Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 616
It's soon 2005
25 December 2004

     Today is the 25th of December and I am writing a report to send to friends. As most of you know, I dislike xmas cards. And especially those that arrive from friends and all they say is Merry Christmas, etc. and no other words. A few people add a printed report. This I like. It means getting some real news. Since the late 60s, I have been writing newsletters and sending them out to most of you all over the world. Usually every year I produce an end of the year report (looking back over the past 12 months and a brief peek into the future). Well this is it. I hope you enjoy it.

     Health: All seems to be OK. I go every six months to see Dr. Slattery and he seems to be satisfied with me. I take my six pills daily and I try to go for walks and do not eat too much sugar.

     Legal situation: Regarding Emile-the-Rat, we are waiting to hear what the Court de Cassation rules. The decision should come in early 2005. We won the decision to get my refund from the family who owned the rue de Nevers property, but they still have not repaid the 280,000 French francs.

     Property: If worse comes to worse, Atelier A2 will be sold "en viager". Personally I would like to sell to a Foundation so that when I am no longer living here, writers, composers, poets and others could come and live here for a year or more.

     Publications: Mary Bartlett, Antonia Hoogewerf and Cathy Monnet have almost completed Cooking for One Hundred - Dinners in Paris with Jim Haynes. Now we are looking for an agent and/or a publisher to launch this opus onto the unsuspecting public. Howard Aster plans to publish a Festschrift to honor yours truly. ( I pause to dial his number in France and discover he is here. Until mid-January. Howard reports the book will be ready in August. Note: Stanley Cohen wants to host a party for me during the Edinburgh festival. It is only logical that this party will celebrate the publication of the book. So make your plans to be in Edinburgh in mid-August.)

     Trips: A short but delightful brief visit to Milano to stay with Alek Stefanovic in June. And to be with Sasa & Claudio Innocenti, and their son, Corso. Plus John Flattau and Joanna Przybyla. Then Edinburgh (in August) and Frankfurt (in October). It is planned that five of us (Antonia Hoogewerf, Karolina Blaberg, John Flattau, Martin Lehgerber and young Jim Haynes) will journey to India in mid-February in order to celebrate something or other. Life maybe. August always means the Edinburgh Festival! June might mean the Lahti Writers' Reunion. (I have been eight times, so not sure if I should go again or not.) October always means the Frankfurt Book Fair. And then there is Kiev, Odessa, and Cluj, Warsaw, Budapest, Istanbul… So many friends to visit. (Note: Do you know how to make the gods laugh. Tell them your plans.)

     Sunday dinners: They continue. Thanks to Cathy Monnet, Mary Bartlett, Antonia Hoogewerf, Barbara Sherman and others. Even I cook from time to time. (I made seven pecan pies recently and they were superb. Thanks to Cathy Monnet.)

     Visitors: There have been very few occasions when the atelier has been empty this past year. Lots of visitors and all of them delightful: Joan Bakewell, Anna Skochilenko, Jodi Poretto, Duc Phan, Kevin Lescroart, Peter Juge, Daisy De Lacy, John Flattau, Lynne Tillman, Donald Todd, Viveka & Gosta Wallmark, Anna Ware, Bill Head & Patricia Winston, Olga Kaspler, Natasha Perova and so many others. Please come again!

     Projects: No major projects planned. After the failure to purchase a home for the Paris Arts Club, it is nice to take it easy. I rented a cinema (65 places) to see the Cole Porter film, De-Lovely, and everyone enjoyed it. Claire Naylor performed her one-woman show here about the Empress Josephine. Then I saw her several nights later perform in Bus Stop.

     Exhibitions: The small A2 gallery continues. Current exhibition: photographs of India by Antonia Hoogewerf. My son, Jesper, had an exhibition of his photographs here last June. Evgenija Demnievska shot a short film of the vernissage. And Evgenija will have an exhibition in the Spring. Robbie Conal had an exhibition of his political drawings here in April. And journeyed over from L.A. to be here for the vernissage. Future exhibitions: Sabine Kölmel (paintings), Harry Robinson (photographs), Peter van Straaten (drawings), Mischa Richter (photographs), and John Flattau (photographs).

