Tag Archives: Nick Fox

Everybody Brag Now

This bragging on post might be my most overdue yet! Many folks have had multiple successes since I last bragged, so as always, this is always just a tiny sampling. I can’t keep up with these exciting movers and shakers. Still, I try…

As 2014 started and the Oscar nominations were announced, many films shot in New Orleans were included. Robin Mathews (makeup) and Adruitha Lee (hair) won for their work on Dallas Buyers Club. Not only did Twelve Years a Slave win best picture (!), but the amazing production design/set decoration teams and stellar costume department were recognized with nominations. It was so exciting to see the effect Lupita Nyong’o had even before she won the best supporting actress category. It was a great start to the year.

Lavender Ink and Nancy Dixon published N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature, which includes work by folks like Moira Crone, Andrei Codrescu and John Biguenet, alongside Faulkner, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.

After a year of amazing interviews for Hothouse, Karin C. Davidson has compiled an Anniversary Album, putting together more questions and answers from her interview subjects, as well as a playlist of music they’ve each picked. Karin’s “Something for Nothing” was a finalist in Bayou Magazine‘s fiction contest, judged by Lucy Bledsoe.

Studio delle Sorelle’s first art opening at Bev Coates’ Guest House featured a painting by Judy Kahn.

Judy Kahn's painting

Suparno Banerjee has published a paper, “Melodrama, mimicry and menace: Revinenting Hollywood in Indian science fiction films” in Volume 12, issue 1 of South Asian Popular Culture.

Near Valentine’s Day, Danielle Gilyot wrote a love letter to her younger self.

Jeff Roedel has directed the music video for England in 1819’s song “Sirens.”

jewel bush, Justin Torres and Mat Johnson all have stories in Dismantle, the VONA Anthology (with an introduction by Junot Diaz).

Contemplative Man by Brock Guthrie was published in March. Here’s a great review.

Joseph Boyden‘s The Orenda is the 2014 winner of Canada Reads. The Orenda will be published in the U.S. in May.

Jamie Amos has been busy, with new stories at Cold Mountain Review (“Defensive Wounds”) and at storySouth (“Spit”).

M.O. Walsh‘s book My Sunshine Away (due out next January) was announced as one of five Buzz Books and will be showcased at the BEA Conference in May.

Kaledioscope, a magazine for LSU’s Humanities and Social Sciences Departments, features quite a bit of great news in its Fall 2013 issue, including a feature on service learning courses on page 11, a feature on filmmaker Zack Godshall on page 13, a story about Associate Dean Malcolm Richardson on page 16, and a feature on the Creative Writing Department (plus two books I mention later in this brag) on page 18.

Montana Miller reports “After three marathon days of training in Eloy with the USPA Chief Judges, my brain is leaking out my ears and my eyes falling from their sockets, but my heart is leaping with joy and gratitude: I am a newly-rated National Judge for formation skydiving!”

Tad Bartlett‘s story “Hung Over” was published by Rappahannock Review.

Judge Claire Messud selected Summer Wood‘s story “Boomerang” for the 2013 Indiana Review Fiction Prize. Mary McMyne‘s story “Camille” was also a finalist.

Speaking of Mary McMyne, her story “Reading His Own Obituary” was published by Narrative Northeast in January. Faerie Magazine will publish Mary’s poem “Rapunzel Tucks the Twins into Bed,” in the next issue. Her poem “Irene Joliot-Curie” published in Painted Bride Quarterly No. 86 was nominated for a Rhysling.

Penelope Dane reviewed This Assignment Is So Gay, an anthology edited by Megan Volpert, in the March issue of Bitch Magazine.

Cara Jones has written an essay called “Taking the Woman Out of Women’s Health,” published at Nursing Clio.

First, the cover and title page of the Long Hidden anthology were revealed. Then, there was a wonderful review that specifically mentions Jamey Hatley‘s story:

“…“Collected Likenesses” is thought-provoking, with fascinating magic and heart-rendingly real characters.”

And most recently, Jamey’s interview with Roxane Gay was published at Press Street’s Room 220. Roxane has just announced she’ll be joining the MFA Program at Purdue University in the fall, as an associate professor.

Here’s a great review of James Claffey‘s Blood a Cold Blue. James is also editing the Ireland and the Irish themed issue of Literary Orphans, due out at Easter.

