Reviews Pour In

“Pour” is not really the right verb, but it sounds so much more impressive than “Reviews trickle in.” Whatever the volume, I’m happy to report that Spinning in Place has garnered some reviews. Astonishingly enough, they are (mostly) from people I don’t even know.

Even more astonishing, so far they are all very positive.

Here are three recent reviews on Amazon:

Sweet little ebook on thoughts about the main pagan holidays, from a non-specific point of view. Anyone from a Wiccan to an atheist would probably enjoy it. Especially good if you’re new to the holidays.

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking essay. Many authors approach Wicca and Paganism as cookbooks of recipes for practice without ever presenting thought on the reasons to bother with it at all. Mr. Everson brings poetry and mystery to spiritual choices.

This charming book is a personal travelogue of time and the holidays that are milestones throughout the year. Everson provides fascinating historical insights into holidays as well has his personal take on celebrating with his family. I keep the book around as a reference, but I happily read it start to finish. The world needs more celebration. This books points the way.

A much longer review has also been posted on Contemplative Inquiry. Here’s an excerpt:

Everson invites an open and fresh approach to ritual celebration. This will of course include the repetition of loved and familiar patterns, but not imprisonment within them. […] Spinning in Place shows how to create a wheel of the year which honours tradition, place and personal history. This approach allows fluidity and responsiveness to environment, community and culture both past and present. It clearly works for Bart Everson. Spinning in Place does not offer an off-the-peg set of rituals. Rather, it asks readers to wonder what we might do, in our place, using our histories and our forms of expression. That’s what makes it inspiring.

Most astonishing of all: I am kind of stunned that people are actually reading my book. I keep pinching myself, but yes, it seems I am awake.

Spinning in Place

Books Books Books

Suddenly my personal bibliography has quadrupled.

I’m honored to have essays in two new collections. As if that’s not enough, I’m also thrilled to announce the publication of my own book at long last.

Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral, edited by Erick DuPree, came out from Megalithica Books in February. Godless Paganism, edited by John Halstead, is a crowdfunded effort that came out earlier this month.

Godless PaganismFinding the Masculine in Goddess' Spiral

On the face of it, these two titles might seem contradictory. Goddess and godless? What a difference one letter makes! How can this be?


Well, it’s complicated, but that’s what makes this subject matter so interesting. I encourage you to get both books and decide for yourself whether I’ve lost my mind.

Still with me? I hope so, because as exciting as those publications are, there’s more. It might seem like overkill, but it just so happens that I finally finished my own book, which I’ve been working on since 2012.

Spinning in Place

It’s titled Spinning in Place, and it’s about the Wheel of the Year. You know, the solstices and equinoxes and cross-quarter days I’ve been yammering on about for so long. Some of these essays have previously been published in various online venues, but I’ve revised extensively and there’s new material as well. It’s currently available exclusively through Amazon as an ebook. And it’s priced to sell. I don’t wanna make any money, folks; I just love to share Earth-based spiritual practices.

(That’s a joke for my Hoosier readers who may remember Don Davis of Indianapolis. Don passed away in February, but his commercials live on in our collective memory. And of course YouTube.)

Now it’s time to get the word out. I’ve got my author page set up on both Amazon and Goodreads. I’m available for interviews. I’ll be mounting a campaign on social media in the near future.

And, yes, I could use your help. Please do share this link with anyone who might be interested. If you’re able to review any of these items on Goodreads or Amazon please do. And don’t be shy about being honest. No one is really fooled by those books that have nothing but gushy, glowing, five-star reviews.

Please Forward

Please ForwardI know I shouldn’t be excited about something so grim but nevertheless I am happy to announce that Please Forward will soon be available in bookstores (officially on August 15) and is now available for pre-order at all the usual places, including my favorite bookstore.

This anthology collects online writings that erupted in the aftermath of the flooding of New Orleans in 2005. As such, it’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, upon which I have expounded at some length.

Continue reading “Please Forward”

And on the Radio

2009 WFMU mini-Marathon
As if breaking into the print medium wasn’t enough, I’m on the radio too. More specifically, the inestimable Brian Turner played some of my stuff on WFMU a couple weeks ago. Check the playlist and see (or listen) for yourself. Yeah, there was a little confusion regarding the name of the artist (Editor B) and the name of the album (A vs. B) but I’m not complaining because he did indeed plug the site. This might be a good time to remind the world that A vs B can still be had free despite its questionable legal status. Get it now before the Man shuts it down!

Photo by John Dalton

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

I am so proud to be named one of the Urban Conservancy‘s 2014 Urban Heroes.

What, me a hero? I am not much afflicted with the infamous vice of false modesty, but I have to admit this makes me blush just a little.

