Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Journey Into Ireland's Literary Revival - my next book

The Path to Coole Park -- Galway, Ireland
Three of the four Irish writers who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature have walked up this path and these stairs to visit the Coole Mansion belonging to Lady Augusta Gregory. She lived here for the better part of fifty years, hosting such literary greats as George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge, and her closest literary friend, William Butler Yeats. The place continues to be an inspiration to writers and artists from around the world, including the poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel for his poetry in 1995.
I profile Coole Park and much more in my next book, A Journey Into Ireland's Literary Revival, due out in February. This book was tremendously fun to write and research. The turn-of-the-century Irish writers who made up the Revival were an interesting and colorful group, full of great stories of encounters with spirits and British gunmen and rioting theater patrons. Ireland, to boot, is a country full of energy and new money flowing in, mixed with truly breathtaking scenery and dramatic natural features. Whether you go for the literary landscape or the pints, it is well worth the trip.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Deborah Noyes - Angel and Apostle

It seem to make sense that my first real post should be words in praise of another author. I've just finished Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes (from Unbridled Books, http://www.unbridledbooks.com/page/angel-and-apostle). In this "re-imagining" of the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Noyes introduces to the Pearl we wish was in The Scarlet Letter. The narrative follows Pearl's life in the woods outside of Boston, to her removal to England, to her eventual marriage and return to America. Throughout the novel, Pearl's voice rings true, and Noyes is at her best setting up the relationship between the stubborn and independent Pearl and the pathetically dependent Simon, a blind boy she meets in the forest. Pearl's relationship is also as tightly strung as a guitar and resonates with just as much music.

I appeared at an event recently with Deborah Noyes at the Old Manse in Concord (http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/346_old_manse.cfm), and was very impressed with her approach to writing knowledge of seventeenth century life. She is an author worth keeping track of; she is planning another historical novel.

Friday, October 13, 2006

First Post

The wind whips across the top of the cornice, making my ski pants crackle and snap. Although down at lodge level, people are out in their short sleeves soaking up the early spring sun, up here on this ridge, I am shivering. Maybe its the cold wind or maybe its the fact that I can see the bottom of the run between my skis, right about where my toes end. The rest of my skis jut out over the edge. The run is called Idiot's Delight, and the reason I am up here is to give my father his sixtieth birthday present. I take a deep breath, say "Happy Birthday Dad," and push off into thin air...

This is me.

The photo is by a great photographer, Betsy Archer (http://www.betsyarcher.com/), and I use it for book jackets