Monday, April 30, 2007

Sally Shivnan's Top 10 Tips for Publishing Travel Writing in Newspapers

Gold! From travel writer Sally Shivan, whose essays have appeared in The Best American Travel Writing 2006 and Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing 2005 and in The Washington Post, Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, Washingtonian, Hemispheres, and elsewhere. Here, with her permission, are her top ten tips for publishing travel writing in newspapers:

1. Forget queries. Freelance travel writing for newspapers is all on spec. Write the very best 1500-2500 word essay you can, polish it till it gleams, then send it. You may think this a disadvantage, since you’re writing with no guarantee of publication, but it’s a benefit, since it lets the work speak for itself (better than even the sharpest query can).

2. Be literary, but also user-friendly. Eloquence (in any of its myriad forms) is what distinguishes good newspaper travel pieces. But make it clear by the second or third paragraph where you are and why you’re there—this is the so-called “nut graph,” the paragraph containing the “nut” of the piece.

3. Think structure. For newspapers you need lots of short sentences and short paragraphs (though it helps the rhythm to vary this, of course); you need a drop-dead fantastic lede (writer Tim Cahill says he typically spends 75% of his time on the lede and the closing, only 25% on the middle parts); you need a sharp ending—consider one that circles back in some way to the beginning.

4. Think narrative, angle, imagery. You need to tell a story, not just tell about a place; you need an angle, a fresh twist (the desert in winter, Niagara Falls for divorcees); you need rich sensory details. Take lots of notes while traveling—get everything—the angle may come to you later…

5. Let sidebars work for you. Sidebars—those boxes that appear alongside your piece, with info about where to fly, stay, eat, etc.—let you skip putting all that in your essay so that your essay can be a real essay. Write your sidebar and send it along with your piece.

6. Don’t be shy about the “spray-gun” approach. Only The New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post demand first publication rights, so maybe send to one of them first. After they accept/reject you, you’re free to submit anywhere—just don’t submit simultaneously to competing papers in the same market. In theory, your piece could appear in dozens of places. You don’t need to tell editors you’re doing this—they don’t care.

7. Think regional. Especially with smaller papers, but even with the big ones, target your submissions appropriately—The San Francisco Chronicle has a natural interest in west coast destinations, Florida papers are into Florida, the southeast, the Bahamas.

8. Know your markets. Read travel on newspaper websites—different travel sections have different personalities. Consider a resource like TravelWriters.com’s Travel Publications Update, which for $39 gives you detailed submission guidelines for 200 newspaper travel sections and 500 magazines —the only source I know with this kind of info on newspapers.

9. Take good photos. You are far more likely to sell your photos to papers than to magazines; in fact it’s almost expected. The pay is not great, often $50-75/photo, but it supplements what you’re getting for the writing (also not great—anywhere from $150-$500 or a little more, but that’s why you submit to multiple markets).

10. Let newspapers take you to magazines. Even in the currently constricting newspaper business, it is possible to get a good piece in print, something an unknown writer really has no prayer of doing at a glossy magazine. Your newspaper credits will make any query to a magazine way more impressive—if you have the option to query by snail mail, take it, so you can send your clips.


+++++
Be sure to check out Sally Shivnan's webpage, which has excerpts from her writing, fascinating photos, and a page of more tips and advice, including the AWP Joblist article, "Surviving the Trip from Adjunct to Professor: How to Keep Writing Through an Overload of Teaching."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hermoine Lee's Biography of Edith Wharton


About half way through reading Hermoine Lee's new Edith Wharton biography. Which is wonderful. The prose is every bit as delicious as Wharton's own. More anon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Travel Writing Workshop at the Writers Center, Bethesda Maryland & Coyoacan, Mexico City

I'm giving a special one afternoon Saturday travel writing workshop on June 16th. For more info and to register, click here. Later, I'll be offering the same in Coyoacan, Mexico City. Stay tuned.

If I Only Had an iPod and Thoughts on Litblogs and Guest-Blogging

Today over at Wendi Kaufman's Happy Booker is an especially fun "If I Only Had an iPod" guest-blog post-- this one by short story writer Ben Greenman. I've been talking about blogs with other writers this week--- I'm in Mexico City, drinking pots of coffee from Coyoacan to Colonia del Valle. Most writers I've talked to either know nothing about or disdain blogs. (Though I am to meet today with Martin Casillas de Alba, whose vibrant and widely read blog is Juego de espejos.) Well, yes, as one writer I talked to the other day said, most of those 70 million + blogs cluttering up cyberspace are unreadable. But there are a number of models for writers--- and Kaufman's Happy Booker is an excellent one. Kaufman, by the way, is accomplished freelancer and short story writer (she's had work in The New Yorker). Her blog's focus is Washington DC area events and writers, and she often--- as with the "If I Only Had an iPod" column--- invites other writers to guest-blog. (Apropos of last year's publication of Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, my anthology of Mexican fiction and literary prose, I did a Mexican music column for her.) Another very different model for an author blog is novelist Leslie Pietrzyk's Work in Progress. Pietrzyk is also a well regarded writing teacher (at the Writers Center and elswhere). She too has been inviting others to guest-blog. Here at Madam Mayo, Beltway editor and poet Kim Roberts has guest-blogged--- most memorably about Book Expo America's stupendous swag. So here's Madam Mayo's resolution for May: more guest-bloggers.

UPDATE: Watch for upcoming columns "Gone to the Litblogs". I am fascinated by this emerging literary form. Here's one of my old posts on litblogs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Border to Border, Wall to Wall: Subtopia

New on the blogroll: Subtopia, which has a fascinating post on walls.

"Living on Words": Washington Writers Conference

Here's the schedule for Saturday, June 9, 2007:
"Living On Words: Get Inspired, Get Writing, Get Published!"
The 2007 Washington Writers Conference
Location: the Cafritz Center at George Washington University

The plenary speaker is Peter Bowerman, author and self-publisher, who is known for his books The Well-Fed Writer and the The Well-Fed Editor. In addition to the opening speech, Peter will lead a workshop based on his books and will provide practical steps and tips on marketing and selling your writing.

Our keynote speaker is Francine Prose, award-winning author of 11 novels, including Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her latest book is Reading Like A Writer. She has also written four children's books and co-translated three volumes of fiction. Prose is a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine and writes regularly on art for The Wall Street Journal.