Yes, the Lafitte Greenway in now under construction, but after all, I am not the one pouring asphalt and concrete, erecting lampposts and so forth.

Fresh Concrete

Lights on the Greenway

The award comes for my work with FOLC, of course. FOLC has played a vital role in advocating for the greenway. I think it’s safe to say that this work would not be underway presently if it wasn’t for FOLC’s advocacy.

I’m a founding member of FOLC, and I served as president of the group for three years. It’s because of that intimate involvement that I know just how much of a team effort this has been.

So while I will indeed revel in this little slice o’ glory, I’m mindful of the following fact: all I did was help start something.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’?

That’s right, I’m referencing Michael Jackson. I can do that because a) we’re both from Indiana and b) what with this Urban Hero designation I’m almost as famous as him now.

Look: starting something is actually the easiest part. Anyone can start something. People start things all the time, things that don’t last, things that fail to launch. The difficult part is keeping it going — sustaining the effort past the first initial blush of enthusiasm. That’s where the hard work comes in. After the inspiration, perspiration.

That’s where the team effort comes in. This project was blessed with the attention and support of a diverse group of people who brought an array of strengths with them to the table. If it had just been me, the project would have gone nowhere. I’ve piled up a few projects like that over the years. But instead, this project bloomed because people wanted it, and they pursued it with patience, focus, passion, and an attention to detail I could certainly never have mustered on my own.

To those many people who contributed their precious time and effort over the last nine years, I am extremely grateful.

Now get your tickets and help me celebrate.

Advocating the Greenway

Greenway Foldout

The New Orleans Advocate has a nice story by Andrew Vanacore on the greenway, including a couple quote from yours truly.

Also, here are a a couple items which I should have noted when I posted last week:

  1. Yes, they are about to start work on the greenway. At last. As the Advocate article notes, it’s been almost nine years since I took my first hike along the Lafitte Corridor. Over the years the project has encountered many setbacks and challenges. I keep pinching myself, but this seems to be really happening.
  2. Not too long ago, Friends of Lafitte Corridor had their annual board elections. It was a historic moment, as the last of the founding board members rotated off at last because of term limits. I was deeply impressed by the slate of high-quality candidates. In a nutshell, it seems that FOLC is in good hands and there’s a lot of energy and momentum there.

    Even more than winning that Hero award, this development has me feeling that FOLC will be around for a while. It’s stunning to me, not to mention gratifying, that something I helped start has taken on a life of its own. Sure, the physical infrastructure of the greenway will be great, but without a living, breathing friends group, it will never reach its full potential. Plenty to do. Rock on, FOLC.

Continue reading “Advocating the Greenway”

Make Me a Hero

Me

Friends,

A nonprofit I helped found, the Friends of Lafitte Corridor, has a shot at $10,000. Here’s how: You have to vote for me.

FOLC nominated me for the Louisiana Cox Conserves Heroes program. Now I’m a finalist.

While I’m deeply honored to have gotten this far, I really want to see us win this thing. And that’s a tough challenge. Because I’m competing against some pretty awesome people.

So vote. Sure. That’s the first step.

Then share this link with everyone you can. Use your fancy social media networks or send a good old-fashioned email.

http://coxconservesheroes.com/louisiana/vote.aspx

If you know anyone who supports the recovery of New Orleans — anyone who like the idea of a multiuse urban greenway — anyone who likes bicycles and walking — anyone who wants a greener future for our children — please share this with them.

Thanks for your support. And check back here next week for a real update on me and my life.

A Season on the Drink

Here’s an article I wrote which was published in the July issue of The Ryder magazine. You can also see the article as it was published with photos and layout and stuff. What follows is the slightly longer text I submitted, without editorial cuts, and with a few relevant links. Consider this a rough-draft preview from a forthcoming book, still several years down the road and more of a dream than a reality.
Continue reading “A Season on the Drink”

Mid-City Market

There is an unfortunate pattern which sometimes emerges in local reportage, wherein community groups are incorrectly depicted as opposed to economic development. In reality, most community groups merely want to be engaged in the development process to ensure the highest quality outcome. I’ve seen it happen before, and so I get a little nervous sometimes.

Happily in this morning’s paper we have a different scenario. It feels like we got out ahead of the story for once. Rather than being framed as obstructionist we are actually taking credit for generating investment. The reality is of course more nuanced than a single newspaper article will convey. I can’t say more without undermining the win, so I’ll shut up. You can read the story, in which I am quoted, and decide for yourself.

And don’t forget to read between the lines.
Continue reading “Mid-City Market”

Confessions of a Media Whore

The producers of HBO’s Treme have said that they are creating historical fiction of extremely recent vintage. Thus, while watching the first season of Treme last year, we were reliving the events of late 2005 and early 2006.

