A Peaux/Real World!

PeauxRealThe New Orleans Fringe Fest has grown and evolved into the Faux/Real Festival, two and a half weeks of theater, music, dance, art, and writings on the edge. And this year they have given over their writers’ space, the Faux/Real Cafe, to the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, on Wednesday night, November 11, from 6:30 to 9:30.

What happens when eight writers leave their personal podunks and come to New Orleans and start getting fo’ real? Come to the Faux/Real Cafe to find out! Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Cassie Pruyn, Zach Bartlett, Terri Shrum, Andrew Kooy, Emilie Staat, Tad Bartlett, and Caroline Goetze take the stage at 6:30 (along with a special spectral appearance by Susan Kagan), and the verbal slings and arrows don’t stop flying until 9:30. Cafe Faux/Real is a venue set up just for the Faux/Real Festival, where coffee and drinks and books will be for sale while the readings go. THIS READING IS FREE, though all Faux/Real events can be attended with a Faux/Real Button ($5 gets you an awesome collectors’ button that also happens to get you into more than two weeks of premier art out beyond the boundaries).

See you there! (At 2161 N. Rampart)

Peauxdunque with Literati Glitterati

This week is filled with events where Peauxdunquians read with, mingle with, and interview some of the leading lights of literature.

The events start tonight at Garden District Book Shop, as Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Emilie Staat read from their contributions to the Scars anthology, joined by editor Erin Wood. The anthology is newly released by Et Alia Press. Maurice, Emilie, and Erin will be reading from 5:30 to 6:30, at 2727 Prytania Street.

On Thursday, October 29, Peauxdunque leads a reading of new works at the Words & Music Conference at the Hotel Monteleone (200-block of Royal Street) at 4:45 p.m. Maurice will be joined by Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, and Zach Bartlett, who are on the bill with 2015 Kirkus Award nominee Harrison Scott Key, writer and documentarian Ellen Ann Fentress, and Faulkner-Wisdom competition gold medalist Emily Capdeville and short-lister Alex Johnson. The reading will take place in Royal Suites C & D.

On Saturday, October 31, the events head up to the Louisiana Book Festival on the state capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. At 11 a.m. in the House Chamber, Maurice Carlos Ruffin will moderate a presentation by 2015 National Book Award Long-Lister T. Geronimo Johnson, and his book, Welcome to Braggsville. At 1:15 p.m. in Senate Committee Room A, Emilie Staat will interview 2015 Booklist Top-Ten (and New York Times Best-Seller) author M.O. Walsh regarding his book, My Sunshine Away. At 2:15 in the same room, Emilie will interview Jami Attenberg, author of Saint Mazie: A Novel.

A great week and weekend for writing and for books. Come join us!

Peauxdunque coming soon to a library near you

Two library events coming up featuring Peauxdunquers.

Photo credit: Kiki Whang

Photo credit: Kiki Whang

The first is this Thursday, July 9, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the East Jefferson main branch at 4747 West Napoleon, and will feature readings by Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Emilie Staat. In addition to reading from recent work, Maurice and Emilie will discuss writing, how to get involved in local writing groups, and how to get involved in writing contests.

The second is at the Rosa Keller branch of the New Orleans Public Library at 4300 South Broad Street on Thursday, July 23, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Titled “Our Own Private Peauxdunque,” the event will feature readings by Maurice, Terri S. Shrum, and Tad Bartlett. It’s being billed by the library as a 21-and-older event, and wine will be served up with the words.

Maurice, Tad, and Terri, at the final Summit dinner

Maurice, Tad, and Terri, at the final Summit dinner

Bartlett and Staat publications

Three more forthcoming publications are imminent from the land of Peauxdunque. Tad Bartlett has learned that his short story, “Tree Houses,” will be published online by The Carolina Quarterly; and that his short story, “Addressing You,” will be published in the Spring 2015 issue of Euphony Journal.

Meanwhile, Emilie Staat will have her short-short, “Ought,” published in the Like a Girl ‘zine, a “pre-show” preview of the Lucid Moose anthology.

Keep an eye out for further Peauxdunque updates!

The Writing Process Blog Tour: Emilie Staat

Next Peauxdunquian up on the Writing Process Blog Tour is Emilie Staat!

What am I working on?
I’m finishing The Winter Circus, a novel I’ve been working on for about a decade, and a memoir about what Argentine tango is teaching me about my relationships and myself. The novel is in a much more “final” stage than the memoir, which is in the first, rough stage of its life.
 
