Ten American gold rushes

In my novel Nearly Canaan, Joshua and Jaya settle into a place unlike anything they would have imagined. It’s desert, for one thing, where nearly everything has to be irrigated, for another. Quite simply, it’s a lot like Yakima, in the middle of Washington state. And yes, the state still has gold miners and prospectors.

Here are some significant gold rushes in U.S. history.

  1. Cabarrus County, North Carolina, 1799
  2. Sierra Nevada, California, 1848-55
  3. Colville, Washington, 1855
  4. Pikes Peak, Colorado, 1859
  5. Clearwater, Idaho, 1860
  6. Montana, 1862-69
  7. Black Hills, South Dakota and Wyoming, 1874-78
  8. Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1891
  9. Mount Baker, Washington, 1897-1920s
  10. Nome, Alaska, 1899-1909


British Columbia could have a Tendrils list of its own. And my family had a mine of its own in Guilford County, North Carolina, in the first half of the 1800s.

Nita seems to know everyone

In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s aunt Nita continues her ongoing role of knowing just about everyone and what they’re up too. It’s a vital social role that a few rare individuals seem naturally inclined to fill, as my novels Daffodil Uprising and Hometown News demonstrate.

Tell us about somebody you know who serves as the “switchboard operator” in your circles.


From a list of books read

Lawrence Durrell’s “Justine.” Henry Miller’s “Nexus”; Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “In Evil Hour”; Jack Kerouac’s “Desolation Angels”; Kurt Vonnegut’s “Deadeye Dick” and “Galapagos”; Richard Brautigan’s “So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away”; Carol Rakoski’s “Ere-Voice”; Anne Tyler’s “Accidental Traveler” and “Earthly Possessions”; Hugh Nissenson’s “The Tree of Life” (interesting use of pioneer Ohio historical materials); Grace Paley’s “Later the Same Day” short stories; Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter Night a Traveler” (this time, rather fascinating seems I’m finally able to read styles quite unlike my own part of that cleaning out I’m in); William Kennedy’s “Ironweed”; Laurence Sterne’s “Tristram Shandy”; Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine”; Hugh Prather’s “Notes to Myself” (late Sixties classic that seems so superficial these days); Marilyn French’s “The Women’s Room” (blames men for every problem, including mothers); Nena and George O’Neill’s “Open Marriage” (my wife had wanted me to be influenced by this what I see is that we HAD an open marriage, which is why it failed); Merle Shain’s “Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others” (more blame, this time from an upscale pre-Yuppie bubblehead); Paul Wellman’s “The Indian Wars of the West” (one of my ex’s left-behinds); “The Solution as Part of the Problem” (superficial Sixties Leftist education propaganda); Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” what else?

Wordless, open to movement

though I did see a moose along the Kancamagus and the next day, at sea, three humpbacks, including a mother and calf we followed more than an hour as the wind blew their misty exhalations across us a week before a perfect ocean sailing and that was about it, except for my annual Labor Day trek up the rails along the Merrimack and a brisk swim before the pool closed yet any view says there’s something out there you’re not getting


Passing the plate 89

If it’s for River Sing, I’m reminded of our annual big autumn equinox concert on the banks of the Charles down in Boston. If it’s River Song, I’m reminded of a Bill Staine’s waltz or a piece composed by the director of the Quoddy Voices. Don’t know what to do with River Sang or River Sung, though. Or River Snug.