Words for Terri Sue: Wrap-up and photos

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

Peauxdunque shared a beautiful evening of love and generosity and art (so much wonderful art) with its founding member, Terri Sue Shrum, and with a large cross-section of the New Orleans writing and reading community on August 30, at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. The event was our “Words for Terri Sue” benefit reading, to raise funds for Terri’s out-of-pocket cancer treatment expenses, and featured DJ’ing by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania); the New Orleans premier of Gian Smith‘s award-winning short film, “The Adulterer”; brilliant, touching, thought-provoking, and energetic readings by best-selling and award-winning writers M.O. Walsh, Kelly Harris, Bill Loehfelm, Nicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin; with the emcee duties handled with great spirit and skill by Nick Fox. The stage was also graced by Terri herself, with a tribute to all those who came out to make the night possible. We raised approximately $2,000 on the night, bringing our total fundraising for Terri over $11,000 in the past three months! And we’re not done, yet. Please visit our gofundme page for Terri, and keep your eye out for another fundraising effort in conjunction with the Words & Music Conference in November.

If you couldn’t make it (and even if you did), here’s a slideshow of photos taken by Peauxdunquian writer/photographer/renaissance-man, L. Kasimu Harris:

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Words for Terri Sue: Featuring Terri herself!

Terri side by sideTomorrow night, August 30, at Three Keys (Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet, 7 to 9 p.m.)! We’ll have music by DJ Sep, emcee’ing by Nick Fox, and readings by a star-studded writer cast of M.O. WalshKelly Harris-DeBerryBill LoehfelmGian SmithNicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. And now I can announce it officially that Terri Sue Shrum will be with us, too! She made a flight down from Atlanta, where she’s been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and will join us for the benefit reading as we raise funds to assist with her out-of-pocket treatment expenses. Come early, stay late, and donate whatever you can. She’s a fantastic writer and fantastic friend, and tomorrow will be a good night. Three Keys asks that people RSVP here if they’re thinking of coming, so click that link and come join us!

Words for Terri Sue: Meet the writers, part 4

Next Tuesday, August 30, a special coming together of the writing tribes (and those who love them, or at least dig them) will occur at Three Keys (at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, NOLA), as six best-selling and award-winning writers will present work at a benefit reading for Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum. In May, Terri was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Terri has begun chemotherapy treatments at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and writers nationwide have come together to help with an active fund-raising campaign to help Terri with her out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses. From 7 to 9 p.m. on August 30, we’ll continue that, with tunes spun by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania) and an evening emcee’d by Nick Fox. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted at the door and throughout the evening; RSVP here.

Our fourth featured writer is Bill Loehfelm. Bill is the author of the New Orleans-set crime fiction series featuring rookie cop Maureen Coughlin. The latest book in the series, Let the Devil Out, was published this summer. His other novels include Doing the Devil’s WorkThe Devil in Her WayThe Devil She Knows, and the stand alone novels, Bloodroot and Fresh Kills. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, AC Lambeth, a writer and yoga instructor. He also plays drums in a rock-n-roll band. Bill will be joined Tuesday night by Kelly Harris-DeBerry, M.O. Walsh, Gian Smith, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and Nick Mainieri. See you there!
Bill Loehfelm onstage at Tipitina's, at the first Peauxdunque Yeah You Write event in 2011

Bill Loehfelm onstage at Tipitina’s, at the first Peauxdunque Yeah You Write event in 2011

Words for Terri Sue: Meet the writers, part 1

In one week, on August 30, a special coming together of the writing tribes (and those who love them, or at least dig them) will occur at Three Keys (at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, NOLA), as six best-selling and award-winning writers will present work at a benefit reading for Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum. In May, Terri was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Terri has begun chemotherapy treatments at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and writers nationwide have come together to help with an active fund-raising campaign to help Terri with her out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses. From 7 to 9 p.m. on August 30, we’ll continue that, with tunes spun by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania) and an evening emcee’d by Nick Fox. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted at the door and throughout the evening; RSVP here.

