Saturday, December 13, 2014


From the obituary of Robert Oakley:
He said a Vietnamese journalist once told him: “You know, you Americans look on us as if we were just a basket of crabs. You don’t really care what the crabs are doing in that basket as long as they don’t escape or as long as someone is not stealing the basket away from you.”
Mr. Oakley later added, “I thought then that he had that right. Our motives were often quite selfish even when disguised in very noble terms.”
 Got that right.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

Claudia Emerson, 1957-2014

For someone with whom I was not familiar prior to reading her obituary, I was surprised to learn that the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Claudia Emerson shared some of my roots.  She grew up in Chatham, Virginia, not far from my hometown, Danville.  She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979 five years after I moved to Richmond from Charlottesville.  I find something hopeful in that Ms. Emerson's writing epiphany occurred while she was working in Danville.  Her subsequent career, starting later in life, tells me that great talent can flower in the most unlikely places.

Godspeed, Ms. Emerson.

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