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It’s too easy for me to get obsessed with this question and I think it’s healthier not to worry about it until the work is closer to being published. That being said, my work owes a lot to traditions that have come before, of course. I read a lot and very widely.
 
There have been a handful of “circus novels” that have been published in the decade since I started writing The Winter Circus. But each of those books is different—from each other and from my novel. They each deal with a different era or aspect of circus culture. The Winter Circus explores the tension between circus life and “normal” life, between family and identity, stories and lies.
 
As for the memoir, since it’s in the rough draft stage, I’m still learning a lot about it and genre is far down the road. I didn’t really allow myself to do any reading or academic research into tango for the first few years I was learning the dance. I love research! But, I needed to get out of my head with tango and stay in my body as long as possible. I’m only just now starting to read “tango memoirs” (they exist!) and other books about various aspects of tango.
 
Why do I write what I do?
How much time do you have? How many words do I have? I’m not sure there’s a way to answer this in a non-flippant manner, except to get really dark. I’m obsessed. All artists are. There are moments, thoughts, relationships, images and characters that rotate incessantly in our heads. Sometimes we can get them out through art, sometimes we just re-work the obsession in another project, another form. I’ve written fiction, poetry, screenplays, essays, tried to write short stories, so I write in whatever form I’m called to at any particular moment.
 
How does my writing process work?
I’ve always felt compelled to fit my writing around my day job, so my process has been a response to whatever was paying the bills at the moment. It involves a lot of journaling and jotting down notes here and there, stealing time in the evenings, on weekends and vacations to stretch the notes out into beefier work, to edit. That’s part of why the novel has taken ten years to get to this point. Also, I was teaching myself how to write during that time. I’m currently spending a month at a residency called Soaring Gardens and part of what I’m figuring out while I’m here is what my process is without the daily grind. We’ll see what I learn.
 
Emilie Staat’s novel, The Winter Circus, is about an aerialist who grows up in the circus, runs away to New Orleans and learns the value of falling. She is also currently writing Tango Face, a memoir about what learning Argentine tango is teaching her about personhood, gender dynamics and relationships.

Peauxdunque reads for National Poetry Month

As part of the New Orleans Public Library’s month-long series of events for National Poetry Month, Peauxdunque was invited to present a reading at the Nix Branch of the New Orleans Public Library on Thursday, April 24. Cassie Pruyn and Matt Robinson brought together a slate of poets, including themselves and Zach BartlettEmilie Staat, and Tad Bartlett. Drinks, of course, followed.

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Another “Yeah, You Write” in the books

The second installment in the “Yeah, You Write” word rebellion series let loose at Cafe Istanbul last night. Many people came together to fill the room and make the night a success, with readings and remarks from John M. BarryCassie Pruynjewel bushBenjamin PercyJoseph BoydenEmilie Staat, and Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. Emcee Nick Fox moved the night along, regaling the audience with the exploits of the readers, while the photographs of L. Kasimu Harris and the innovative turntable work of DJ Seppe punctuated every point of the show.

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Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly came bearing gifts of moonshine, and read from the dramatic inundation scene from The Tilted World. Ben Percy’s dynamic reading from Red Moon was preceded appropriately enough by his horror-rendition of a line from the childhood classic, Good Night, Moon. Joseph Boyden came in from far travels and despite illness to utterly transfix the room with a chapter from his soon-to-be-released-in-the-U.S.-novel, The Orenda. jewel bush punched the lights out with her boxing-themed, coming-of-age-in-a-rough-world short story. And Peauxdunque’s own Emilie Staat and Cassie Pruyn brought intense and passionate memoir and poetry to the stage.

Leading them all off was John Barry and his reading from Rising Tide, followed by his remarks on the attempts of the oil and gas industry to rise above the law in Louisiana’s fight to protect itself from the increased storm risks caused by the industry’s destruction of wetlands (everyone, that message for the legislators was “Don’t let politics kill the flood authority’s independence,” and “Let the courts decide the fate of the levees lawsuit, not the legislature, because no one should be above the law,” and those legislators were Raymond Garofalo, Christopher Leopold, Neil Abramson, and Nick Lorusso).

A huge shout-out to the folks at Cafe Istanbul, without whom the night would not have been a success. Cafe Istanbul is clearly a vital heartbeat in the revival of New Orleans’ many communities, including its artists and writers. Also, many thanks to the good folks at Garden District Book Shop, who came through on short notice with the books that sold to the enthusiastic audience, making the night a further success.