Tag Archives: Readers and Writers

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.

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

Some bragging on and some poetry

This is an extra cool bragging on post, for me, for a couple of different reasons. First, it involves two of my mentors and former bosses. I was lucky enough to see earlier versions of both of the works while they were still evolving. And both of them are poets and taught me a lot about poetry, at a time (like I mentioned in my last post) when poetry was a larger part of my life.

I receive a Christmas card from Ava Leavell Haymon every year. Not just any Christmas card, but a card with one of Ava’s poems and some artwork behind it. She works really hard on them, as I know firsthand since I worked for her. I didn’t get one this year. 😦 Or, I thought I didn’t. A few days ago, I opened up a belated Christmas card from Ava and her husband Cordell. On the back, they’d jokingly had printed:

Happy Holidays

Happy New Year

Happy Groundhog Day

All the best wishes, all the time-Cordell and Ava

It made me laugh. But even better than the sweet joke was the fine print beneath it informing me that her newest book of poetry is out at the end of the month from LSU Press. Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread was a manuscript when I was working for Ava and it contained some of my favorites of her poetry. It’s a rumination on the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, focusing on Gretel’s perspective. I always suspected Ava was a bit influenced by Russia’s Baba Yaga tales as well, but that could’ve been because I was studying them in my Russian fairy tales class at around the same time. The poems captured my imagination and I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished book. The first book event is at the Baton Rouge Gallery on February 28th.

I was an undergraduate when Jim Wilcox, concerned because I was working nights at a hotel and going to classes during the day, said, “You know, David Madden is looking for a new assistant.” So, I was introduced to David and got the gig and…worked two jobs in addition to going to classes. I kinda loved my night job at the hotel. I got so much reading and studying done! I continued to work for and with David for years. When I tried to quit as his assistant to focus on graduate school, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse–partnership in his literary agency, which I had been working on in addition to other duties. So then David and I were partners for a few years and because of that experience, I got to see books like Mary Manhein’s Trail of Bones, Richard White’s Kingfish and David’s own Thomas Wolfe’s Civil War and A Primer of the Novel go from manuscripts to published books I was proud of participating it.

David’s newest book, Abducted By Circumstance, is particularly special to me because I was still working for him when he wrote the first version of  “Abducted By Circumstances.” That version has traveled a far distance to become his new novel – not just as indicated by the setting, which is now the Thousand Islands of New York, but thematically and stylistically as well. David says I was the first person to read that first short piece and I clearly remember letting myself into his house one day for work and he, consumed with creative energy, asked me to take a seat, then read me what he’d been working on. Seeing now that it’ll soon be published, I feel like I’m witnessing the full arch of something profound. David always inspires me.

The cover and plot details aren’t available on Amazon.com, but I found the cover and blurbs on an interesting blog and you can read the plot details and pre-order by clicking the link in the above paragraph for the University of Tennessee Press.

[3.4.10 Update: David asked me to post this response on his behalf – “I imagine I know most of the folks Emilie knows, so I am glad to be in touch and to say that I hope to see each of you by and by, in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, on my front porch knocking at my door in Black Mountain, maybe Denver in a few weeks for AWP, and/or somewhere in the literary world or the firmament above. Fondly remembering, David.” He promised to send London Bridge info soon. Also, if you want to read a summary of David’s work and career that I wrote a few years ago, check out the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture – Vol. 9 Literature.]

While I was writing this, I got an email that Clarence will appear with Ethan Dilsdorf next month as part of the Readers & Writers series, for their 25th anniversary. March 21st at 8:30 p.m. on the LSU campus.

And now, I’ll leave you with a poem, as promised. I did, in fact, get a book of Lucille Clifton’s poetry from the library, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000. Just before I sat down to write this, I read a few poems, like savoring bon-bons before my work and I was gobsmacked by this one.

why some people be mad at me sometimes
they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and i keep on remembering
mine

[A 2.25.10 P.S./Update: I have now officially hit two new superlative records with the blog’s traffic. Yesterday was my busiest traffic day so far, significantly beating out the previous busiest day, which already made me happy. And, in just the first two months of this year, the blog has already had more traffic than the last 6 months of last year combined. While it might seem like I’m bragging on myself here, I’d actually like to take a moment to thank YOU for helping to grow my blog, for being somewhat interested in what I have to say. I hope to see lots more busiest days and personal records with your help. Thank you for reading.]

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Filed under book news, bragging on, poetry