Looking forward to 2015... Happy holidays from the festive aguave!
I love cafes in both Paris & Prague, and while they do share some historical similarities, they're also different in one crucial factor: Prague has a heritage of Austro-Hungarian style coffeehouses, which for me really just means one thing: cake with whipped cream. Now, I have a great love for poppy-seed cake, but there are also good arguments to be made for chocolate Sacher torte (which is Viennese but turns up in most Prague cafes)...
Featuring my knighthood nominations for March 2014:
New Orleans has a generous historical list of sirens, suffragettes, and superheroines—women I’m going to generally refer to as dames, because a dame is a women with determination—and also the female equivalent of a knighthood. And these women are DAMES. I’m spending the month of March in New Orleans and in honour of Women’s History Month, I’m nominating 31 historical women for personal knighthoods. Each of these women from history spent time in New Orleans over the past few centuries.
Every day, I’ll add an inspiring woman that I’ve come across in my reading—some well-known, some lesser-known, but each one a crucial contributor to the New Orleans of today. I’ll include a quote when possible, a link to more information about each NOLA dame’s life, and an address in New Orleans to commemorate her.
March 1: 1st LA pharmacist: Sister Francis Xavier Hebert, 1727, establishes medical herb garden at Royal Hospital (Ursuline Convent) Visit this site for more info about Sister Francis Xavier & for photos of today's herb garden.
March 2: Former African slave Justine Fervin Couvent founds 1st school for orphans of Free People of Colour 1832. More about Mme Couvent here; The Last Will and Testament of La Veuve Couvent states: “I wish and ordain that my land at the corner of Grands Hommes (now Dauphine) and Union (now Touro) streets will be forever dedicated and employed for the establishment of a free school for the orphans of color of the Faubourg Marigny”.
March 3: Journalist & suffragette Elizabeth Lyle Saxon petitions the 1879 LA Constitutional Convention for women’s right to vote. 100 yrs ago today, women marched on Washington for the Right to Vote. More here
March 4: 1876: journalist & SPCA advocate Eliza Jane Nicholson (pseud Pearl Rivers) named 1st woman daily news publisher in US. Nicholson inherits a nearly-bankrupt New Orleans Picayune and turns it into a successful dynamic newspaper with new features such as special Carnival/Mardi Gras coverage. In 1884, Nicholson becomes president of the Women’s National Press Association. More about Miss Eliza Jane here
March 5: “I will fight for my country but I will not lie for her.” – Zora Neale Hurston, Florida writer & NOLA Voodoo ethnographer While researching Mules and Men (her fantastic book of folktales and Hoodoo investigation), ZNH lived for a little while at 2744 Amelia Street, New Orleans & later at 7 Bellevue Court in Algiers.
The ebook for RATS OF LAS VEGAS is now out in the world, available here, and I am thrilled to bits about it. Take a look! Admire! Download!
What's especially exciting about this ebook is that now my character Millard can meet new people. Her story can be read on airplanes and trains and on dark submarines when you have insomnia.
I am still very attached to the real-world hardcover version of the book created by Enfield & Wizenty--you can visit its web home here. Sometimes the real-world hardcover is better, y'know...because it remains difficult to loan an ebook to a friend. It is difficult to say "oh i have to read you this paragraph, here i dog-eared the page" because no, you have to turn on the device & find the note you left and locate it in the pageless wonder-scroll that is the ebook & the romance is just, honestly, not the same. You cannot leave a number of books open to be admired just as wonderful encouraging objects, if they exist only as ebooks. And (perhaps most dire of all) reading the ebook in the bath is really not recommended.
So, my novel Rats of Las Vegas is about to become an eBook. It already has been an eBook for a brief period of time, but that version had roughly a gazillion typos & other issues, which should be resolved by the NEW IMPROVED eBook. (huge shout-out to Louis Maistros who helped me with this!)
But before I open the champagne, I want to be honest here: I find eBooks weird...
Talking about my work-in-progress terrifies me. But it is probably a good habit to confront such things before breakfast... and two writers I respect & love, Lauren B. Davis and Jennifer K. Dick, both tagged me with this—many thanks, you two. Now I owe ya. So...this is a questionnaire which has been circulating through writerly websites: ‘the questions are the same for everyone. The answers, they are not.”
I went to see LES MISERABLES. Yes, I know the movie has some historical 'foibles' but I love its creative choices. I think Victor Hugo might even approve of his novel's transition through musical theatre into film--he enjoyed using melodrama for effect.
When the June 1832 uprising began, Hugo was apparently in the Tuileries Garden. He heard gunfire coming from Les Halles. A firm supporter of revolutionary ideals--and no doubt curious to see news events first-hand--Hugo left the Jardins. It's possible to retrace part of his route...
i am incredibly honoured that my book, Any Bright Horse, is one of this year's nominees for the Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry.
The Governor General is Queen Elizabeth II's representative in Canada; the award dates back to 1937 and winners include Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, and Leonard Cohen. Needless to say, I'm pretty darn thrilled to be nominated.
Faulkner's birthday in the Crescent City: real mint juleps in traditional silver cups, a perfect sunset, and Napoleon's deathmask in the next room
(Of course, nothing in New Orleans is entirely what it seems, and this mask might actually be the face of Bony's friend who sometimes pretended to be the fallen emperor. It is accompanied by the emperor's handkerchief. which is somehow so much sadder, so fragile and starched and old, more tragically human than the overlarge paperweight of the deathmask.)
William Faulkner lived in this city for barely 16 months, but his relationship with the place was as formative as Hemingway's with Paris. He invented himself various times over--and routinely stole other people's stories to make his own life more interesting. And it was here that he really became a writer. He was often quiet, often dishonest, and often disreputable. Anita Loos (author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and one of my personal heroines) was introduced to him with the warning 'don't expect much of Bill, he has a silver plate in his head, you know.'
Faulkner did not have a plate in his head--this was just one of his many invented personas. He did drink rather a lot. And apparently his favourite cocktail was a mint julep. So that is what we raise in toast to his fabulous convoluted sentences and tremendous story-telling.