Literary Orphans

Maurice Ruffin has been very busy, as always. “Catch What You Can” will be published in Redivider Journal‘s issue 11.2 in May. “Heathen” will appear in issue 2 of  The Knicknackery. “Motion Picture Making” will appear in issue 2 of Writing Tomorrow in June.  “Heroes and Villains,” will be published in an upcoming issue of 94 Creations. To top it all off, he’s been accepted to Tin House’s Writers Workshop.

Cara Blue Adams interviewed David James Poissant for Tin House.

Melinda Palacio‘s book of poetry How Fire Is a Story, Waiting was a finalist in the 2013 Paterson Poetry Prize. She just traveled to New York for the awards reading.

June Pulliam‘s Encyclopedia of the Zombie will be available in June.

Andrew Lam‘s Birds of Paradise Lost is a finalist for the California Book Awards. The results will be announced in June.

Rachel Hebert performed “Just What I Need” for the Birmingham Sessions.

Helen Krieger has also had a busy couple of months. She was accepted to study at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Least Favorite Love Songs, the webseries she made with her husband and band of Nola cohorts, is nominated for a Webby. To celebrate the nomination, a special episode from the series will premiere this Sunday at 10 p.m. at the new theater Indywood.

The second book in Ronlyn Domingue‘s Keeper of the Tales trilogy, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, will be published next month. Here’s an interview with her.

Charlotte Hemrick is interviewing local female poets at NolaFemmes for Poetry Month. First up was Kelly Harris and most recently is Cassie Pruyn. There will be a new interview posted on Friday.

Also happening on Friday at 7 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul is the second installment of Yeah, You Write, which will feature Cassie and myself. Kelly read at the first installment of Yeah, You Write. This year’s lineup is simply incredible John BarryJoseph Boyden, jewel bush, Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, Benjamin Percy, Cassie and myself, with DJ Sep, images by L. Kasimu Harris and the whole shebang will be MC’d by Nick Fox. All for a $5 cover – you can’t beat that. Here’s the poster for the details:

Yeah, You Write 2014

I hope you enjoyed this attempt of mine to keep up with this phenoms. Moreso, I hope that you check out the links and come by Yeah, You Write on Friday. I can’t promise that I’ll be better at keeping up with these folks, but I can guarantee that they’ll be doing amazing things in the coming months.

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Filed under book news, bragging on, Friends

For the Love of Brag

These bragging on posts just might be coming more frequently because the folks I know are certainly not slowing down their achievements. While I wait to post one brag, most of these folks double-up with a second achievement. I just have to keep up!

Since last I bragged:

One of my 225 Magazine editors (and long-time friend and co-conspirator), Jeff Roedel, has a new(ish) Tumblr blog.

Terri Shrum Stoor’s essay “Bird Dog” has been published by Quarterly West as the nonfiction winner of their Writers@Work contest.

Tad Bartlett wears many hats (among them, Oxford American columnist), yet still manages to update regularly about the achievements and events of Peauxdunque members and Friends of Peauxdunque.

Among them is the news that the first season of Denise Moore’s Neutral Grounds is available now on YouTube.

Maureen Foley wrote a great blog post about motherhood and creativity, about her soon-to-be-born book.

Her husband James Claffey’s book of short fiction, blood a cold blue, will be published by Press53 in the fall. He also has stories published at: Matterpress, The Nervous Breakdown, the Molotov Cocktail, Bartleby Snopes and Pithead Chapel.

Following up a fantastic Tulane reading, Ben Morris wrote a hysterical essay for The Oxford American about his experience krewing this recent Mardi Gras.

Nick Fox has a great series of blog posts about his recent travels in South America.

Ronlyn signing a ton of books and hiding bookmarks inside!

Ronlyn Domingue recently promoted her new novel The Mapmaker’s War at Garden District Books. She gave out bookmarks that she made with Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress, who created the illustrations in the book. The bookmarks are signed and numbered and I was lucky enough to get #1 of the set, which happens to be my favorite illustration! I think this is a unique way to celebrate the publication of the book. Yes, I’m a fangirl, of Ronlyn and Kathryn and letterpress art.

