Book Club Questions for A Beautiful Land

A number of book clubs in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and other areas of Michigan have chosen A Beautiful Land for discussion in the coming months. I hope members will find these conversations interesting. As an aid to thinking about the book, I drafted a number of questions that might guide discussion.   Here are some questions to choose among for a discussion of A Beautiful Land. If you have other questions to suggest, please put them in the comments.   What do we learn from the children's play that opens the book?   Are there any complexities in the character [...]

By |2022-02-21T21:26:59+00:00February 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

winter pleasure

Since we are up to our elbows in snow, I thought I'd post some winter photos. Many are of two beloved snow-loving dogs I lost last winter, but there is also an ovenbird who should have migrated south and had no business being in Michigan in the winter, as well as a snowy owl--a winter visitor from the north--and a few nature photos. And a drawing to fit the black and white canine theme. snowy owl   Hannah Webster

By |2022-02-06T01:16:22+00:00February 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

More on Cultural Appropriation in Fiction

Post #4 How does a person establish the cultural or ethnic group to which they belong? Does another person define it for me or is the judgment my own? If it is my assessment, do I look only at the most obvious, surface characteristics that define me, for example skin color or country of origin? If my group membership is decided by others, from the outside, can I as an Ashkenazi Jew write about Sephardim? Can an African-American write about a person born and raised in Nigeria?   I have on occasion written about black-skinned people--some African-American but also Jamaican [...]

By |2022-01-09T03:35:37+00:00January 9th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thoughts on Fundamentalism and Fiction

 [H]is mind [was] soaked and sodden with sorrow, or dry and brittle with the hopelessness that comes from knowing too little and feeling too much (so brittle, so dry he is in danger of the reverse: feeling nothing and knowing everything). Toni Morrison (Jazz) Post # 3 I did some thinking about fundamentalism in preparation for a podcast with Doug Wheeler who is host of From the Belly and a wonderful interviewer, and with Charles Strozier, who has written many excellent books, including two on fundamentalism. My thoughts about fundamentalism flow from my practice as a psychologist but even more [...]

By |2022-01-09T03:23:30+00:00December 25th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

My novel A Beautiful Land is published now and starting to get a few reviews. Lately, I’ve been working on a new novel but also taking breaks from words to do some painting. I’ve been preoccupied with my newish rescue dog, Sylvie, because, frankly, she is a handful; she comes with a boatload of behavioral problems. Luckily, she is also a bundle of affection and charm. Since I’ve been focused on her, I’ve tried to paint her a few times in watercolor. Here are efforts one, two, and three. Now I’m going to pick up some acrylic paints and try [...]

By |2021-12-11T00:03:57+00:00December 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On Cultural Appropriation and Fiction

Post #2 A Beautiful Land. That is my new book about a land that is physically beautiful but often far from beautiful as a place to live one's life. I’ve spent years working on this book, though the work was intertwined with other projects. During these years, a storm blew up in the literary world concerning what  is known as ‘cultural appropriation.’ I’m caught in the storm. I’m not complaining. I put myself there. Though I’m from the US, I set my book in Africa because my heart and curiosity were moved by stories I read about the genocide in East Africa [...]

By |2021-11-08T21:06:03+00:00November 7th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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