Tag Archives: Best of LSU Fiction

Brag is the word

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a little while. On the 28th, you’ll be able to catch Dave’s work on the National Geographic channel. He did the music for After the Spill: The Last Catch, a documentary about the aftermath of the oil spill and small fishing communities in South Louisiana.

After the Spill: The Last Catch Tuesday, September 28, 9 PM ET/PT

Produced & Directed by Jonathan Stack and Saralena Weinfeld
Edited by Brock Labrenz
Music by Dave Golden

So proud of Dave!

Tomorrow, September 2  6th, Readers and Writers is kicking off its new season with Allen Wier and Panthea Reid celebrating Best of LSU Fiction at 5 p.m. at the LSU School of Music Recital Hall.

This has been long overdue, as well, but several members of Peauxdunque, as well as friends of mine from LSU, have been recognized in the Wisdom-Faulkner Competition. As I did last year, I’m going to congratulate them here.

Shane Noecker, Susan Kirby-Smith and Peauxdunquers Tad Bartlett/J. Ed. Marston (on the short list of finalists for the novel category); Peauxdunquer Sabrina Canfield and Mark Spitzer (short list of finalists for novella); Jenn Nunes (short list of finalists for novel-in-progress); Susan Kirby-Smith again (semi-finalist for novel-in-progress);  Peauxdunquers Maurice Carlos Ruffin (finalist AND on the short list of finalists for two different short stories) and Terri Stoor (short list of finalists for short story); Tad Bartlett again (finalist for essay).

I may have more names to add soon as the finalists are all still anonymous until winners are named today.

And since others have been bragging on me, I have to step up and do it myself. I was recently promoted to assistant editor at Narrative Magazine, which is super exciting and makes me feel continually plugged in to the community of writers. Which is essential because I’ve been spending most of my time on the satellite planet of Harawood–the local film industry–lately. Much as I love my job–maybe because I love my job–it’s been so good to spend my free time reading critically. It brings me back to an important place and helps ground me.

Speaking of Harawood and my lovely job — Maurice just told me there’s a write-up on WWE Nola in today’s Times-Picayune. Luckily, somebody had left behind a copy of the paper and it was conveniently at my very own table at Cheers. WWE has been a blast to work for and I’m so proud to be a part of the movies they’ve made in New Orleans. Now I get to brag on them, as well. They’ve recently gotten a few write-ups in USA Today, as well.

I’ll leave you with a photo taken by Rachel Chotin at the Prelude Launch Party, of Maurice, me and a gentleman named Jason.


Filed under book news, bragging on, freelance work, Friends, literature, New Orleans

Update! Update! Read all about it!

It feels like a while, even if it hasn’t really been all that long. But here are a few updates on my own writing and some writer friends of mine.

I have a new 225 piece out – this one is on Best of LSU Fiction, which just so happens is edited by two friends of mine, Judy Kahn and Nolde Alexius, which I talked about a little while back. The book is an amazing collection and really absorbing. LSU has a great reputation for fiction writers and if you want to know why, check this book out.

Just heard that Pamela DuMond’s Cupcakes, Lies and Dead Guys is going to be published later this year! I read an early manuscript a while back, so I’m excited to see the finished book.

And Nick Fox has had not one but two newsletters come out without me updating y’all! So, you can check out excerpts from his summer adventures below.

From the July 2nd newsletter:

Three years of work. Four drafts. 385 pages and 110,343 words. I completed the novel in Cape Cod, at my dear friend Lili Flanders’s place in Truro. That’s the same place I finished my first draft last year.

I completed the final draft in the same chair, at the same table, exactly one year and one day later. This is what I’m talking about with the circles.

The book seems to have followed the arc of my past couple years. I started this novel while I was attending Warren Wilson. I started this novel while I was going through my divorce. The book carried me through both things, and I don’t think I realized how much I depended on it for the past three years. This is something I grew with, something I leaned on when little else made sense. Even the book didn’t make sense for most of the time I was working on it. I almost abandoned it after the first draft. I almost didn’t start it in the first place. I don’t know what made me decide to keep going ahead. There’s something kind of penitent about it. It’s a humbling thing putting together something that you slowly grow to love. I’ve suspected that a penitent man puts out an offering not because he believes the god he serves needs it, but simply so he can remind himself that he has something to offer.

I have 385 pages, and I like what I have. That’s worth three years to me. That’s what I have to offer.

And later in the same update:

You cannot overestimate how important it is for someone who is focused on an art form—any art form—to be around people who affirm that they are making the right choices. They are doing the right thing. I heard a writer at a lecture recently who said, “Writing is done in solitude, but it cannot be done in isolation.” In the end, we feed off each other, and as one person grows and prospers and finds success, everyone around them benefits. A high tide lifts all boats, as Kennedy said.

And from Nick’s more recent August 7th newsletter:

A few days later, Matthew shot me a letter with a quote from Matsuo Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior. It goes like this:

The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

Basho is Japan’s most famous haiku poet, and he spent most of his life wandering the coast and interior of Japan. Writing. Teaching. Reading. Leading classes that strung together chain poems known as renga, capturing moments in extended quotes, in seventeen syllable cubes. He wrote the above words over three-hundred years ago. And last week, I sat in my friends’ apartment in Chicago, reading them. Taking in this idea, sent three centuries forward, sent from Edo Japan by way of Detroit to me in Chicago. I sat there reading and realized, again, that I was home.

I was home when I was in Chicago in the same way I was home when I was in New Orleans. The same way I have been at home many times over the course of this trip. I felt at home in Maine, in Philadephia, in Vermont. Staring out at America’s only fjord in Mount Desert Island, Maine. Trying to sleep on an overnight bus from New York to Boston. Hitchhiking through the Adirondacks in a series of strangers’ cars. Looking over the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Camping in a grove of pecan trees in Oklahoma, caking insect repellent on my arms to keep off ravenous mosquitos.

It isn’t the road that’s home. I don’t mean it like that. I don’t mean I never want to be settled in one place for an extended period of time. I’m just finding a much deeper joy in being unsettled right now. I suspect I’m growing more by rattling my own compass and testing to see if it comes back to true north. And when I’m done with that, I’ll put down stakes for a while and dig into a solid routine until it’s time to go again. This no longer seems like a crazy way to live for a simple reason: I’ve been doing it for a little while now, and I’m managing to do it in a way that is sustainable.

That’s what I’ve got for now. I might’ve forgotten some folks and I know there are rumbles of other awesome things in the work, but nothing bloggable just yet. Enjoy!!!

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Filed under book news, bragging on, freelance work, Friends, writing updates

Where Y’At?

Last week, I got a gig working on a film and I’ll be doing this for a bit. Film jobs have their ups and downs, but all in all, I am really, really glad to be back on another show. The company is great (and it better be, with 12-hr days!) and it just really gets my blood going.

Jamey always says the universe gives you what you want and you’d just better be clear on what you want. I’ve taken liberties with what she says, but I think the message is generally correct. 🙂 Shortly before this gig came up, I was telling a friend in a coffee shop, “My whole body hurts when I see movie vans and I’m not working on a show.” So, the universe gave me what I needed and I’m glad it did.

The bounty of my Netflix queue offered up Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, which started filming at the tail end of The Final Destination, just a few blocks from us. Then, on Friday, at the end of my long-ass work week, I got my issue of Entertainment Weekly. The Summer Movie Preview issue, no less, which highlighted two movies filmed in New Orleans, around the same time: Jonah Hex and The Expendables. I see that Jonah Hex filmed at Lafayette #1, a cemetery near my house. I’ll be looking for that now.

So that’s where I’m at lately. I’ll carve out some time for the book, somehow, because I’m this close to finishing it. This close means I’m at page 231 of what will be about a 300 page manuscript.

Today, I swung by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s Meet the Authors event, which featured some friends of mine. David Madden was representing his newest book, Abducted By Circumstance, and also a story that had been reprinted in Best of LSU Fiction, edited by Nolde Alexius and Judy Kahn. Then, there was presentation by Scott Ellis, author of Madame Vieux Carre and Elise Blackwell read from her newest novel, An Unfinished Score.

Let me tell you about this event. You’d kinda have to know about New Orleans in order to fully appreciate what I’m about to tell you. If you do know New Orleans, imagine the prettiest day imaginable. Bright sun, but not too hot. Absolutely clear, a sweet breeze blowing in. Lots of tourists, but not too many. You’re in the Cabildo, the upstairs room with all the windows overlooking Jackson Square and past that, the little amphitheater that’s on the river side of Decatur, right on the levee. Everything is beautiful and happy, for a moment out of time. You’re in a room with writers you admire and some you know and love. Everybody’s got new books (which you buy, that’s what credit cards are for), everybody’s dressed for spring, everybody’s digging the mint julep tea. Then, Elise Blackwell reads from her book, about a viola player, about music, and from the square below, teeming with Tarot and palm readers, musicians and street performers, an unseen man starts singing opera in this big, round voice that reaches up into the room, dueting with Elise’s voice perfectly. That’s what happy is. That’s what New Orleans is.

And then, there’s always Stanley’s afterward, with Maurice. And a few hours after that, there’s gonna be watching Treme at a great bar with friends. Actually, that second part would be in about an hour, y’all, I got to get going…

But before I do, here’s some pictures, cause you know I’m all about giving you presents.

David and I

Judy Kahn, Scott Ellis, David Madden, Elise Blackwell, Nolde Alexius


Filed under book news, bragging on, Friends, literature, music, New Orleans, writing updates