 

Passages North has published Karin C. Davidson‘s Waasmode Prize-winning story “We Are Here Because of a Horse.” Karin has also started a new interview series with Newfound Journal’s Hothouse. The first interview is with Yolanda J. Franklin. The second interview will be with Andrew Lam.

Andrew Lam judged the prize that I won last year. He has a new book of stories out called Birds of Paradise Lost and has been touring extensively. You can hear Flashpoints Daily Newsmag’s interview with him while you’re waiting for Karin’s interview.

Eritria Pitts performed a one-woman show on Valentine’s Day and recently performed again during a RAW Artists event. Also exhibiting at the event was Alex Harvie, another old(school) LSU friend of mine (one of his gorgeous paintings graced the cover of the issue of Delta Undergraduate Journal I edited). The Honorable South performed and there were so many talented artists there, filling Eiffel Society with their raw energy (see what I did there, hmm?). Helen went with me to the event and I took a great photo of her and Eritria together.

Helen Krieger and Eritria Pitts at Eiffel Society

Helen Krieger and Eritria Pitts at Eiffel Society

Speaking of Helen Krieger, there’s going to be an encore screening of Flood Streets at Buffa’s March 31st, at 6:30 p.m.

Harold Ellis Clark (Hal of WYLD’s Sunday Journal) was celebrated in NYC as one of two finalists for the 2013 Stanley Drama Award for his play Tour Detour.

Maurice Ruffin has three upcoming readings in the next week. The first is tonight, UNO’S Gold Room starting at 7:30 p.m. at Handsome Willy’s and will include other UNO MFA students. The third one is next Thursday at 8 p.m., the 17 Poets series at Gold Mine Saloon. The middle reading is part of the Tennessee Williams Festival, which started yesterday. Maurice and other members of the Melanated Writers Collective will read tomorrow night at the Literary Jook Joint, 8 p.m. at the M. Francis Gallery.

Speaking of the Tennessee Williams Festival, I’m super excited about the speakers and panels this year, all of which look excellent. A few of my mentors and friends will be appearing, including Moira Crone, Ava Haymon and Susan Larson.

My newest 225 piece is up, a story about John Biguenet’s Rising Water play cycle being performed in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans this month. There’s a Tennessee Williams Fest connection here, too, because the New Orleans play, Mold, premiered this week at Southern Rep as part of the festival. The play will continue through April 14th. I’m looking forward to seeing it this weekend.

I really owe all of these people, all of my friends and mentors, a huge debt of gratitude. They actively make it difficult not to strive for excellence in what I do, because they are constantly achieving and succeeding and working.

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Filed under book news, bragging on, freelance work, Friends, movies, New Orleans, New Orleans Film Industry, pop culture

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’ve been invited to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, where writers answer 10 questions about their current project and then tag at least 5 other writers, as well as the writer who tagged them. There have been several rounds of this and recently, I was tagged by Karin C. Davidson. We’ve become friends through our work together for Narrative Magazine and I was excited to find out about her novel-in-stories. The blog hop, started by SheWrites, is one I’m glad to be a part of, since it gives writers a chance to talk about their projects and then highlight other writers they know and their projects. It has bragging on built into the process, so of course I dig it.

With no further ado, Emilie answers The Ten Questions:

What is the working title of your book? Tango Face: How I Became a Dancer and Became Myself

Where did the idea come from for the book? I’ve always loved to dance, but never had any official training until I started to learn tango in 2011. Pretty quickly, the lessons I learned in tango began to illuminate long-standing relationships and aspects of my personality, teaching me a lot about the person I had been and the person I wanted to be.

What genre does your book fall under? Narrative memoir, a coming-of-age story.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie/tv rendition? I would choose actors who loved the story and had the ability to dance or learn to dance. I like the idea of the movie/tv characters being very different from me and the other real people I’m writing about.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A woman discovers who she has been and becomes who she is meant to be by learning how to tango.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I will soon seek representation.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I’m currently writing the first draft. I started out the year with the ambition of using Ann Patchett’s 32 days of writing resolution that Jamey has employed for several years. The writing has involved a lot of delving into the past. I wrote a few short chapters over the last year, one of which won the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition in the essay category.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The recipe for Tango Face is pretty much Wild meets What I Talk About When I Talk About Running with liberal dashes of How to Be a Woman and Eat, Pray, Love plus a some of my own special ingredients.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? All of the people who have danced with me, as well as the people who haven’t. Also, the person I have become because of these experiences.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? You might learn a thing or two about tango and dance communities, but I consider my book to be about the transformative
qualities of passion and it will be accessible to people who might not initially think to read a woman’s memoir about learning to tango. I think the places I go will surprise most readers. I’ve certainly found myself surprised by the process.Now for the links! The bragging on begins:

