Tag Archives: Civil War

Abe meets Muir in Yosemite

Third Flatiron’s new anthology focuses on the theme of longevity. Edtior Juliana Rew graciously included a story of mine among this collection of strong stories. “Abe in Yosemite” explores a major historical what if: how might Abe’s life have turned out had John Wilkes Booth failed to assassinate him? I got to spend time with Abraham Lincoln again, always a worthwhile thing to do, and I think I did some of my best writing. Here’s the Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Lives-Longevity-Flatiron-Anthologies/dp/1733920749/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=third+flat+iron&qid=1571105565&s=books&sr=1-1

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King City High School Students help this author!

Creative Writing students perform "Assassination".

King City High School creative writing students perform “Assassination”.

Some of you might recall “You Are There”, Walter Cronkite’s great, long-running TV series. Cronkite served as host and interviewer in historical reenactments of critical events from our shared past. The show brought history to life with unprecedented immediacy. I’ve tried to capture that immediacy in a readers’ theater script about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I based my retelling on Jim Bishop’s excellent book The Day Lincoln was Shot.  By adding several fictional characters and some dialog to the events Bishop detailed, I hoped to create a narrative that would open history for young readers. I decided I needed to find some young readers and hear their thoughts!

King City High School Creative Writing teacher Ashley Russ invited me to share the script with her students. I made two visits to her creative writing class. On the first visit, advanced students Axel Solis, Irie Flores, Gabriela Valencia, Martin Delgado, Emma Deleon, and Gabriel Aguilar read the script twice and made editorial suggestions. I used their suggestions to revise my writing and took it back for a final reading. It went exceedingly well. Both the students’ performance and their intelligent comments afterward convinced me to go ahead and publish “Assassination” on TPT. Here’s the link to the script:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assassination-Common-Core-for-the-Civil-War-4478213

P.S. I also created vocabulary and reading comprehension activities to accompany this script. They’re also on TPT.Here’s the link for the activities:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assassination-teaching-activities-for-the-RT-script-4923109

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Longevity is worth waiting for!

Third Flatiron’s fall/winter anthology focuses on the theme of longevity. Edtior Juliana Rew graciously included a story of mine among a collection of strong stories. “Abe in Yosemite” explores a major historical what if: what if John Wilkes Booth had failed to assassinate the President? I got to spend time with Abraham Lincoln again, always a worthwhile thing to do, and I think I did some of my best writing. You folks be the judges. It’s coming in October. Here’s a link to the preview:  https://www.thirdflatiron.com/liveSite/pages/news?fbclid=IwAR3WUjIPggXoX7S9EC7vU7Iz0ZwGo0XpLTdR4BwUjz4EoSIy-KdZ3Ux72MM

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The Civil War Revisited – Again!

The students and teachers of Chalone Peaks Middle School created a great Civil War reenactment last May. Deep learning about our shared history, superb teamwork and great fun defined the day. It was the 18th time Bull Run, Gettysburg and the Civil War camps of both armies were brought to life by all the participants. As usual, I learned from both the students and the history. I would have shared Dave Park’s wonderful photos of our 18th annual event sooner, but I missed the link back in May. Better late than never! Enjoy!

Ambush!

Skirmish

The doctor is in!

Load

Brothers fought.

Lee listens.

Harriet Tubman teaches.

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Filed under Front Page, The Civil War Remembered

Booth Shot President Lincoln!

Some of you might recall “You Are There”, Walter Cronkite’s great, long-running TV series. Cronkite served as host and interviewer in historical reenactments of critical events from our shared past. The show brought history to life with unprecedented immediacy. I’ve tried to capture that immediacy in this readers’ theater script about the Lincoln Assassination

No event in our history was more important or more traumatic than the assassination of President Lincoln and I’ve created a new story and teaching unit that explores this tragedy.  The unit’s goal is to make these crucial events clear and accessible to  students.  I’ve based my unit’s narrative on Jim Bishop’s excellent book The Day Lincoln was Shot.  By adding several fictional characters and some dialog to the events Bishop detailed, I’ve created a readers’ theater script for middle school and high school students.

I’ve also created vocabulary and reading comprehension activities to enhance and accompany Booth Shot President Lincoln. You’ll recognize both the cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching techniques incorporated in the activities.

Please take a look at the unit’s preview excerpt when you have a chance! Here’s the link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Booth-Shot-President-Lincoln-4478213

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Filed under Front Page, published story, The Civil War Remembered

Dawn Drums in the Ekphrastic Review

Caspar Buberl’s frieze of marching soldiers, located at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Corinth, Mississippi.

Poetry is the most difficult literary discipline of all and I claim no proficiency in it. I do find, however, that making an honest effort, especially with forms unfamiliar to me, improves my writing overall. I wrote the villanelle just published in the Ekphrastic Review some years back.  The poem was inspired by Civil War art and was originally published as a front-piece to Dawn Drums, my Civil War novel.  Ekphrastic Review editor Lorette Luzajic  paired it with a photo of sculptor Caspar Buberl’s 19th Century Civil War frieze. I appreciate her work in finding an image of Caspar’s work that she could share!  Here’s the link:  http://www.ekphrastic.net

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Filed under Front Page, poetry, The Civil War Remembered

Monterey Pops honors vets on Memorial Day

Old friend Dr. Carl Christensen is conductor of the Monterey County Pops. The orchestra is comprised of professionals, but their concerts are free. I was honored to play a small part in their Memorial Day concert on the lawn of the Colton House (City Hall) in Monterey.

Featured artists included Blue Grass fiddler, Laura Burian; the young musicians of Orchestra in the Schools conducted by Jim Paoletti; youth vocalist, Mia Pak; and the Monterey County Pops!/Palenke Arts Youth Chorus conducted by Juan Sánchez and me.

Musical highlights were the traditional Battle Hymn of the Republic, American Salute (based on When Johnny Comes Marching Home) by Morton Gould, and Salute to American Jazz arranged by Sammy Nestico. This medley included A Night in Tunisia, St. Louis Blues, It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), and Birdland.

Further patriotic selections were “God Bless America”, “The National Anthem”, “The Armed Forces Salute”, “The Navy Hymn”, “Taps”, and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is central to my life, to all Americans’ lives. It is somber, sad, cautionary – though filled with our shared aspirations – and true. Reading it aloud – especially when its timeless words are illuminated by great music played by great musicians – can only help heal our nation’s present divisions.

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