Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Michael Cunningham on New Orleans

This weekend I'm going to New Orleans to find a house! Beginning in August I'll be teaching at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a conservatory high school with a fantastic creative writing program.

A few weeks ago, when I was interviewing Michael Cunningham for Time Out New York, he revealed that he had lived in New Orleans, a long time ago, before he had settled on what he wanted to do with his life.

"I almost moved to New Orleans, years and years ago," he said. "I"ve always wondered what would have happened if I had. I mean, I was there. I was staying with a friend and just loved it. I thought, why not just stay here? I was still in my 20s and still a little tentative about this whole notion of 'writing.' I thought, given what I know about myself, I might move to New Orleans and write a novel, or I might move to New Orleans and wake up at 75 with a cocktail in my hand, sitting on a veranda realizing 'I guess that was my life.'

"The woman I was staying with was applying to medical school and she didn't have a typewriter. And we actually couldn't find anyone who did have a typewriter. That was when I began to think 'This isn't a good sign.'"

Of course, Cunningham knows that an awful lot of writers have called New Orleans home, but his concern was that he was considering living there at a time when "the jury was still out" as far as his path was concerned. "It's one of those places where 'living there' is in fact what you are doing with your life."

And that, I think, isn't a bad thing at all.

6 comments:

Lisa said...

Congratulations on your new job! I hope you love it! Love to the puppies!

kfoz said...

Thanks Lisa. Is that Lisa in Tallahassee? Or Lisa in Atlanta? Or Lisa in Portland? Or another Lisa?

Elizabeth Crane said...

I think living in Chicago is definitely my day job, and I mean that in the best possible way.

case said...

And then they took hold of a human sacrifice.
And they help up a human heart on high.
And they showed its roundnedd to the lords.
And now One and Seven Death admired it, and now that paerson was brought right back to life.

Lisa said...

Lisa in TLH

Richard said...

Ken, you will really enjoy NOCCA's students, and they will be lucky to have another talented writer and teacher join the faculty. I started guest-teaching at the old NOCCA about 24 years ago. Tom Whalen, the founding director, put together a high school program that was far better than most of what I'd seen in undergraduate creative writing programs and even some MFA programs. Good luck!