Aug 31, 2010

The Possibility of Everything

Our friend Hope Edelman's memoir The Possibility of Everything just got released today in paperback.

We could try to review it but then Publisher's Weekly does such a good job of it. They gave it a starred review.
Edelman (Motherless Daughters) returns with a charming memoir full of self-deprecating honesty that defies easy categorization. Edelman is forced to seek a solution to the sudden appearance of her three-year-old daughter Maya's violent imaginary friend, Dodo. Edelman, who believes in the possibility of everything, but can't place her trust in anything without visible proof, clashes with her alternatively minded husband and the New Age modes of thinking in her new Los Angeles suburb when seeking an answer. She grieves that her own mother, who died when she was 16, is not there to advise her on matters of parenting. But when Maya's behavior becomes severe, Edelman surprisingly agrees to let her daughter see a shaman in Belize. The journey, which is full of remarkable events, cracks open the foundation of her skepticism just shy of a transformation. The largest stretch of the narrative—the Belize journey— is gripping and vividly detailed, and Edelman occasionally detours into Mayan culture and history. The book is equal parts a meditation on the trials of motherhood and marriage, a travelogue and an exploration of faith, which she braids together into a highly readable, insight-laden narrative.

Or better again, here's Hope talking about her book:

Aug 28, 2010

Industrial Scars

Our friend the photographer and enviornmentalist J Henry Fair, whose new assignment is as an Art/Environment blogger with The Huffington Post, was recently interviewed on German television and podcast about Industrial Scars, coal and the Ruhr valley industrial region.

This is the WDR Interview about the Ruhr Industrial region and the power of the consumer and here is the NRDC Interview on the threat of coal ash.  

And here is Henry and Celebrate Green on The Power of the Consumer .

More of his amazing series of photography can be seen here.

Aug 27, 2010

August Book Swap

After the crepes came... the books:

The Belgian writer and doctor Alain Brichau brought Narrative Design by Madison Smartt Bell. Alain attended a workshop by Smartt Bell 11 years ago and says the book has "great ideas on the process of writing" and channeling what Smartt Bell calls "the creative black box."

Alain's second choice Le Chant de L'etre et du paraitre, by the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom, is a novel about a "writer trying to write a new novel" and the "dialogue this writer has with another more cynical, successful writer" who tries to dissuade him from doing so.

Johanna Gohmann was up next. Jo, who is here on a barter fellowship, donated the memoir Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain because it gives a "sense of where I am now" (Jo is an American living in Ireland) and the fact that she is working on a collection of essays.

Jo also donated a collection of essays in which one of her essays, "The Vagina Dialogues," is included: Best Sex Writing, 2010.

Charles (left) and Lupin Pooter at from Chapter VI of The Diary of a Nobody.
The English writer and actor John Finnemore talked to us about Michael Frayn's "amazing play" Copenhagen and the book he donated Frayn's writings on theatre from 1970 to 2008: Stage Directions.

John's other book was The Diary of A Nobody, a novel set very near the part of London John lives in, about a character who is a "misrepresentation" of who he really is. It is a classic English comic novel written by George Grossmith and his brother Weedon Grossmith with illustrations by Weedon. It first appeared in the magazine Punch in 1888 to 89, and was first printed in book form in 1892.

Our University of Wisconsin Fellow, Sarah Johnson then told us about Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty. Sarah said the novel she's writing is along the same lines as Hollinghurst's book and Brideshead Revisited in the sense that it is the story "of an outsider who gets involved with a family."

Sarah also donated A Gate at the Stairs by Lorie Moore who taught her at Madison, the story of "a mid-western girl who becomes a nanny" in what Sarah called an Edith Whartonesque way "because of the way it draws a socio-political picture with such a gentle hand."

Thanks again for all the books!

Aug 26, 2010

Sheryl St. Germain

Here's the video of Sheryl St. Germain reading (sorry about the bad audio) an hilarious poem, "A French Mosquito Defends Itself," from the new collection of poems she was working on in July while here at La Muse. It flips over after a few seconds... :

Here are the blood-thirsty lines:

A French Mosquito Defends Itself

Eet is not easy always to speak with your race,
you of zee mountainous body, you who do not
always pay attention to such small sings as us.
But you should, mon ami, you should.  We have lived
millions and millions of years, we have been found
preserved in zee amber from a time unthinkably
before yours.  And you will not find a way
to exterminate us anytime soon with your stupeed
fog blowing trucks and chemicals with zee Latin
names that hurt you more zan zey do us. 

