Author Archives: dispatchesfromtheformernewworld

An Impromptu Health Seminar

One recent morning I attended a health seminar. In the waiting room of a car service center in Gaithersburg. It was an impromptu kind of thing. Certainly not what I expected when I checked my car in for its 40,000 … Continue reading

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What Handel’s Messiah Means To Me

In December 2002 I went to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for a performance of Handel’s Messiah. It was a change from our annual tradition of going to the Folger Shakespeare Library for the Folger Consort’s Christmas concert, always … Continue reading

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A Good Guy With A Narwhal Tusk

According to Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” But in London on November 29th a bad guy with a knife … Continue reading

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Can You Say Poulsbo?

How would you pronounce the name of Poulsbo, a tiny town on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State? This is a trick question, because unless you live there or you know someone who does, you are certain to get it … Continue reading

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Ghent – A Harmony of Old and New

One summer afternoon in 2005 my husband and I strolled along the Graslei, the east bank of the river Leie in the historic heart of Ghent. To our right were the old medieval warehouse buildings with their distinctive stepped gables. … Continue reading

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Regency Isn’t Just Romance

My latest blog for Montgomery County Public Libraries is about the Regency years in England, a decade that compares to the 1960’s, a time of radical politics, war, social change, and literary experimentation. In other parallels, the 1812 assassination of Prime … Continue reading

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Water Water Everywhere

You could be forgiven for mistaking the network evening news for the Weather Channel these days. Night after night scenes of devastating flooding somewhere and everywhere. Hurricanes, cyclones, torrential rainfall, storm surges, rivers overflowing their banks, whole towns inundated, homes … Continue reading

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A Mansion Fit for a King

There is always something new to discover in places you think you know well. I’ve been traveling to Crisfield in Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for decades. My husband’s family were Chesapeake watermen and farmers for generations, going back … Continue reading

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Tales of the Asylum

One day in the early 1960’s I came home to find that while I was in school my grandmother had been whisked away in an ambulance and taken to a mental hospital. The news followed several unsettling days, days of … Continue reading

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Gardens of Mystery

“Ever since the first serpent slithered into the Garden of Eden writers have imagined the garden as the scene of temptation and evil.” In my latest blog for MCPL I recommend mysteries with a garden setting: Gardens of Mystery Incidentally, … Continue reading

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