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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

It's New Year's

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

And a bright sunny day in Chicago.  Cold, but nothing like the -2 F we had a week ago, so we’re happy.  About half a mile from my home, in between us and Lake Michigan, is a small wilderness called “Wooded Isle.”  It’s a bird sanctuary, and it holds a Japanese Garden, a gift of the city of Osaka.  And despite vandals and poor budgets, it continues to look lovely at all seasons.

This is what I look at in winter.

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I go there as many mornings as I can with my dog and try to ground myself, try to let go of all the thoughts and anxieties that weigh me down (we are worrying about the health of one son, and have everyone’s usual worries about the world.)

Even though I hear the traffic on both sides of us, and even though the dog rolls in or eats obnoxious stuff, the Osaka Garden has become part of my peace-seeking ritual.

This little map shows you where the garden is, just south of the Museum of Science and Industry.  Lake Michigan lies to the east; the blue around the garden is really brown, the lagoons from the lake that dot the south side’s lakefront.  I see herons there, prairie hawks, and small woodland birds.

 

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 I  hope against all odds that the world itself finds more peace this year than it’s known for a while, that the United States stops its part in creating havoc and death for people far from home, that we all seek justice, in Lincoln’s words, “with a firmness in the right as Gd gives us to see the right.”  May the year be one of health and peace for everyone who reads these words.

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South Chicago

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

The map that I’ve put at the top of the blog is a slice of a stylized drawing of South Chicago, the neighborhoodsouthchicago_map2 where V I Warshawski grew up.  I’ve given her a fictitious high school, but Bowen High is where she would have gone.  The Skyway, the elevated highway that cuts the neighborhood in half, is a prominent part of the landscape in Fire Sale: homeless people live underneath, and it’s full, too, of garbage that people throw from their cars.  This little bit of map doesn’t show Deadstick pond, but if you go on down Stony Island Avenue another four miles, you come to Chicago’s landfill, and the last of the marshes.  V I grew up on Houston Street, between 90th and 91st.  That’s one of the little streets not included in the map, but it would lie between Mackinaw and Exchange.  Also in this neighborhood: a surprising monument to the battle of Waterloo, erected by a soldier who fought there and who lived in the swamps that became South Chicago.

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Writing Late at night

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I was imagining a V I kind of story and started it here on the blog, Alchemy, Chapter One–but I didn’t explain that it was a kind of story, or maybe I should say a Beta story. More will take place from time to time, always with the heading of “Alchemy”

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Hardball: the return of V I

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

This is the title of a new novel about V I which I finished writing a few weeks ago. My publisher likes it, so it’s a go. They haven’t given me a pub date yet, but look for it this coming fall, unless the publishing industry disappears completely. The book takes place in the present, in the ugly swamp of Cook County politics, but the crime has roots in the summer of 1966, when the city erupted in riots as white neighborhoods reacted to the “threat” of open housing. V I’s young cousin, Petra Warshawski, shows up in Hardball for the first time and the two of them, sometimes together, sometimes at odds, stir up some ugly looking Anacondas from the real and rhetorical marshes that underlie Chicago. I tried to figure out a way to link this blog to the opening chapters of the book, but couldn’t. If you want to read a couple of chapters, they’re available here: After December 15, the first two chapters will be available at the same link.

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