It’s the birthday of essayist and children’s author Kenneth Grahame, (books by this author) born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). He is best known for his book The Wind in the Willows (1908), which he composed from bedtime stories he told to his son.
He had already published two books of stories for children, but The Wind in the Willows was rejected by publishers because it had talking animals in it. At the time, talking animals were considered too fantastic. Teddy Roosevelt, a fan of Grahame’s earlier work, convinced a publisher to take the book. It was a huge success, and it continues to sell well, over 100 years later.
Grahame was able to retire from his bank job because of the book. He lived for another 25 years, but he never wrote another one.
From The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor
We’re lightheaded after our radio interview with Jeannette de Beauvoir of Art Week on WOMR in Provincetown. (I don’t think I took a real breath throughout the 26 minute conversation.) Catch it live Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 12:30pm, and as a podcast.
Someone upstairs or something is trying to kill me. They have not succeeded yet, but I gotta wonder.
Last week it was a BMW on I-195; it hit my car so hard that I spun around two or three times, bounced off the guard rail, and popped back into oncoming traffic in the middle lane. By some miracle I was not then hit by another car or, gulp, a truck. I loved that car and only owned if for year or so; it is now a pile of junk. I have not recovered yet; I still have headaches and various pains and bump & bruises.
Last summer it was a guy drag racing on Hixbridge Rd who t-boned me at high speed and wrecked my previous Honda Fit. He drove off, but left his license plate at the scene and was quickly apprehended by the Westport police.
Before that it was prostate cancer, but I am in remission and currently my PSA is a very satisfying 0.0. I am still really messed up because of the cancer drug (Lupron) but that should be out of my system in 4-5 months.
Before that, I chain sawed my foot when in the woods. Luckily the wound was not too deep and I did not bleed out in the woods. St. Ann’s hospital patched my up with 22 stiches and now the foot is fine. The bright side of the chainsaw accident was that I wrote my book while in bed.
Someone or something is trying kill me. Except for the chainsaw pedicure, none of these disasters were my fault.
Maybe it is one of my siblings with a voodoo doll. Maybe not; but I am still on this side of the grass. So take that!
Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Every so often a transcendent book comes along, and I feel that Where the Crawdads is one of those. It is probably the best book I have ever read. I finished it last week, and I am still stunned.
Initially, I did not know a thing about Where the Crawdads Sing, but I did know of Delia Owens from Cry of the Kalahari, a wonderful book she wrote with her husband, Mark (they have since divorced). As a nature writer, I try to read all the natural history classics and Cry of the Kalahari was one of the better ones (and certainly one of the most hair-raising).
So without reading any reviews or commentary, I started listening to an audio version of Where the Crawdads Sing on my daily commute. I was immediately struck by the elegant natural history observations and metaphors that Ms. Owens employed. As a nature writer myself, I greatly admire such a writing style. But there was more, much more; this book drew me in like few have before; Ms. Owens deftly weaves a tale of heartache, romance, betrayal, and, well, I leave the rest up to you.
I cannot say enough good things about this masterpiece. If you are interested in lyrical nature writing, romance, and intrigue, you will love this book.
Fred loves the Westport Farmer’s Market. Throughout the market season he collects all the onions, peppers, eggplant, garlic, tomatoes and squash he can stuff in his reusable bags, and cooler. It’s the start of his weekend.
Imagine his delight when they asked him to join in the last market of 2019 to sign his books!
The change of seasons recorded in our calendars do not seem like a real reflection of what is happening in the natural world. Sure the seasons are based on the solstices and equinoxes, but this is way off.
A more realistic calendar would be made of rubber so it could stretch a bit this way and that. It would mark the end of the year as the first frost. This is when the whole insect and plant ecosystem do an abrupt, sudden about face. Spring would begin when the first wood frogs sing (mid March). Fall would start with the monarch migration and summer would be marked by…well there are too many choices there. FGT
The huge white flowers of auriculatum rhododendron are blooming. I think they smell like minty melon. Stroll through the gardens, visit the very friendly chickens and watch pottery demonstrations using unusual leaves.
Signed copies will be available during the South Coast Open Studio Tours, July 20 – 21st and August 17 – 18th, as well as theArtdrive August 9 thru 11th. Come experience some of the sites that inspired In the Wake of the Willows.
Visit SouthCoastArtists.org and theArtdrive.org for downloadable maps and driving apps.