I was tagged by Karin C. Davidson, who is writing a novel-in-stories called Sybelia Drive, and with whom I read submissions over at Narrative Magazine. Check out Jamey’s answers here from when she did the Blog Hop.

Additionally, James Claffey, Ashley Berthelot of The Continental Cajuns, Helen Krieger of The Hatchery Media, Nick Fox and some of the writers of Shortbread Stories be answering these 10 Questions about their projects and stories over the next several weeks. Click on the links now to check out their blogs and check back later for their answers.

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NaNoWriMo 2012 Day 4

Day 4 was a monster word day! Nick Fox is visiting with his girlfriend Corinne, so I met them early at Sound Cafe for a writing session. I’ve never been there before and loved it immediately. It’s cozy and has a little bookshop and just all around awesome. Even though Nick’s not doing NaNoWriMo, I suggested that we word war and Nick raised the stakes by suggesting an hour-long war.

I was handwriting in my notebook, Nick was typing and Corinne was reading. The hour just flew by. Nick did a little over a 1,000 words and after typing up my words this evening, I discovered that I wrote 1,006 words in that first hour-long session.

Near the end, Jessica joined us and dived in for the last twenty minutes of the war. Almost immediately after the hour ended, a rainstorm hi suddenly. The temperature dropped 15 degrees in like 5 minutes. The shop employees and the customers closed the many doors and almost all of the windows and suddenly, it was truly cozy. The perfect place to huddle for an afternoon of writing.

So we went into a second hour-long war and Nick’s friend Andy joined us. My word count from that second session is 1,122.

Afterwards, Andy packed up and headed out. The rest of us refreshed our drinks, stretched, made phone calls and took bathroom breaks. Then, started all over again for a third hour-long word war. This time, my count was 1,200!

I don’t know if we could’ve done any more marathon sessions, so we all packed up. Jessica had stuff to do. Nick, Corinne and I set off for The Joint, but it was closed. We decided to go to Fatoush Restaurant in The Healing Center because I remembered them having the best lamb I’ve ever tasted. The food was amazing, the company was awesome and we were riding high from our huge word counts.

The rest of the day, for me, was errands and watching two movies at home while typing up my words and catching up with a few things.

Total Day 4word count: 3,328

Total word count (so far): 9,557

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‘Tis the Bragging Season

This bragging posts follows up on a few items mentioned in my last bragging post – Bragging on the River.

First, I really should brag on the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. We put on a stellar first event in our new series of literary concerts, Yeah, You Write. It was an unforgettable evening, made even more so by the participation of our exceptional performers (Amanda Boyden, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Smith, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, Terri Stoor), as well as MC Nick Fox, DJ Sep and Lee Ware from Faulkner House Books. We’ve begun work on the next event in the series.

I’d like to brag on the folks at the State Library of Louisiana, who orchestrated yet another fabulous Book Festival. My only complaint is that I hope we’ll finally get a 2-day festival because there were too many incredible authors and events competing for my attention at the same time! They always pick the one day of the year guaranteed to be beautiful in Louisiana. I don’t know how it works out that way every year, but it’s always a good time to visit Baton Rouge.

Two weeks after the Louisiana Book Festival, Words & Music went down and one of the biggest highlights for me was the Awards Banquet on Friday. For someone like me, who lives to brag on my friends, the banquet was a feast of bragging. So many of our number were recognized, as well as new friends, and it was really thrilling and inspirational. But Rosemary and Joe of Faulkner House Books deserve a grand brag for all of their work on the conference, which is always an amazing experience and a lot of fun.

Flood Streets (a feature film by Peauxdunquian Helen Krieger and her husband Joseph Meissner) had an encore screening at the New Orleans Film Festival in October and they’re now offering gift packages to raise money for the next round of their festival tour. They’ve almost reached their goal – less than $500 to go!

