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Great plays…but…

Just spent a very rewarding weekend in Shepherdstown, WV, at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. Six plays in 48 hours, including two standouts, for me: “The House on the Hill” by Amy Witting and “Thirst” by C. A. Johnson. Excellent as they were, though, both plays displayed something I seem […]

Don’t diss the potboiler

If you imagine that old, deaf Ludwig van Beethoven spent his days in whispered dialogue with the Almighty, I refer you to “The Glorious Moment.” “Moment” is an oratorio Beethoven composed to celebrate the Congress of Vienna in 1814. Biographer Maynard Solomon called it “the nadir of Beethoven’s artistic career.” […]

Pickled golf balls?

In 1938, when she was 19, my Mom had a job pickling golf balls. She often told a vivid story of fishing the balls from a tub of boiling brine with a big mesh ladle like the ones fry cooks used. She described being burned by splashing liquid when a […]

Everything was different…

Here’s more interesting stuff I learned as I tried to make The Point of the Spear at least respectable, archaeologically. The vast and beautiful Chesapeake Bay that dominates the region where I live is nowhere near as old as I always assumed. It only began to form about 10,000 years […]

Boning Up…

In writing my latest novel, The Point of the Spear, I clearly needed to bone up, so to speak, on my North American archaeology. I knew I wasn’t writing a scholarly paper, and didn’t need to be absolutely correct. But I did want to avoid gross, embarrassing mistakes. The novel’s […]