It’s been a long time since my last post (sorry about that). So long that I had to revive the WordPress connection to my website www.bandannabooks.com.
In the interim I’ve been busy, but also somewhat withdrawing from my usual work-aholic pace. Re-evaluating what I am doing, and why, and for whom.
I now have over a hundred book titles, mostly of older classics, but a few original or translations. Also, the “Book Doc” venture is still going. My one steady client, now, after 8 books, has set up her own publishing company, for whom I continue to do work. I’m glad to see her take this step; she has a lot to offer, from her own life and also with creative helpful stories or writings.
The recent presidential contest has brought new relevance to some of my research into the Constitution, and what the United States really stands for.
My recent titles include Dred, which is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s follow-up to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, even closer to the eventual outbreak of war. Then, Tom Paine’s Common Sense, which I hadn’t actually read before, but which put new light on the decision to leave Britain. Also three volumes of the Federalist Papers, so as to distinguish the contributions separately of Jay, Hamilton, and Madison. Another which I stumbled upon were two pieces by Thomas Dixon (most famous for the script of Birth of a Nation — a play scene of Lincoln early in his Presidency, and a longer piece paralleling that, of Jefferson Davis — two men who were thrust into roles they did not relish but did their best, each in his separate circumstances.
From the same era came the Civil War era books Man Without a Country, and Fanny Kemble’s Journal (written in the 1930s but prevented by her husband from publishing it until the 1860s.
It’s been a pleasure for me to follow my own curiosity into how we got to where we are today; it helps to fill in my own curiosity, but from another angle, I have come to see many of these pieces as neglected or forgotten pieces of our vital past. Which in turn has led me to reconsider why I am driven to this search, as if my own education was missing so much, and presumably many other students also don’t know what they are missing.
Which has led me to reconsider what I am doing, and why, and for whom. I think it centers on college, which often includes the classes one is required to take, and skip over most of the rest. These days, I don’t want to skip over these pieces.
The ones I mentioned do share the vision that it took me years to learn while trying to be a writer — that a writing instructor finally had the persistence to pound into my head: a story from the heart, from one’s life, is ever so much more valuable than any work of fiction no matter how imaginative. Honesty, sometimes to the point of embarrassment, can deliver something from one soul to another, even if it had been written 800 years ago. If it has human honesty, even human confession, it delivers something valuable. Even in poetry, sometimes especially in poetry, that punch, that sting can still deliver.
That’s what I look for. That’s what I hope to continue to provide. What is it we learn at school? What do we need to know? Essentially, I believe, we need to know ourselves.
(end of preaching)
My website is www.bandannabooks.com. Some changes will be coming.