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Author Updates

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back from Saints and Sinners Lit Festival in New Orleans. First visit to New Orleans. Went with plans to visit Katrina devastation, but ran out of time. In fact, left town a day ahead of schedule without finishing workshops and readings owing to family health crises. Multiple hospitalizations for heart problems. Given situation, must remember to make appointment for EKG, whatever that means.

Found French Quarter interesting but depressing with drunken tourists staggering around clutching giant alcoholic drinks in glasses shaped like bongs. Silly T-shirts abound and faint odor of vomit wafts down Bourbon Street at dawn. Repeatedly warned of crime and advised against walking at night alone. Even so, intense humidity and smell of rot add glamorous haze to seedy streets. Rotting buildings and crumbling plaster make it all lurid and beautiful. Thanks to literary representations, almost every street corner iconic. Reminded repeatedly of Nancy Lemannís Lives of the Saints, favorite New Orleans novel and one of my favorites in general. Repetitious and hilarious and prose so fever-dreamy it makes you ache.

Reminded, too, of B, former student from New Orleans who committed suicide two years after Katrina, on anniversary of fatherís suicide. Talented, disturbed writer. Kept spotting places from his stories and eccentric types I assumed he had made up. Alligator collectors and drag queens and sloppy antique dealers wielding guns. All there. Longed to call him up and discuss his work again.

Streetcar ride, Garden District, cafť au lait, and man with blood running down his face strolling slowly along promenade overlooking Mississippi at midnight. Strip joint, of course.

Returned home to deal with multiple hospitalizations and filial duties. Energized by family health crises and have been on Major Cleaning Binge since. Symbolic nature of cleaning binge all too obvious. After several ER visits, longed to be back in New Orleans, this time clutching bong-shaped drink of something chartreuse and frozen.

Posted by Stephen @ 11:59 PM EST

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