In her recent column, “Rooting Around in the Past,” (Newsweek, October 28, 2009, p. 24), Raina Kelley reflects on the way media have handled news about Michelle Obama’s mixed racial ancestry. Thanks to the research of NY Times researcher Megan Smolenyak, her South Carolina slave ancestors and the white father of her great-great-grandfather now stand silhouetted in history’s shadows, revealing an oft-denied but pervasive fact about our American heritage. In response Raina Kelley asks “Where’s the acknowledgment that such discoveries could unleash strong, ungovernable feelings in the living relatives…?” “Black people know, intellectually, that they come from bondage, but it’s another thing to confront the details of those ties and explore them emotionally.”
Even as the internet age makes it possible to know more and more “facts” about our past, knowing them is not enough to bring about a healing, for there will always be vast voids, where there is not a whisper of our linkage to our origins or other people. Moreover, cold facts do not provide us with rituals, dramas, and emotional strength to transform our lives. As she reflects on these gaps in her own knowledge, Kelley writes of the traumatized memories of her own lineage, “Though no one was eager to fill in the blanks, silence never erased the damage.”
It is this longing for an often-traumatic memory of connection and the sharp pain that we will never know the lines of linkage binding our humanity together that led to the narrative of Red Clay, Blood River. In writing it I hoped to give voice to a somewhat inchoate sense that in loving and caring for this earth we begin to heal this broken memory and renew these violated bonds. My thanks to Ms. Kelley for giving voice to the painfulness of memory and our need for healing.
Mining Memories on Cyprus 1923-1925
Mining Memories on Cyprus 1923-1925: Photographs, Correspondence, and Reflections is available in a Kindle e-book format. Based on my maternal grandparents' involvement with re-opening the ancient copper mine at Skouriotissa, Cyprus, it contains 116 startlingly clear photos of mine life in those years as well as copious quotes from their correspondence.
This memoir not only introduces readers to the people but also to the geography, machinery, and events shaping the early days of re-opening the world’s oldest copper mine. It also reflects on what it is to recover pieces of our past, rub off some of the tarnish of forgetfulness, and try to reconstruct a history that binds us to people and places far from our usual paths.
The book is also an invitation to others, not only to recover forgotten or repressed parts of their memory, but also as a reconstruction of their identity. I am keenly aware, all through writing the book, of how Cyprus’s division between Turkish-speaking and Greek-speaking populations has made it very difficult for Cypriots to claim their joint history, appreciate the ecological unity of the island, and find a way toward a workable federalism grounded in a new social covenant among diverse peoples.
To purchase a copy, just CLICK HERE.
For readers' comments about the book, CLICK HERE.
For previous blog posts leading to the book, CLICK HERE.
William J. Everett
In my teaching career I authored eight books and numerous articles in social ethics and religion. After over thirty years of academic work — in Germany, India, and South Africa as well as in the United States — I wanted to turn my hand to writing that was more poetic and expressive. I also wanted a more viable balance between my work with words and my work with wood, especially furniture for worship settings. For more about my woodworking, go to www.WisdomsTable.net, where you will also find galleries of artwork by my wife Sylvia, whose ancestors were the original inspiration for Red Clay, Blood River. READ MORE...
SAWDUST AND SOUL: A Conversation on Woodworking and Spirituality
Sawdust and Soul arose from many conversations and joint woodworking projects I have had over the years with John de Gruchy—friend, theologian, and woodworker who lives in South Africa’s Western Cape but who has also spent extensive time in the US. We’ve talked a lot about our wood projects and how this traditional practice of turning trees into useful and artistic pieces shapes as well as expresses our deepest values and approaches to life as well as its transcendent source. These are conversations about woodworking and spirituality. We’ve included a bunch of pictures of our work as well as some line drawings and poetry by John’s wife Isobel. And yes, our children get in some words along with the woodworkers who have been part of our community of inspiration and support. Our topics range from the shaping of a sense of balance in our lives to dealing with loss, memory, and our wonder as creatures in the midst of an amazing abundance of life and artful design. Whether you’re a tree-hugger, an all-thumbs reader, or an honest-to-goodness woodworker, we invite you into the conversation. CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO CLIP!
SAWDUST AND SOUL is now available at your local bookstore as well as
Wipf and Stock Publishers
Barnes and Noble
Amazon (also on Kindle)
and other book sellers.
For an EXCERPT from the book, by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers, CLICK HERE.
TURNINGS: Poems of Transformation
Like works in wood upon a lathe, these poems are word-turnings that reveal the inner grain of our human experience. They are bowls to catch our turnings of memory, conversion, falling in love, and passing through our seasons and the wrenching turns that mark our lives. Above all these turnings are a shout of praise, a murmur of wonder, a turning away from life as usual, a merciful re-turning to the songs, images and stories that move our lives.
You can get TURNINGS at:
For More on TURNINGS:
Red Clay Blood River
Red Clay, Blood River is a story told by Earth about two brothers from Germany and an enslaved South African woman whose lives bind together America’s “Trail of Tears” and South Africa’s simultaneous “Great Trek” of 1838.
OTHER WRITINGS – FREE
I am editing and recasting some of my previous writings into digital format to make them available free to interested persons and study groups. To see a list of these books and articles as well as to save them to your own computer, CLICK HERE.
View Posts by Category
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