Monday, May 30, 2011

A Question for Existence: a review of Stranger Will by Caleb J. Ross

"Reading Stranger Will" ©2011 Kristin Fouquet

Having loved Ross’ collection of short stories, Charactered Pieces, I greatly anticipated reading his first novel. I was not disappointed. Again, he takes the reader out of his or her comfort zone. The theme of this book reminded me of a strange incident.

In the fall of 2003, I was seven months pregnant with my first child when I visited San Francisco for the fourth time. In the previous three trips, I noticed the homeless population, but didn’t dwell too long on the issue as I live in a city with a similar problem. However, this time, I became acutely aware of a deep hatred by many of the homeless for pregnant women and parents in general. I was verbally harassed by a couple of homeless men and given a roundhouse kick to the shin by a homeless woman. I was among the despised, a group many called “breeders.”

This prompted many thoughts for me about cruelty and a desire to end a species. I thought of pregnant victims like Sharon Tate, her hands desperately covering her abdomen and begging the stabbers not to hurt her baby, and Laci Peterson with her husband as her murderer. I read an article of a pregnant woman in San Francisco who was followed by a homeless man and beaten in her apartment. He then covered her in red paint. Fortunately, her husband found her in time to save both mother and baby with an emergency delivery. While some people regarded me as an appealing example of motherhood, I now knew I was also regarded as a repulsive agent in continuing an already burdening overpopulation. I tried to understand this latter concept, but I was incapable. I could not think of my unborn daughter as a drain on resources; I had already bonded with her. I loved her.

This memory resonated throughout my reading of Stranger Will. The protagonist, William Lowson, an impending father, makes no secret of his extremely serious doubts about bringing a child into this world. Fortunately for him, he meets kindred spirits who share his ideology. Yet, like many great characters in literature, William grows and even displays a glimpse of paternal nature for a child, Eugene. Even in all his darkness, I hoped for William to escape the existential nightmare of Ross’ city of Brackenwood. I wanted to believe there was a city beyond it, free of the absolute cruelty in pursuit of perfection. Then, I remembered San Francisco. In fear, I thought about the potentiality of that segment of the homeless population if organized and resourceful enough to take their ideology to an elevated level. I thought about all the vulnerable pregnant women and the doubts of their maternal abilities. We are not too far removed from the world Ross has created in Stranger Will.

With ease, Ross seems to dare you to turn the page. Chapter Eighteen is gut-wrenching. It reminded me of footage of Shias parading while flogging themselves. The children used soft, harmless cat-o-nine tails to emulate the self-flagellation they would later truly and painfully enact in their maturity. Ross is not so gentle with his children characters demonstrating their faith nor does he coddle his readers. His writing is fearless. The courageous reader will not be dissatisfied.

I welcome the author to my humble blog, Le Salon Annex, on his extensive blog book tour, “Stranger Will Tour for Strange,” on October 26, 2011. Find out more about Stranger Will here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Furtive Noon" is at Back Room News

"Furtive Noon," my R-rated story about pregnancy, eavesdropping, and sexy secrets is up at Back Room News in the "News of the Front" section. Thanks, Brent.

Read here

Monday, May 23, 2011

New York, New York

"Inverted American Flag on Balcony: NY 2011" Copyright 2011 kristin fouquet

I spent a lovely two days in New York City and this is my short movie based on three stolen hours I obtained on a sleep-deprived morning after a missed flight. Obviously, the city has been widely documented and this is only my humble view, but I hope I gave it the homage it respects. It is in high-def and should be easily viewable in full screen. Click here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

39th Annual Home and Garden Tour featuring Artists in Residence

The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association (FMIA) announces a new spin on the annual Home and Garden Home Tour called "Artists in Residence" on May 15th noon-4pm.

The participating artists live in the historic Faubourg Marigny Rectangle will open their homes, studios, and gardens. Among these will be renowned painters George Rodrigue and James Michalopoulos; award-winning filmmakers Jim Gabour, producer/director of the Grammy nominated film Flow with Terence Blanchard, and of the worldwide No. 1 music DVD, "Norah Jones: Live in New Orleans" ; Glen Pitre, author, director, playwright, and screenwriter celebrated 25 yrs of Belizaire the Cajun, Hurricane on the Bayou, Cigarettes & Nylons and continues to collaborate with wife Michele Benoit in a variety of medias; authors Troy Gilbert (Dinner with Tennessee Williams), Jerry Edgar (The Café Degas Cookbook), and David Lummis (The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans), with additional local authors including Michael Allen Zell (Stitches of Light) and Kristin Fouquet (Twenty Stories), the latter of whom will also be photographing the event.

The foremost purpose of this expanded event is to honor the late Lloyd Sensat, an active resident of the Faubourg Marigny as well as a teacher, artist, author, tour guide, devoted preservationist, and long-time member of the FMIA, who took part in neighborhood events dressed as the colorful namesake developer, Bernard de Marigny. Bill Hyland, a descendent of Bernard de Marigny said, "Lloyd could be seen almost daily walking in the
streets of the Marigny leading a tour talking about the city he loved. He was an unmistakable sight; a jaunty walker with a full head of curly white hair (with a pitch helmet in summer), dressed in white linen slacks and shirt and vintage suspenders. "

Washington Square Park (700 Elysian Fields) is the epicenter of the Home Tour experience from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm hosting an art market and musical performances by local talent. Tour-goers can purchase tickets from 11 am - 3 pm on May 15, 2011 for the self-guided walking tour or visit
http://www.faubourgmar.... (Kids 12 and under are free.)

As you purchase your ticket, register to win the door prize and receive three nights at River House, a luxury guest house in the Faubourg Marigny (
http://www.riverhousen...), the magnificent home of author David Lummis, Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans and his book's narrator. Amazing items such as signed books and prints, DVD's, and gift certificates from local businesses are available by purchasing raffle tickets during the event at River House.

River House will host a book signing during the Home and Garden Tour in its Marigny Street garden and courtyard as Zazou City plays New Orleans Gypsy Jazz. Featured at this event will be numerous neighborhood authors, with Faubourg Marigny Art & Books (FAB) as the official bookseller. Adding to the festivities, Sonoma Valley vineyard Fess Parker Winery will provide its newly created wine, "The Big Easy" and local eateries will provide finger food.

Day's Events:
10am - 4pm - Arts Market
10am - 4pm - Kids' Activity Area
11am - Music starts
11am - 3pm - Tour tickets available to purchase in the park
12 - 4pm - Home & Garden Tour

The Home and Garden Tour, "Artists in Residence" is sponsored by FMIA and two local companies, Positive Vibrations Foundation, and River House Publishing. Positive Vibrations, a non-profit whose mission is to seek peace and unity through development and preservation of arts, music, culture, and heritage. River House Publishing, http://www.coffeeshopc... a division of New Orleans-based Marigny Research Group, Inc., is the publisher of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans trilogy, Parts 2 and 3 of which will be released in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Morning 40 Federation at Pulp Metal Magazine

"40 Ounce" copyright 2011 kristin fouquet

I'm pleased as punch to have my short film with introduction published by Pulp Metal Magazine, one of the most eclectic places on the web. Enjoy the great writing there as well. Thanks, Jason Michel.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Night Gardener

click on the film for full view: