Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
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Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
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A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out www.alysasalzberg.com.

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AUGUST 17, 2011 12:22PM

Will this be the Fall of another of Poe's Houses?

Rate: 30 Flag

There’s something fascinating about the afterlife of an author. Mainly, and most importantly, a great writer lives on in his or her writing.  On the other hand, visiting a house where a writer once lived and composed his or her body of work, stepping where he or she once stepped and seeing objects that once belonged to him or her also gives a thrill to fans and admirers, and represents the reality that this soul once lived, and was as human and real as you and me.

I’ve been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe since longer than I can remember.  His stories are gripping, full of imagery and imagination.  As a teenager, Poe’s life and talent intrigued me.  I have to admit, while I didn’t have posters of teen heartthrobs on my bedroom wall, I did have a little oval portrait of Poe.

Though I’ve grown out of my teenage crush, I still immensely admire Poe’s writing and its power to make me and audiences around the world feel.  It’s impressive that even today, Poe still has a very perceptible influence on literature and popular culture, be it in film adaptations, homages, and parodies of his classic stories and poems, or in the continuation of the detective story, a genre he invented.  Penned nearly two centuries ago, his works are thus are full of obscure words and sometimes outdated diction - yet people still read, enjoy, and relate to them just as much today, as when they were written.  Poe is one of those authors who transcend our own ever-evolving language’s barriers.   

But regardless of all that Poe contributed to literature and the fascination he still holds for readers today, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore is in danger of closing its doors.  Poe didn’t pen his most famous stories in this house, but it holds an extremely important place in his personal life; it’s here that he came to live with his beloved aunt Maria Clemm (“Muddy”) and his cousin and future wife Virginia, from around 1833 to 1835.  Poe wrote here, and was surrounded by a family he loved.  Shortly after he left to take a job with a newspaper in Richmond, he found out the family was in financial trouble. He proposed to Virginia and asked her and his aunt to come to Richmond with him. The house represents a time of beginnings, and of the end of one life and the start of another. 

The official website for the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, Baltimore, informs potential visitors that, in addition to the house, which is more or less exactly as it was in Poe’s time, the museum has a collection of dishware owned by the author’s stepfather, and a sextant and travelling desk owned by Poe himself.  There are also bottles of cognac left by the famous Poe Toaster, and, according to an article from the online version of L'Express, even locks of the author’s hair. Definitely a treasure trove for any Poe fan.  

But due to the economic crisis, the City of Baltimore has decided to cut all funding to the site. Though there is hope, including renewed publicity from “The Raven”, a Poe film that will be released next year, I’m genuinely worried about this house’s fate.

I’ve already seen one Poe house fall.

Poe moved around a lot during his short, tumultuous life.  One of the houses he rented was located near Washington Square in New York. Here, he wrote classics like “The Cask of Amontillado” and edited “The Raven”.  When I was a student at NYU, the property was bought by my alma mater.  Unfortunately, the intention wasn’t to preserve it, but rather to demolish it in order to expand the much more lucrative law school.

I understand that progress and greed can’t be stopped or reasoned with – especially in a city like New York, where most early 19th century buildings have been accidentally or intentionally destroyed.  On the other hand, that a university would do such a thing disgusted me, and still does. In the end, after protests and appeals, NYU agreed to remove the house’s façade and place it a few doors down from the original site.  Poe fans took offense at the fact that the facade was reconstructed with contemporary brick, not the original, and that while the building behind the façade has a room devoted to Poe just inside its door, it can only be visited by appointment. 

At the time, though, we could somewhat console ourselves with the knowledge that three more of the houses where Poe had lived and worked were still standing and open to visitors – those in Philadelphiathe Bronx, and Baltimore.  But what traces had been destroyed with the demolition of the Washington Square house?

What does a house really mean, is the ultimate question.  I live in an apartment building that was constructed in the late 1920’s.  So many events happened between the walls that surround me.  On the surface, though, it seems hard to notice that; the only previous inhabitant we know anything about is the man whose death put the apartment up for sale.  He himself had bought the place in the 1980’s.  There seem to be no memories here - recorded or lingering.  But recently my boyfriend was re-doing some of the wiring in our hallway.  The old wires, which dated to the building’s construction, were wrapped in fabric, instead of in rubbery casings like wires today.  It was one of those first-hand observations that may not have been recorded in history books. One evening, he called me excitedly over; inside a hollow space in the wall was a balled up page of a newspaper from 1929.  We think the original electrician must have gotten lazy, and plugged up a hollow spot with whatever was lying around, rather than use mortar or another material.  There the newspaper was, untouched since it was placed there by the hand of a now-dead workman.  Paris hadn’t yet seen World War II, or television, let alone the computers we use in our apartment every day.

I wonder how much could have been found in Poe’s old Washington Square house?  Maybe even things he himself had left behind, traces like marks on the walls he and his family continually brushed past, or worn doorknobs.

If enough money can’t be earned from ticket sales to cover maintenance, rent, and other fees, what will be the fate of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore?  A very informative article in The New York Times tells readers that since it’s been classified as a historic monument, it can’t be demolished.  But it can be closed to the public. 

Whether it falls or just shuts its doors, what will we truly lose?  Thirteen years ago, I visited the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site on a trip to Philadelphia with my father.  I remember surreptitiously lying down on the old floorboards of Edgar Allan Poe’s Philadelphia home.  Was it only the imaginings of a dramatic teenager, or was there truly something otherworldly in the air, in the wood and fibers of the building where he and his family – and their cat – had once lived?  Whatever the answer, I know that my visit to Poe’s house was a moving experience, and a new way for me to connect with a favorite author. 

Maybe we don’t need writers’ houses as much as we need their writings, but there is something special and unforgettable about seeing where these legends lived and worked, ate and slept, and went about their days. They are a convergence between the everyday and the sublime, between the mortal and the immortal.

__________________________________________________________________

 

If you’re interested in making a donation or finding out other ways to help save Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, click here to buy a limited edition raven print by local artist Gaia (all proceeds benefit the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum).

 Or visit the official website for information on how to contact the Poe House and Museum directly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Special thanks to the boyfriend for sending me the article from L'Express and bringing this problem to my notice.
Special thanks to the boyfriend for the article from "L'Express".
I am also an admirer of Poe and old houses. Why are we so willing to tear down our history?
Very nice post, Alysa. I understand how you feel, as I remember the look on my daughter's face when we visited Poe's Baltimore home years ago. There's always something that transcends his writing that one experiences in visiting a writer's home or touching something owned by him. Even if it is in our imagination that is fired by the mere fact of occupying the same earthly space for a few moments. . .
♥R
nice post annaebelle lee by the sea :)
"If walls could talk..." I was once thrilled to visit the home of Emily Dickenson in Amherst. One of my very first term papers was on "The Fall of the House of Usher."
Alysa, thanks very much for this informative story about Poe's homes that are still standing and those that have been altered, etc. Even though Poe didn't live in Providence, RI his friend Helen Whitman did reside in the city and he visited there at least once. Poe means so much to many that it easy to find lots of references just to his short time in Providence, in addition to all of the information out there on places he resided in during his life. Almost daily I walked some locations in Providence that were mentioned about him visiting and to walk in his footsteps with the buildings still intact meant a lot to me.

Here are a few quick references to his short time in Providence:

http://worldofpoe.blogspot.com/2010/09/poe-providence-and-second-to-helen.html

I hope that the Poe house and museum are not allowed to deteriorate. I am sure that there are plenty of Poe fans who will find a way to help out!

http://www.providenceathenaeum.org/facts/facts.html
Alysa, thanks very much for this informative story about Poe's homes that are still standing and those that have been altered, etc. Even though Poe didn't live in Providence, RI his friend Helen Whitman did reside in the city and he visited there at least once. Poe means so much to many that it easy to find lots of references just to his short time in Providence, in addition to all of the information out there on places he resided in during his life. Almost daily I walked some locations in Providence that were mentioned about him visiting and to walk in his footsteps with the buildings still intact meant a lot to me.

Here are a few quick references to his short time in Providence:

http://worldofpoe.blogspot.com/2010/09/poe-providence-and-second-to-helen.html

I hope that the Poe house and museum are not allowed to deteriorate. I am sure that there are plenty of Poe fans who will find a way to help out!

≈Alysa, thanks very much for this informative story about Poe's homes that are still standing and those that have been altered, etc. Even though Poe didn't live in Providence, RI his friend Helen Whitman did reside in the city and he visited there at least once. Poe means so much to many that it easy to find lots of references just to his short time in Providence, in addition to all of the information out there on places he resided in during his life. Almost daily I walked some locations in Providence that were mentioned about him visiting and to walk in his footsteps with the buildings still intact meant a lot to me.

Here are a few quick references to his short time in Providence:

http://www.providenceathenaeum.org/facts/facts.html

http://worldofpoe.blogspot.com/2010/09/poe-providence-and-second-to-helen.html

I hope that the Poe house and museum are not allowed to deteriorate. I am sure that there are plenty of Poe fans who will find a way to help out!
...A double comment for Poe!
(For those interested in the Providence angle I should mention that I accidentally left off Sarah as the first name of Poe's friend--Helen was her middle name.)
Miguela - Your last sentence put it perfectly. I wish people would think more about what they're destroying.

Fusun - I guess your daughter and I are kindred spirits, and it's so cool to know someone who's been to the Baltimore house! It really is an amazing experience to be in the place as someone we admire once lived and breathed.

Don - Thank you. I love Poe with a love that's greater than love!

Sarah - Oooh - that would be amazing, to visit Emily Dickinson's house, especially since she never left it! I didn't realize her house was still standing - I now have another 'must see' on my list....

designanator - Wow, I didn't know Rhode Island had so much love and respect for Poe - that is a great thing to hear. I wish the Poe House and Museum were there, instead of in Baltimore.... I will gladly be reading the links you provided - thank you so much!
I’m afraid Poe spent many a night on that same floor, passed out drunk. Tragic, really. Alcohol takes another great young mind away, all too soon. No rehab back in those days. They threw him into a drunk tank, just before his death, where he suffered from untreated delirium tremors. Shortly after his release he was found in a gutter mumbling. He died that day.
In my one visit to Baltimore a few years ago, I wanted to visit the Poe house but ran out of time. Your post is a reminder that I've never visited the one in the Bronx, which is only an hour away, and that I should add it high on my to-do list. And yes, his stories certainly do "transcend our own ever-evolving language’s barriers."

Congrats on the deserved EP.
Fortunately for history, the area of Baltimore this house is in, is so poor, that it cannot be demolished. Baltimore's history is sort of preserved, petrified in time, if you will, by a stultifying gauze of impenetrable, all-embracing poverty. 19th century buildings permeate the city, new ones a rarity.

Besides, Baltimore will never tear this house down. The city doesn't have much else going for it, besides its connection to Poe and Fort McHenry.
Poe fan here too. Having read Tell Tale Heart and Cask of Amontillado while fairly young both stories are seared in my imagination forever. Thanks for this. Now I want to lay on Poe's floorboards!!
I hope it can stay open! Writer's houses do seem to evoke them in some ways. Just this evening I was walking in Greenwich Village (I'd gone there to buy shoes but also because I just felt like being there) and stumbled on a building (on West 10th street) with a plaque, saying that Mark Twain had once lived there. I stayed for a while, to hang out with him.
I hope it can stay open! Writer's houses do seem to evoke them in some ways. Just this evening I was walking in Greenwich Village (I'd gone there to buy shoes but also because I just felt like being there) and stumbled on a building (on West 10th street) with a plaque, saying that Mark Twain had once lived there. I stayed for a while, to hang out with him.
Thanks for this great piece, Alysa! I vividly remember being fully disgusted with NYU too--very disappointing (to say the least) that a university would show so little regard for history and literary culture. One would hope a university would have, as its mission, preserving these. I love visiting historic homes. Seeing how people lived--it's a tangible link to the human in each of us.
Always painful to lose a piece of history.
I followed the link in your post to the Poe House in the Bronx because that's where I grew up and actually went to HS right near Fordham Univ and saw the Poe house many times - though as a teenager I didn't care much about its history. Now I find it fascinating. Thanks for the exposure you are giving here to the Baltimore House and how to help save it.
Alysa,
Thought provoking as always…
You do that didactic thing so entertainingly,
one barely notices that one is being didacted! 
…………………………………….
Well, although, as we know from Mr. Poe,
that “all that we see or seem/is but a dream within a dream”,
what of the stuff that, ha, dreams are made of, like his house, where
you, and probably many others, wondered:
“Was it only the imaginings of a dramatic teenager,
or was there truly something otherworldly in the air,
in the wood and fibers of the building where he and his family – and their cat – had once lived? “
……………………………………………………………..
Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because of the real experiences you &
other teen Poe groupies & scholars& fans & followers& fanatics had there.
But I would vote for otherworldly, if I had to choose…
“Lo! Death has reared himself a throne/
In a strange city” (“city in the sea”,1831)

Idea: let us lead a Poe revival. Contact your Hollywood contacts. Let’s revive the
old boy
on the scale of the Jane Austen revival.
Remake !
For fall of house of usher, who will be the brother/sister duo? Hm…
John Malkovich &...uh?....Naomi Watts? :)
Alysa,
Thought provoking as always…
You do that didactic thing so entertainingly,
one barely notices that one is being didacted! 
…………………………………….
Well, although, as we know from Mr. Poe,
that “all that we see or seem/is but a dream within a dream”,
what of the stuff that, ha, dreams are made of, like his house, where
you, and probably many others, wondered:
“Was it only the imaginings of a dramatic teenager,
or was there truly something otherworldly in the air,
in the wood and fibers of the building where he and his family – and their cat – had once lived? “
……………………………………………………………..
Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because of the real experiences you &
other teen Poe groupies & scholars& fans & followers& fanatics had there.
But I would vote for otherworldly, if I had to choose…
“Lo! Death has reared himself a throne/
In a strange city” (“city in the sea”,1831)

Idea: let us lead a Poe revival. Contact your Hollywood contacts. Let’s revive the
old boy
on the scale of the Jane Austen revival.
Remake !
For fall of house of usher, who will be the brother/sister duo? Hm…
John Malkovich &...uh?....Naomi Watts? :)
Alysa,
Thought provoking as always…
You do that didactic thing so entertainingly,
one barely notices that one is being didacted! 
…………………………………….
Well, although, as we know from Mr. Poe,
that “all that we see or seem/is but a dream within a dream”,
what of the stuff that, ha, dreams are made of, like his house, where
you, and probably many others, wondered:
“Was it only the imaginings of a dramatic teenager,
or was there truly something otherworldly in the air,
in the wood and fibers of the building where he and his family – and their cat – had once lived? “
……………………………………………………………..
Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because of the real experiences you &
other teen Poe groupies & scholars& fans & followers& fanatics had there.
But I would vote for otherworldly, if I had to choose…
“Lo! Death has reared himself a throne/
In a strange city” (“city in the sea”,1831)

Idea: let us lead a Poe revival. Contact your Hollywood contacts. Let’s revive the
old boy
on the scale of the Jane Austen revival.
Remake !
For fall of house of usher, who will be the brother/sister duo? Hm…
John Malkovich &...uh?....Naomi Watts? :)
It is a shame to see that which we treasure, be on the brink of destruction. I know what you mean about "feeling" the artist in their surroundings. Where do we feel artists if not their homes? With visual art we have the paint and brush strokes to sense the soul of the artist. I'm glad you brought this to our attention, and I hope you are able to rally support to save this house!
He is such a classic and I am so sad to hear this. Thanks for the info.
Thanks for this lovely piece about an important American and an important part of American history.
Great essay about an interesting story. It's a shame that financial exigencies result in having to make these kinds of choices. I think we're losing our humanity bit by bit.
Excellent essay and information. Shame that moronic posts with Bachman biting on a weiner get more attention. Thank y ou for alll y our work.
Alysa, your words are amazing, and summed up so much more than the event (or possible closure) of the Baltimore house. Like you, I fell in love with the lonely, misunderstood Poe in my teenage years ("pleeeeaaase, Gooood, can someone ever love me like Annabelle Lee??") and was obsessed with his meter and thought. As an adult I see how he influenced me, how his watchful eye influenced mine...

You say something BEYOND profound that made me reconsider the tragedy of the Baltimore House losing its funding: "What does a house really mean, is the ultimate question." It made me stop in my tracks while reading. Your way of "laying surreptitiously" on the floor of another one of his houses made me laugh.

This is a great piece... and worthy of the EP (so proud of you!). Well done, sis, you made me "wonder and think" today!!!
Oh!! And read "The Furnished Room" by O. Henry!! You reminded me of it in your blog!!
I've loved Poe's style ever since I read "The Bells," which is just a fabulous poem. And the stories, of course. It's a shame Baltimore is in such dire straits, though I think it's even shamier when cities have to close libraries.
Thank you for writing this important piece, Alysa. I,too, am a lifelong fan of Poe's work: one of the first poems I memorized for my 8th grade English class was "Annabel Lee.". I saw POEtry at the Brooklyn Academy of Music several years ago--a rock opera based on the author's work, performed by a theatre company from Hamburg, music by Lou Reed. Clearly, his work lives on, too bad his homes are being destroyed.
I did not know that Poe lived around so much!

One thing I loved about Paris was how every dead painter's flat is a museum. All their work is in museums, but their bed and kitchen table and old paint rags and pencils are on display back at their place. In some ways, gazing at Manet's crusty paintbrush felt holier than looking at his canvases. Next time you are strolling down the rue Lepic, touch the blue door at number 54, and pick up some Van Gogh DNA.
Great Essay, Alysa. I love Poe. Sad that they want to close it, but not surprising, considering how Capitalism has become more and more obscene.
It would be a shame but it's Poe's works that count. They will live on. Thanks to Boyfriend and you for highlighting this.
that is so sad. there is such a lack of history in the US. Is this the house Virginia died in? I remember a story about a fat tabby cat keeping her warm as she died of pnuemonia.
A very thoughtful post. I've only ever visited one writer's former home, Lucy Maud Montgomery's (author of the Anne of Green Gables books), in Prince Edward Island. I love that it' s a museum and that you can see her old desk and typewriter and original furnishings. There's something so thrilling, almost sacred, about feeling that we've stepped where they've stepped, been in the same space where their minds imagined and created great stories. Authors are such an important part of our culture and history, of who we are as Canadians or Americans or whatever nationality. Of who we are as human beings. It's a real shame when these places lose funding.
Thanks so much for reading, everyone! I’m so touched with your stories about how Poe and other authors have moved you. And I really want to visit Emily Dickinson’s house!

Mark – It’s truly tragic indeed about Poe’s alcoholism. But you know, his death is very mysterious. Its cause might have been what you said, but theories abound, including death by encephalitis or rabies. Strangely, Amy Winehouse’s death sort of echoes Poe’s…though I guess we’ll find out some more details about the former’s cause of death in a few weeks….

Cranky – I feel bad that I’ve never visited the Bronx site, either. Ashamed, in fact. I want to go there on my next trip. BUT – be careful if you plan to go there soon; I read that the house is closed for renovations. Be sure to check on the official site when it’s re-opening.

Lyn – That sounds like an amazing experience, reading poetry at the site where it was created!

Dom – Thank you, and I hope this means you don’t hate me!

Rw – Thank you for reading and for your very reassuring message. I’m glad you have another reason for why the house won’t be torn down. That will help me sleep easy.

Scarlett- I hadn’t planned to lie down on the floorboards, but I am so glad I did. I still remember it after all this time – it was this upwelling of feeling and connection. I hope you’ll get to do that in one of Poe’s houses one day, too.

Eva – I love how you put that. It’s true, we sometimes feel the spirits of these writers so near us, and sort of commune with them. That’s why I just can’t understand people who want to tear down places they lived.

Sally – Thanks for reading. As a fellow NYU alum, I was wondering what you thought about the Washington Square house incident. I’m glad (though not surprised) that we’re on the same page. It really is a shameful blemish on NYU’s history.

Harry’s – You said it. Hopefully we won’t lose this one….

trilogy – How cool that you’ve been to the Bronx Poe house several times! I’m glad that you can appreciate it today. I am jealous – I need to try to get there the next time I’m in New York.

James – Thank you for adding some Poe quotes – and I promise, I’m only didactic when it’s for a purpose…I think…. As for your “Poe revival” idea, it may actually happen; a movie called “The Raven”, starring John Cusack as Poe, is scheduled to come out in 2012. It’s not a biopic, but a murder mystery; Poe will apparently be trying to track down a killer who is copying the crimes and murders he wrote about. This may spark a renewed interest in Poe – and I really, really hope it does! As for your “Usher” casting – wow. I love it!

Anne – Thanks so much for reading, and for your thoughts and hopes. I hope this will help raise some money/other kinds of support for the Baltimore Poe House, too!

Algis – My pleasure, though I hate to be the bearer of potentially bad news.

Mary – Thank you for reading. I wish the people who had the money out there would realize how important Poe is to our country’s history and literary identity.

Jeanette- Thanks and I completely agree.

blufeather – Thanks for reading – but all articles have their place! I just live in the past and adore numerous historical figures, so that’s why I write about old homes, rather than modern-day politics….

