Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I learned From Poe

I recently toured the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. I’m working on a few articles based on the visit, but while these are still in progress I thought I’d share a few quick insights on what I learned from Poe.

1. If you’re going to die, be sure to do it in someone else’s clothing. It will get people talking. Some people will find it so odd that they will go out and buy your books to search for any clue on why you might have done this.

2. Choose your enemies wisely. Most people don’t know this, but much of what we’ve heard about Poe being a drunkard and person of questionable character was made up by one of his professional adversaries and published after Poe’s death. The lies were intended to discredit Poe and destroy his literary legacy. This attempt backfired and only drew more people to read Poe’s work, making him far more famous than the individual who wrote the lies. Score one for Poe!

3. Marry someone much younger. Poe's happiest relationship was with his wife, who was only 13 when she and Poe (who was 27 at the time) were married. However, she died of an illness at the age of 24 and Poe never did seem to find true love again.

4. It’s okay to be a literary whore. Even Poe took on writing assignments, such as writing a textbook on sea shells, in order to pay the bills. I think that if Poe had resort to turning literary tricks in order to make ends meet, then it’s certainly not beneath the rest of us to do likewise.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello, Sleepy Hollow and Greetings, Mr. Poe!

We wrapped up our visit to Book Expo America and headed out to see a few more literary tour spots outside of the city on the way home. Here are some of the highlights.

Less than an hour from NYC is the town of Sleepy Hollow. Of course, we had to visit the graveyard. It's a beautiful place. Here's a picture of the gate:

 I don't know anything about this grave, but I loved the statue under the red maple and had to snap a picture.

The highlight of Sleepy Hollow was visiting Washington Irving's grave. This is his family plot and his gravestone is the one with the red flowers in front. It's a beautiful cemetery and a great place to take a walk if you have the time.

Nearby the cemetery is Union Church of Pocantico Hills.  They wouldn't let us take pictures inside, but this place is extraordinary! The stained glass windows along the sides of this small chapel were made by Matisse and the rose window above the alter is the last work of art made by Chagall. Here;s the Chagall window from the outside:

Next, we drove a few hours to Baltimore, Maryland to gaze upon the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. It's a tradition to leave a penny on the grave because a school teacher started the "pennies for Poe" campaign that resulted in the building of the monument in the picture. Although he's buried under this monument now, he was originally buried with a small marker in the back of the churchyard. This monument was built because his fans left pennies. It just goes to show how little things can add up!

Just a few blocks from Poe's grave is his Baltimore house. It's also a museum, but it's currently closed for renovation. Nevertheless, we made the trek in the rain to see it. Here's the plaque on the front of the house marking it:

And here's what the house looks like:

And then we drove on into the night.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

More Literary Tourism in NYC

Saw a lot of interesting things and met more great people at Book Expo America Yesterday. Too much for one post, so in this one I'll share more pictures of my literary tourism and write up the conference later.

Interesting place for dinner with some more classic New York Pizza. This restaurant was once a church and is worth visiting for both the food and architecture.

Check out the ceiling and stained glass. Beautiful.

We went to Old Town Bar, a place where literary types such as Frank McCourt and Nick Hornby have been in the past.

Note to women - the ladies room is upstairs. While it seems like an inconvenience, I enjoyed the trip and the scenery in the upstairs room, which was not in use on this busy Friday night. Here's a shot of the room.

And the trip back down with all the creakiness of well-traveled stairs.

We ended the night by going to one of the most imaginative theatrical productions I've seen. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but it's a very creative interpretation of MacBeth called "Sleep No More" and it takes place here:

Check it out if you're in New York. It was worth staying up until 3:15 AM to see it, and I'm a "morning person."