Tuesday, January 28, 2014


NEWSFLASH!! I have a new website, www.sagnier.com, and to paraphrase a memorable Seinfeld quote, it’s real, and it’s spectacular.
The new site is important because it really does represent what I do and have done, where I come from, what my influences have been, and, hopefully, where I’m heading. It has all sorts of modern (to a Luddite like me) gizmos, such as a 45-second embedded video of me expounding on how I write; there are links to writers I admire, to my family--I am the least creative of a truly classically creative bunch--and to avocations outside of writing and reading. Music, for example, and bands I’ve played and recorded with. There are photos, quotes, excerpts from books I’ve done, and even a couple of laudatory comments about my écritures.
I should add here that a secondary yet important function of this website is to allay the terminal embarrassment I have suffered from my prior website, a thing I banged together about 15 years ago and have never, ever, updated. The old website has been banished to the Great Ether Out There, and hopefully will never be downloaded or seen again.
My friend and writing colleague Vicki VanArsdale put it together. Yes, that is her real name, without the space between the Van and Arsdale, and I suspect that at some point in the future, someone will want to buy her name and put it on a brand of cosmetics, or maybe a line of baked goods and brownies. Should you need help putting a site together, check hers out at www.vickivanarsdale.com. This is a shameless plug for a talented lady and I am not ill at ease making it. Vicki and I were in close email contact during the entire creative process. I provided as much data as possible, and we both dug around the net to find additional bits of info that would enliven the site. Plans are to make it a flowing thing, easily up-datable and as full of information as possible; in other words, it will be an ongoing work-in-progress.
I particularly enjoyed putting together the list of favored writers, and it struck me as I was drafting it that I’ll never be able to voice my thanks to such luminaries as John Updike, Vance Bourjaily, Honoré de Balzac or Earl Thompson. Thompson, in particular, was a major influence. I read his Garden of Sands, Tattoo and Devil to Pay trilogy at least six times. The story of Jack MacDeramid, a boy growing up in the Dustbowl and coming of age in New York, should be--but sadly is not--a classic. Thompson never garnered the fame of a Capote or Mailer, and his later life is shrouded in mystery. He was 47 when he died in Sausalito, and though he’s almost forgotten now and his books are out of print, they’re well worth finding.
I’m hoping the site will encourage some readers to look into the works of writers no longer in fashion. Few people, at least in the States, are familiar with Francois Villon, a poet of the Middle Ages who vanished mysteriously when he was 32. Or Guy de Maupassant, reputed to have invented the short story and still occasionally reviled for having the temerity to write La Maison Teyllier, the tale of a small-town brothel and its amiable workers and clients.  
The website put me in touch with my past. My late sister, Florence Aboulker, was a noted French novelist and feminist. My surviving sister, Isabelle, writes children’s operas that are produced all over the world; my late uncle was a friend of the composers Ravel and Poulenc, and possibly the best interpreter of their works. Researching the website allowed me to find them again, and for that I’m grateful.   

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