David Rowell is an editor with The Washington Post. His first novel, The Train of Small Mercies, is just out in paperback.
When I was growing up in North Carolina, my family went to the same beach every year; it had the sand, the water and pretty much nothing else. Mostly that was OK, but the idea of a boardwalk, which I caught glimpses of on TV or in movies, seemed wondrous to me — like a carnival rolled out from a wooden carpet.
And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift up the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is here again, so Ammad, what do you have for us today?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Well, Maria, I want to start with an interview we did last week with Academy Award-winning actor, Morgan Freeman, and he said something about President Barack Obama that set off quite the controversy.
Deacon John's mother wanted him to be a singer, but she hated rock 'n roll.
Mrs. Moore's little boy picked up a guitar, and it wasn't long before rock 'n roll came tumbling out. His bandmates named him Deacon John. But he also recorded at least one song under the name Johnny Moore. Deacon John's early recordings were high energy and danceable, just like his stage show. But "You Don't Know How (To Turn Me On)" and "Haven't I Been Good To You," signaled only a fragment of what the Deacon could do.
Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:52 am
Lots of people know Woody Guthrie's classic 1940 ballad "This Land Is Your Land," but the story behind the tune may not be as familiar.
Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this week, wrote "This Land" as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," a song he felt was overly patriotic and not directed at ordinary Americans like himself.
Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:31 am
One day, the great novelist and essayist G. K. Chesterton decided to go sketching. He brought his colored chalks, his reds, blues, yellows and greens to a hill in South England, but he forgot to bring white. Damn, he thought, what an idiot, to leave out the crucial one. "Without white," he wrote, "my absurd little pictures would be...pointless." What to do? "I sat on the hill in a sort of despair."
The French community in New Orleans has worked with several Francophile and francophone organizations to prepare the city's first-ever "Bastille Day Fete." On this week's Notes from New Orleans, Sharon Litwin speaks with a member of the local French Consulate to hear how the weekend long celebration will spread joie de vivre.
Many of the key scenes in David McGlynn's striking new memoir, A Door in the Ocean, take place at the beach or in swimming pools. McGlynn was a surfer and competitive swimmer in his school days and still squeezes into his Speedos for races like the annual 5K "Gatorman" off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. Ocean swimming, in particular, transports McGlynn to another realm, and he does a terrific job of dramatizing the allure of solitary swims in open water. Midway through his book, he writes: