My friend Ken Gammage is presenting a paper at next week's meeting of the International Lawrence Durrell Society in New Orleans, Louisiana. A full conference schedule is now available for download in two formats.
The way I read the schedule, Ken is batting cleanup for the Avignon Quintet team on Saturday. His talk, "The Significance of 'Real' and 'Imaginary' Characters in The Avignon Quintet", looks thought-provoking, and his literary and poetic prowess may (or may not) be a surprise to the world that knows him best as the guy who made Viper's YouTube video at CES about how to use an iPhone to control your car remotely.
The other talk that I think I would particularly like is "Writing (on) Walls or the Palimpsest of Time in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet" by Corinne Alexandre-Garner (CREA/CREE, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense) and Isabelle Keller-Privat (CREA/CREE, Université de Toulouse II-Le Mirail). You can check out these talks and more in the PDF. I know we as a nation have not helped New Orleans fully recover from H.K. so let's have lots of conferences there on every possible subject...just as one of many types of re-engagements...
Everything-is-connected optional section: My former husband R and I kissed for the first time in New Orleans, the town where he spent his childhood (although not totally in Mardi Gras costumes; that's just what the pictorial record suggests). We didn't begin dating until several years later, but I felt like kissing R the moment I heard him say crossly, "I hate little kids who speak Arabic better than I do." R said that when we were up on the levee, in the dark, surrounded by lights floating on the river and ship horns hooting and little kids (some speaking Arabic) running around and bumping into us. It took until I got back down to Chartres and Iberville for me to actually kiss him, because we were only friends then and I worried about crossing that line. It is his birthday today, and I have already wished him a very happy one. His bedroom has recently been graced by the arrival of a small (but thick) African python: "It's a Python regius, in a tank on top of my dresser, where my housemate installed it last night."
R and Ken (hero of this post) last met at my maternal grandfather's funeral in La Jolla CA. The program had one photo of grampa heading out to surf and another of him at the beach, looking out and thinking. R and I were surrounded by people who took their Christianity seriously in a particular way [I'm a Christian myself so I'm not dissing them just explaining], and Ken and I sat on either side of R to protect him from people humming the "far far better place" song. Wishing you a great conference Ken, and encouraging you to visit the absinthe museum, or have a beignet, for me! (But hold the chicory coffee.)