Thursday, February 20, 2014

FOR PORCH SITTERS

While sojourning at Sewanee this past year, I jumped track from writing poetry and sat on the front porch composing essays about one of my favorite subjects—porches. I invited my friend Janet Faulk-Gonzales to contribute some of the vignettes for a book I began compiling because she and I share a mutual liking for these outdoor appendages to homes. At Christmas, I usually give Janet a calendar featuring porches, and we spend a lot of time discussing the virtues of the porches photographed for the calendar.

PORCH POSTS contains vignettes and stories about the "so-called passive life that goes on in the porch world," and features eight whimsical drawings by New Iberia artist Paul Schexnayder, as well as an arresting cover, a photograph of a lovely glass piece done by Karen Bourque, a glass artist who lives in Churchpoint, Louisiana. The vignettes range from descriptions of porch structures to tales recounted on galeries, as the French in south Louisiana call them. The porch settings cover wide territory—from Louisiana and Alabama to Iran and Qatar, but all of these observation posts offer a different view of the world as seen from the vantage point of two porch sitters.

Here are two snippets from the Foreword of PORCH POSTS, the first is from me and the second from Janet:

"The word 'porch sitter' describes, in unflattering vernacular, someone who is a lazy, good for nothing person. However, in more sophisticated settings, porch sitters are people who enjoy their galleries for evening gatherings in a space where they can relax, talk, sip libations, create good memories, and elevate their spirits... My childhood memories include porches of various types and architectural design, ranging from a simple, round concrete floor, painted red, with a slight overhang that my father constructed when we returned from a foolhardy trip to California, to a large one with lacy Queen Anne posts that my Grandmother Nell called her 'gallery'..."

And from Janet:

"For the most part, when we think of porches, we typically think of outside spaces, but I see them as places that hold the point for transitions of all sorts. On the porch, one is really neither in the rain, nor out of the rain; in the night nor out of the night; might be leaving but not yet gone; might be returning, but not yet settled—neither in nor out... At this moment, I can say that the two things which make the porch THE PLACE, whatever its dimension and decor, are its propinquity with the natural world and the fact that unexpected time on the porch comes as close to the still point of presence as any time anywhere..."


Look for PORCH POSTS to appear next month. It will be available on amazon.com, and I will provide a link at that time.
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