1718 was excited to have Thomas Beller read on Tuesday, April 1st.
Thomas Beller is the author of two books of fiction, Seduction Theory, and The Sleep-Over Artist, and a collection of personal essays, How To Be a Man. He co-founded and was, for twenty years, co-editor of Open City Magazine and Books, and founded and continues to publish Mr.Beller’s Neighborhood. Beller attended Vassar College (BA), and Columbia University (MFA). His short stories, essays, and reportage have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The New York Times, Vogue, Ploughshares, The Southwest Review, Slate, Guernica, and Salon. Quite recently, a selection from Beller’s book, The Sleep-Over Artist, was featured on This American Life. He likes to play basketball and sometimes writes about it. He divides his time between New York and New Orleans, where he teaches writing at Tulane University. His newest book, a biography of J.D. Salinger titled The Escape Artist, is now available.
He read some new work––an excerpt of fiction and a humorous nonfiction essay––for us.
Photography by Julia Taylor
Above are some of Beller’s older works that were sold by the wonderful Maple Street Books after the reading.
Drawing by Julia Taylor
Cora Boyd is a junior at Tulane with a double major in English and Spanish and a minor in psychology.
She read nonfiction at our March 11th reading.
Below is an excerpt from her piece, “At First I Was Afraid. Then I Was Petrified.”
“La Dolce Vita. The sweet life. This is how I have come to refer to the elusive enigma that is at the core of what I want out of life. La Dolce Vita is made up of moments that stand alone as ravishing and also come together to create a whole that is beyond splendor. Kind of like the sequins of a New Year’s Eve dress or kind of like the little mirrored pieces on a disco ball. In La Dolce Vita one can move through experiences without remorse or second-guessing or fearing patterns, and yet one also appreciates each experience and learns from it all that can be learned. In La Dolce Vita, the drawstring of your ex-boyfriend’s pajama pants that you have tied to your backpack does not strike a whimpering pathetic chord in your mushy heart (you hoarder, you).
La Dolce Vita is most palpable just before the sun goes down, when the air produces that golden crepuscular light that is thick with the promise of the night. The quality of light that reminds you of a Langston Hughes poem and makes you want to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and eat strawberries on a veranda. La Dolce Vita is produced where superficiality best compliments profundity: at the intersection of a cup of coffee, a pair of underwear in your back pocket, and boarding a long distance bus.”