Sunday, July 16, 2017
Is The Odeon Still The Odeon???????????????
C'ent Anni is gone. The Odeon is still there, but does anything happen any more?
Back in the day, there was a Literary Brat Pack. Remember some of them? How many have you read, and how many are actually still writing? Let's take a look.
1. Bret Easton Ellis
2. Jay McIneerney
3. Donna Tartt
4. Tama Janowitz
5. Jill Eisenstadt
6. Gary Fisketjon
Others have tried to integrate David Leavitt into this group, but where is he now? Brooklyn sort of has its own Hipster Group, with Jonathans Lethem and Safran Foer, Nicole Kraus, and the like. But they seem pretty much holed up.
As for the Brat Pack, well I thought Tama Janowitz was passe, even at her height. Is Jill Eiseenstadt still even alive? Or read? Ellis and McInerney dried out long ago, and I got tired of their whining. I couldn't stomach Fisketjon's "The Russian Debutante's Handbook," though I did like "Absurdistan." Only Donna Tartt survives and continues to engage; while I found "The Goldfinch" flawed, it was highly readable. Tartt's main problem, and it's one every writer wishes he/she could have, was hitting pay dirt with her first, and best work, "The Secret History," elevated now to a classic,
I have never been further than outside The Odeon. I need to go in. This is where the Literary Brat Pack used to hang out. Does anyone hang out anymore? More to the point, young or aspiring writers now--including me, who may not be young, but hey, I would not mind branching out--do they have a literary community they can call their own? Are there places these groups still hang out at? Do they hang out at all? And where? Or are they all holed up, like me, in their urban enclaves?
Once upon a time, there was a Literary Scene in Manhattan. People like these, and others not so successful, would gather in places to discuss not only their writings or those of others, but what they had been reading, and what they thought was worth reading. Does there now exist a place where such people now congregate? If so, I wish someone would tell me, because I feel I am missing out on something. Like the Literary Brat Pack, or even Patti Smith, in the Chelsea Hotel, I feel I should spend some part of my days sitting anonymously at a table, writing into a journal pad entries devoted to observations and ideas. What used to called gathering of material.
Before I retired, there was always my table at Ciprianni's. But who can afford that, on a fixed income?
Like Dolly Levi, I need a place to return to, a community to call my own, where, to quote Jefferson Starship, "thoughts and generations of my dreams are yet unborn." That quote speaks of my age; if The Odeon is still de rigeur, let it be staid; I am not interested in snorting coke, or scoring action in the bathroom. I might have, back in the day, but that day has gone. And so has the Literary Brat Pack that inspired it, but lives on in memory.
Somewhere, out there, an unknown and disparate group of people are waiting for opportunity or chance, to meet at some special place, and revive, or continue, the New York Literary Scene. If only there was somewhere to go.
I would meet you there, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!