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The unbearable news from Ukraine, with footage of shattered buildings, wounded children, or people sheltering in subway tunnels or wherever they try to survive the violence that has taken over their lives, is heartbreaking.

How quickly things come apart. And how weird that words and images have more durability than people or their governments. A university–a hospital–bombed. Death and destruction, but then someone’s description or video of the unfolding tragedy survives and goes viral.

The power of words and images has fascinated and driven me all my life. I have never been able not to write or take pictures.

I experience something; I feel compelled to capture it. I won’t confess how many spiral notebooks I have filled over the decades or how many photos are on my phone. But this book of mine that is about to be published, that is a new order of magnitude.  I’ve published a lot of short stuff, in newspapers and magazines, but never a book. A book has a certain staying power. My book about the regicide John Dixwell could be on a shelf somewhere in a library or a living room, long after I am gone. It’s a sobering and not altogether pleasant thought, because only I am responsible.

John Dixwell’s key to Dover Castle has been passed down in my family for 333 years. Being given it by my father was the main impetus for the years I spent digging up the story of my regicide forefather. I hope my words, contained between the covers of a book, can hold some essence of the man who defied tyranny and paid for that defiance for the rest of his life.

 

 

 

Posted on: March 3, 2022

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