You speak of us as biting, attacking you. 
Zeese are all zee wrong words, mon ami.  Eet is only
the female of our species, such as myself, who drink
your blood.  Like your vampire we must have a blood
meal every now and zen, but only to make zee eggs,
zee blood is necessary for zee protein of zee eggs, oui?

So we do not bite, first of all, we search out zee ones of you
zat smell best—we search for zee most intoxicating aroma,
we land, we enter, we sip, we drink, we swill
but we do not bite, mon ami.
                      Sink of us, if you will,
as connoisseurs, and your body, a terroir.  We
are searching for zee right vintage, zee good structure
zee good nose, zee long finish, good color, a warm
taste, zee good texture in zee proboscis. Très elegant,
zee slight prickle going down, ooh la la, I must sit down.

So you should feel honored when I choose you above
others, it means your blood is like wine to me, with
zee beautiful aroma and bouquet and moi, I like
zee blood with a hint of berry and darkness,
zee blood with a taste of La France in it from the past,
and how shall I say, a little bit fat, the way we like
things preserved in zis country (zee confit du canard,
for example, you fat ones have zee good taste like
zee confit du human). 

Your body ees like a vineyard with rows and rows of
grapes, your body ees  zee raw material for our eggs,
so non, we do not attack, monsieurs et madames,
we harvest, we feed, we take what we need to
survive, only a tiny bit, not any more.    It eez true
that we spread zee word when you taste good,
that eez why, mon ami, you have 55 bites,
as you call them, 55 leetle mountains of objection

from your body, your slow body, I might add,
whose defenses do nothing to us, but
torture you after we are long gone.  Where,
I ask, eez zee logic in zis torture?  What
young and inexperienced god has formed you?
We mosquitoes would not have survived
one hundred years with such a system.

Maybe you can sink of me, too, as a bit
like Jean D’Arc, My proboscis eez my sword,
I rally the troops, I get us all on the same body,
but not to attack, only to take what eez rightfully ours,
zis blood our bodies have been built to harvest
for our children. 
      Aren’t we a leetle like you Americans,
you want to take zee oil, zee minerals,
zee ideas etc. from zee ozer countries,

and if sometimes you carry by mistake
some hitchhiker, some parasite, somezing,
from your culture, say, that infects or kills,
it’s not your fault, like us, you were born for zis.

Aug 25, 2010

Sex: Our Bodies Our Junk

As with the videos posted yesterday, you probably don't want to have this book cover (see left) open on your browser before reading a goodnight story.

Our friend Mike Sacks' new book Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk out from Random House yesterday is perfect bedside reading, accompanied, that is.

We LOVE the title play on the reference classic Our Bodies, Ourselves from the Boston Women's Health Collective's.

As with Mike's other books it's bound (pardon the pun) to be hilarious and promises to be comprehensive, what with a load of other well-known comedy writers on board to write under the collective name of  The Association for the Betterment of Sex.

Here's the publisher's blurb, but you're probably better off just buying this aesthetic informational tool today!

Aug 24, 2010

Onion News Stories

Yes, this is not the kind of stuff you want to play when kids are around, but this is an hilarious Onion video we just found. Those of you who have a dislike for derogatory language ought not press play:

And here's the one a friend of ours sent us which allowed us to discover the one above:

Aug 17, 2010

Open Studio - Deborah Clarke

Here's the South African artist Deborah Clarke's paintings from her open studio in July: 

The paintings are all watercolors of our village. This was Deborah's second time as a resident here. She lives in Grenoble.

Aug 16, 2010

Space Jump!

Can you jump from space? Just found out that  Joe Kittinger did it 50 years ago! It was called Project Excelsior, or, how to abandon your space ship and not die:

Jumping From Space from Mark Gray on Vimeo.

Aug 14, 2010

Toni Freitas - Open Studio

Here's one of the videos of the art that was shown at the open studio here in July by the American designer Toni Freitas.

As you can see, some of the necklace's are inspired by her surroundings such as the "Vive La France" piece and the beautiful local stone (schist) necklace. Toni, who is a writer too, was also inspired by the work of Virginia Woolf, specifically her novel Mrs Dalloway.

Toni lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was here at La Muse on her third retreat with her husband the writer and graphic designer David Trujilo-Farley.

Aug 13, 2010