Brazen Princess – Wow. Thank you so much –I’m so happy you liked this! And also that I wasn’t the only teenager out there in love with Poe! Also, thanks for the reading suggestion – I really enjoy O. Henry’s stories, and have read a lot of them, but I haven’t read that one. I’m going to try to find a copy.

Pilgrim – I like “The Bells” a lot – though the first Poe poem that struck me was “Sonnet- To Science”. Totally captures how I feel about that subject. As for the idea of a library closing…wow…I felt hollow inside. I hope I’ll never have to witness or deal with such a thing.

Erica – Thanks for reading. Wow – I didn’t know about “POE-try”! If we were real-life friends, I know I totally would have gone with you! I also love the last line you wrote. It puts the whole situation perfectly.

greenheron – Yeah, Poe lived in a lot of places up and down the east coast of the US – he also lived in England for a short time as a boy. As for Van Gogh’s apartment, don’t you worry – I regularly pass it by and give a reverential thought to Vincent. It’s amazing how we have a painting that he did of his view from the window of his brother’s apartment there. As for what you said about painters’ museums in general here, so, so true – I especially love the Musée Gustave Moreau.

fernsy – I’m glad you liked this piece. I don’t know if it’s just capitalism that’s to blame, or if there’s just something in people’s natures that wants to destroy the old at any cost, or just disregard it. I suppose we need a certain amount of that drive – we’d never go forward if we dwelt in the past – but at the same time, come on!

Matt – I agree, Poe’s writing is definitely the most important thing. But I just wish we lived in a world where it wasn’t even a question that we could have that AND the places those writings were created.
Poppi – Thanks for reading. Virginia didn’t die here – this is where she became close with Poe, so it’s a much happier association. The cat was named Catarina, and apparently she was a tortoiseshell. I know that she lived with Poe and Virginia in their Philadelphia house, probably others as well. When we were at the Philadelphia house, my father suddenly sneezed at one point. Granted, there are many reasons a person would sneeze, but I always found it interesting that he’s violently allergic to cats - maybe it was a small sneeze caused by Catarina’s spirit?

Elizabeth – I love Lucy Maude Montgomery and really, really want to visit her house! That’s definitely a great author’s house to visit, and I’m glad you thought it was such a worthy monument to Montgomery. I totally agree with what you said – these houses are important not just in their country, but for all humanity. I just wish more city planners and such would see that.
Your affection and admiration for Poe shines through this piece. I had no idea this museum existed or was now in danger of not existing. Have you considered submitting this piece to the Baltimore newspaper?
Cusack as Poe? That is ...unusual casting.
Armand Assante once played Nietzsche in a movie.
I didn't like him.
It needed to be softer.
Cusack???!!!! what's he made lately? who=directing?
i shall look it up.

the raven is about a woman.
i think.
recall yr dylan: "my love, she's like some raven/
at my window/
with a broken wing"..."love minus zero no limit.

no limit to my rambling either ...sorry...it's just so nice
to come here & blah blah blah.
you MUST delete my repetitiveness! one comment from me
is more than enough.

movie ideas re. poe. forthcoming if i remember...

fall of house of usher
set in white house in
near to distant future
after (symbolically) bush-like dynasty is back?
Congrats on the EP!
Great story. I collect antiques for the same reason. Every once in a while I look for secret compartments in an 150 year old desk we purchase from an estate.
We visited one of Poe's "houses" in Richmond and went on a haunted ghost tour. The guides had many stories to tell!
pauline – Thanks for reading. I hadn’t thought of submitting this piece to a Baltimore newspaper; I guess I figured that there was probably press about it – in my research, for example, I found out that Gaia, a local street artist, is selling limited-edition raven prints to raise money for the Poe House and Museum. Some money has already been raised, so I figured people must have known about it. Also, The New York Times featured an article that I referenced in my post, that was so thorough and well-done, I know neither this post nor anything else I write could top it. But thank you so much for your vote of confidence- that means a lot.

James – The movie’s finished, I think you can just check out the details (and the trailer) on IMDB. I agree, very unusual casting…but I like Cusack and I hope he can make this work. As for the “Usher” film – I can’t bear thinking about the Bush dynasty any more than I have to! Let’s do it old school, set in the early 1800’s. And you are welcome to come here and talk all you like – it’s always a pleasure!

Susie – Thank you! I love the story about your antique desk – old objects like that can be truly intriguing. Keep looking, and I hope you find something hidden in it one day!
James - Armand Assante as Nietzsche? I'm not sure how to feel about that....