I think Maurice Ruffin has made it a personal goal to be bragged about in all of my “bragging on” posts because he has yet another bit of publication news. His short short story “Mr. Face” will be published in Stephen F. Austin University’s Regarding Arts and Letters Magazine in April 2012.

Christopher Shipman‘s book of poetry Human-Carrying Flight Technology was published last month by BlazeVOX.

Hal Clark (also known as Harold Ellis Clark) of WYLD’s Sunday Journal has been named a semi-finalist in Organization of Black Screenwriters‘ 2011 Original Script Contest for his feature script, Chummy’s Spirit.

Ronlyn Domingue has signed a 2-book deal with Atria Books, the publisher of her first novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, for The Mapmaker’s War (Spring 2013) and Lead Us Whole, Beautiful Child (Spring 2014). Ronlyn’s been working hard on these two interconnected novels for the past five years and they’re highly anticipated!

DaVida Chanel‘s play Hip Hop Is Alive was performed last month at the New Orleans Fringe Fest.

Long-distance Peauxdunquian (while she’s studying writing at Johns Hopkins, that is) Joselyn Takacs is a finalist in Narrative’s 30Below Fiction Contest for her short story “Flares of Little Warning.”

Congrats to everybody and may the rest of the year be filled with good news to brag about!

 

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Filed under books, bragging on, movies, New Orleans

Peauxdunque Writers Alliance Presents Yeah, You Write

In 2007, a group of writers came together under the auspices of the Faulkner Society and the Words and Music Conference and formed Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. The crazy name came about because each and every one of the writers felt like they’d arrived in New Orleans from their own private podunks.

And now, the PWA has created a series of literary concerts called “Yeah, You Write.” The first event takes place at Tipitina’s on Thursday, October 13th at 7:30 p.m. Six writers will grace us with their words and the event will be emcee’d by writer/poet/MC/tour guide Nick Fox and followed by the dance visions of D.J. Sep. All for only a $5 cover.

Come hear Mat Johnson (author of “Pym,” winner of the Dos Passos Prize for Literature), Kelly Harris-DeBerry (local poet and literary activist, and founder of the Literary Lab), Amanda Boyden (author most recently of “Babylon Rolling”), Bill Loehfelm (past Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner, author most recently of “The Devil She Knows”), Gian Smith (spoken word artist, author of “O Beautiful Storm,” featured in Treme Season 2 trailer), and Terri Stoor (PWA member and winner of the 2011 William Faulkner-William Wisdom short story competition).

These are the words of our time, our city, our region, and our Peauxdunque. We hope to see you there!!

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October 3, 2011 · 5:59 pm

Going to Bragtown

This is a double decker brag post as the clever people in my life are succeeding left and right. Let’s dive right in.

Flood Streets, the film created by my friend Helen Krieger and her husband Joseph Meissner, will premiere at WorldFest Houston on April 11th and is also showing at the Boston International Film Festival April 23rd. Helen just had a signing event for her book In the Land of What Now, which inspired the film.

Lindsay Rae Spurlock just had several shows during SXSW and is performing regularly now in L.A., supporting her CD Heart On.

Zack Godshall just the Louisiana premiere of his film Lord Byron at the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge. I loved reading this:

Made in Lafayette for less than $1000, the film features the first all-Louisiana cast and crew film to go to the Sundance Film Festival.

Q & A to follow, so stick around to hear from Zack and some of his talented cast spill the beans on how they pulled off this no-budget film right here in Louisiana! And what it was like to bring to Sundance the lowest budget film in the festival’s history.

Barb Johnson will be reading April 12th at 7 p.m. as part of Loyola’s 1718 Reading Series at the Columns on St. Charles. If you’ve never seen her read, you really shouldn’t pass up this opportunity. And if you have seen her before, it’ll be a great time to catch up with her. 🙂

Maurice Ruffin just had his short short “Zimmerman” published on the Gold Room reading series’s website and his story “The Sparer” is a finalist in the Country Roads Writing Contest. During the month of April, all of the finalists’s stories are up and we can vote for the winner of the Reader’s Choice Award. I hope you’ll go read them all and vote for your favorite. My favorite is “The Sparer.” 🙂

Terri Stoor has a funny, touching piece published with the St. Petersburg Times. It’s on their website, so you can read it in its entirety. I heard her read it recently, which was a special treat.

