". . . 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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blogged By Daughter Number Three + Richmond, Chestertown, George Mason University & NYU

Did everyone survive Halloween, which is now the year's biggest commercial merchandising holiday, except for Christmas, which goes on much longer than Halloween?  As this is a city of apartment buildings., parents have taken to bringing in their kids to our part of town to shakedown t&t the local restaurants and businesses like the delis, pizza joints, hair salons and even the liquor stores.

I got in everything we needed for dinner by the middle of the afternoon, and having met P for a single martini in the Bistro to celebrate arrival of replacement passport proving I am me again, retired to our apartment and made ravioli. We never went out again.

Watched a bit of the Frank Sinatra / Rat Pack 1958 flick, Some Came Running, adapted from a bit of the enormous James Jones novel by the same name published in 1957 -- perhaps my favorite silly movie about writing and novelists.

However, we soon retired to our lovely bed and read a bit of Bound for the Promised Land:  Harriet Tubman Portrait of an American Hero*(2004) by Kate Clifford Larson.  We were asleep by 10:30.  That's all we really want to do these days is sleep.  We never seem to get enough of it.

Not only is it Sunday, the first day of November, it is the end of Daylight Savings this year, and here is, not only the Sunday morning after the debauchery of Halloween Saturday night, but the running of the annual New York Marathon.

Fountain Bookstore owner since 2008, Kelly Justice
managed the store since 2000.  The store was est. 1978.
More locally, today we prepare to leave town at 6 AM tomorrow and drive to Richmond, where we do Fountain Bookstore at 6:30 PM.  Address, photos etc. can be seen on Fountain Bookstore's website here.

One may wonder if such a long drive to Richmond is worth it, but it is, in ways one cannot know -- as, for instance this "Daughter Number Three" Blogger entry that went up on Oct. 26th by no one we know, describing el V's 11th of October presentation and The American Slave Coast on "Melissa Harris Perry."  What's interesting to me particularly about the woman's entry is her profile says she too grew up on a farm, and now lives in Minneapolis. Her profiles includes sf/f among her interests, with Octavia Butler as a favorite.. -- i.e. someone quite like me.  The "Daughter Number Three" Blogger entry can be seen here.

Tuesday then, we drive from Richmond to Chestertown, where, once we arrive we do two radio program phoners from the Starr Center (where, while in residence as Patrick Henry Writing Fellow, the first part of The American Slave Coast was drafted 2005-2006) ), one of the programs with Baltimore Public

WYPR's Sheilah Kast, Host of "Midday."
Radio WYPR's "Midday," hosted by Sheilah Kast.

The Washington College
presentation by the Starr Center of The American Slave Coast is Wednesday evening.

Early Thursday we drive to Fairfax (a D.C. outlier) and George Mason University, where we do Slave Coast in the AM, and Ned does Cuba in the afternoon, and then drive back to NYC.

Cuban-Angolan platoon attached to 11th Tactical Group, 10th Tank Brigade, Cabinda, Angola, under command of Lt. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, 1989-90. Cuban troops were instrumental to Angola's fight of liberation and resistence to South Africa's apartheid intervention.
Friday el V is doing an all-day symposium on Cuba and Angola at NYU.

The following Monday we fly to New Orleans for a whirlwind of parties, bookstore signings, and events at Tulane, then to Houston on Friday for more of the same.


*   Very, very young el V, still living in Louisiana at the time Some Came Running came out, and obsessed with both television and movies (unlike now, when he actively dislikes almost all movies and television) was inspired by the movie to compose one of his very first song, lyrics and melody.  We sang it at the start of the first time we watched it together years ago at the Film Forum (though we did so very quietly as to not disturb the rest of the audience.  NYers take watching films in places like the Film Forum very seriously.

* *  As must be expected with a study of Harriet Tubman, Larson provides deeply researched and sourced documentation of the Underground Railroad operation. This is something fiction writers should do too, but so seldom do it seems from the proof of utterly incorrect imagined underground railroads -- which most certainly did not operate outside the border states. Novelists seem to get the underground railroad about as right as Hollywood gets writers.

 Something else of which fiction writers tend to be ignorant is that far fewer enslaved African Americans escaped from the vast prison camp that was the antebellum south than self-emancipated and free people of color were kidnapped from the north and sold down south -- despite the constant howling of slave owners that they were in eminent danger of losing all their property to those EviLe northern abolitionist agitator thieves.  Because of course no enslaved person would ever think of changing their status on their own, and all people of color could only be truly happy by serving a master / mistress.  These facts are in the Bible, you know.

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