Saturday, March 28, 2009

strawberry napoleons, mint juleps and recipes that work

We spent the last 3 days listening to rain coming in waves along with a lot of lightning and rolling thunder. Most came at night near daybreak and probably meant a lot of less than regular sleep patterns here.
In the Quarter, I hear the rain on the top of the Persian palms in my courtyard and with the old style gutter action, the rain moves quickly towards the street. But even with the efficient and shielded space, I awoke every night and so spent more time reading and writing and even turning the tv on one night to watch WDSU's weather lady Margaret Orr, who is not at her best at 4 am.
So, I have read a few more books that usual and have updated my GoodReads page and will have more soon.
On the subject of books, I am about to embark on a viral marketing campaign for the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook so we can spread the word about the book Poppy Tooker wrote and says about "It'll make you cry without the onions." A great story is finally recorded in her pages with 125 recipes that work too.

And, related to local books: this Friday kicked off my favorite festival in the area. Tennessee Williams Literary Festival is fun because it has mint juleps, local writers, nationally known writers, publishing figures and the Stellaaaaaa shouting contest to close it off. Saw 3 great workshops today, one on Flannery O' Connor, another on Southern Gothic, third on publishing. Second set of panelists agreed that Southern Grotesque was a better description and the best quote from this was "the difference between Gothic (Hawthorne, Melville) and Southern Grotesque is the addition of poverty and isolation". Or SG described as fables with "excruciating characters".

O'Connor panel, best quotes and comments:

"she spent her later life on family dairy farm in town that was home to the world's largest insane asylum."
"She believed in being Christ haunted."
as for biographies of her: "none will be written because lives spent between the house and the chicken yard do not make for good copy."
She was filmed by Pathe Films at age 5 teaching her chickens to walk backward.
Had 39 peacocks at one time and sometimes reported they all opened their plumage at once.
Said celebrity made her feel like "a cross between Roy Rogers horse and Miss Watermelon 1955."
She remains relevant because although a traditional Southerner, she was acutely aware of modern life. She was offended by the comfortable quality of modern life and wanted to shake us with shock and irony.
Best not to be at ease in this life, but to move to a state of grace for the next (as a Catholic)

Perversely said "Southern was just an accent in her work."

as a teenage, father died of lupus (as she would) and wrote in her journal about his death:
the reality of death...has broken our complacency like a bullet in the side."

She remained committed to the idea that violence recalibrates modern people like nothing else.

A friend said of her "she was looking down the barrel of the misfit's gun herself."

as for publishers and books panels, these things were best:
author Bev Marshall as moderator, fun.
Muriel's upstairs room, because you have to go up the stairs with the spectral sound of music piped in only on the stairs and the chairs were comfortable, unlike the Bourbon Orleans ballroom from earlier in the day.

agent Liza Dawson: "any day I get an offer (for one of her authors) is a good day"

editor Dan Menecker: "it's all a crapshoot. It's not a rational decision. If I read it and I like it, I'll buy it."

2 out of 3 books fail financially.

Do your research on your genre in bookstore and online. Spend time yourself figuring out how and who to sell your book, not just the publishing house's responsibility.

More time on internet, less time on tour.

On the way home from the festival, it seemed appropriate to buy a strawberry napoleon at Croissant D'or. And tomorrow, we'll see Poppy, Sara and Elsa talk about food in New Orleans, and watch the prelims of the shouting contest.

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