About Virginia

About Virginia

Boudin Image by Editha Schoeffler
Bourbon Image by Virginia Billeaud Anderson

Essays and Interviews
A Closer Look

A Closer Look - Hardly inspiring, yet the words faultlessly describe the manner in which content enters my blog. I encounter something extraordinary, a Neolithic artifact, or the perfect mint julep, research it to feel less dumb, and want to share. What could be more fun? It all began years ago when I wrote for a newspaper, and magazines, and on-line publications, mostly about art and artists. Here, I'm expanding into food and booze, architecture, archaeology, philosophy and any other bloody topic that excites me and my readers.

Bourbon - I'm partial to it, drank the cheap stuff when I was a kid, better brands now, all the while enjoying other types of hooch - Tanqueray, single malt Oban, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape - essentially, Bourbon is a euphemism for my devotion to good food and booze. A further association: Years ago I had the opportunity to study in New York and while there, a woman who couldn’t be bothered to write the art history paper required for her class, self-indulgently and WITHOUT SHAME, handed me $1000 and suggested I relieve her of that annoying obligation. "It would be mah pleasure," I said with a hick accent, "I'll sip bourbon and crank out your lil paper."

Why Voodoo and Feast of the Assumption? Like Boudin and Bourbon, these words resurrect the south Louisiana environment in which I was raised. Though I've lived away from south Louisiana for almost 40 years, my past naturally enters my writing, and for helping me to understand this I thank Lillian Hellman, Orhan Pamuk, Naguib Mafouz, among other incredibly gifted writers who noted we travel far, yet come back home. As well, we come home to ourselves, raw experiences inevitably bring self-knowing. The words also reference the writings' frequent metaphysical excursions, not unexpected for one raised in a place in which people practiced voodoo and prayed to statues.

Found Beauties - Isolated, the words are ridiculous, they actually jumped out at me from Madame de Sévigné’s 1671 letter to her daughter in which she wrote that she had been reading Tasso and “found beauties in him that are unknown to those who are only half read in the language.” By this de Sévigné simply meant that her familiarity with the Italian language in which Tasso wrote allowed her to more fully appreciate the poet’s work. Only a pretentious ass would associate herself with de Sévigné’s elevated learning and celebrated use of language, I'm not doing that. I am however charmed by the woman's intellectually rigorous approach to pleasurable things; her words inspire me as I write this blog.

Welcome to my site. Please open A CLOSER LOOK above to see my most recent essays and interviews. Labels in the right-hand column as well as below each post categorize articles. The site is growing. Hope you will continue to check in - Virginia

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