And I couldn’t help thinking of what the second season might bring. The focus would shift forward to late 2006 and early 2007. Violence returned to the city with a vengeance. Dinerral Shavers was killed just before the new year, Helen Hill just after, leading to the organization of what I believe was the largest public demonstration in the history of the city. It was, perhaps, a seminal moment in the history of our community, and certainly a key piece of the post-Katrina tale.

So, as I watched the first season of Treme, I wondered if the producers would soon be looking at video of that massive rally at City Hall. Of course, I spoke at that rally, and lots of people were listening.

Nagin Listens to Editor B

I was not the best speaker there by a long shot, but I may have gotten the most attention. My words were literally sent round the world, and on the local news a soundbite of me was played ad nauseum for the next few years anytime a story dwelt with the political aspects of our criminal justice system.

And so I had to wonder if the producers of Treme would in fact be looking at video of me. It was kind of an eerie feeling.

Thus it was not a complete shock when my coworker Edwin B. walked into my office yesterday and said he was working with some people who were working with HBO. Could he pass my name along? I said yes, and that evening I got a call from someone a little closer to the creative team, confirming that my contact info will in fact be passed on to the writers.

As soon as I mentioned this development, a number of friends have had an immediate reaction that boils down to “Cool!” or “Awesome!” but with all due respect I don’t think it’s an unqualified “Cool!” We’re talking about a story of violence, murder, pain, grief, loss, outrage, injustice and many other things that are not exactly happy memories.

And yet, as anyone who knows me can attest, I am something of a media whore. I must be. Sometimes it seems like I’ve been featured in every print and broadcast medium known to man. So the notion of talking to these folks is greatly intriguing to me. I can’t deny that. But my glee is dampened quite quickly when I remember how this all got started. This is sad and serious stuff.

Many friends seemed to jump immediately to the conclusion that this means there will be a character in Treme based on yours truly. Slow down, folks. We don’t even know if the march and rally will be depicted directly. I assume the writers want to talk on background. Deep, deep background.

So now I’m very curious to see where this goes. I hope they do get in touch, because I’ve got a lot to say about what that whole event — that whole series of events — meant to the city and the recovery. I can point them to plenty of other people if they want to do further research. I could talk about how that speech changed my life. I don’t know if they are interested in the particular murderous acts that led to the march, or the political aftermath, or what they’re after really. This could go a lot of different directions.

Photo credit: Nagin Listens to Editor B by Derek Bridges, licensed under Creative Commons

Nominated

I was recently thrilled, honored, flattered and otherwise gratified to learn that I’ve been nominated for an Ashley Morris Award. I’m not worthy to actually win — besides which, the competition is far too stiff. But merely to be considered makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Rising Tide V Poster by Greg Peters

The award is of course presented at the Rising Tide conference, of which I am a big fan. The upcoming Rising Tide V will mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina. I’ve been at each one since the first, and it’s gotten bigger and better each year. I’m sure this one will be the greatest yet. It may in fact be the pinnacle. It remains to be seen whether the spirit behind Rising Tide and other such post-Katrina endeavors will sustain past the five-year mark. Hopefully it will continue onward and upward in perpetuity, but only time will tell.

Most if not all of the people organizing Rising Tide are bloggers, but I wouldn’t describe it as a “blogger conference” per se. To think of it as such would miss the point. After all, anyone and everyone’s got a blog these days. What brings these people together, and what makes this special, is their passion for the city of New Orleans. That’s why the Ashley Morris award is given to someone who “embodies Ashley’s fierce passionate defense of New Orleans, its people and its culture.” Moreover, these are smart and engaged people, and that shows through in the quality of the programming.

Rising Tide is far from a dry, academic affair, but it does have a high level of intellectual vigor. I’d really hoped we could host this event here at the University, and I’d nearly managed to get it approved, but a scheduling conflict proved irresolvable. No matter. The Howlin’ Wolf will be a fine venue. If you are interested in the future of New Orleans, I hope to see you there.

Register now.

Dr. Francis and Me

Dr. Francis and Me

Here I am just hanging out with my favorite college president, Dr. Norman Francis.

Actually this photo was taken by Irving Johnson at a banquet where I was recognized for ten years of service here at the University.

I first realized Dr. Francis would be an inspirational figure to work for back in 1999, when I tuned into a national NPR story and he was quoted as an authority on the struggle for racial equality in America.

We don’t really interact much on campus, since he has much bigger fish to fry. I was honored to have my photo taken with him, and excited to receive it today. Definitely a keeper. Thanks Irving!