We are offering 14 different sessions throughout the day, covering everything from the practical aspects of writing to the creative process. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with agents (both fiction and non-fiction) and, most importantly, to network and learn more about this outstanding organization that supports writers in the greater DC area.

Each panel is 75 minutes. Writers confirmed include Pulitzer-winning biographer Kai Bird, environmental historian Linda Lear, travel writer C.M. Mayo, and novelists Leslie Pietrzyk and John Gilstrap, among others.

It's all happening on Saturday, June 9, 2007, in the Cafritz Center at George Washington University. For more information on the conference and how to register, please visit www.washwriter.org.

Breakout Sessions Schedule

10-11:15 a.m.
1—Well-Fed Self-Publishing: Lose Your Fear of S&M (Sales and Marketing) & Put Your Book on the Map!
2—Research Sources: Library of Congress, National Security Archives, FOIA and Personal Investigations
3—Fiction Writing Tool Kit
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
1—Speechwriting: Process and Profit
2—Fiction Agents Roundtable
3—Non-Fiction Agents Roundtable
4—Refresh & Restart Your Writing Career

2:30-3:45 p.m.
1—Writers and the Web: Marketing and Promotion in Cyberspace
2—Health Writing for the Non-Health Professional
3—Travel Writing: Articles, Essays and Books
4—Johns Hopkins University Craft Session

4-5:15 p.m.
1—Biography: The Writing Life of Writing Lives
2—A Novel Balance: Writing Great Fiction and Maintaining A Serious Day Job
3—Johns Hopkins University Craft Session

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Campaign to Save Book Reviews

Will books just get blogged? This just in from the National Book Critics Circle Newswire:

"For years, the news coming out of book review sections has not been good: everywhere, we hear, pages are being cut, budgets are being reduced. But in the past few months the situation has taken a turn for the worse. The Raleigh News-Observer recently eliminated its full-time book review editor position. The same spot at the Atlanta Journal Constitution now hangs in the balance. A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times dissolved its 12-page, stand-alone book section into an "Ideas" section that contains many fewer print reviews.

"In response to this dismaying trend, this morning the NBCC launched a campaign to Save Book Reviews on its year-old blog, Critical Mass. As NBCC President John Freeman explains in his inaugural post, “We’re tired of hearing newspapers fret and worry over the future of print while they dismantle the section of the paper which deals most closely with the two things which have kept them alive since the dawn of printing presses: the public’s hunger for knowledge and the written word.”

Over the next six weeks, the NBCC blog will serve as a forum where members and non-members can discuss what makes book reviews so important and what they can do in response to the review-cutting trend. Critical Mass will feature posts by concerned writers, interviews with book editors in the trenches, and links to op-eds by critics, novelists, and NBCC members. Q&As with newspaper editors and owners will clarify the business context for these changes.

Today, for example, Critical Mass published a satirical memorandum by George Saunders, an interview with Los Angeles Times Book Review editor David Ulin, commentary by novelist Stewart O’Nan, and tips about how you can get involved to make sure newspaper owners and editors know that book sections matter. Coming weeks will see posts by or interviews with Rick Moody, Roxana Robinson, Andrei Codrescu, Adam Hochschild, Mark Bowden, Lee Smith, and book editors in California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, and Washington DC. The list goes on and on. We’ve also developed a webpage related to this campaign on the NBCC’s main website.

We urge you all to get involved by reading and commenting on the Critical Mass blog posts, and, if possible, by publishing pieces related to the issues raised by this campaign."

UPDATE: Thanks to Nancy Zafris, here's a link to sign the petition to save the Atlanta Journal Constitution's books section.

Crab Cakes in Baltimore with Sally Shivnan


Not much blogging this week as I've been in Baltimore--- where travel writer Sally Shivnan invited me to offer a travel writing workshop and then present the new paperback edition of my travel memoir of Mexico's Baja California, Miraculous Air. It was a lively and talented group of students, and the reading was extra special for me because it was the first time I had seen the paperback. If I do say so myself, it looks pretty good. Then we went out for, what else in Baltimore, crab cakes! By the way, Sally Shivan's essay "Airborne" appears in Best American Travel Writing 2006, and her essay "Gringa Morisca" in Traveler's Tales Best Travel Writing 2005. Look for her articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere.

Speaking of travel writing, I'll be chairing a panel on travel writing for the Washington Independent Writers Conference June 9th, and offering another travel writing workshop at the Bethesda MD Writers Center on June 16th.

I'll also be offering some writing workshops in Mexico City. More anon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Newbies on the Blogroll

Jim Benning (travel writer); Coffee With Ken (historian and lawyer); Huffington Post Blog (it's a circus, everyone from the elephants to the mice); Rhymes with Camera (a well done literary blog from the other Washington, Washington state); Todos Santos Pages (viva Todo!) ; World Hum (the best travel writing blog out there). Relatively new: Work in Progress (novelist Leslie Pietrzyk's). Note: The other day Phronesisaical (DC-based professor of Philosophy aka "Helmut") listed several especially interesting blogs.

Miranda July


Monday, April 16, 2007

Miraculous Air: Pub Date May


The official publication date for the paperback edition of my travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico (Milkweed Editions) is now May. It's already available, however. This June I'll be reading at Candida's World of Books here in Washington DC, and elsewhere. More anon.

Massive Ugly Schrub




Via Alice and Pabu, check out sunny California's hilarious house blog, Casa Decrepit. Here in Washington DC, the wind has overturned furniture and lifted matts off the balcony... Nonetheless, Madam Mayo will be at this afternoon's DC Vote and Emancipation Day March. (Will Mayor Fenty's hat stay on?) Hasta pronto.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

DC Voting Rights March April 16th


The reason why all Washington DC license plates read "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" is that, c'est vrai, citizens of Washington DC are taxed without representation. Join Mayor Fenty for the Voting Rights March on Emancipation Day, April 16th.

Richard Peabody's Update #2, Plus the Guys "Not Too Shabby, Eh?"


Re: The lists of Women Writers of Washington DC--- the embryonic list; Kim Roberts's update; Richard Peabody's update #1; and now Peabody update #2: Peabody writes:

"Some others I forgot.

