Time to break out your linen suits - Seersucker Live is presenting another evening of literary hijinks at 7:30 p.m. July 5 at the Pirate's House.
The "Read, Write and New" episode will showcase a trio of wordsmiths, including SCAD writing professor James Lough, local journalist Bill DeYoung and Aubrey Hirsch, a Pittsburgh-based fictioneer.
Hirsch, whose visit exemplifies Seersucker Live's mission to introduce Savannah's charms to authors of international renown, will read from her newest collection of short stories, "Why We Never Talk About Sugar."
She promises tales of "circuses, disappearing lakes, physics, infertility, gender identity, snakeskins, family, illness, antique hardware, love and loss."
DeYoung will read an excerpt from his forthcoming title "Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought It Down," with an official release slated for September. The author was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where the dramatic meat of the story takes place.
Lough will be celebrating the launch of his third book, "This Ain't No Holiday Inn," an oral history spanning 15 years of New York's famed Chelsea Hotel. Rife with colorful anecdotes, the book is sure to find a place in the homes of artists, writers and thinkers of all stripes.
We sat down with Lough to get the goods on this original account.
Pretty Lit: How long have you lived in Savannah? What's your favorite part?
James Lough: I've lived in Savannah for eight years. I love its active arts scene, the museums and galleries, the writers and literary events, and the overall vibe that Savannah enjoys art in all its forms and doesn't see it as a frivolity.
PL: What inspired you to write "This Ain't No Holiday Inn"?
JL: My brother-in-law, Robert Campbell, helped me get started on the book. He had lived at the Chelsea, and he kept telling me stories about when he lived there, how he hung with Beat writer Herbert Huncke and started a band with Dee Dee Ramone. I only half believed him until I happened upon a book review of "The Herbert Huncke," which asserted that Huncke was the original Beat writer. Suddenly, I took my brother-in-law's stories more seriously, and it wasn't long before I realized I had a book here.
PL: Who is your favorite "Holiday Inn" character?
JL: There are so many astonishingly original characters at the Chelsea, so that makes the choice hard. But probably Linda Twigg, the spritely, blonde hippie chick gangster. She was warm and sparkly and hosted great dinners, but then she turned around and was a street-tough gangster who ran a gambling parlor in her room at the Chelsea and was known for carrying around a shopping bag filled with $50,000 and a Tommy gun.
PL: Who is your target audience?
JL: My target audience is surprisingly general. Originally I thought it would be just for people who are into the NYC art scene, punk rock, Beat writers, etc., and these are a big part of it. But since the stories themselves are so engaging, and dare I say universal in their quirky way, even people who aren't "hipsters" (in the old sense of the word) like the book just because it's crammed with lively, engaging stories.
PL: If you could rename the "creative nonfiction" genre, what would you call it?
JL: Wow, renaming CNF. That opens a whole can of worms. Maybe we could call it faction.
PL: You're on the subway, or you walk by a park bench, or you're in a cafÃ© - who do you spot reading your newest book?
JL: Who do I spot reading my book on a subway? Surely, a hipster woman in a vintage '50s dress and combat boots, and intellectual glasses. Maybe a grizzled old man in rumpled clothes. Better yet, all of China.
PL: What's your best advice for young writers?
JL: The tortoise wins the race. Always.
PL: Are you doing a full-blown book tour?
JL: I am doing a book tour. This summer is West/Northwest, Denver, San Francisco, Novato, Portland, Seattle. In the fall, it will be Los Angeles, Tucson, Phoenix. And then the East Coast, New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta.
PL: If you could summon a writer or thinker from the great beyond to chat, who would it be?
JL: Probably Ramana Maharshi.
PL: Drink of choice?
JL: Maker's Mark, neat.
Erika Jo Brown is a writer and editor, and B.J. Love teaches at Savannah State University. They co-host monthly Seersucker Shots poetry readings.
IF YOU GO
What: Seersucker Live
When: 7:30-9 p.m. July 5
Where: The Pirates' House, 20 E. Broad St.
Cost: $10 at the door or www.seersuckerlive.com/tickets; $5 with student I.D.
Info: www.seersuckerlive.com, 912-398-3589 or firstname.lastname@example.org