Hemingway

Do not miss the Ken Burns six-hour PBS mini-series.

You will see the charismatic, charming, cocky, crazy, Ernest Hemingway from childhood to death in this fascinating biography. As usual, Burns will amaze you with intricate, much unexpected, detail––warts, and all.

I might add a subtitle. Hemingway: The Man and the Myth. I think I prefer the myth.

I stumbled on the third two-hour episode last night. I had a special interest, having met Hemingway and his wife Mary at an Embassy reception in Havana, Cuba, on our CG Academy cadet cruise in 1956.

Reader or Author, Hemingway fan or not, everybody can enjoy this wonderful human interest series.

You can watch all three of the two-hour episodes here: www.pbs.org/kenburns/hemingway

The Ides of March: A good day.

As We Were::1958

Today, the Ides of March, Carol and I celebrate our 63rd wedding anniversary. Last night, as I did last year, I read aloud the chapters from my memoirs, The View From the Rigging, that covered the events of our meeting, dating, and the wedding. We enjoyed a happy-hour cocktail in our study, listening to 50’s music, watching our scrolling screen panorama of family pictures.

I loved it when Carol’s eyes lit up, remembering an event as I read it knowing it was all new to her. I’m so lucky to have had so many great years with her.

Pause for Panama Research

Feeling I needed a little more research, I have hit the pause button on my Goldlisters of Panama. That was a good move.  I have gained more insight on the Canal construction having read Panama Fever by Mathew Parker, gathered helpful craft advice on how to handle my main character through Libbie Hawker’s Making it in Historical Fiction.

Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed reading together with Carol, Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning historical fiction, All the Light We Cannot See. I highly recommend this book. A beautifully written story of a blind ten-year-old girl’s survival in WWII occupied France and her connection to the young German soldier who saved her.

I think I’m re-motivated to continue Goldlisters of Panama.

My Dear Hamilton: a Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

Wow!

I just finished this historical fiction jointly authored by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. It has consumed me for several weeks. Hence the gap in my postings. With my first attempt at this genre, Panama Goldlisters, a work in progress, I have concentrated my reading effort in historical fiction. I did not realize until I downloaded the kindle version of My Dear Hamilton that it was a 700-page tome. But, well worth the time.

Not only is My Dear Hamilton a memorable read that keeps you turning pages, but it is also a gem for anyone interested in writing historical fiction. The authors extensive notes at the end will give you a real picture of why this is a difficult genre. Research, research, research.

Dray and Kamoie chose a unique perspective to write a book as if it were written by Eliza herself, including the prologue and afterword. The authors then expand on their views, and how they researched and wrote the book in an extensive “Interview with the authors.” This section alone is a must for anyone tackling the historical novel genre.

The impetus for the authors stemmed from their seeing the Broadway production Hamilton: An American Musical. In their words, “As historical fiction authors, we were humbled.”

They found tons of material on Hamilton, of course, including Ron Chernow’s definitive biography of Alexander, although, they thought he played little attention to Eliza. They did not find a single biography of her. The most outlandish historical bits: the court martials, riots, plagues, duels, sex scandals, revolutionary balls, and battles, are all real. To interpret her character, motivations, and contributions, however, they had to depend on the letters, and writings of the founding fathers around her.

Highly recommend this work for your reading pleasure.

Merry Christmas

It is a bit harder to say that this year. With the dearth of uplifting occasions in 2020 to share, thanks to COVID 19. I’m left with a mundane, but heartfelt,

 “Friends, we are well, and hope you are too.

Perhaps 2020 is what recalled my memoir of another not too good year–– 1944. I share my memoir, The Christmas of ’44, on a new menu page, “Short Stories.” You can find it here.

By the way––that year did end well. I have faith, this one will too.

Merry Christmas to all

And

For God’s sake lets pray for a Happy 2021