     Friends: Corneliu Mitrache has a contract with Denoel to have his first novel, Styx Revisited, published. His new novel, La Marquise de Monparnasse, is a love story set in contemporary Paris that is excellent. A very few copies of this unpublished tale are available in English. It is a portrait of today's anglophone community that I think is 100% accurate. If you would like a copy, send me about 25 euros and not only will I post it to you, I will get Corneliu to sign it to you. Karolina Blaberg now has the keys to her new home in the 6eme. John Calder's Godot Company recently performed Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris. Two sold out performances! Susie Hollands and Whitey Flagg are running The Ivy, a new gallery at 25 rue Keller in Paris 11eme and seek interesting exhibitions. Karl Orend sent me his Life into Art - Notes on Henry Miller and His Pursuers. And it is excellent. Alladine Lacroix has let me read her unpublished tale of her adventures in Maroc. It is a look into a side of life there that tourists never see. Bill Dunlap has purchased a studio near the Place des Vosges, so will be spending more time in Paris. Roy Williamson has purchased a ruin in the middle of France. He has moved there and will slowly bring it back to life. Medi & Bernard (Willem) Holtrop have an exhibition at the Musée de l'Érotisme (72 Blvd de Clichy) running now until March. Felix Dennis sent me his two new books of poetry, Lone Wolf and The Taking of Saddam plus a DVD of his poetry tour. Better late than never, I have recently read Edmund White's The Flâneur and discovered so many new things about Paris. And Gonzague Pichelin gave me a videocassette of his documentary about George Whitman. And I have read Cara Black's new Murder in Clichy. It will be published in March. I can also highly recommend all of Alan Furst's eight novels. Alan and his wife, Karen, were recently in Paris and we managed to spend some time together. Alan's latest, Dark Voyage, features a Dutch captain of a freighter as its protagonist. And Joan Bakewell's autobiography, The Centre of the Bed, is delightful.

     Articles: If anyone takes a Continental Airlines flight in February, take a look at the in-flight magazine. There is an article by Marion Winik that should amuse you. It's about "Romantic Spots" and guess who is included. I am also interviewed in the February issue of France Today (published in San Francisco) as well as in an upcoming issue of Zembla (published in the U.K.). Adrian Leeds profiled me in her Parler Paris magazine. Julia Watson wrote a profile for UPI and John Morrison interviewed me for AFP. And there was an article in a Japanese newspaper. Plus a piece in the Financial Times by Naomi Mapstone entitled The Books That Matter. And a piece in Budget Travel magazine about the Sunday dinners. I made a quick trip to London in the autumn to be interviewed for a TV documentary for Channel 4 about the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s. Not sure when it will be broadcast, but I suspect sometime in early 2005.

     Books: My Homage to Henry Miller is back in print again in Handshake Editions. I still have a site on ABE if you wish to check out various titles I am selling.

     Politics: I voted - with great difficulty - in the recent presidential election for the first time in my life in my old home state of Louisiana. Needless to say, my candidate lost. I wonder if I will ever vote again. I also wonder how America will get out of the mess in Iraq. One would think that America would learn something after the tragedy of Vietnam.

     Religion: I find it difficult to accept the tenets of any religion. And dogmatic fundamentalism is repugnant and a cause of most of the problems on earth today. That and over-population. If there is a god (or gods), I wonder if they ever ask themselves who created them. Why can't human beings accept and respect one another based solely on their human-ness? Life is too quickly over to not enjoy every minute. I certainly do my best to do so. And largely succeed.

I hope that all of you are in top form, that 2005 will be good for you and for our dear old Planet Earth. And I hope that our paths will cross in the coming months. Cheers and let the good times roll.

 

 
Jim Haynes
December 2004

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 

 

 

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