Yesterday, I finished the three-part series of posts about my trip to the oil spill. As I hit "Publish Post," I thought, "Now what am I going to blog about tomorrow? I have no idea."
But writers write because the ideas won't stop coming. And, since yesterday, I've gotten some ideas from a few of you. In particular, I got an email from Donna McBroom-Theriot, who I met last summer when she attended a writing conference I organize called Anhinga Writers Studio Summer Workshops . She has a very well-written blog about her life experiences, and her most recent post is called Hurricane Season or Oil Season? If you want to know what it's like to live through this disaster and watch the devastation being wrought on the local economy, click on that link and give Donna's blog a visit.
I'm currently in the process of taking those three posts about the oil spill that were written for you, my readers and friends, and editing them into a single narrative aimed at the general public. Mostly, I think I'll be taking out the part that talks about how wonderful my grandson is.
I think it will be ready to post tomorrow. Then I'm going to look for ways to get that story out into the wider web world. I've never wanted to sit here every day and type some version of, "Hey! I've got a new book! You should buy it!" That's why you guys get stories that I think would be interesting to readers and useful to writers.
I think the oil spill story is timely and important, and I'd like to make it available to as wide an audience as possible. So when the edited article goes up tomorrow, I'll ask those of you who are interested to post a link on your facebook page or tweet the address or do with it whatever strikes your fancy. If you know of related links that you think I should post here, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, the New York Times is considering an op-ed piece from me on this subject. If they pass, I'll just keep circulating it. And, tapping the knowledge I've accumulated in nine years of writing about a southeastern archaeologist, I'm working on another op-ed piece on the historical sites that will likely be affected by the oil spill. When you think about how long ago Mobile and Pensacola and Biloxi and New Orleans became European strongholds in the New World, then you'll realize how much of our cultural heritage we stand to lose. This is not the immediate tragedy of a dying sea turtle or the devastated economy of an entire human community, but it is a very real loss of something that can't be replaced.
I leave tomorrow on a weeklong trip to deliver my grandson back to my daughter and son-in-law in Arizona. (Until the last moment, I reserve the right to refuse to go. They may have to come get him. Possession is nine-tenths of the law...) I don't like the thought of leaving you with no sausage to read while I'm gone. (And that reminds me that I forgot to bring some boudin and andouille home from Louisiana. Crud.) Besides the edited version of my oil spill trip, I've also got a few other things up my sleeve.
If I can successfully dig them out of the archives at my other blog site, The Lady Killers, I'll post some things I wrote after I did my research trip to New Orleans for Floodgates in 2008. I was quite distressed to see how bad things still looked then, nearly three years after Katrina, and I said so. I also urged everybody to take their tourist dollars down to the French Quarter and spend them, particularly at some of those restaurants so old that they're haunted by the ghosts of dead chefs. The woman who wrote the history of the restaurant Galatoire's like what I had to say so well that she quoted me in the most recent edition of that book. (I thought that was quite cool.) I think those observations are still timely, so I'll leave them for you to read while I'm gone.
I like to stay somewhat close to my blog theme--talking about the aspects of book publishing that many people haven't seen. The oil spill and post-Katrina stories work, because they feature things I learned while researching my books. If a writer sits in her chair, welded to her computer, and never gets up and goes anywhere, then she'll eventually lose the capacity to write about anything but a writer welded to her computer. Don't let that happen to you!
While looking ahead to other publishing-related stories to tell you, while recognizing that I'm seeing a sizeable amount of traffic from people who want to know about the oil spill, it occurs to me that all my stories have some aspect of social consciousness. I'm thinking this subject might interest those who are here because they're more interested in the oil spill than in a writer's stories about the publishing industry. So I think I'll focus on my experiences in trying to portray a culture--our own--that has come a long way and has a long way to go.
To write about my multiracial character, Faye Longchamp, I've delved quite a bit into racial issues, particularly in Artifacts and Relics . To write Effigies, I learned about the history of the Choctaws and the Trail of Tears. For Findings, I used the Civil War to look at a society as it collapses. As I've said, Floodgates, taught me a great deal about Katrina and her aftermath. And the upcoming book, Strangers, looks at the arrival of Europeans who, to the Native Americans watching them wade ashore, were the ultimate strangers
And I have this fabulous Creole-ish recipe for corn, crab, and squash bisque that I'll throw in for lagniappe while I'm talking about Louisiana. So I think I'll be leaving you with plenty to read in my absence.
I'll have internet access while I'm gone, so I can answer emails and publish your comments, but it just might happen a little slower then usual. Bear with me. I'll be back at the keyboard full-time soon enough.
L'aissez les bons temps roulez!