Been away for a while, mostly working on stories and writing for the dark side of The Persistence of Vision, The Paradox of Vision. It's an election year, and I am mightily fired up.

I wanted to pass all of this along however - an article from the Times Picayune about upcoming book releases from Louisiana authors. I want to check out lots of these in the coming months, as it seems our artists are acting in some ways as a cultural release valve for all the destruction and sadness my beloved home has experienced over the last few years. It's cathartic to read stories (even fictional ones) that deal with the hurricanes of 2005. It makes us more of a community.

On an utterly different note, the book I'm currently hashing out has lots of elements of Magical Realism. I've always been utterly enchanted by the genre (no pun intended), because for me, that is what life feels like. Every day things happen to us for which there is no easy explanation, and while we could probably discover the cold, hard truth of reality around us, how much more entertaining and fun is it to imagine, just on the edges of our rational minds, that magic is real, and that one day it just might really rain cats and dogs. Of course, what makes it so enjoyable to read is that the characters take the intrusion of the extraordinary into their lives as utterly ordinary, so much so that they are often more annoyed by its presence than anything. I may be flabbergasted, but they aren't surprised in the least.

Latin artists and authors seem to have a particular gift for it. I'm thinking Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali in the visual arts. In literature, I love Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and of course my favorite poet of all time, Pablo Neruda.
A recent example in film that I loved was the beautiful and exquisite Pan's Labrynth, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Their vision appeals to the spirit in me that sees the world through a child's unclouded eye. If you haven't before, check it out.

21 February 2008

Most Sincerely Yours, E.A. Poe

I've always been fascinated with Poe. He first caught my attention when I was a young girl, probably not much older than his wife, Virginia. Strange, I love his writing, but I have always been more interested in how his choice of topics and genre were influenced by his life and nature. I wondered, endlessly, about the man who married his 13-year old cousin, but presumably became so devoted to her that he never recovered from her death. What pieces of his childhood were infused and entwined in his stories and poetry - his adoptive parents' disappointments in him, or perhaps his own uncertainty and rebellious nature?

I especially loved, of all his works, the poem "Annabel Lee", which describes the longing and remembering after the loss of a dear and fragile love. Every time I read it, I can feel his broken heart in every word, and almost see his eyes turn another shade darker while he drank to numb his soul. And yet I also think about the fact that, despite everything, he (more or less) made a living and a career out of the events that had shaped him, changing it all yet again into stories to send shivers down the backs of the common men and women who read them.

It is said that he had skill in cryptography, and that this interest led him to write the first detective stories, solve puzzles for the readers of his magazine, and invent codes to amuse his subscribers. It is said that he drank himself to death. It is said that he was mad with grief, and it is said that he was just plain mad. In any case, I can't help but wonder each time I think of him what his art would have reflected had he lived an ordinary life, full of success, ambition, and happy memories. Do we bring the sadness upon ourselves, or do we simply utilize what we need to create our art? Perhaps someday I will ask that Raven.

I started a new story a few days ago, a story in the style of Mr. E.A. I began to write it, or more appropriately, it began to write itself, on a dark and gloomy mid-winter day when I was totally alone in the house, and felt totally alone in the world. I hope he would have liked it. Or, at least, have understood why I had to write it.

Most Sincerely Yours,

02 February 2008

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