Coffee Rhetoric: literature
Showing posts with label literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label literature. Show all posts

June 16, 2012

Conversation with Toni Morrison

"I don't like those either/or scenarios where if you do this, then you can't do that. I think one of the interesting things that certainly, feminine intelligence can bring, is a kind of a look at the world that you can do two things or three things or be ... the personality is more fluid... more receptive; the boundaries are not quite so defined and I think that's part of what modernism is."

November 14, 2010

Alive! Plus some Coffee Buzz

(c) Coffee Rhetoric
I've been gone for a minute, now I'm back with the Jump-off, but not really...  I feel as if I haven't blogged in forever. In addition to being afflicted with writer's block, I've been caught up in the rapture of life. Keeping busy is definitely good, but I definitely don't want to immerse myself in productive happenings at the expense of writing and blogging. Aside from clocking in hours, I've been doing my version of schmoozing (Just like flirting, I'm not good at it), trying to make the rounds around town, and meeting other interesting people. I've also been shadowbox, duck, and weave the toxic energy that constantly seems to try to insinuate itself into my life. It's like a dense fog full of dead spirits or not unlike a noxious gas that cuts through the air. In any event... fighter, survivor... so forth, so on... I flail and jab with fervor and it seems as if the wheel is turning... it's creaking... but it's turning ever so slowly, and that works for me.
In any event, I've made what I hope turns out to be worthwhile connections with some really great people making moves in Hartford, and if there's one thing I've grown an affinity for, it's promoting my home city and spotlighting the people that advocate for it and help it prosper while trying to carve out their own niche here. Most notably are: John Ramaglia, a local film producer whose acquaintance I met at wine bar Bocca Rossa. His credentials sounded pretty impressive. He's co-creator of the Silk City Flick Fest (which I think I've linked in a previous Coffee Buzz post), and manager of up-and-coming talent in Hartford. John also mentioned helping bring Poetz Corner TV- which is an open mic poetry event, taped live every Tuesday night at Hartford lounge, Cloud 9 and hosted by Shireal Renee (star of the upcoming one woman show "Wide Open")- to Access TV on Channel 5 (Hartford). 
(c) MzIndgoBGM/Michelle Mowatt
I'm also pleased to know and mention fledgling freelance makeup artist (she's really good) and modeling recruiter for New York based plus-size sorority and organization BGM (Big Girl Movement) Inc. - (Which strives to encourage fuller-figured women to feel comfortably fabulous, healthy, active, and stylish in their skin)- Michelle Mowatt. Irreverent, gorge, stylish, and self-aware, Michelle is definitely a lady to look out for... as she does great renditions of the smoky eye (Glam Fairy who?), and is already amassing an eager and growing list of visages to beat into shape, armed with a great collection of makeup brands in her arsenal. Please contact her here, for more information on hiring her to do your makeup or BGM- and
There's so much going on in Hartford, with me, so forth and so on. I'm desperately trying my best to keep up and stay in the midst of it all. It's both exciting and exhausting. I think I definitely need to look into getting back on some sort of multivitamin lest I'll miss it all ... I also need to re-organize my own personal goings on, so that I can continue to spill open in earnest sans the long lapses. ... I also saw Tyler Perry's film adaption of Ntozoke Shange's experimental masterpiece, "For Colored Girl's Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Wasn't Enough" and am still working through how I feel about his handling of it. Overall, it wasn't terrible... but I am still working through how I feel. I know it has already generated obnoxious ramblings from what I've christened to be the Fraternity of Danny Downers who seem unaware of the movie's origins... post to follow real soon, once I organize my thoughts because I also feel like you can't be Black and say something in opposition to Tyler Perry's work without getting the side-eye from our community... So, yes... I need to think it through before I offer up my opinion for public consumption ... 

October 04, 2007


I'm a huge fan of the reading. Yes, in-between moments of self-indulgence, lamenting my non-existent dating life, self-absorbency, moisturizing, exfoliating, glossing, imbibing and the like, I manage to squeeze in time for some voracious reading. I've consumed some really tasty literary fodder the past couple of months-- but none as titillating as-- (my favorite author)-- Andrea Lee's latest offering, Lost Hearts in Italy. I finally stopped being a coward, and about three weeks ago went down to the public library's main branch, downtown, and got a new library card. A looming balance haunted my previous bibliothecal existence and so I stayed a way. The fine wasn't particularly hefty. It was under 20 dollars, in fact-- (some videos I'd returned late), but the idea of having a library fine intimidated me... Okay, fine, I just didn't relish having to pay one! In any event, I'm happy to report that in the lieu of the library's recent renovations and updated databases, my account was purged, apparently. And so I retained a brand spanking new card administered to me sans having to pay a dime. Loves it. Hungry for more Andrea Lee, who's previous offerings: The Russian Journal (non-fiction, memoir), Sarah Phillips, and Interesting Women (a collection of short stories)-- left me wanting more, and so I checked out her latest aforementioned novel, Lost Hearts in Italy. Andrea Lee, an Ivy League educated black woman from Philadelphia, is an expatriate living abroad in Turin, Italy (for well over ten years)-- where she raises her two sons and is married to an Italian baron named Ruggero Aprile di Cimia. They all live in a large, old, funky fresh castle. Yes, what I fancy my life to be. In any event, perhaps due to Lee's own circumstance, she goes the route of Henry James. Her characters tend to revolve around women of color (usually) living successful, sophisticated, and glamorous, trans-Atlantic lives abroad, while managing relationships with grandiloquent foreign men, who sweep the heroines off their feet. Lost Hearts... has all those same elements but is even more decadent and tragic, as it charts the disintegration of a young American couple's happy (interracial) marriage, due to the wife's inexplicable act of adultery with a surly, cold older Italian billionaire named Zenin. Who is seemingly fixated by the idea of possessing the protagonist's (Mira Ward) whole being. Needless to say, the affair reaches a crescendo and it consumes Mira, culminating in the bitter demise of her marriage and family. Lee's characters seem to encapsulate themselves in a life of grandeur and material success. Her descriptive, almost prose like descriptions of Italy's sumptuous locales makes it easy to get lost and wish you were somehow involved, if only to be in the luscious European backdrop of baroque furnishings and fancy almost hedonistic getaways ...
Heres an excerpt:

The call comes three or four times a year. Always in the morning, when Mira's husband and children have left the house, and she is at work in her study, in the dangerous company of words - words that are sometimes docile companions and at other times bolt off like schizophrenic lovers and leave you stranded on a street corner somewhere. There are moments when Mira, abandoned in the middle of a paragraph, sits glaring furiously out past the computer at the chestnut trees in her hillside garden and the industrial smudge of Turin below in the distance and the Alps beyond. Then the phone rings, and she breaks her own rule to grab it like a lifeline. And eerily enough, as if from hundreds of miles away he has sensed her bafflement, her moment of weakness, it is often Zenin, a man who once wrecked part of her life.

Oh, not Zenin himself, not at first. His billionaire's paranoia is too strong for that. He never calls her on a cell phone, always from his office, never from one of his houses, from his yacht, from his jet. The call is placed by any one of a bevy of young Italian secretaries, the kind who announce their names in bright telemarketers' voices. Pronto, it's Sabrina. Marilena. Or Veronica. It's different each time, but always the kind of aspirational Hollywood-style moniker that in Italian sounds slightly whorish. ---