Friday, September 29, 2006

Two Upcoming Appearances

The man in the picture was a very nice man. His name was Eugene Walter, and he was a real mentor to me. Aside from my family he was the earliest and most enthusiastic supporter of my writing. It turns out that this year I'll be part of two events that have something to do with Eugene. That makes me happy. On Oct. 6 I'll be on two panels at the Eugene Walter Writers Festival in Mobile, Alabama. It takes place downtown at the Admiral Semmes hotel, come on by! I'm not sure if it costs money. Later in the month, from Oct. 18-22, it's time for the famous Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. I - and some vastly more sophisticated co-panelists, one of whom is a famous editor who knew Eugene in Paris - will be talking about what it was like to have dinner with Eugene (he was a gourmet cook, too, and the author of numerous books on food, in addition to doing a whole lot of other stuff, like acting in the all-time classic film 8 1/2). Don't confuse Eugene with the other Eugene Walter, a playwright who died in (I think) the 1930s! Last year when I was on my book tour, I got to see some of James Joyce's papers and some of Eugene's papers at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas, thanks to our good friend Leslie Delassus, who worked there at the time. I saw an early draft of Eugene's English translation of the Fellini film SATYRICON, which had some of his doodles on the cover and in the margins. You can see one of his drawings, a cat, at the homepage for the festival named after him.