Few Degrees of Separation

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Since writing my last post I have exchanged email correspondence with English author John Waddington-Feather and found out, among many interesting things, that he visited Arizona frequently in the 1990s, as he had many literary friends in Phoenix and retired rancher friends in Prescott. He and his wife Sheila visited his mentor’s family – J.B. Priestly’s family – at a dude ranch near Wickenburg (outside Phoenix). He said he would have settled here, had he been younger. However, they did hike down into the Grand Canyon. Maybe that’s where he got the idea (which I criticized him for saying in another Inspector Hartley novel) that his characters could witness a starry sky above Phoenix.

Grand Canyon

THIS IS THE GRAND CANYON BY DAY.  I AM MORE IMPRESSED BY THE HISTORICAL DWELLINGS ALL OVER THE STATE. THE ONE BELOW IS CALLED “MONTEZUMA’S CASTLE.” VERY FANCIFUL NAME FOR AN AWESOME, QUIET, THOUGHT-PROVOKING PLACE.

Montezuma's Castle

Even more of a coincidence is that John Waddington-Feather lectured on the poetry program at the Tucson Public Library (where I worked from 1977-82) and has some of his works in Special Collections at the University of Arizona Library, about three-quarters of a mile down our street!

He had his first three children’s books (Quill Hedgehog) published by John Muir Publications in Santa Fe. In an earlier note he said many of his writings will now be available on Kindle, and many more made available through the family imprint, Feather Books. The Hedgehog books can be found and it seems there are collectible first editions.

There are no hedgehog species native to America. If you saw one in the United States it would be like seeing the starry sky over Phoenix. It would have been imported (painted on canvas for a movie set).

A hedgehog is one animal we have not endangered, which segues into my other weekend adventure, going to the movie THE PROMISED LAND. Matt Damon and Frances McDormand play representatives of a company offering Pennsylvania farmers who are barely making a living a chance at millions of dollars in natural gas sales in exchange for drilling rights (fracking). Hal Holbrook stars as their major (monumental) opponent. THE PROMISED LAND, given only two stars in many movie ratings, raises moral and ethical questions in conflict with unresolved economic ones. I won’t say any more about it other than to urge anyone who reads this to see the film. (It’s only 106 minutes long.)

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