Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Last fall, I had the good fortune to meet the Southern writer Jason Berry in his native New Orleans. We fell to talking about another Southern writer, Walker Percy, whose debut novel The Moviegoer was set in that splendid city. "I was so grateful when I discovered that book," said Berry, "because it showed me that it was possible to write about my home town."
Ah, the myopia of youth. Imagine thinking that a place like New Orleans lacked sufficient grist for the literary mill. But before he read The Moviegoer, poor Berry couldn't see it - because he lived there, you see.
I think of Berry whenever I hear someone bag on San Diego as being a place where nothing happens, certainly nothing worth writing about. Because we live here, you see.
I also think of Thomas Lux. Lux is a primarily a poet, the sort who wins awards (three-time NEA fellow, Guggenheim, Mellon, etc.). The sort who drops by Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program to help out. The sort who rates a 20-year retrospective anthology (and that was 15 years ago). Hey, here's a sample!
Now, Lux has written a book of nonfiction, From the Southland, and guess what? Thomas Lux didn't think there was nothing to write about in San Diego. Thomas Lux came to America's Finest City and found a whole book's worth of material here. If you live here, maybe consider checking it out. (Full disclosure: these stories first appeared right here in the Reader.)
And maybe ALSO consider checking out the man himself, who will be reading this coming Monday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in San Diego State University's Scripps Cottage.
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- Summer Book Group — May 27, 2012