Jennifer Allen (George's sis and daughter of the old f-ball coach). She was at peak wave of brat pack with a book of s.s. Grew up here.
Courtney Angela Brkic
Deborah Churchman
Shirley Graves Cochrane
Lucinda Ebersole Her bk of s.s. masquerading as a novel is fab is you haven't read it--Death in Equality.
Susan Jane Gilman (though she just moved away)
Jody Jaffee
Charlotte Manning
Curtis Sittenfeld
Zane

Others who used to live here:

Lorraine Adams
Mignon Holland Anderson
Ellyn Bache
Carolyn Banks
Elizabeth Benedict
Jane Bradley
Joanne Brasil (among other things Alice Walker's astrologer)
Eleanor Clark
Inga Dean
Carmen Delzell
Sandy Florian
Nadine Gordimer
Cara Haycak
Pati Hill
Linda Hogan (student and staffer at Md.)
Maria Katzenbach
Pagan Kennedy (went to Holton Arms)
Joyce Reiser Kornblatt
Wendy Law-YoneNatalie Sumner Lincoln
Sara McAulay
Julia Markus
Cate Marvin (poet and fiction writer)
Carole Maso
Claire Messud
Jeanne Schinto
Joanna Scott
Frances Sherwood
Lionel Shriver
Christina Stead
Mollie Best Tinsley
Lisa Zeidner
Laura Zigman


And now for the total hell of it cuz I did work on a DC literay history eons ago a la Ferlinghetti's Literary SF but nobody cared---here's the guys.

Henry Allen
Tom Allen
Bob Angell
Richard Bausch
Robert Bausch
Louis Bayard
Scott W. Berg
Rei Berrora
Sean Brijbasi
Hayes Brown
Peter Brown
Christopher Buckley
Liam Callanan
Kenny Carroll
Tom Carson
Vikram Chandra
Alan Cheuse
Bob Cullen
Richard Currey
John Claiborne Davis
Keith Donohue
Kevin Downs
Bruce Duffy
Sean Enright
Mark Farrington
Juan H. Gaddis
Bill Garrison
Frank Gatling
Brian Gilmore
Robert Giardi
Stephen Goodwin
James Grady
John Greenya (one of the best known DC ghostwriters)
Harvey Grossinger
John Guernsey
Louis Harris
Bill Holland
Dave Housley
Dallas Hudgens
Stephen Hunter
Eugene Jeffers
Edward P. Jones
Tim Junkin
Matt Kirkpatrick
Matthew Klam
Charles B. Larson
Jim Lehrer
Nathan Leslie
Bill Loizeaux
Alex MacLennan
Thomas Mallon
Joe Martin
Julian Mazor
Richard McCann
William McPherson
Mark Merlis
[Matt, your name goes here]
Glenn Moomau
Richard Morris
Kermit Moyer
Terence Mulligan
David Nicholson
Howard Norman
Jose Padua
Jim Patterson
George P. Pelecanos
Steve Piacente
Jim Reed
Frederick Reuss
Jeff Richards
B.B. Riefner
J. R. Salamanca
M.A. Schaffner
Lewis K. Schrager
Mark J. Sullivan III
Matthew Summers-Sparks
David A. Taylor
Ross Taylor (Peter Taylor's son among other things)
Kenneth R. Timmerman (ran a lit ag in Paris and published a novel before going totally GOP)
David Veronese
Tim Wendel
Jim Williamson (in the band Tone)
Terence Winch
Herman Wouk
James Zug
Look for a lot of them to turn up in "Stress City: A Big Book by 50 DC Guys" due out this time next year. My male companion to the Grace & Gravity series.

As for guys who used to live here...

Warren Adler
Robert McBride Allen
David Amsden
Allen Appel
Toby Barlow (He just sold an epic poem/novel about LA werewolves for big $$)
Edward Beach
John Bennett
Ambrose Bierce
James Blish
James Ed Bradley
Bruce Brooks
Chandler Brossard
James M. Cain
Kevin Canty
Kim Chapin
John Cheever
Harold Courlander
Dick Dabney
Roald Dahl
Richard Henry Dana
Philip K. Dick
Owen Dodson
Lloyd C. Douglas
Allen Drury
Jordan Ellenberg
Phillip Finch
Rudolph Fisher
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Shelby Foote
Jonathan Safran Foer
Carlos Fuentes
William Gibson
Richard Grant
Dashiell Hammett
Bret Harte
John Hawkes
Leicester Hemingway
John Hersey
Tony Hillerman
Paul Horgan
Langston Hughes
Ward Just
Walter Karig (Zotz!)
Jack Kerouac
John O. Killens
Larry L. King
Fletcher Knebel
Munroe Leaf (Ferdinand the Bull!)
Mark Leyner
Fritz Leiber
Sinclair Lewis
Arnost Lustig
Don Marquis (Archie & Mehetibal!)
Charles McGarry
Reginald McKnight
Larry McMurtry
John McNally
Michael Mewshaw
Henry Miller (even worked for the W. Post!)
Michael Mooney
Ted Mooney
Hardee Mumms
Raymond Mungo
John Nichols
Matthew Oldshan
William Orem
Charles Plymell
Pedro Ponce
Nicholas Proffit
Thomas Pynchon (one of his best ever s.s. is about DC and it's not collected in Slow Learner)
Seabury Quinn
Neil Ravin
Bob Reiss
Kenneth Roberts (Northwest Passage!)
Kim Stanley Robinson
Bob Shacochis (grew up in Arlington as did Heather McHugh by the by)
Charles Sheffield
Porter Shreve
Upton Sinclair (my h.s. paper interviewed him right before his death)
Frank Slaughter
Wallace Stegner
Somtow Suchariijkutul
Sidney Sulkin (one fo the first writers I ever met, at age 5 cuz his son went to elementary school with me)
Glendon Swarthout
D.M. Thomas (and therein lies a tale)
Ross Thomas
Ernest Thompson
James Thurber (grew up in Falls Church about 2 blocks from the State theater)
Alfred Toombs
Jean Toomer
Mark Twain
Kevin Urick
Gore Vidal
Rudolph von Abele
J. Douglas Wallopp III ( who we owe for Damn Yankees!)
Robert Ward
Robert Penn Warren
Victor Wartofsky
John D. Weaver
James Webb
Ted White
Sloan Wilson
Mark Weingardner
Tom Wolfe
Geoffrey Wolff
Tobias Wolff
Richard Yates

Not too shabby. Ehh?

for fun some other lit folks--Richard Luck (Pif magazine), John Powers (LA film critic), Adam Kulakow (hoolywood screenwriter), Steven Johnson (nf guy), and Thad Zulkowski (mr surf zen)

Majority of these names have a book (or more) out. I haven't even begun to deal with poetry.

