quarantine diaries, v5
|24 August 2020|
The past six months have been interesting. Thank you COVID-19 for the drama (four flat tires), the good (new fence), the bad (2-1/2 day power outage), the ugly (not going there) and the kicking up of the "deal with it" notches to deafening, insane loudness.
At the same time, it's too quiet. No live jazz, no six blocks away sounds from Murphy band's morning practice - even the robocalls have slowed down. During the initial citywide lockdown, did you notice there no sirens at night? Then there were the curfews, toilet paper safaris, 3 o'clock televised press conferences and, because declared essential, open liquor stores.
This virus varmint is some serious sh*t. Can't pretend that tomorrow it's going away forever. Shelter in place, stay at home, self-quarantine mask up...do the right thing to "keep on keepin' on"...
So, while waiting for a true all clear signal, Plan B: take actions that are under my control. One was that stack of books to be read, most written by talented local writers I know, sitting on the table, waiting to be finished, bookmarked to pick up where I left off. Mission: do it...all the way to their ends, then on to shelves, MPL book sale or the Coca Cola Library at Cammie's.
Plenty of free time, thanks to the viral intruder. Doing good so far - two down, 11 to go. Finished Ann Pond's Masons & Mardi Gras: Secrets of the Mystic Krewes and Tributaries 2012 - A Collection of Literary Artists from the Mobile Bay Area (Mod Mobilian Press; Kevin Lee, editor)
Ann Pond moved to Mobile from New Orleans in 1992 and taught a local college. Pond's self-published trilogy of books reveal the history of Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast. Cowbellion tells the story of the Krafft and Vincent families and particularly Michael Krafft, who created the first mystic parading association, the Cowbellion de Rakin Society. Masons and Mardi Gras details how Mobile’s parading tradition spread to New Orleans and explains all the mysterious names and symbols. CAIN is the story of Joe Cain’s real life, "which is very different from all the stories we’ve read up until now,” says Pond. A trinity of history lessons. Always good to learn about where you live, regardless of one's socio-political-philosophical idiosyncrasies.
The latter had been sitting in that pile for a few years. According to the big box bookstore in the cloud, it "is a collection of work from 14 Mobile area literary artists contain[ing] prose and poetry, traditional styles and new, and show[ing] there’s no shortage of locals willing to carry on our sizable legacy of storytelling and artistic communication." Picked up my copy at the book signing at The Bicycle Shop. Tom Perez and Ron Turner, both with contributions in the book, shared words on the fly page...one inking me as "Karma", the other "Jazz Queen". Perceptions...and another connection explained later.
Re-read Kevin Lee's Colonnade: A Decade of Essays from Beyond Porch (2011, Mod Mobilian Press, available on Amazon and eBay). The forward was written by Bob Burnett, one time Mobile Arts Council ED and a delightful, community-minded visionary, who described Lee "a guy that could be only described as totally hip". The essays has been previously published in Lagniappe and on the Mod Mobilian website. Even though the title implies 10 years, the earliest entry is 2004. Lee's words and thoughts from "Go forth in July" (1 July 2011, MM) still resonate and are meaningful today. That's OK. Because Kevin is a totally hip, freakin' brilliant observer. Note to Kevin: Done with Colonnade. Time for the next 10 years.
Dr. Ron Turner could probably claim the title of Alabama's second Renaissance Man. He belongs in the genius colony. He's traveled the world, loves jazz, never meets a stranger, is a marvelous storyteller and seems to know something about everything. Plus he's a writer, very well read...and Sheila calls him "Ronald" and fusses when he's not wearing his hearing aids. One must just talk a little louder.
When Eugene Walter's autobiography, Milking the Moon: A Southerner's Story of Life on This Planet (Eugene Walter and Katherine Clark, Crown Publishers, 2001), came up in conversation one night at Buck's Pizza (miss the slices), he offered me an extra copy from his collection. Raise your hand if you have two copies of the same book. (Tom Perez, writer/playwright and another Alabama's Renaissance Man candidate. introduced me to Eugene. Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme...)
My preferences for traveling are roads and railways. Have fond memories of unfolding maps and plotting the routes from here to there.
|An AAA trip ticket was the holy grail! Childhood memories include seeing a copy of a travel guide called "The Green Book". Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “black travel guide to America.” Candacy Taylor, an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian, created a masterpiece in Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams, 2020). It's filled with historical, year-by-year information about the publication using words and fantastic pictures. A worthy and surprisingly fast read!|
|KEEP YOUR MOJO WORKIN'!|
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