Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off topic: The Diaspora and Treme.

I love Treme. It took me a while. I wanted a hard hitting look at New Orleans like the one that dissected Baltimore in The Wire. It doesn't. I realized this week, as I tried to watch it with the sound off because hubby was asleep, that the story is at least half told in and about music. (Duh, you non New Orleanians say-- but come on, fish don't have a word for water.) I wanted it to be about the obvious corruption, crime and racial tension-- all different in flavor from any other city, because of our complicated past, but this is good too. At least now that I understand.

There are annoying sequences, where I'd have preferred less expository dialog and more action. There are slow, aimless sections of narrative (Do More With Lambreaux!) that should be steaming along like locomotives. But with the apparent suicide of Creighton, finally one plot line is starting to come to life, and maybe it can bring the rest of the story along with it.

You had to know when he started crying as he was typing the line about the rain that he was going to jump, but in case you missed the clincher in his discussion with the freshmen in his lit class, that is what Edna Pontillier does in The Awakening. So when he says she's not going toward darkness but toward a spiritual transition, he is idealizing the concept of suicide. It was the best thing that's happened to this show, philosophically. It opens up a whole new range of ideas and possibilities for the characters and plot. Everyone in the story is tied in one way or another to Cray. His wife is Ladonna's lawyer. His daughter is Davis's pupil. His death merges the two other major story lines-- or should I say, the slow uncovering of it will do so, and bring some focus to this fucking narrative. Now if only Davis will jump in after him.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to help.

Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information:

Submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511

Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system:
(281) 366-5511

Report oiled wildlife:
(866) 557-1401

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is asking for volunteers to be on stand by.

Mobile Baykeeper is also compiling a list of volunteers to be called upon to volunteer. You can call them at 251-433-4229 or email them at

The Alabama Coastal Foundation in Fairhope is also looking to build up a group of volunteers. Email or call the group at 251-990-6002

Also, The Pascagoula River Audubon Center will organize training on cleaning wildlife affected by the oil spill. The group says they are being inundated with volunteers, and they are asking that those interested contact them through the internet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Neil Young on inspiration

Last night I saw Neil Young on Charlie Rose. It was an old show; I'm not a big fan of the CR, but this was worth it. Young said that he believes inspiration is a gift, and when you have an idea, you have to stop everything you're doing and work on it for as long as you need to. He carries a notebook with him for this purpose, and said that when he gets an idea, he excuses himself from wherever he is and pursues it. It may take five minutes, he said, it may take two hours. But you have to respect it. It's a gift, you have to take it. The only thing he would make an exception for is family. If a family member needed him, that takes precedence over art.

Now I'm carrying my notebook again. Thinking of you, not just Jesse, but my writer friends who read here. I hope you're all carrying your notebooks, whether it's to write about family, tomatoes, buffalo soldiers, or your private maze. WRITE. I love you all.

This morning I dug up my little red notebook and saw something from my Bali trip: dreams are like stars- they're always there, you just see them best at night.

And I wrote:

You will notice little things
if you look
a tee shirt
not her size
in the back of the closet
tiny shoes
in a drawer
a cupboard of old toys, notebooks, video games, debate plaques, sports trophies, ribbons,
a shelf of law books
slowly slipping
out of date.
Address books of classmates from kindergarten through--in what order
do we let things go
after everything has been lost

I still remember all the names
of his imaginary friends