The first of our six featured readers is Nicholas Mainieri. His debut novel, The Infinite, will be published by Harper Perennial in November of 2016. Born in Miami, Florida, Nicholas has also lived in Colorado and Indiana. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he earned his MFA from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. His short stories have appeared in the Southern Review, the Southern Humanities Review, and Salamander, among other literary magazines. He currently teaches writing and literature at Nicholls State University. He resides in New Orleans with his wife and son. Nick will be joined at Words for Terri Sue by writers M.O. Walsh, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Francisco Smith, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Nicholas Manieri

Nicholas Mainieri

 

Catching up with Peauxdunque: News on Zach, Maurice, Cassie, Nordette, and Tad, plus Words for Terri Sue

It’s been far too long since we last updated with goings-on in the land of Peauxdunque, and it’s been a long, busy summer. Even though I’m sure to leave something off, here’s at least a sample of all the news from our corner of Writer-Land:

Zach Bartlett’s book, Northern Dandy, has been released, and an official release party will be held on August 16, at Mimi’s in the Marigny (2601 Royal Street, New Orleans). Northern Dandy collects Zach’s humorous short prose and verse, originally performed with the popular reading series Esoterotica in New Orleans and his one-man stage show as part of 2015’s FringePVD in Rhode Island. His body of bawdy work ranges from multiple-choice misadventures and passive-aggressive etiquette advice to frisky formal poetry experiments, all undertaken with tongue firmly in cheek. Find out more about the release party here.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been busy this summer polishing his novel-in-progress. He also attended the VONA Workshop as a fellow in June, and is currently in Vermont on a “waiter-ship” at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Also, Maurice was invited to read his piece, “Grandma’s Books,” at the Bring Your Own storytelling series, which was captured and broadcast by WWNO. Finally, Maurice’s craft piece, “Stanislavski in the Ghetto,” about inhabiting characters and modulating dialect, was published by AGNI.

Cassie Pruyn, always busy with her Bayou St. John historical documentation series over at NolaVie, has also had a few more poems published. CutBank recently published three of Cassie’s poems, “Talk,” “The Week Before Christmas,” and “The Last Time I Saw Her.” Beautiful work, which you must go read.

Nordette Adams has also been busy on the poetry front, with her incredibly moving poem, “digital anthropologists find our hashtags,” published by Rattle. Written in the immediate wake of the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, Nordette’s poem captures the sorrow and the struggle against resignation that this never-ending tragedy cycle engenders.

Tad Bartlett‘s novella, Marchers’ Season, was the subject of an interview by Susan Larson on WWNO’s The Reading Life. Also, Tad’s short story, “Riding in Cars at Night,” has been picked up by Eunoia Review, and is slated to run in late August. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for a link when it goes live.

Finally, as many of you know, founding Peauxdunquian Terri Sue Shrum has been diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. She is undergoing treatment at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and we are running a GoFundMe effort to help Terri cover her extensive out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses; there are a number of our writing friends who have donated signed copies of books as donation incentives, and we encourage you to go check it out (and then go back again as many times as you can–we’re closing in on $8,000 raised for Terri). Also, on August 30, 2016 (7-9 p.m.), we are hosting “Words for Terri Sue,” a benefit reading at the 3 Keys at the Ace Hotel, featuring readings by M.O. Walsh, Bill Loehfelm, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Nick Mainieri, Gian Francisco Smith, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Admission will be free, but donations will be accepted at all amounts, with a minimum suggested donation of $10. More details will be posted soon!

Book release, another competition finalist, and more Sunday Shorts!

Tonight at Garden District Books, Bill Loehfelm has the release party for his fourth novel (first set in New Orleans and second in the Maureen Coughlin series), The Devil in Her Way. Book signing, reading, discussion, wine, and cheese start at 5:30 p.m. Bill was on the slate of readers for our inaugural Yeah, You Write! reading, reading from the first Maureen Coughlin novel; word on the street is that this new one is even better.

In other news, we’re excited to learn that Peauxdunquian Joselyn Takacs‘ story, “The New River,” was named a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Winter 2013 Story Contest! Congratulations to Joselyn!

