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Another View From My Temporary Bedroom
Savannah, Georgia. I'm here to promote my column at the conference for daily newspaper features editors from across America. I forgot my camera when we went to Washington Square, but here's another view out my hotel room window.

temphome.jpg

According to the conference program, John Berendt, who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, singlehandedly revived the economy of Savannah with his book. Berendt spoke at the conference about southern writing and its sense of place, and about his newer book on Venice, The City of Falling Angels, which sounded pretty interesting, especially for anyone who's been there.

One of the authors Berendt quoted from was Eudora Welty. I was reminded of the photo Jill Krementz, the wife of the late Kurt Vonnegut, took of Welty. Gregg and I had lunch with Krementz and Vonnegut when we were in New York a couple of years ago, and afterward, he took a nap and she took us down the basement to her photo archives and showed us, among other things, her portrait of Welty at work. Krementz pointed out the noteworthy thing from this shot -- that a southern woman of Welty's age and upbringing awoke at 5 a.m. to write, without first making her bed.

(This photo, and other photos of writers' work environments -- including, I think, Elmore Leonard's -- are in Krementz' book showing the work environments of many famous writers, The Writer's Desk.)

Posted by aalkon at September 29, 2007 2:17 PM

Comments

"City of Falling Angels" is a fabulous book. I've never been to Venice, but now I really want to go, and have a better idea of what to expect.

Posted by: deja pseu at September 29, 2007 8:26 AM

I have yet to read City of Falling Angels but it is definitely on my (really, really long) reading list. I loved what he did with Savannah. The Writer's Desk is actually on my list of must buy books, when I can find a used copy. It is right up there with the great pictoral I found recently, of libraries around the world, which was almost sexually stimulating.

While I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of professors that I have immense respect for, I have not had the opportunity to meet very many authors I love. Those I have met, most notable the late great, Douglas Adams, I have only met at signings. I have to admit a certain jealousy at your mingling with great authors that I really have profound affection for, through their work. Vonnegut, in particular, is one of my hero's.

Posted by: DuWayne at September 29, 2007 11:41 AM

Among all the other things, having had the immense luck (due to Gregg) to meet him in person, I can say he was truly a sweet and gentle person, in person.

As for Jill Krementz, I was a fan of hers before I'd ever even heard of Kurt Vonnegut. (I started reading him around 12 or 13.) When I was about 8, growing up miserable in suburban Detroit, I used to get American Girl magazine, and I saw her photographs of A Very Young Dancer (also a book). When Gregg called when she was shooting Elmore, and then when we finally got to meet her, I was so thrilled. She should be better known. She doesn't really promote herself, I don't think, but she has incredible photographs of incredible people that many people have never seen. These are famous people in many cases -- Dylan, etc. -- but their fame is an afterthought in these photographs. I should buy that book, too, Duwayne.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 12:11 PM

I am so jealous of your lunch with Kurt Vonnegut. He is my absolute favorite American novelist!! Every year I meant to send him a birhday card telling him how much I admire him. I was so bummed when he passed.

Posted by: jaylyn at September 29, 2007 2:47 PM

I agree with the above commenters- City of Falling Angels was interesting. Different from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which read more like a novel), but it's still worth a read (especially if you have traveled through or stayed in Venice, it's an interesting slice of history of the city).

Posted by: Angela at October 1, 2007 6:28 AM

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