". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, October 25, 2010

And What To My Incredulous Eyes Should Appear

Tonight, in the C'Town harbor? (Besides the pumpkin-sized and pumpkin-orange moon rising through the clouds at the top of the Chester River?)
A Renaissance era galleon come to anchor. Downrigging Weekend doesn't start officially until Thursday, but here's a ship already.
A man with his dog was dancing down High Street today, singing, "Downrigging Weekend, here we come!" Evidently this is Chestertown's version of Mardi Gras. Particularly since it includes Halloween.

We're going to take many photos. Maybe one can be the cover for The American Slave Coast. Hopefully. Since shipping plays such a role in this project. So, whether I'd wanted to or not in the past, I'm now fascinated by rigging, sailing, etc. And steam. Most of the slaves went via steam, because it was so much faster. A lot died that way too, considering how often steam boilers blew up.

This is going to be wild. I have the perfect footgear for the privateer, Lynx, sail. I spent a lot of boot leather and back pain to find them. I'm doing this sail right.  I still can't believe I'm going to be sailing on a full replica of that Baltimore Clipper privateer from the War of 1812!   We're going to learn so much important data, first hand this weekend. Ted Widmer is going to be the 'host' for our sail, and the Starr Center's weekend activities.

Ted was the first director of the Starr Center; he and his family used to live in the House. Who knew when we told him at his book party that we'd read the book out loud to each other, that we'd be meeting down here in the future -- we'd never even heard of the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship then -- or even yet, at this time last year
o way can we make the celebrations and observances of our other C'town friends; this weekend we are the totally owned subsidiaries of the Starr Center. As it is they are being very tolerant of all our outside activities (though this morning they were all saying how much pleasure they got out of telling to various people at the College that el V was playing at Lincoln Center, and that he's off to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Wednesday).

We hashed it out at dinner tonight. For the sake of my back, etc. I AM NOT going to Cleveland then, for the R 'n R gig, nor am I going to NYC next week (so he can do something in the apt. alone about CLEARING THE MANY IMPOSSIBLE MESSES OF HIS-HIS-HIS-HIS TOWERS OF STUPHS), nor am I going to New Orleans for the Congo Square conference, plus the two days of him mastering Kiss You Down South.  I will go to NYC for the premiere of the John Guare play, A Free Man of Color, though.

I can get more accomplished on the book, and not do so much house stuff.  I'm about to commit to writing this long study of slavery, the Civil War and the confederacy as portrayed in popular culture starting with the Wister novel, The Virginian, in  popular fiction / historical fiction / film.  I'm ready to do this now.  Whether it will get included in any great length in The American Slave Coast or not, is beside the point, since I'm ready to do it.  As el V says, I can always use it for a paper-presentation at a conference.

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