Richard Peabody
www.gargoylemagazine.com"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Earthquake in Mexico

Yes, I felt it-- just after midnight the whole house started creaking and shaking, and for a very long time. As far as I know, no damage. Here's a link the news at Mexico Today.

Travel Writing Panel at the Washington Independent Writers Conference June 9th

I'm chairing the travel writing panel for the Washington Independent Writers (WIW) conference this June 9th. Here's the official blurb and the line-up:

Travel Writing: Article, Essay, Book

What and where are the markets for travel writing? Where and how do travel books sell? Can a travel article turn into an essay and, eventually, a book? Or, vice versa? Three distinguished travel writers and an innovative travel bookseller discuss their experiences and views.

Moderator: C.M. Mayo's books are Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Whereabouts Press), Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California the Other Mexico (Milkweed Editions), and Sky Over El Nido (University of Georgia Press), which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her travel writing has won three Lowell Thomas Awards and the 2005 WIW Award for best essay.

Candida Mannozzi is the owner of Candida's World of Books, which opened in Washington DC in 2004. A native of Italy with dual Italian / US citizenship, she speaks six languages fluently, and has lived and worked in many different countries including the Czech Republic and Japan. She has a BA and and MA in language and literature from Swarthmore College and Yale Univ. respectively, as well as a graduate diploma in European Studies from Johns Hopkins University SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies).

L. Peat O'Neil, after 18 years in the Washington Post newsroom, O'Neil currently is learning Mandarin, teaching writing for UCLA and freelancing. Author of Travel Writing – See the World, Sell the Story (Writer's Digest Books 2005).

Sara Mansfield Taber was raised in Asia, Europe, and the United States as the daughter of a CIA agent. She is the author of two books of literary journalism: Dusk on the Campo: A Journey in Patagonia (Henry Holt) and Bread of Three Rivers: The Story of a French Loaf (Beacon). She has also written a writing workbook for internationally global youth entitled, Of Many Lands: Journal of a Traveling Childhood (Foreign Service Youth Foundation). Her memoirs and essays have been published in national literary magazines and produced for Public Radio's All Things Considered. Her work appears, also, in the anthologies, Notes from a Traveling Childhood and Unrooted Childhoods.

For more about the WIW conference, click here.

Washington Women Writers: The List Grows Longer

Apropos of the lists of Washington Women Writers (the embryonic and the Kim Roberts-expanded), Richard Peabody writes:

"Hey Gals: Well, all of the blurbers on the anthologies I've done are folks who used to live here in the area. So if you really want to expand the list you have to immediately add:

Randy Sue Coburn
Elizabeth Hand
Elizabeth Oness
Nicole Louise Reid
Aurelie Sheehan
Mollie Best Tinsley

Other historical literary women and some contemporaries would include:

Ann Aikman
Louisa May Alcott
Mrs. Larz Anderson
Temple Bailey
Joanne Bario
Ann Beattie
Rebecca Brown
Rita Mae Brown
Zenith Brown
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mary Cahill
Tracy Chevalier
Eleanor Clark
Carmen Delzell
Anna Dorsey
Ann Downer
Thulani Davis
Katharine Dunlap
Matilde Eiker
Kate Field
Katherine W. Fulton
Margarita Spalding Gerry
Elinor Glyn
Joanne Greenberg
Grace Greenwood
Martha Grimes
Doris Grumbach
Mildred Haun
Clair W. Hayes
Ann Hood
Forestine C. Hooker
Julia Ward Howe
Deborah Insel
Frances Parkinson Keyes
Elinor Lane
Martin Leimbach
Natalie Sumner Lincoln
Anne Lindbergh
Grace Denio Litchfield
Clare Booth Luce
Mabel Dodge Luhan
Sara MacAulay
Julia Markus
Harriet Martineau
Gardner McFall
Mrs. Lowell Melliett
Olga Moore
Toni Morrison
Gloria Oden
Katharine Paterson
Mary Plum
Katharine Anne Porter
Barbara Raskin
Marjorie Kinan Rawlings
Tova Reich
Joyce Renwick
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Caryl Rivers
Doris Rochlin
Anne Royall
Muriel Rukeyser
Joanna Scott
Lionel Shriver
Molly Sewell
Alice Sheldon (a. k. a. James Tiptree)
Harriet Prescott Spofford
Christina Stead
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Phyllis Theroux
Caroline Thompson
Inez Sheldon Tyler
Joyce Warren
Helen Whitney
Kathleen Winsor
Elinor Wylie

Folks who live here right now not even counting the other 75+ women in Grace & Gravity or Enhanced Gravity:

Teresa Bevin
Margaret Blair
Connie Brisco
Beth Brophy
Laura Brylawski-Miller
Maxine Clair
Brenda W. Clough
Merle Collins
Laura Costas
Marcy Heidish Dolan
Laura Fargas
Candida Fraze
Barbara Goldberg
Marita Golden
Eloise Greenfield
Tammy Greenwood
Virginia Hartman
Ellen Herbert
Esther Iverem
Lynn Kanter
Kyi May Kaung
Catherine Kimrey
Annette Curtis Klause
Jane Leavy
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Barbara Lefcowitz
Beverly Lowry
Sarah Grace McCandless
Barbara Mujica
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Diane Orenstein
Michelle Parkerson
Lauren Rabb
Elisavietta Ritchie
Kwelismith
Susan Sonde
Elisabeth Sullam
Mary L. Tabor
Rangeley Wallace
Riggin Waugh
Joyce Winslow
Anna Ziegler

And of course there are tons more. I haven't even begun to list poets only poets who also write fiction. At least that I'm aware of today... Plus I have another 42 women (some listed above) soon to appear in Electric Grace: Even More Fiction By Washington Area Women. (Pub date will be in 11/2007 with a launch at Politics and Prose).
Cheers, Richard Peabodywww.gargoylemagazine.com

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Over at Zyzzyva Blog: Web 2.0 World

Today, Zyzzyva's editor's E.A.... But let me put in a good word for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP)... I haven't been able to make use of half the resources they offer their members.... Time to get a widgetbox.... But no time... it's all taken up with e-mail and blogging... gotta go walk the dog. (Yes, my dog has her own website.) Still haven't decided on Tameme chapbook #2. Never mind the Web 2.0 world: a good, old-fashioned chapbook. Here's the wiki.

