Thursday, July 4, 2013

Long Live the Republic

So, here we are, Citizens, our experiment in self-governance has made it 237 years. That's how long it has been since those warm, tense gents, all properly clad in natural fibers, signed off on the earnestly edited wording of their Declaration of Independence.  More than once over the years I've written - and illustrated - done my best to capture this critical, pivotal time/space intersection at July 4, 1776/ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
What wouldn't I give for a time machine - if only to witness
this room, those delegates, in that nervous summer of 1776
Most memorably, in The Revolutionary John Adams. 

But too, in my first book about the Adamses of Braintree, Young John QuincyThomas Jefferson,  George Washington, and The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin. All of these, but for my regrettably out-of-print book about young JQA,  were done in a very happy, industrious season of work with the National Geographic. Currently, I'm yet again envisioning the stormy birth of our revolutionary republic. More specifically, how our national flag came about, in a book, tentatively titled A New Constellation: FLAGS and the Star Spangled Banner. It will be set in a history of flags, ending with Francis Scott Key's heartfelt poem, written after he'd witnessed the British bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenryHow does this book differ from my earlier works? For one thing, it will be published by Albert Whitman. They published my most recent book, that being about a most stubborn, idealistic patriot, trouser-wearing dress reformer,and Medal of Honor, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker.  Really, I generally do historical books because such subjects suit my realistic way of drawing and painting AND I love the research. The Finding Out. Which has involved traveling to such places as the Adamses' homes, to Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Independence hall. The hardest part about doing these books has been distilling down all of the informations to the limited word count required for a proper picture book. Gotta leave room for the pictures, right? 

I write this in honor of the Day, this Glorious Fourth, but also in answer to questions posed by my author friend, Leslie J. Wyatt. Such as What would I like to try as a writer that I haven't yet? As a matter of fact, I've been doing just that lately: revising and revising a contemporary, middle-grade fantasy novel. I'll keep you posted. I would like to write a bestseller!  God knows I've tried that more than once, but, as has been said, many are called. Few are chosen.  And What scares me? What scares all too many of us in this here 'land of the free, this home of the brave: That the grand legislative machine conceived by those long-gone founders will fail in its ability to govern the nation, thanks to our all too partisan and divided land. In the weeks to come, do be watching for other writers, the gifted Sharon Mayhew, for instance, as they ponder Leslie's questions.

Long live the Republic! 
"I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."  John Adams, July 3, 1776


  1. Nobody ever has the whole answer to difficulties as large as ours, so cooperation is required to reach a successful conclusion. What ails us now is a clique that believes it has the whole answer, one size fits all, no discussion needed, or wanted. The old conservatives would suck it up and deal with liberals, and between them, a workable solution could be found. If we're really lucky, our representatives will rediscover this, I believe Emmanuel Cleaver already has a clue.

    1. I'm thinking that television & money have completely curdled this lofty experiment in self-governance.