Saturday, November 24, 2007

J'ai renvoyé à nouveau

I spent the holiday alone. But before my readers begin to pity me, I should say that this was planned as my daughters will both be in Chicago next weekend when we are to have a grand feast. We hope to outdo our meal of two years prior, a surprise visit that I wrote about at length. Ella has finished culinary school and has opened a restaurant in New Orleans, intent on being part of the redevelopment of one of the more neglected (and dangerous) areas of that city. We still have lengthy conversations about food as the soul of culture, but in truth she is now the master and I am the student. I visited her bistro over the summer and she served me a simple jambalaya and fresh corn bread that was so perfect that I wept for twenty minutes upon cleaning my bowl. When I recovered I ordered a second helping. Billie, my other daughter, is interviewing for a job in Chicago with a nonprofit. It's her backup plan depending on how she fares on the Foreign Service Exam, which she is taking for the third time. It's bad karma to controvert her dreams, but I still hope she winds up in Chicago so that we can be close. It terrifies me to think of her serving in Baghdad in the center of the mess created by Our Leader and the nincompoopery who support (and continue to apologize) for his criminal and incompetent leadership. Not that Billie wouldn't do much to make the best of a horrid situation, but I'm a grumpy old man who needs his daughter close and out of harm's way.

I should make some mention of where I've been for the past year or more. Devoted readers will recall my series of relationships with my students and ex-wives, and it all, I'm afraid, turned out badly. I had some issues, my garden variety depression spiraling temporarily out of control, heightened by my heart surgery and subsequent battery of medications. I'm in therapy now, and though I lost my job in the MFA program of a uninspiring yet pretentious middlewestern institution of higher learning, I'm on the rebound with a good job teaching at a Chicago area community college, which a former student secured for me upon hearing of my predicament.

Things are going well, and while New York exhibits indifference to my new novels and memoir despite my triumphs of old, LA has taken interest in my facility with screenwriting. At the behest of a friend I wrote a spec script while hospitalized after a storytelling drought of more than a year. Her logic was that I should begin working in a new format and she was dead on. I discovered I have latent ability in screenwriting. Several producer friends reviewed the script, immediately spying brilliance. The fact that I am honoring the strike is perhaps the only reason it is not currently in development at a major studio. I'm now working on a script about my life that is sure to have independent filmmakers queuing up once I finish, so I devoted my solo Thanksgiving time to fleshing out another pair of scenes.

Oh, I did eat well. I had some good crab and shrimp left in the freezer from a past Cajun orgy and some old baguettes that had hardened so I made a bayou stuffing and filled mixed red and green peppers for holiday flare. I made fresh hush puppies and some Cuban beans and rice. A crisp Pinot Blanc from Alpine Italy harmonized with the meal. Seafood on Thanksgiving helped me not to dwell on the fact of my solitude.

In any event, I've returned yet again. I hope to return to these online memoirs in earnest, adding my occasional recipes and advice for aspiring writerlings. I'll also add some tips on screenwriting as I'm now beginning to master that craft as well. I feel good. I get the sense that there are good things in store for the Brown Trout. Welcome back readers. J'ai renvoyé à nouveau.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On strike

In solidarity, brothers and sisters.