Tameme Chapbook #2: Almost


Almost done sifting through the many, many manuscripts submitted for Tameme's chapbook #2. It's going to be a very tough decision. More anon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Socorro Venegas


Translator Toshiya Kamei has alerted me that his translation of a short story by Mexican writer Socorro Venegas is now on-line at Gival Press's ArLiJo (Arlington Literary Journal). Thanks to Kamei, here's a link to Agustín Cadena's review in La Jornada of Venegas's book.

Women Writers of Washington DC --- Kim Roberts's List


The other day I posted a little something about Women Writers of Washington DC. Poet and Beltway editor Kim Roberts writes:
"I love this list on your blog! Can I suggest other names?
Betty Parry
Zora Neale Hurston
May Miller
Toni Morrison
Angelina Weld Grimke
Carolyn Forche
Marita Golden
Alice McDermott
Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
Kim Addonizio
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Reetika Vazirani
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Hilary Tham
Elizabeth Alexander
Elinor Wylie
Georgia Douglas Johnson
Grace Cavalieri
Gloria C. Oden
Sarah Browning
Myra Sklarew
Dolores Kendrick
Naomi Ayala
Teri Ellen Cross
Esther Iverem
Reb Livingston
Belle Waring
Sandra Alcosser
Cheryl Clarke
Saskia Hamilton
Gwendolyn Bennett
Clarissa Scott Delaney"


To view the (embryonic) list I published, plus links to Richard Peabody's magnificent twin anthologies, click here.

P.S. Kim Roberts guest-blogged here on the stupendous swag at Book Expo America last May.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A-Rollin' in his Grave: Thomas Corwin (1794-1865)

Another day reading Margaret A Clapp's biography of John Bigelow, First Citizen. Apropos of which, here's another character in my novel: Mr Thomas Corwin (pictured left), Governor of Ohio, Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, Congressman, and finally, President Lincoln's Minister to Mexico. Read his 1847 "On the Mexican War" here. Here's the Wiki.

El Calendario de Todos Santos (Baja California Sur)


Howard and Janice Ekman inform me that their new website, http://www.elcalendariodetodossantos.com/, features full issues of "El Calendario de Todos Santos" beginning with the Feb 2007 issue. (To get the picture of the spirit of "Todo" check out this post over at "Alice and Pabu.") Plus: check out the Todos Santos Pages blog. (What's my connection with Todos Santos? Aside from going there every chance I get, I wrote about it in Miraculous Air. Read the excerpt about "Todo" here.)

Update 4/11/07: Check out MinnieMe the Todos Santos kitty and pix o' flan.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Attorney at Sea


Sister A. sent me over to Palo Alto artist Greg Brown's website. His whimsical trompe l'oeil paintings famously grace many downtown buildings. (This is my fave.) I asked him if I could feature his painting "Attorney at Sea" on this blog. He said yes. He also advised me to "Eat Food Regularly." More silliness: over at Leslie Piterzyk's Work in Progress, a post about today's Washington Post article about, yes, Joshua Bell playing his Stradivarius in the metro.

Miraculous Air Interviews (Rolf Potts and Baja Talk Radio)

Apropos of the just-released paperback edition of Miraculous Air, the table of contents and excerpts are available here. For ordering info, click here.
Also, a page of Baja California links, plus a couple of interviews now on-line: Rolf Potts' Vagabonding C.M. Mayo talks about about travel writing, Baja California, V.S. Naipual and writing Miraculous Air; Baja Talk Radio with Ted Donovan C.M. Mayo talks about writing and living in Mexico; Miraculous Air; Todos Santos; call-in Q & A.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Women Writers of Washington DC


Let us begin with Frances Hodgson Burnett. E.D.E.N Southworth. Katherine Ann Porter. Clare Boothe Luce. Alors: thanks to the efforts of Sarah Blake, Mary Kay Zuravleff and Susan Shreve, here's an embryonic Who's Who of Women Writers in today's Washington DC:

Emily Bazelon
Kate Blackwell www.kateblackwell.com
Sarah Blake
Maud Casey
Lisa Coutuier www.lisacouturier.com
Katharine Davis www.katharinedavis.com
Olga Grushin www.olgagrushin.com
E.J. Levy
Wendi Kaufman www.thehappybooker.net
Ann McLaughlin
C.M. Mayo www.cmmayo.com
Kyoko Mori
Faye Moskowitz
Jennifer Oko
Carolyn Parkhurst www.carolynparkhurst.com
Linda Pastan
Erica Perl www.ericaperl.com
Leslie Pietrzyk www.lesliepietrzyk.com
Susan Shreve www.susanshreve.com
Jane Shore
Julia Slavin
Amy Stolls
Mary Kay Zuravleff www.mkzuravleff.com

Two recent very fine anthologies, Grace and Gravity and Enhanced Gravity, both by Richard Peabody, offer an even longer list. More anon.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Literal: Spring '07


The spring issue of Literal: Latin American Voices is on the stands. Here's the e-mail announcement from editor Rose Mary Salum:

"Globalization manifests itself not only in a complex of world-wide hegemonies and imperialistic assertions, but also in cultural exchanges and in socioeconomic and political realms. In an attempt to sort through its many dimensions, a melancholic task as George Steiner describes it in an article previously unpublished in Spanish, which today we offer for the first time, this issue dedicates its pages to the analysis of a globalized world and its repercussions, from economic implications to its effects on cinematographic language. We salute this year by welcoming Maarten Van Delden, Yvon Grenier and Adolfo Castañón, who have became members of the Editorial Committee. We also take this opportunity to thank The Council of Editors of Learned Journals for the award Literal received in the category “Best New Scholarly Journal 2006.”

Visit their new blog at http://www.letra-m.blogspot.com/

Newt Gingrich Habla

Newt Gingrich habla y tambien mueva su cabeza de una manera muy chistosa.

Money Changes Everything


This is a terrific book-- fun, thought-provoking, beautifully written through and through: Money Changes Everything: Twenty-Two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with Tales of Sudden Windfalls, Staggering Debts, and Other Surprising Turns of Fortune by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel. (Most of it would curl Suze Orman's toes.) More anon.

Literary Saint

Check out the post Leslie Pietrzyk has up about Allison Joseph's free listeserve CWROPPS of calls for submissions over at Work in Progress. I can vouch for the usefulness of Joseph's listserve. It's terrific.

Laguna San Ignacio from Space

Apropos of the new paperback edition of Miraculous Air, for the travel bookseller Longitude Books, I just finished a couple of paragraphs on Baja California's Laguna San Ignacio, one of the nurseries for the gray whale.

