Nola Studiola rings in 2014–which all omens predict will be a good year–with January’s curator, Julia Carey. I met Julia in the hallways of LSU, and shared a pizza with her once before I left for Denver. I admire her honesty, I’m comforted by her charm, and I’m inspired by her focus. However, I do think you’ll find her words introduce her best; after I read them, I found I had little inspiration to add more exposition, but great interest in hanging up my blogger hat for a bit and embracing the role of reader.
Statement of Curatorial Intent
I’m approaching two decades of living in New Orleans, after coming from a remote little town in the southwest to study piano at Tulane. Within two years, I was out of school and running four star restaurants for the Brennan family in the French Quarter and getting a far different, totally unexpected education. Though I left restaurant management to pursue my MFA in creative writing at nearby LSU, I still haven’t been able to rip out the barbs of the industry, or those of this city. I still bartend, and I only know how to make friends if food is involved.
Hooked is not the right word, and neither is trapped, as those barbs might imply, but rather I’m yanked against some invisible line which keeps me tethered to this very special, very troubled place, no matter how many times I have tried to leave, or been forced to, as with Katrina. It is a confusing and cyclical masochism I invite, deny, and heal. The pleasures here are so sweet and unique, matched by pains dark, deep, and frustrating. A most unsettling place to settle.
With a draft of a New Orleans novel completed and oodles of short stories about my adopted hometown, I still question my ability, my right, and my author(ity) to write about this town full of carpetbaggers, staunch loyalists, new lovers, and fierce protectors of its “insider” secrets. 2014 will redefine, once again, my relationship to the Crescent City with my first mortgage payment, as I invest in more than the souls and stomachs of those with whom I share this town. Home is a complicated place.
My stay here at Studiola I anticipate to be very similar — temporary in my stint as curator, permanent in my relationships with those I find here as we help each other explore new territory in our lives, our writing, and how we feed both. Join me as we look at the shape of this town, and how it is shaping us.
Julia Carey’s work can be found in the journals Mason’s Road
and Tiferet Journal
, as well as the anthologies Louisiana in Words
and New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost
. A winner of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Prize in Poetry, she was also nominated to the AWP Intro Journals Project and a finalist in the Bellingham Review’s recent Tobias Wolfe Fiction prize. Along with teaching in the English Department at Xavier University, she slings drinks at the Delachaise
wine bar on St. Charles Ave and cultivates her toddler’s love of books.