will be talking about improvisation and Jung’s most mysterious book, The Red Book, for the Jung Society of New Orleans, at Parker Memorial United Methodist Church, 1130 Nashville Ave.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and siging with author Hester Young featuring her debut novel, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte Charlie Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

& At 7 pm Wednesday the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event: Katrina Memoir Panel. The meeting is free of charge and is open to the public. Books will be available for sale to those who would like to purchase them. Featured will be: Voices of Angels by John Batty, The St. Bernard Fire Department in Hurricane Katrina by Michelle Buuck, and Lost in Katrina by Mikel Schaefer by Mikel Schaefer. Event and author details are available on the library’s website.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 4:30 pm to 6 pm the Algiers Regional Library In Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) presents a Spoken Word Workshops for Teens. At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm the East Jefferson Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday from 2 to 6 pm at Morning Call Born to the Beat, the New Orleans event for the National Beat Poetry Festival, features state and local poets celebrating the Beat Generation. Featured will be poets William F. DeVault, Gina Ferrara, Dennis Formento, John Gery, Tyler Gillespie, Kia Groom, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Carolyn Hembree, July Kane, Biljana Obradovic, Valentine Pierce, A Scribe Call Quest?, M.E. Riler, Kristina Robinson, Mona Lisa Saloy, Terri Shrum, Claire Welsh and emcee poets Megan Burns and Alex Jennnings.

& Saturdays at 11:30 am it’s Storytime with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by John Hendrix. McToad likes Thursdays. Why? Because on every other day of the week, McToad mows Big Island, but on Thursdays, McToad mows Tiny Island. To do so, he puts his mower on the back of a truck, which drives to a train, which goes to a helicopter, which flies to a boat, which uses a crane to put the lawn mower onto Tiny Island. There McToad mows and drinks some lemonade, and before you know it, it’s time to turn around and go back home. But first, the mower has to get lifted by a crane, to get put back on a boat, which is lifted by a helicopter, and . . . well . . . you get the idea. From master storyteller Tom Angleberger and celebrated illustrator John Hendrix comes this playful narrative that treasures the journey over the destination, with lots of planes, trains, and automobiles to boot.

& Saturday at 1 pm the Norman Mayer Library in Gentilly hosts a T(w)een Weekend Writing Workshop. No matter what kind of writing you do or even if just think you’d like to, join us 2nd Saturdays in the Teen Room to talk about and share (if you want to) your stories, poetry, scripts, or comics.

& Also on Saturday Maple Street Book Shop will celebrate owner Gladin Scott’s birthday with lunch, cake, ice cream, and a book sale! 10% off all new and 20% off all used books! One day only, no other discounts apply.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Saturday at 6 pm Garden District Books hosts Wendell Pierce at the Historic Carver Theater in The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That would Not Be Broken discussion and book signing. From acclaimed actor and producer Wendell Pierce, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art. Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative’s house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family’s home, but all of Pontchartrain Park. In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city. Limited seating available on a first come, first serve basis. VIP tickets are available. Limited to 50, These tickets can be purchased for $25.00 and include a meet and greet with Wendell Pierce, beginning at 6:00PM. General admission tickets are available on Eventbrite, and are are $5.00 in advance and $7.00 at the door.

& There is no reading at the  Maple Leaf Reading Series due to conflict with an afternoon Saints game. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (interrupted only by Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

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