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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Featured Author - Allan R. Shickman! - Part 2

Thanks for joining us this week!

MLM: Mardi Gras is Tuesday March 8th this year. Will you be celebrating it this year? Why or why not? If so, what are your plans this year? Care to share any stories of past Mardi Gras celebrations?

ALLAN: Here in St. Louis, our Mardi Gras parade, which we try to get to every year, is a humdinger. We’ll go if the weather isn’t just awful, and if our out-of-town guests don’t say that they want to go to our zoo—also a humdinger. I can’t think of any special Mardi Gras stories of my own, so I will mention one of my favorite old movies, Black Orpheus. It is set in Rio in the midst of the riotous Mardi Gras celebration—a story of love and death. Not especially Irish, but a great movie.

MLM: Are you Irish? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…why or why not?

ALLAN: Of course I’m Irish, but only on St. Patrick’s Day. I love ethnic celebrations. If the Czechs sponsor a kolache day, I’ll be there. I like Irish plays. Playboy of the Western World is a marvelous, witty one. Wit and fancy combine in Irish literature in a unique, characteristically Irish way. On St. Patrick’s day, I try to think Irish.

MLM: In some areas, St. Patty’s Day is celebrated with green beer and all sorts of other green things, like green eggs and ham, have even been given a spotlight this time of year. What kind of activities will be going on in your area?

ALLAN: Mobs of people go to the parade. It’s in an area with lots of pub restaurants, and the green beer flows. Far from getting the spotlight, I delight in getting lost in the crowd, so I wear green like everybody else.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

ALLAN: St. Louis, MO is now my home. I grew up here before I went to Iowa for a few years.

b.) What are the average temperatures of your area?

ALLAN: On Mardi Gras, we have known freezing rain on some occasions, and 75 degree delightful weather on others. Usually it is in the early 50s. St. Louis has nice, moderate weather most of the time.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

ALLAN: T-shirts, shorts, and open shirts that show the hair, or lack of it, on their chests. Those of us who have any sense wear our heavy coats, hats, and gloves.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

ALLAN: Dress warm. You can always loosen (or remove) your garments. On the whole, it is better to be a little warm than a little cold.

MLM: March has strong connections with Ireland, which is steeped in mysticism. What about you, are you steeped in mysticism? Do you believe in leprechauns and the like, or at least enjoy the tales of them? Why or why not? Are there any mystical beings with ties to Ireland that you really enjoy?

ALLAN: I suspect that leprechauns may be an English invention. My understanding is that the Irish believe in faeries. Me, I’m not much of a mystic. I observe the mystery of life, and that’s about it. Life is a mystery, you know. We are nothing but atoms and molecules. Out of hundreds of billions of years, and infinite space, how is it that our molecules—yours and mine—happened to be meeting? Cool!

MLM: What is your view on March? Does it come in like a lion and exit like a lamb? Do you feel that March is really the time of rebirth, even though many flowers and trees might not start budding until April in northern parts of the world? Why or why not?

ALLAN: Here in St. Louis March does indeed come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. My daffodils are already sprouting mightily, and may be blooming in two weeks. That means spring to me—that and the blooming of the forsythias. Those things really signal rebirth and a new start to me. There is one other harbinger of spring worth mentioning because I think it is the first. That is when the weeping willows take on a yellowish tinge even before budding. But it is spring because I want it to be spring. I really, really want it to be spring!

MLM: If you could go anywhere in Ireland, where would you go and why?

ALLAN: Trinity College, Dublin. I’m a city man, although the Irish countryside is 100 shades of lovely. The Book of Kells and a number of other Hiberno-Saxon manuscripts are in their library. And everybody talks with that lovely Irish accent.

MLM: On that note, we’ll end our interview for this week. Thank you so much for joining us this week!

ALLAN: Thank you too. Once the old word processor gets going, it is hard to stop it. Happy March.

Readers, thanks for joining us!
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Don't forget to check back for Part 3!