In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Harper Lee, "Mockingbird," and "Go Set a Watchman"


Today I left this "comment" for Laura Tavares at the "Facing History Blog," and look forward to more conversations on the topic. This morning, I want to bring you all into this ... and hope you'll write something about your own perspective on the Harper Lee books, as well as family secrets that propel you toward seeking justice, or perhaps on The Darkness Under the Water.

My mantra for the examined life has become: "We are all in this together." Right?
Thank you, Laura Tavares, for writing of this new publication as "an invitation to read both books with a more realistic, complex, and sophisticated analysis of morality." I find the sequence of change in the two books very believable, because the same thing happened in my life while writing "The Darkness Under the Water" -- a book that first was "only a mystery" and soon became an effort to probe the Vermont Eugenics Project and its generations-long effects on those of Abenaki heritage. At the time of publication, I carried my own secrets and guilt based in a dual family heritage of Surviving the Holocaust (my father was a German Jew) and certainty that we are morally obliged to step forward against injustice (my mother was a lapsed Quaker). In the seven years since my book's publication and very mixed reception, I've learned far more history and gained further moral imperatives toward the endless struggle for justice. Just as my first and second versions of the book were vastly different, so would be the book I would now write. Harper Lee may well have had the same experience. I hope so -- there is goodness in growing and deepening. 
See more of the Facing History and Ourselves conversations at http://facingtoday.facinghistory.org.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Conversation in Lines of Words

Looking up Eastern Avenue in St J during road repairs. The café is at ground level, at the rounded corner of the brick building.
Can you find Heaven in a coffee shop? How would you look for heaven at the Café at Gatto Nero, the coffee shop on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont? Wordsmiths are invited to provide poetry and short prose at the CGN Facebook feed -- or in the notebook at the coffee shop, marked "Heaven, Looking For" --  and to come join me for a poetry conversation on Pascal's wager, life in "God's country," and other sorts of heavenly topics, Wednesday July 29 at 7 pm at the CGN. 

Postscript, for a question that Michale asked:

This poetry conversation can take place anywhere, but to connect with the others (and make it a real conversation!), post your poems at the Facebook page for the Café at Gatto Nero (https://www.facebook.com/cafeatgattonero?fref=ts), or write them into the notebook at the café counter. We'll gather on Wed. July 29 at 7 pm to hear some of what we've all been writing or thinking about as we consider looking for Heaven at the Café at  Gatto Nero.

Pascal's wager is a way of thinking about whether it's better to live according to the guess that god and heaven exist -- you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager

I look forward to sharing poems with you!