Monday, September 05, 2005

Poppy Z. Brite, a truly talented author of dark fiction who in recent years has begun to write in a less bloody vein, is, like Anne Rice, an author many strongly identify with the city of New Orleans. Like Rice, Ms. Brite has set some of her own vampire tales in that city, and has written a great deal of rich and evocative prose about the Big Easy.

Poppy's blog is Dispatches from Tanganyika, and if she were not a pretty well-known author, her blog at first glance could be the witty daily musings of any highly intelligent and creative young professional.

In light of the events of the last week or so, Poppy's blog is living proof available right on the worldwide web that a disaster of this magnitude touches everyone; the famous and wealthy, the poor and ignored. She and her partner Chris escaped the worst wrath of Hurricane Katrina, but they had to leave a number of pets and their home behind.

September 4, 2005, Poppy updated for the first time since September 1st. When someone has a gift of writing it is always worth quoting them at a time like this, because the beauty of the author's art sometimes is their ability to put what people less facile with our mother tongue feel into words and images.

From Poppy Z. Brite's Livejournal entry written September 4:

There is no way we can get to New Orleans in the foreseeable future, but various animal rescue organizations are trying to help the cats. We're incredibly grateful for that and for all the financial help you have given us. Chris has no livelihood for God knows how long, my eBay business is dead for God knows how long and may have no stock left, and I can still work but currently have no way to receive income other than Paypal, though I'm hoping my mom's mail service will resume soon. These donations will help us more than you all know.

We spend our days waiting in gas lines, picking up ice from FEMA and Red Cross sites, crying, and reading. At night we read by flashlight or candlelight...

I was long ago disabused of the romantic notion that the writing life, once it provides your means of living, was some sort of ideal existence of wealth and independence. Still, seeing just how an author who, to my eyes, has achieved a perfectly acceptable level of success -- as in, I'd be happy to have a career like hers -- has to deal with the same deprivations as everyone else, seeing how decimated her life has been by this storm brings home just how vast the swath cut through the lives of southerners really is. No one has been spared. Politician, writer, cop, accountant, computer genius, webmaster, blogger, garbageman, busker, homeless person, criminal, lawyer, infant, centenarian... all who still have voices do like Poppy Z. Brite, they wait, they get help, hopefully, and they cry.


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