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Shrovetide in Old New Orleans: Essays

Reed introduces his first book of essays:

“Maybe I should hang my fiction in a gallery, or play it on the piano.”

“One thing common to my fiction, essays, and poetry is that they don’t suggest that life has to be a heavy Dostoevskian din as some of the junior existentialist Eisenhower-era critics, who own a closet full of trench coats and dangle their cigarettes like Camus, require black writers to believe…

“I see life as mysterious, holy, profound, exciting, serious, and fun. The so-called ‘humor’ which appears in my work is affirmative, positive. It teaches me to be humble. This kind of humor has been a feature of multi-cultural art for thousands of years like these totems in Sitka, the thousands of masks from Oceania and Africa, the ‘little men’ stories of the Celts, and the thousands of animal fables from all over the world. The fool stories which have taught generations of people to be wise…

“I expect this installment of the autobiography of my mind to get the same kind of reception as my fiction and poetry. I hope it will stir things up a bit…
Maybe I should become a ‘stand-up’ comedian as some of my critics suggest…”

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