Author and Purpose   Leave a comment

  • Who am I?
  • What provides the fodder for my writing?
  • What is my day-to-day life like?
  • What’s this blog supposed to be about?

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Who am I?  –

Irv and me

Irv and me

Drawing with Tisolay

Drawing with Tisolay

I am an old-line New Orleans girl of 55, married with a gaggle of cool step-sons and daughters-in-law scattered around the country, too far, and a husband who is an independent geologist in oil and gas exploration.Education, experience, and abilities have steeped me in the visual arts,music, and writing (by talents), French Louisiana history and anthropology (ancestry and interest), and psychological introspection (by mindset).  I’m a somewhat-eccentric, not-too-responsive-to-authority, solitude-loving girl with artistic leanings and a foot (or online research site) always somewhere in the past, who does things that most girls don’t do…  restore historic houses by hand, get a black belt in karate, take off on months-long archaeology jaunts in a make-shift RV I designed, build things out of antique salvage woods, etc.

column scrolls, Alouette's ice cream

column scrolls, Alouette’s ice cream

Saint-Saens Carnival, N.O. Symphony

Saint-Saens Carnival, N.O. Symphony

self-defense demonstration

self-defense demonstration

Nova Scotia research

Nova Scotia research

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What provides the fodder for my writing?  –

I have 2 Master’s degrees and half a Ph.D.(Clinical Psych & Cultural Anthropology) behind me, as well as a Fed.gov’t  job doing PTSD work with Vietnam veterans and a 1st marriage.  I have a lifetime of foreign travel and unusual adventures that is nowhere near behind me.  I have a collection, unusually large and well-preserved, of historic family documents and personal belongings going back many generations that surrounds me throughout my home.  I have a legacy and identity of being a New Orleanian since we arrived in 1763 with Creole French, Creole Spanish, Cajun French, and as my grandmother loved saying, hardly a drop of American blood in me.  And I have the inspiration of that magical ‘best-friend’ grandmother who could flirt with a stick of furniture.   A string of deaths and losses, followed by Hurricane Katrina, took away the space I had always had to write in, and 6 subsequent years of post-Katrina construction management took away the time and concentration, and to be brutally honest, my sense of identity.  By late 2011, though, my life started becoming my own again and a good writing environment began to take shape around me once more.

What is my day-to-day life like? –     I have a fortunate life in a fascinating 1892 house and garden, the financial freedom (if I’m careful) to stay home, write, and garden as the recluse that I am deliciously settling into being (what a party child I used to be!), and a patient, even-keeled husband who loves his sons, finding oil and gas in the Louisiana muck, cooking, bicycling, his home and me, and gives me the solitude to write in my little moss-draped heaven under the oaks.  I do take breaks.  Throughout the day, I tend the 4 black-and-white cats that own us, maintain the garden, pick a household chore, and visit with my husband when his weavings in and out of his home office (brought here after Katrina put a 13-story crack up his office building downtown) coincide with mine.  At various times I’ll practice (piano: Rachmaninov, Brahms, Prokofiev, Debussy…), keep a diary and an old-fashioned family photo journal, tend something in the house as resident handyman, on occasion cook something ethnic, write to my friends who are all (except one) out of town, and get together with that life-long, cherished one .  And when the mood strikes, I do things to the house on a collection of tablesaws that, though ranking higher and higher on my I’m-Too-Old-For-This-Shit-o-meter (crown molding, rehang a door…), nevertheless give me great artistic fulfillment.  Sometimes I travel, both with my husband and alone.  But mostly, I write and research online for hours and days on end, and set up the photoshoots that pertain, forgetting to eat or sleep, bringing my laptop to various comfy spots around the house and garden throughout the day.   I can’t keep a car battery charged for love nor money, though.

What’s this blog supposed to be about?:   It is an autobiography that includes the histories of my ancestors who laid the path.  Inspired by the movie “Julie and Julia”, it was originally intended to chronicle the 3-yr-long “heart attack” that was the 2008 raising of our house from a one-story to a two-story, complete with its ‘living-in-a-construction-site’ hysteria, near-divorce fights, legal wranglings with a contractor who ended up in jail, and upon occasion, creative joys.

But too much of my story wanted to be told in a broader-scope, photo still-life & memoir, inspired by the fact that I, an only child of an only child of an only child who has inherited a breath-taking body of family documents, heirlooms, and stories, have no children of my own to leave them to and am the end of the line.  Also, the phenomenon that was my magical grandmother is something that must be chronicled for posterity.  So I will volley back and forth, vignette at a time, in no particular order except as inspiration hits, telling the story of a New Orleans life in a South Louisiana world.

I invite you into my world, and to get to know me if you like… and perhaps I you!

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Posted September 4, 2009 by Laura Stella Sitges

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