Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Orleans, I'll Miss You

My lease ends in two weeks here at 1521 St Andrew in the Lower Garden District. That means a year has passed since I plopped on Anne Marie’s doorstep, soaking sweaty-wet, having dragged a trailer 2,285 miles from Montana, two spitting cats in the back seat.

The cats and I have returned, full circle to the The Moviegoer malaise days of summer. We are back to collapsed on the floor, panting and boneless. Mardi Gras beads droop in the trees. My tiny tropical courtyard, what functioned as fall/winter/spring adjunct office, is once again an uninhabitable mosquito fest.

July and August in New Orleans are the January and February of Montana — it’s best to hole up and wait for better times. For now life is hot weather hibernation, a slowing of the metabolism and mind. I wish I had a pool. Growing. Sleepy.

The end my time, of course, inspires reflection. Writers can’t help but want to describe New Orleans. We try and we try. One of the best reads of my past year was the Oxford American post-Katrina edition. Capturing New Orleans as a whole is impossible. The OA was wise in that it abandoned that doomed approach, and let each writer tackle a specific.

I certainly don’t feel up to the task of taking on Faulkner, Warren, Percy, or Toole.

In these situations it's best to quote Welty. I underlined this passage from One Writer's Beginnings two years ago.

“I’ve never resisted it when, in almost every story I ever wrote some parade or procession, impromptu or ceremonious, comic or mocking or funereal, has risen up to mark some stage of the story’s unfolding.”

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