I haven’t been posting much new material here, I’m afraid, but I’ll say a few words about the writing I have been doing. And offer a promise of more in the near future.
For most of the past year, my top priority has been the third book on which I’ve collaborated with Irish storyteller Kevin O’Hara. The first was Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, about his journey round the entire coast of Ireland, on foot with a donkey and cart. Now in its 17th printing, the book has become quite beloved, and found itself in remarkable company on this list of the best books about Ireland. The second book was A Lucky Irish Lad, Kevin’s memoir of growing up as an immigrant in Pittsfield during the 1950s and 60s.
The new book, probably to be titled Bearded Nurse in Bedlam: Off-the-Wall Tales from the Locked Ward, emerges from his long career as a psychiatric nurse at Berkshire Medical Center. Kevin has compiled a wide range of stories about patients and himself, and we are in the home stretch of the rewriting process. Cumulatively, it is a broad and humorous panorama of genuine human experience, and as such may find an even wider audience than his Irish-themed stories. But first it needs to find a publisher who can do it justice.
I have been active on two other blogs. On Extreme Railroading, I have been following the progress of my friend Tom Krens in his endeavor to create an “Extreme Model Railroad & Contemporary Architecture” museum in North Adams, along with several other attractions designed to transform the tired old factory town into a world-class tourist destination, and anchor of the Northern Berkshire “Cultural Corridor.”
On Cinema Salon, I’ve completed my survey of the best films of the previous year, and am re-committing to film comment, even if I’m no longer a film programmer.
I mentioned my son Nat’s appointment to Oxford heretofore, and can now report that he and Nicole are now over there to start the school year.
Given the name of this blog, I ought to mention that I am deep into the wonderful new biography of Thoreau by Laura Dassow Wells, published on the 200th anniversary of his birth this summer.