Harriet Tubman, Unlikely Patriot and American Icon

Who’d have thought that words such as “hot” or “trending” would refer to Harriet Tubman? Yet, there they are. Hers may be the face that boots Hamilton from the ten dollar bill, and her words graced Viola Davis’ historic Emmy speech. Friends knowing how my preoccupation with Harriet Tubman led to writing a screenplay Tell Mister Lincoln have been kindly quick to point out that – look! – she’s not so obscure after all. She shouldn’t be. Not now, or ever. Never mind that I’d forgotten about her for decades.

Portrait of abolitionist Harriet Tubman

Portrait of abolitionist Harriet Tubman

Bible Babel up for Lit Award

Bible Babel has been nominated for the 14th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards! I am honored even to be considered in the company of such Old Dominion authors as Carrie Brown, Richard Bausch, Edward P. Jones, Helon Habila, Deborah Eisenberg, Wesley Hogan, Donald McCaig, Scott Nelson, Melvin Ely, James I. Robertson Jr., Charles Wright, Constance Merritt, and R. T. Smith.

“Operation Noah’s Ark”

Biologists in FL are working to preserve native species threatened by the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, and they’ve dubbed it “Operation Noah’s Ark.” Echoing that story in the biblical book of Genesis, Jack and Anne Rudlow are collecting what critters they can house in their Gulf Specimen Marine Lab to preserve and then release when the danger is past. The whole matter is so heartbreaking.

So many good people who have worked so hard over so many years to conserve, preserve, do the right thing. And then this. In a virtual instant, irresponsibility wrecks havoc on a colossal level. So many innocent creatures- — dolphins, fish, birds, and turtles — suffering torturous deaths because of our insatiable thirst for profit and cheap energy.

Life through Literature Fest

Heading south to Petersburg (VA)’s Life through Lit Fest. It’s a book lovin’ day to spend in the park. Live music, free books, author chats, and yes funnel cakes. Come if you can (noon-7pm in Poplar Lawn Park)! It’d be fun to see you there~

Brief Meditation on House and Home, Private and Public

 Summer came flying into Virginia this year. Just last week, I was scraping frost off the windshield, and today they predict highs near 90, even in Charlottesville. So last evening, as we in the Commonwealth rotated away from the sun, I gave some serious thought to hanging out in the hammock or maybe paddling up Ivy Creek. But at the Nature Center not half a mile away, Rebecca Solnit was visiting from San Francisco and scheduled to read a bit from her recent work. At the last minute, I trundled up there and found myself nodding like a dashboard bobble-head as she read about houses, about public and private spaces, about desire, imagination, and the ways we get and spend.
 Years ago, a provocative phrase took hold of me and keeps nagging for attention: “smaller houses, bigger homes.”

The Kindness of Strangers,… Friends, and Family

Bible Babel‘s been getting some good love lately. Now a national best-seller, thanks esp to the good folks I saw in MN and wonderful readers at Politics and Prose in DC! Many thanks to Martin Sieff for bringing an open mind and sense of humor to his Washington Times review yesterday. Meanwhile, spring is bustin’ out in Charlottesville, and my Richmond garden promises tulips soon to come,… whether or not I peel the winter’s mulch away. How generous, all ~

The Pull of the Moon

A whirlwind trip to MN for a few bookstore events, and I am reminded how lucky I am to have such a great family and truly wonderful friends. Besides meeting some new people, interested for a variety of intriguing ways in Bible Babel, I got to catch up with friends and family that I haven’t seen in years. As my sister Deb put it, “It’s like a funeral, except no one died!” And here’s a treat: seeing the great big moon coming up over Lake Superior. Walking along the shore, its boulders covered in glossy sheets of ice, icicles pinpointing down from frozen outcroppings, well, I could look and look and never lose interest. Add the sound of waves rolling in, tumbling the slush and floes, and if it weren’t so darn cold, I’d be there all day and straight through the night. But now I’m heading home to sweet Virginia and can’t wait to arrive. A few flight snafus, but I can see that same moon, a silent friend over the airplane’s wing, and it comforts me somehow. Is it any wonder that the ancients marked holy days by the moon? Is it any wonder that the most important Christian holiday, Easter, is marked by the moon?