Thursday, August 26, 2010

I wasn't there. I was up north, where we lived at the time...but I knew how serious it was when I called friends who normally don't leave and they were on the road or preparing for it. It was going to be bad...and it was worse, in many ways, than any of us imagined.

To go back to my radio therapy, it hasn't all been wine and roses on WWOZ - an interview and reading from the organizer of a program on Katrina poetry to be held at Tulane this coming Sunday described one poet as having not been in the city around 8/29/2005 during the chaos of evacuation or hunkering down, but as having "vicariously" experienced it from a distance. Initially, I bristled at the connotations the V-word has taken on: many use "vicarious" these days to describe the pleasurable feeling they get from experiencing some things second-hand. I realize, only now, how much that applied to where I was and to how I felt in that first week - that, since I cared deeply, I didn't have a choice but to bear witness in my way to what was happening - even if I turned off the TV to avoid putting my fist through it concerning what it was showing, I had to help keep together our friends who were scattered all over, watching, waiting, tortured by uncertainty, grasping on to whatever could get them through such a terrible time.

Some took to the internet to put a voice to that state...

...and tonight, at Mimi's, you get to meet them and hear them in their own words, thanks to the release of A Howling In the Wires...which not only includes the work of many New Orleans bloggers but also the work of many local authors and poets.
This collection combines the vivid post-Katrina experiences captured by internet-based “bloggers” from New Orleans–individuals who don’t think of themselves as writers but who were writing powerfully in the months after 8-29–with the work of traditional writers. Some of those, like novelist Dedra Johnson and poet Robin Kemp, share their most immediate reactions from their own blogs. The book deliberately blurs the line between formats and focuses on cataloging some of the best-written and most powerful reactions of the people who experienced Katrina.

Editors Sam Jasper and Mark Folse are writers who turned to the Internet to chronicle their own experiences and reactions to Katrina and found in the months after 8-29 they were part of a larger community sharing the public and very private events of the period. The book will be published late August, 2010. A launch party and reading is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny.

I hope to see y'all there.


So I've still got Alaska on the brain, perhaps because I'm just trying to keep cool in all this hot weather we have down here. Nothing like the mental picture of a cold, crisp run in the Gulf of Alaska on a ferry to help with that...but I'm in the middle of The Thousand-Mile War right now and I'm very happy we didn't go all the way to the Aleutians - at least, not on this past summer's trip. I learned something funny about the guy who wrote TMW that helps make the account of World War II in Alaska a ripping good read and made me giggle a little...but it also drove home how much the history he compiled in TMW was a vicarious labor of love.

Sooooo...get ready and read the rules, get set and register for/donate to Rising Tide...

What is the author of The Thousand-Mile War best known for?

Gimme your answer by 11:30 AM tomorrow in the comments below.


A hearty mazel tov to BrenyB for her correct answer to $5 question # 3. Who will be today's winner, I wonder?

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