While I was writing this, Nick Fox gave me the great news that a story of his has been accepted for publication by Third Coast.

And my latest 225 piece is about writer’s block. I got to talk to some of my amazing writer friends for this and what they had to say is incredible. Check it out. Unfortunately, we had to cut some great quotes from Brian P. Moore and Jamey Hatley because of space. I want to include a bit of what they said below. Enjoy.

Brian, who writes for the New York Post, told me:

It’s my guess that the despairing totality of, say, Dashiell Hammett’s paralysis is a rare bird. Most writer’s block is case specific, and with some time away can be tackled with minimal angina. Writer’s block isn’t something to be confronted so much as elided, which should suit the non-confrontational personalities of most writers. If I can’t get a character out of a room in my novel, there’s always a newspaper story to work on. It’s a reverse whac-a-mole approach, where the mole is free to roam without fear of head wounds.

And Jamey said:

When I think of writer’s block, I mean that something isn’t working. I remember reading an interview with Toni Morrison where she said, ‘You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.’ So, being blocked for me is crucial information. When the writing is stalled, when I can’t get the right words, there’s usually something that I haven’t figured out yet that I need to know.  This is not to say that I am gracious during the waiting process. I whine, I complain. I draw dramatic red lines through pages of text. I have never regretted waiting out the block. The rewards have always been worth it.

 

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Saved by Mormons and bragging on Nick

I thought I had all time in the world, leaving work a little “early” so that I could swing by the house and spruce up for The Dirty Parts at Allways Lounge, which it seemed everybody and their mother was attending. It was a chance to catch up with a lot of folks all at once.

But when I got home, I couldn’t find a single safe and legal place to park. This is becoming more and more of an issue as they’ve extended the times people have to pay to park on Magazine, which means more people park on my street to avoid paying. A lot of people say, “You live right next to several popular bars – you had to know what you were getting into when you moved there.” But it’s not just the bar traffic during the night, it’s all the Ladies Who Lunch shopping at all the upscale boutiques during the day as well. Quite frustrating. So much so that I found myself trying to parallel park on an extremely narrow (yet still two-way) section of Camp Street. The curb had an extreme drop off, but I thought I could do it if I eased off the curb slowly. It would’ve worked if there hadn’t been a bricked-in flower box or something right there which I didn’t see. My back wheel got caught on it and I could neither drive back up the curb or reverse over the flower box. I was well and truly stuck. Meanwhile, there was extremely dangerous traffic trying to go around me in both directions with barely enough clearance for one car. No one stopped to help me, they just did their best to get around me. Ah, New Orleans. But that’s not the city I love. In my city, people generally see each other and do their very best to help each other. Not tonight.

I’ve said it several times. This is a hard city to live in, one of the hardest I’ve ever known or heard of. Luckily for me, just when you feel like the city has taken everything it possibly can and you have nothing left, something incredibly and entirely unique to New Orleans comes along and rescues you. You realize you can never live anywhere else.

This night, two young Mormon elders walked by and saw my distress. It could have been the beginning of a joke, it was so random and unlikely. And yes, funny, because they were dressed in suits and were the only ones who stopped to help me. But I was so touched that they knelt down in those suits, in the dark of narrow Camp Street and heaved me out of my jam. They were so respectful and so quietly competent. So, once I was saved, when one of them asked me if they could give me a card, I said heartily, “Yes, please!” It was the least I could do for all that they did, as I might’ve ordinarily hugged any other helper, but couldn’t, of course, hug them.

Saved by Mormons is a strange way to begin a night that ends up at a show called The Dirty Parts at the Allways Lounge. And that’s New Orleans, for you, that dichotomy. It was a reading by Tony O’Neill and included performances by Ratty Scurvics, Oops the Clown, Trixie Minx, Bella Blue and J. Lloyd Miller, as well. A few members of Peauxdunque were there, as well as my filmmaker friend Helen Krieger and Lee Ware dressed as a cigarette girl and hawking Tony’s books. And guess who was the Master of all these Ceremonies? Our own Nick Fox.