In Sunday Shorts news, the first installment, featuring readings from L. Kasimu Harris and Sabrina Canfield, went exceedingly well. Following each readings was a Q&A led by Gian Smith, which got to the heart of each writer’s storytelling process in a fascinating exchange with the writers and the audience. This week, May 5, show up to Red Star Galerie at 8 p.m. to hear readings and answers from jewel bush and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Kasimu at Sunday Shorts Sabrina at Sunday Shorts

Bill Loehfelm launch party at Garden District Books tonight

Friend of Peauxdunque Bill Loehfelm launches the paperback version of The Devil She Knows, with a launch party at Garden District Book Shop tonight. Starts at 5:30! Recall Bill’s great reading from The Devil She Knows at last Fall’s Yeah You Write show at Tip’s:

Bill Loehfelm’s writerly appearance at Tip’s

In honor of the birth of the paperback version, this:

Quick Peauxcrunque recap

There will be a proper debriefing and a full posting of gratitude and wonderment in the next few days, complete with the brilliant pictures taken by our many friends last night, but for now these quick thoughts on Yeah, You Write 

Terri spun golden morphine threads; and Kelly made us all dance uncontrollably and exclaim involuntarily and think unfetteredly; and Bill put us right there on a Staten Island street at four in the morning, where we were angry at the audacity of evil; and Amanda hung us in a tree, afraid of a washing machine, perfectly one with tornado-green clouds; and Gian made us the poets with him, and us of this city with him, and he created this “us” out of this crowd of “I”s; and then Mat “Poison in My Cock” Johnson — well, what more can you say — except there was joy and fear and intensity of a level even higher than any all night when Mat took the stage.

And then there was excellent Mr. Nick Fox, an emcee like no other (who you must employ for your next show, whatever it is, because you simply will not believe how he turns a mere event into a Spectacle)! And, of course, without DJ Seppe spinning the tunes before and during and after the everything, it could have been just another reading in just another room.

But this wasn’t just another room. This was Tipitina’s, the Temple of ‘Fess. We had writers on stage at Tipitina’s, goddamnit, and it felt right and it felt good. Thank you, Tip’s. Thank you, Terri and Kelly and Bill and Amanda and Gian and Mat. Thank you, Faulkner House Books for being there to sell our performers’ books. Thank you, Emilie Staat for making it all happen.

And that was the brief recap.

Yeah, You Write! Get PeauxCrunque with Peauxdunque …

Peauxdunque is one day away from the first Yeah, You Write event, a literary concert and DJ dance party (ya’ heard?) at Tipitina’s on October 13th! Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 7:30. New Orleans poet and Emcee-extraordinaire Nick Fox will be presiding. Tickets are available online and are already starting to go; get yours now! Want to hear more about Yeah, You Write? Listen to this interview of Peauxdunquian Emilie Staat and featured performer Amanda Boyden by WYLD’s Hal Clark.

Our featured performers have been busy in the lead-up to Yeah, You Write, sharing their insights on writing and living in interviews by Peauxdunquians Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Emilie Staat, and Tad Bartlett. Check out the interviews with Mat Johnson, Amanda Boyden, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Smith, and Terri Stoor, then get ready for some great, one-of-a-kind wordage and a Peaux-Funquey dance party at Tip’s, tomorrow!

PWA Interviews Bill Loehfelm

Bill Loehfelm is appearing at the first ever Yeah, You Write event, taking place at Tipitina’s on Thursday, October 13th. Peauxdunqian Emilie Staat asked Bill a few questions about his newest book, The Devil She Knows, and the best writing advice he’s ever gotten.

NOTE: This is a transcription, edited for readability, of a recorded conversation. If only Emilie’s camera had a better microphone! There was a lot of laughing and Bill is great in the video, which includes great unintentional advertisements for Funky Monkey (sign in the background), Rue de la Course (cup in Bill’s hand, where the conversation took place), and the New Orleans Saints (Bill’s t-shirt). With no further ado…

A Conversation with Bill Loehfelm

Emilie: So Bill, in your other books, you’ve written about Staten Island and I wonder what it’s been like writing about Staten Island while living in New Orleans, living in this rich city?

Bill: Well, it certainly provides contrast. Staten Island and New Orleans are not very alike. Also, being away from a place, it changes in your imagination. And so, I didn’t remember it exactly like it was. A lot of things got moved around and changed. It was a little easier, I think, to let my imagination run wild and to change things and make things different, than if I was walking out the door and seeing ‘Oh, this thing isn’t there.’ So, it’s a little easier, being away from a place.

