Urgh, I continue to be the worst. Blogger. Ever.
Hi, everyone. How ya doin’?
Since I last saw you, I’ve come back from a wonderful trip to Kinderhook, New York, where I had been invited to come talk on Washington Irving. Kinderhook is particularly important in Irving’s story, because it’s where he wrote his first book, A History of New York, in the summer of 1809, while recovering from the death of his 17-year-old fiancee. While I was there, I toured Martin Van Buren’s home, Lindenwald (which is THE ACTUAL HOUSE where Irving wrote his History of New York, though it was still owned by the Van Ness family at that time), and had the great pleasure of staying in this house right here:
This is a local landmark, the Burgoyne House, where British general John Burgoyne was held after his capture by Benedict Arnold. Arnold, however, had to stay at a very nice, but much smaller, house just down the street. Which probably explains a lot about what happened later.
I spoke that afternoon at the Reformed Dutch Church, where I talked about Irving’s version of the Dutch history of New York. Afterwards, I was asked several really good questions, and only slightly disappointed the home town crowd when I informed them that Kinderhook was probably not the Sleepy Hollow of Irving’s famous tale (Had I been a bit faster on my feet, I’d have said that every place is Sleepy Hollow. But it was hot.) Afterwards, we retreated to a reception at the old Jesse Merwin house, which at one time belonged to the historic figure who actually was the inspiration for Ichabod Crane. All in all, a lovely weekend — and I even got to bring Barb with me.
I’ve got several events coming up in the next few months, which I’ll post under the News tab as well.
First, I’ll be speaking at the University of Maryland — Jim Henson’s alma mater, for those of you playing at home — on Friday, September 12, as part of the university’s parent’s weekend. I’ll be at the University Book Center at Stamp Union, starting at 6:30 p.m.
In October, I’ll be attending the James River Writers Conference down in Richmond, Virginia, for three days (October 17-19), and I’ll be giving my hour long Jim Henson show on Friday night, October 17, as part of the many kick-off events. If you’re anywhere near Richmond that weekend and love books . . . well, it’s something you’d probably wanna do.
In November, I’ll be back at the University of Maryland (in association with the Prince George’s County Historical Society) to talk Jim Henson on Sunday, November 2, from 2:30 to 4, at the Hornbake Library.
Finally, on Wednesday, November 5, I’ll be making my long-overdue appearance at the New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan Library, at 6:30 p.m. I’m very excited about this one, especially as the library and I went back and forth for a long time trying to find a date that worked.