Of all the spectacular places, and all the mind-opening things I saw in my travels through this nearly 1,000 mile-long peninsula, the most sublime was the vast, sand-ringed Laguna San Ignacio when it was filled, literally filled with gray whales. Having spent the summer feeding in the plankton-rich seas around Russia and Alaska; in early January they begin arriving into the warm shallow waters of Baja California’s inner bays, where cows give birth to their ten-foot-long half-ton calves. The adults range from 39 to 46 feet from nose to fluke-tips, that is, the length of a four-storey building laid on its side. They may weight as much as 30 tons. Amazingly, these monstrous creatures are so docile that not only do many allow small boats to approach them, but they also like to be touched. This is what happened the first time I went out on the water in the small skiff called a panga. Some three miles from shore, the driver slowed the engine to a burble. All of a sudden, not ten feet from the prow, a massive snout rose up out of the water straight as an obelisk, perhaps twenty feet high. Covered with barnacles and clumps of lice that looked a gelatinous pink in the sunlight, thick rivulets of water rushed down; the skin, a dark rubbery-looking gray, glistened. The line of the whale’s mouth curved slightly as if in a rueful smile, and the baseball-size eye, only inches above the water, swiveled in its socket. Then the whale turned, slowly, and opened its jaws, revealing a comb of flax-yellow baleen. It stayed like this for perhaps thirty seconds. Then, noiselessly, it slipped back down into the lagoon.

And apropos of that, check out this amazing view of Laguna San Ignacio from space.

Friday, April 06, 2007

La Paz zzzzzz

I was going to write a little something about the day I recently spent in La Paz, capital of Baja California Sur. But just thinking about it made me sleepy. (This is a photo of one of the many coves just outside the town.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mexico City Artist Francisco Miranda (1961-2007)

A terrible loss: Francisco Miranda, an astonishly creative, talented, and productive artist has died of cancer in Mexico City. It is his painting "Musica" (Music), a three-paneled hinged screen (or "biombo") that graces the first issue of the Tameme literary journal (shown left). Strangely, as we had many friends in common, we only met once, at an opening for one of his many shows at the Galeria Kin in San Angel, Mexico City. When I asked him for permission to put his painting on the cover of Tameme, he generously agreed and also sent me a chapbook of poetry, including some of his own, from a writing workshop with Elena Poniatowska. I'll be posting more about his work very soon.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Picadou Does Not Like the Gray Whales






Picadou (pictured left) and I have been listening to Ariel Guzik's mind-blowing album "Ballena Gris (Gray Whale)"--- the third track is the voices of a gray whale and its calf, recorded in Baja California's Bahia Magdalena and Laguna San Ignacio. Today's writing project is a paragraph for Longitude Books on the gray whales of Baja California-- apropos of the new paperback edition of my travel memoir, Miraculous Air which Milkweed Editions brings out this month. (Three chapters cover the story of the gray (and other) whales and a very wacky five day visit to Laguna San Ignacio in which, no, alas, I did not pat a whale.) Here's the Wiki. More anon.
Note: blogroll has been updated with novelist Leslie Pietrzyk's excellent new blog, Work in Progress.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Couple of Abolitionists

Pictured left is John Bigelow, who happens to be a major character is my nearly-finished novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. So my work this week has been to reread Margaret Clapp's magnificent biography, Forgotten First Citizen. Pictured right is John Hossack, my great-great-great grandfather who was born in Scotland and immigrated to Chicago, where he set up a lumber business, then moved to Ottowa, Illinois, and made his house a stop on the "Underground Railroad." A distant cousin, Jay Preston, has put together a choc-full-o-info website, www.johnhossack.com which includes Hossack's famous speech. Here's the text:

SPEECH OF JOHN HOSSACK
BEFORE JUDGE DRUMMOND, OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, AT CHICAGO, UPON CONVICTION OF VIOLATING THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.
May it please the court:
I have a few words to say why sentence should not be pronounced against me. I am found guilty of a violation of the fugitive slave law, and it may appear strange to Your Honor that I have no sense of guilt. I came, sir, from the tyranny of the Old World when but a lad, landed upon the American shores, having left my kindred and native land in pursuit of some place where men of toil would not be crushed by the property holding class. Commencing the struggle of life at the tender age of twelve years, a stranger in a strange land, having to earn my bread by the sweat of my brow, your Honor will bear with me, unaccustomed as I to appear in courts, much less to address them. I have feared that I might fail in bearing myself on this occasion worthy of the place and the position I occupy, and the great principles involved in the case before you. I say to your Honor, therefore, if I fail in observing the usual forms of the place it will be from a want of judgment and error of the head and not of the heart. Therefore, I do not think I shall fare worse at the hands of your Honor if I state plainly my views and feelings on the great question of the age -- the rights of man.
I feel that it is a case that will be referred to long after you and I have gone to meet the great Judge of all the earth.
It has been argued by the prosecution that I, a foreigner, protected by the laws of my adopted country, should be the last to disobey those laws; but in this I find nothing should destroy any sympathy for the crushed, struggling children of toil in all lands.

Surely, I have been protected. The fish in the rivers, the quail in the stubble, the deer in the forest have been protected. Shall I join hands with those who make wicked laws in crushing out the poor black man, for whom there is no protection but in the grave, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest?


It is true, sir, I am a foreigner. I first saw the light among the rugged and free hills of Scotland; a land, sir, that never was conquered, and where a slave never breathed. Let a slave set foot on that shore and his chains fall off forever, and he becomes what God made him -- a man. In that far off land I heard of your free institutions, your prairie lands, your projected canals, and your growing towns. Twenty-two years ago I landed in this city. I immediately engaged on the public works, on the canal then building that connects this city with the great river of the West. In the process of time the state failed to procure money to carry on the public works. I then opened a prairie farm to get bread for my family, and I am one of the men that made Chicago what it is today, having shipped some of the first grain that was exported from this city. I am, sir, one of the pioneers of Illinois who have gone through the many hardships of the settlement of a new country. I have spent my best days, the strength of my manhood. I have eleven children who are natives of this my adopted country. No living man, sir, has greater has greater interest in its welfare; and it is because I am opposed to carrying out wicked and ungodly laws, and love the freedom of my country, that I stand before you today.