E: That brings me to my next question, because you’re currently writing a book set in New Orleans, correct?

B: Yes.

E: So now, you live in New Orleans and you’re writing about New Orleans, so we’ve lost that sort of time distance. So, what are the challenges, what are you enjoying about writing about New Orleans?

B: Writing about New Orleans is a challenge, any writer will tell you that. I think part of what you have to do is not get caught up in writing about New Orleans and just write about where you live ’cause there’s so much cliché and there’s almost a standard repertoire of images and attributes. You have to let go of it, of trying to be perfect, and just let it be the imaginative New Orleans, rather than trying to make it the real New Orleans. Cause you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to get every detail right.

E: That sounds right to me. So, in The Devil She Knows, you introduce us to Maureen Coughlin. Where did she come from? I know I’ve asked you this before, but I’m just really fascinated by where she originally popped up, how much she’s changed since then, how she introduced herself to you.

B: She started in a piece of flash fiction, about a woman at a bus stop in New York, standing there in a tuxedo in the middle of the day at a bus stop. You just start asking questions: “Why is she wearing a tuxedo, why is she wearing it in the middle of the day, why is she wearing it at a bus stop?” Yeah. She was going to work. She was either going to or coming from work, most likely at a diner. So that story was really the start and she kept coming back in different incarnations. Longer short stories, side character in other short stories. She had different names and she was a slightly different person. She finally coalesced into this full person in this book.

E: What do you think it is about Maureen that was begging you to write about her?

B: That’s a good question. I’m not sure, exactly.

E: That’s why you’re writing about her – to figure out what it is about her?

B: Yes. You don’t really know what she’s going to do or say next and you kinda’ get the feeling that she doesn’t. You have a character who’s really just making up a life as she goes along. She makes it fun to write about her.

E: I don’t want to give away too much, but she chooses a life path, ish, at the end of the book. Did you know, beginning to write the book, that she was going to go down that path, from the beginning of the process, or did you discover that in the process of writing this book?

B: No, I discovered that in the process. She makes a decision. This is the first book in a series, and she wasn’t supposed to be a series character. She was supposed to be the end.

E: She was supposed to be flash fiction, right?

B: Yes, yeah, exactly. She keeps demanding more and I keep giving it to her. Our relationship works that way. This was supposed to be a one-off, but she makes a decision in the book that led me to realize that she was a series character.

E: The way you just described her, now I have to wonder, is AC, your wife, ever jealous of Maureen, because Maureen’s demanding more and more and you just have to give it to Maureen?

B: Oh, no. No. Maureen provides well for both of us.

E: So she provides as well as demands?

B: Yes.

E: That’s good. So, I was going to ask you two questions about being a writer. The first, because I know you’ve done a lot of other things, what was the most surprising thing to you about establishing a writing life, becoming  a writer seriously? What surprised you the most?

B: Two things. The amount of insecurity, that each book is its own thing where you panic about having to fill all these pages. It helps a little bit when you’re like, “Okay, I’ve done it before,” but I don’t think you ever get to a point where you’re like, “Oh, this is how you do it,” where it’s all figured out. And the degree to which people think it’s easy. When I first got published, somebody told me I was gonna’ be shocked at how many people were writing a book too. And it turned out to be true. “Oh, if I just had the time.”

E: The classic.

B: Yeah.

E: And it does take a lot of time, but what else would you say it takes, besides time?

B: Discipline. Anybody can start a book, not everybody can finish a book.

E: Good point. And the last question, what’s the best bit of writing advice you’ve ever been told or given or stumbled upon?

B: Just to stick with it. Somebody described it as a craft-long apprenticeship. It’s your occupation. You have to be disciplined. And I guess the best piece of advice I got was you have to be the first person to take yourself seriously, ’cause if you don’t, no one else will. You can’t sit around waiting for someone else to decide that you’re a writer. You have to make that decision, that commitment, yourself and carry it forward from there. And not let anybody tell you differently.

E: That’s a very good piece of advice. Well, thank you. We look forward to seeing you October 13th at Tipitina’s.

B: I look forward to being there.