Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Earl Grey in the Evening - Photos from the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS

Let me just say right off the bat that Clarksdale, MS is one of the coolest places to visit! Not only is it the home of the Delta Blues, but the people who live in the town are warm, friendly and super cool! The Juke Joint Festival was my introduction to the town and it did not disappoint.

This town is proud to show off their Blues heritage.

The entrance to the ultra cool Delta Blues Museum, a place where one can literally dance through it while learning about the Blues.

Miss Del's the place to go to if you want to find gifts of all shapes and sizes, plus they have my newest weakness - Bourbon Praline Pecans!

I saw this mural next to a gas station and had to take a photo of it.

Deak Harp, one of the musicians performing on Saturday. Not only was he a phenomenal singer and player, but he also made all of his instruments! A one man band and then some!

Although I do have many, many more photos, I wanted to least show my appreciation for not only the festival but also the town. When I drove back to Memphis after the festival, my pride for living in the South grew. The Blues is not just music; it is also a way of life, a way of thinking and an art form all on its own like its cousin, Jazz. Up until this weekend, I had never really listened to Blues (I am a Jazz fan, thanks to my grandfather!) and yet when I heard the music from the musicians, I felt something deep inside of me stir. The people, the artwork, the everything all rolls into an experience that can not be explained in words. It must be felt.

Thank you, Clarksdale, for giving me the Blues.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Power of Words

I have always loved words. Ever since I was a child, my passion for books and knowledge went far beyond what others would deem as "necessary". Even now, I rejoice whenever I discover something new like OULIPO, The Decadent Movement or even the rules of mahjong, because it gives me a chance to read about it and hopefully experience it as well. My stories are an extension of my passion; my fans tell me that reading my stories is like listening to me speak. Yet, what would we do without words? Will there ever be a time when we need more than words to express, discover and enjoy our world?
Several days ago, I read the novel Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee. This was the first book I had ever read by him. Although the novel is slim, the contents, the words, are far from it. The main character, Elizabeth, is a writer who is nearing the twilight years of her life. She has traveled all over the world, spoken to many people and written books that were beloved by all. However, as the book progresses, she is invited to speak at several conventions and conferences, yet the words she uses at each place comes out garbled, confusing and mainly disjointed. It would appear, then, that she has lost her gift with words. Or has she? Has her pursuit of the written word given her an insight as to something greater than words, and that such thoughts require more than words? Is it true, then, that the desire for knowledge could ultimately lead to an intellectual paralysis?
I hope that words shall retain their power in the future, yet I see more and more instances in which words are no longer needed. To convey a thought now merely requires several letters or a symbol, a touch and click on an iPod or Kindle and that is that. Yet, when I wrote the story Peau, I wanted to convey the idea that the power of words was and still strong, as long as we acknowledge said power. Words not read dissolve like sugar in a cup of tea. To be forgotten is to dissolve. May words and their power never dissolve.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke

* This is one of my favourite poems. While reading the novel Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee, one of the characters makes mention of it, giving me enough of a reason to post it on my blog*

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.