Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Madness

In 2008 I retired after nearly 45 years of daily deadlines as a journalist. It seemed to me then that one key to a happy retirement was to stay busy doing things I liked. But as my wife often reminds me, I also need to learn to say no.

Every once in a while I don’t need reminders. This is one of those times. Between volunteer committee work, this blog, writing deadlines, interviews with poets, Easter with family and talks about Our War, my calendar is full the next 10 days.

I’m looking forward to the talks about the book.

The first is at the Pease Library in Plymouth, N.H., on Thursday at 7 o’clock. There I plan to tell one of my favorite stories in Our War – about the day Nathaniel Hawthorne died in Plymouth.

My main reason for including this chapter was to show another side of Franklin Pierce, the former president who lived in Concord throughout the Civil War. Pierce’s pro-southern, anti-Lincoln politics are on full display in the book. The Hawthorne chapter shows a different side of Pierce. A loyal friend of Hawthorne’s since their days together at Bowdoin College 40 years earlier, he tried to help the dying Hawthorne by taking him on a leisurely tour of northern New Hampshire. Hawthorne was beyond cure.

At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at Concord’s City Auditorium, my friend Mark Travis will join me for a program examining in fact and fiction Concord and the village of Penacook during the 1860s. The fact is mine, the fiction his. Mark, who is publisher of the Concord Monitor, wrote the novel Pliney Fiske: A Civil War Mystery, which is set in Concord just after the war. The roots of Pliney lie in our experience together writing My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth.

We look forward to our reunion on the Audi stage. Hope to see you there.

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