In his newest newsletter, I’d read:

…I decided that if I’m going to be an emcee, I need to look the part. So I went to Soul Train Fashions up on Chef Mentaur Highway and bought three pinstripe suits (one brown, one blue, one burgundy), two pairs of two-tone shoes, three shirts, three ties, and a pair of suspenders. I even went to Meyer the Hatter and got me a brand new hat. I’ve never spent that much on clothing in my life. But it felt good. It’s an investment in something I want to do.

He was wearing the burgundy suit and definitely looked the part. I was sitting next to Tony O’Neill while he was signing one of his books for me when Nick got up and performed a particularly profound and pleasing bit of poetry. Tony said to me, “He’s a genius.” Ain’t that something? 🙂

It’s good to see your friends shine.

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Brag, baby, brag

Bragging on my friends and colleagues is my favorite thing to do! The awesome people in my life give me no shortage of opportunity to brag on them, either. Check it out!

I was so excited to hear that my friend (and former professor) Mari Kornhauser was tapped by Treme – the first female writer hired for the show. As good as the show is, man do they need her! My favorite quote from the article linked to above is this, which just exemplifies Mari:

“At the end of the meal, Overmyer asked Kornhauser, who has professional experience in feature filmmaking, what she thought about writing for television.

“I asked him, ‘Do you mean for your show?'” Kornhauser said. “When he said yes, I responded ‘Hell yeah. Who wouldn’t?'”

What she will add to the show goes far above and beyond the previously missing feminine touch. She’s a phenomenal writer and teacher and Treme is lucky and smart to have her on their team. I was already excited for the second season of Treme since it was an amazing experience to watch season one with friends at local bars and because Dave does some work for them. But now, I’m doubly – no, triply – invested in the show.

My friend Susan Broussard wrote a piece for the September/October issue of Belle Armoire about a purse that she and a friend made. Susan calls the purse a “sister” to one she made me. It looks almost identical, except for the beading. Check out these pictures I took of the article inside the magazine.

Maurice is going to be in a play on Sunday! He’s been rehearsing for it and I just got the invitation. Here are the deets:

You are invited to a reading of a new play by Robert Landy at Audubon Zoo’s Dominion Learning Center Auditorium  Sunday, October 17 at 2 p.m.
“Letters from Sing Sing” is about an extraordinary relationship between Michael, an incarcerated felon, an African-American man from the Jim Crow south of the 1950’s and Julia, a Caucasian woman, 30 years his elder, a volunteer teacher at Sing Sing, a philanthropist and prison re form advocate. Inspired by actual letters exchanged over a seven year period, the play delves deeply into the realities of crime and punishment and the redemptive qualities of relationship and love. Robert J. Landy, playwright, is a Professor of Educational Theatre and Applied Psychology, as well as the director of the Drama Therapy Program, at New York University. “Letters from Sing Sing” originated in his work in the prisons. Co-directed by Linda Cook, local arts educator/actress/drama therapist in CT and RI prisons, and Dr. Donald Brady, award-winning playwright/actor/director/social activist and Professor Emeritus from Loyola University, the play features Linda Cook as Julia and Maurice Ruffin, an award-winning writer and local attorney active in social justice causes, as Michael. This is a work-in-progress and constructive, critical feedback is invited. Following the reading, there will be an audience discussion with the playwright and a reception. Admission is free.

Speaking of Maurice, this is a two-fer on the brag front because I just got word that his story The Pie Man was the first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom short story category. The news hasn’t been added to the winners/finalists page yet, but will likely be updated soon. Congratulations, Maurice and everyone who was recognized in the course of the contest.

And in Nick Fox news, he has finally taken advantage of the newest technology in news/information/opinion dissemination and started a blog. So all of you stalkers-of-the-Fox can bookmark this link for your fix. I’m sure I’ll still brag on him on occasion. 🙂

My newest 225 piece is up on the website, a review of the book Treasures of LSU, which catalogues a grand multi-location celebration of LSU’s 150 anniversary by highlighting its treasures and history. This one made me really nostalgic for my time at LSU and I made a lot of incredible discoveries. One thing I realized was that I’d never actually seen the inside of the Old State Capitol Building and, as a result, I checked it out yesterday with some friends while I was in Baton Rouge. It’s a great book, so check it out.

I think that’s it, for the moment. But, knowing the incredible people in my life, it won’t be long till there’s more to brag on, so never fear. 🙂

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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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