Again, sir I ought not to be sentenced because, as has been argued by the prosecution, I am an Abolitionist.
I have no apologies to make for being an Abolitionist. When I came to this country, like the masses beyond the sea, I was a Democrat; there was a charm to the name. But, sir, I soon found I had to go beyond the name of a party in this country in order to know anything of its principles or practice. I soon found that however much the great parties of my adopted country differed upon banks, tariffs, and land questions, in one thing they agreed, in trying which could stoop the lowest to gain the favor of the most cursed system of slavery that ever swayed an iron rod over any nation, the Moloch which they had set up, to which they offered as human sacrifices millions of the children of toil. As a man who had fled from the crushing aristocracy of my native land, how can I support a worse aristocracy in this land? I was compelled to give my name and influence to a party who proposed, at least, to embrace in its sympathies all classes of men, from all quarters of the globe. In this choice I found myself in the company of Clarkson and Wilberforce in my native land, and Washington and Franklin, and many such, in this boasted land of the free; and more than all these, the Redeemer, in whom I humbly trust for acceptance in my God, who came to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty those who were bruised; yea, this very religion binds me to those in bonds as bound with them. Tell me, sir, with these views, can I be anything but an Abolitionist? Surely, for this I ought not to be sentenced.


Again, sir, I ought not be sentenced, because the fugitive slave law, under which I am torn from my family and my business by the subtle tools of the slave hunter, is at variance with both the spirit and letter of the constitution. Sir, I place myself upon the constitution in the presence of a nation who have a declaration of independence read to them every fourth of July, and profess to believe it. Yes, in the presence of civilized man, I hold up the constitution of my adopted country, as clear from the blood of men and from a tyranny that would make crowned heads blush. The parties who prostituted the constitution to the support of slavery are traitors; traitors not only to the liberties of millions of enslaved countrymen, but traitors to the constitution itself, which they have sworn to support. a foreigner upon your soil, I go not to the platforms of the contending parties to find truth. I go, sir to the constitution of my country. the word "slave" is not to be found. I read, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice," -- yes, sir, establish justice, -- "to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America." These were the men that had proclaimed to the world that ALL men were created equal, that they were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- and contended even unto death for seven long years. Can it be, sir, that these great men, under cover of those hallowed words, intended to make a government that should outrage justice and trample upon liberty as no other government under the whole heavens [has] ever done?
This dreadful power that has compelled the great political parties of the country to creep in the dust for its power; that has debauched to a large extent the Christianity of the nation; that bids a craven priesthood stand with golden rule in hand and defend the robbing of mothers of their babes and husbands of their wives; that bids courts decree injustice. sir, I plant myself upon the constitution, or demand for justice and liberty, and say to this bloody Mooch, away! sir, the world has never furnished so great a congregation of hypocrites as those who formed the constitution, if they designed to make it the greatest slave-holder, slave-breeder, and slave -catcher on earth. He is a great slave-holder that has a thousand slaves, but if this law is a true exponent of the constitution, this government, ordained for justice and liberty, holds four million slaves.


No, sir! no! for the honor of the fathers of my country, I appeal from the bloody slave-holding statute to the liberty loving constitution. While these fathers lived, state after state, in carrying out the spirit of the constitution, put an end to the dreadful system. The great Washington, in his last will and testament, carried out the spirit of the constitution. but, sir, the law under which you may sentence me violates both the letter and the spirit of the constitution. I have a word to say upon the articles of the constitution, which it is claimed the fugitive slave law is designed to carry out. "No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up upon the claim of the party to whom such service or labor is due." That is the provision that is claimed transforms the government into a monster of iniquity. I have read over and over that article interpreted by all the laws of language known to a plain man. How these three or four lines can transform this government, ordained to secure justice into a mean tool to aid the plunderers of cradles, the destroyers of homes, the ravishers of women, and the oppressors of men, to carry on their hellish work -- how can it do this thing, I cannot see. that article binds the several states separately not to pass a certain law, but where in it do we find a fugitive slave law? Where do you find a commissioner" Where do you find that the government is to hunt up and return at its own expense a slave that flees from his cruel and bloody master? Where in those lines is the authority to compel me to be a partaker in the crimes of the man-stealer? The general government is not once mentioned; but the states in their separate sovereignties are named. But, sir, this article expressly provides that the party making the claim shall have owed him service or labor due from the party claimed. If Jim Grey owed services or labor, or money, to Phillips, I am the last man in the world to raise my voice or hand to prevent Phillips or any man from obtaining their dues. What I would grant to the Devil himself I would not withhold from the slave-holder -- his due. Jim Grey claims that he does not owe Phillips a day's work or a dollar of money. Phillips claims that he owes him every day's work that has been deposited in his bones and sinews; yea, the toil of his body and mind both, till death shall end the period of stipulated toil. Here is a question for legal examination and judicial discussion. Does the man Grey owe this man Phillips anything? The constitution is very clear and very plain in pointing out the way this question is to be settled.

Article -- provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. That Jim Grey is a person, is admitted on all hands. Phillips admits it; the bloodhounds, marshals and that hunt him, say he is a person -- a person held to service. The amount in dispute is the liberty and life-long toil of a man just entering into the full maturity of manhood. A great question lies between these men. but Grey, standing on soil covered by the constitution, cannot be robbed of liberty, or the wages of his toil, only by due process of law.
Article -- says expressly, in suit at common law, when the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. Here, sir, is a case involving the question of liberty and hundreds of dollars of money. the law, sir, under which I appear before you, overrides these plain provisions, and commits this whole question to one man, and offers him a bribe to trample right and liberty under foot. I know, sir, it may be said Jim Grey was a slave, and not entitled to these humane provisions. Had he never worn the chain of the oppressor, nor felt the lash of the bloody task-master; had he been born in Canada, or anywhere else on the globe; had he been a citizen of one of the states of this Union, and never been enslaved, it would have been all the same. His liberty would have been stricken down and he been given to the party claiming his life-long toil, and your commissioner would have pocketed the bribe offered by this law for doing such a crime against humanity and the plainest provisions of the constitution. No, sir, in a court of the United States, while the constitution provides trial by jury, I ought not be sentenced for raising my hand to rescue a fellow man from a mob that would strip him of his liberty and life-long toil without due process of law, without trial by jury. Sir, this law tramples so flagrantly upon the spirit and letter of the constitution, that I ought not to be sentenced.


Before passing from the constitutional objections to this law, I would call the attention of your Honor to the partiality of the law, which is so at variance with the designs of the fathers in organizing this government. No man can read the constitution -- in which the word "slave" cannot be found; from which the idea that a man could be reduced to a thing, and held as property, was carefully excluded -- no man, I say, can read that constitution, and conclude that slavery was to be fostered, guaranteed, and protected far beyond anything else in the country. Admit that Jim Grey was Phillips' property, how comes it that that particular property is more sacred than any other property? Phillips' horse escapes from him, and is found in a distant state, but the President of the United States, and every department of government , is not put on the track until the horse is found, and return him to Phillips' stable, and then pay the whole bill from the national treasury. No, sir. but his slave escapes; he runs away, and, for some reason, this property in man is so much more holy and sacred, that the whole government is bound to take the track and hunt the poor, panting fugitive down, and carry him back to his chains and bondage at the government's expense.


Sir, under a constitution unstained by the word "slave," we have a law magnifying slave property above all other property in the nation -- a law giving it guarantees that no other property could possibly obtain. Sir, the partiality of this law is so great that it stands opposed to a constitution that guarantees equal justice and protection to all.


John G. Fee is driven out of his Kentucky home, and robbed of the fruits of his life-long toil. There is no power to secure him his home, or protect him in his rights of property or opinion. but had John G. Fee only owned a slave, and his slave escaped, the government, under this law would have followed his slave to the utmost limit of the United States, and returned his slave to him at its own expense. Your Honor will pardon me (if I need pardon), but I cannot, for the life of me, see what there is in robbing a man of his inalienable rights and enslaving him for life, that should entitle it to the special and peculiar protection of national law.


I am aware, sir, that I shall be reminded that judges, marshals, attorneys and many citizens regard this law as constitutional, and stand ready to execute it, though, it trample every principle of the declaration of independence in the dust. sir, no law can be enacted so bad but that it will find men deluded of base enough to execute it. The law of Egypt that consigned the new-born babe to the slaughter found tools for its execution. The bloody decree of Herod found men willing to obey the law of the country, though it commanded the slaughter of the innocents of a province. Sir, tell me not of men ready and willing to execute the law. My Redeemer, whose name I am hardly worthy to speak, and yet whose name is all my trust, although He knew no sin, yet He was crucified by law.


Again, sir, it will be seen that some whom the world call doctors of divinity and doctors of law have undertaken to prove slavery was guaranteed by the constitution. If that be so, in the name of the Most High God, tear out the red strip of blood; it was not written by the Angel Gabriel, nor nailed to the throne of the Almighty. If slavery is in it, it is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.


But, sir, I have one consideration more that I will urge why sentence ought not be pronounced against me. This law, which I think I have proved outrageous to the rights of man, is so obviously at variance with the law of that God that commands me to love him with all my soul, mind, might and strength, and my neighbor as myself, and the Redeemer that took upon Him my nature and the nature of poor Jim Grey, has been so particular in telling me who my neighbor is that the path of duty is plain to me.
This law so plainly tramples upon the divine law it cannot be binding upon any human being, under any circumstances, to obey it. the law that bids me to do to other men as I would have other men do to me is too, too simple to be misunderstood. but, sir, I am now left to the general law of love in searching for my duty in this particular case. Permit me to refer your Honor to the oldest law book in existence, though it may not be in use in this court, yet I think it better authority than Blackstone, or any law book that ever was written. It is the Book of books. In that Book I find some special enactments given to the Hebrew commonwealth that leaves me no doubt as to my duty in reference to this law: "He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hands, he shall surely be put to death." Again: "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee; he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates where it liketh him best, thou shalt not oppress him."
These plain statutes, with many more that I might give, leaves me in no doubt as to the mind of the unchanging Jehovah in reference to man-stealing and slave hunting. Sir, the whole system of slavery originated in man-stealing, and is perpetuated by fraud and violence and plunder. Others may have their doubts as to their duty under this law. I, sir, have none. This law is just as binding on me as was the law of Egypt to slaughter the Hebrew children; just as binding as the law that said, worship the golden image, worship not God; just as binding as the law forbidding Christ and his Apostles to preach the gospel. Send me a law bidding me to rob or murder my neighbor; I must decline to obey it. I can suffer, but I must not do wrong. Send me a law bidding me to join hand in robbing my fellow-men of their freedom; I cannot do so great a wrong. Yea, send me a law bidding me to stop up my ears at the cry of the poor, I can suffer the loss of all these hands have earned, I can suffer bonds and imprisonment, yes, God helping me, I can give up my life, but I cannot knowingly trample upon the law of my God, nor upon the bleeding prostrate form of my fellow man. I go not to Missouri to relieve oppressed humanity, for my duty has called me nearer to home; but when He that directs the steps of men conducts a poor, oppressed, panting fugitive to my door, and there I hear his bitter cry, I dare not close my ear against it, lest in my extremity I cry for mercy and shall not be heard. Sir, this law so flagrantly outrages the divine law that I ought not be sentenced under it.
A single remark and I am done. From the testimony, part of which is false, and from your rendering and interpretation of the law, the jury have found me guilty; yes, guilty of carrying out the great principles of the declaration of independence; yes, guilty of carrying out the still greater principles of the Son of God. Great God, can these things be? Can it be possible? What country is this? Can it be that I live in a land boasting of freedom, of morality, of Christianity?
How long, oh how long shall the people bow down and worship this great image set up in this nation? Yes, the jury say guilty, but recommend me to the mercy of the Court. Mercy, sir, is kindness to the guilty. I am guilty of no crime; I, therefore, ask for no mercy. No, sir, I ask for no mercy; I ask for justice. Mercy is what I ask of my God. justice in the courts of my adopted country is all I ask. It is the inhuman and infamous law that is wrong, not me.


My feelings are at home. My wife and my children are dear to my heart. But, sir, I have counted the cost. I am ready to die, if need be, for the oppressed of my race. But slavery must die, and when my country shall have passed through the terrible conflict which the destruction of slavery must cost, and when the history of the great struggle shall be candidly be written, the rescuers of Jim Grey will be considered as having done honor to God, to humanity, and to themselves.


I am told there is no appeal, yet I do appeal to the court of high heaven, where Judge Drummond and Judge Caton, the rescuer and the rescued, shall all have to stand at the judgment seat of the Most High.


I have, sir, endeavored to obey the divine law, and all the laws of my country that do not conflict with the laws of God. My humble wish is that it may then appear that I have done my duty. All I wish to be written on my tombstone is: "He feared God and loved his fellow men."
Chicago, Ill., Oct. 3, 1860.
More anon.