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Waking Up to History
The New York Times, 1 April 2019

Like many girls of my generation in the rural South, I learned every form of handwork my grandmother or great-grandmother could teach me: sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting. I even learned to tat, a kind of handwork done with a tiny shuttle that turns thread into lace. Some of my happiest memories are of sitting on the edge of my great-grandmother’s bed, our heads bent together as she pulled out my mangled stitches. (more….)

John Prine: American Oracle
The New York Times, 22 October 2018

Nine songs into his sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium here on Oct. 5, John Prine stopped singing long enough to give some context for a song he wrote 50 years ago, during the height of the Vietnam War. “I wrote this next one as a protest song,” he said. “It was 1968, and at the time we had a real jerk in the White House.” He paused before voicing what I was already thinking: “What a coincidence.” (more….)

A Monument the Old South Would Like to Ignore
The New York Times, 29 January 2018

In 1978, the city of Nashville leased 18 acres of a Civil War monument to a local businessman who wanted to start a new baseball franchise — the Nashville Sounds, then a Double A expansion team for the Southern League — and needed a place for his team to play. It was a ludicrous arrangement from the start: a privately owned ball field built on public land. And not just any public land. Greer Stadium was built at the base of St. Cloud Hill, where the Union Army erected a stronghold after taking control of the city in 1862. (more….)

The Raw Power of #MeToo
The New York Times, 19 October 2017

A few years back, when there were still three teenagers in this house, I got a little wound up at supper one night and kept going on and on about the brilliance of a novel I was reading by an Irish-born writer. “I can’t believe you’ve never been there,” one of my sons said. “As much as you love this stuff, I can’t believe you’ve never been to Ireland or England.” (more….)