The Human Shore, Seacoasts in History by John R. Gillis

 

The Human Shore, by John Gillis University of Chicago Press, 2012
The Human Shore, University of Chicago Press, 2012

 

The interior section of Cape Ann, which includes Gloucester and Rockport, is called Dogtown. It was the earliest part of the Cape to be settled, and was later abandoned, so that its only occupants for many years were dogs, witches, and other assorted outcasts. It is still largely undeveloped. “Why here?” visitors ask,

Read moreThe Human Shore, Seacoasts in History by John R. Gillis

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Tim Folger, Series Editor…   Science is a scary word. At least, it used to be for those of us who grew up messing around in the hazy world of literature and art, not empirical facts. Science was what made it …

Read moreThe Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

Falling In Love With Trees

Seeing Trees Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees. Timber Press, 2011 By Nancy Ross Hugo Photography by Robert Llewellyn “The most effective way to save the threatened and decimated natural world is to cause people to fall in love with it again, with its beauty and reality.” Author Nancy Ross Hugo quotes British naturalist Peter …

Read moreFalling In Love With Trees

Book Review: Stung! by Lisa-ann Gershwin

Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, by Lisa-an Gershwin (The University of Chicago Press, 2013)   They’re here, and we’ve not just cleared out the guest room for them, we’re opened up the front parlor, the master bedroom, rumpus room, and kitchen. Soon we’ll be barricaded in the basement with a …

Read moreBook Review: Stung! by Lisa-ann Gershwin

Book Review: The Perfect Protein

Correct_PerfectProtein_Cover1Be still my beating heart. A book that embraces the aquatic ape theory of evolution, and includes a recipe for jellyfish. My novel Float does too, but I was writing in the playing fields of fiction, and they are dead serious.

“They” are Oceana, an international organization whose goal is to protect the world’s oceans, and in effect, feed the world. This is the organization behind the seafood fraud study

Read moreBook Review: The Perfect Protein

The Earth Goddess and Fiction

 

Goddess by Baraka Berger
Goddess by Baraka Berger

With the Summer Solistice upon us, it’s a good time to revisit the Earth Goddess and her literary legacy. In sync with the first Earth Day in 1970, when I was an impressionable 14 year-old, women were throwing off the shackles of patriarchy in the streets and in their homes, even in churches, chucking out any male god who lived on a cloud. Many turned to the Old Religion, governed by the Goddess, who once reigned over a peaceful, matrilineal world in harmony with Nature. Then, according to legend, the priests came, driving her and her followers underground where they were called witches, and thus began civilization’s slide into constant war and ecological devastation.

 

Women writers of the 70’s and early 80’s incorporated this mythopoeic vision into their novels, and I read them all. Marge Piercy, in Woman on the Edge of Time, wrote about an ideal society based on the assumed female principles of peace and love of the earth, set against a cautionary tale of continued male domination and its attendant disregard for the planet. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood created a dystopia of sexism and violence after men become infertile by a toxic event of their own making. Other writers contemplated the past instead of the future. Marion Zimmer Bradley retold the King Arthur myth from Morgan le Fay’s point of view in The Mists of Avalon, making the goddess worshipper the heroine and not the villain. Jean Auel, in Clan of the Cave Bear, placed the goddess plunk in the center of the Stone Age.

mists-of-avalon

By the mid-80’s, as women put on their shoulder pads and floppy ties and went to the office, feminism began to pull away from the Earth Goddess. Flouting one’s fertility and innate peaceful nature at the office was not going to break any glass ceilings. The focus had turned to job equality and pay equity, so academic and political interests set out to prove there were no differences between the genders. And rightly so. It’s a small step from archetype to stereotype.

Read moreThe Earth Goddess and Fiction

Book Review: Oceana, by Ted Danson

Cheers

“Sam Writes a Book”

FADE IN:

INT. BAR – HAPPY HOUR

IT’S AN AVERAGE NIGHT. USUAL CUSTOMERS PLUS REGULARS. SAM IS POURING A BEER FROM THE TAP AND CARLA AND COACH ARE TIDYING UP THE ROOM. FRASIER SITS AT THE BAR AND SAM PUTS THE BEER DOWN IN FRONT OF HIM.

 FRASIER

Well, I hear congratulations are in order, Sam. You, an author. Will wonders never cease?

 SAM

Thank you, Frasier. Coming from you, that’s quite a compliment.

 CARLA

A book? Your life in the Red Sox?

CLIFF

Your life as a drunk?

SAM

PICKS UP A GLASS AND STARTS CLEANING IT

Neither. It’s about how to save the oceans. I didn’t want to become a vain jerk who just thought about myself. So I started thinking about the sea.

 FRASIER

That’s commendable, Sam. There’s nothing worse than a vain jerk.

 COACH AND SAM ROLL THEIR EYES

 CARLA

Commendable? The only thing Sam could find bigger than himself was the sea? Isn’t that the thing that covers 75% of the world? What an ego!

 COACH

Leave him alone, Carla. It’s not easy being Sam Malone. What’s your book called, Sammy?

 SAM

Oceana. And for your information Carla, for modesty’s sake I use a pseudo.. pseudo ..

 FRASIER

Nym. Pseudonym.

SAM

Yeah, that’s right. As far as the world is concerned, I’m Ted Danson. Michael D’Orso wrote it with me, and the good folks at Rodale Press published it, and you know they don’t do any trash.

 FRASIER

I’ll be the judge of that.

 CARLA

Oh come on, snooty pants. Give him a chance. Tell us what it’s about, boss! Are there pirates and sea monsters?

 NORM

Is there seafood?

 WOODY

What about boats and surfing? I used to surf when I was a kid. I hit my head on rocks a lot.

 THEY ALL GIVE ONE ANOTHER A KNOWING LOOK

 SAM

It’s about all those things and more. It’s about what we’re doing to the oceans, with oil spills, climate change, plastic trash, acidification, over-fishing…

Read moreBook Review: Oceana, by Ted Danson

Earth Day in the Plasticene Era

  “It’s so hopeless,” a young friend said, tossing a plastic water bottle in the trash. “I don’t believe in recycling.” “Don’t believe?” I said, reaching into the garbage. “I didn’t know it was a religion.” “It’s a faith. A faith that you’re doing the right thing. A feel-good gesture that masks a larger problem.” …

Read moreEarth Day in the Plasticene Era