"Family" is a wonderfully pliable word, referring both to a group of people living under one roof and, more broadly, to any group of things that are more or less alike.
This is about a white man, a black woman, and a dead novelist whose writing spoke to them both. And this is about a job that passed from him to her: telling the novelist's life story.
Memoir should show many sides of subject
By Roger Martin On my first date with a woman back in 1990, she handed me a terrific books of essays titled "Against Joie de Vivre," written by Phillip Lopate. Eventually, she and I married, but later divorced.
By Roger Martin I want you to slip into the black skin of Margaret Walker. You're now an African-American woman born in the South in 1915. Your mother's a classically trained musician, your father a formally educated Methodist minister.
By Roger Martin Until Seth, I'd never trucked with infants. I thought I might break one. And their moods swoop so hugely, you know? But then Seth's parents started dropping hints that I was supposed to respond to their bundle of joy with emotions other than fear and trembling.
By Roger Martin Wish Langston Hughes a happy birthday. If he were alive, he'd be 100 Friday. There's a big do in his honor at Kansas University next week. There's a big do in his honor at Kansas University next week. Among others, they're bringing in novelists Alice Walker and Ishmael Reed, poet Sonia Sanchez and playwright Amiri Baraka, aka LeRoi Jones.
By Roger Martin January's a good month to ponder movies. John Tibbetts, associate professor of theater and film at Kansas University, is right now putting together his list of the best and worst films of 2001 for the Kansas City Film Critics Circle awards.
By Roger Martin It's 1851. You're in London, strolling along a grand hallway in a building made largely of glass almost a million square feet of it. The glass is held in place by 4,000 tons of iron and 202 miles of wooden bars. At one point, this house of glass vaults upward more than 100 feet, enough to accommodate some full-grown elm trees.
What does Craig Freeman see outside his office window? "Electrical transformers," he laughs. What a waste. Freeman could name just about any flower, grass, tree or other plant he saw out there.
By Roger Martin I've been writing too many heavy commentaries lately. This winter's been so ugly that people might just start jumping out of windows if I keep going in this vein.
On the Hill
Roger Martin Kansas University Center for Research When the scientist from Northwestern University said that our week in the laboratory might lead us to a religious experience, I snapped to attention. In a question session that followed, I asked the scientist, Rex Chisholm, for details. He smiled and said, "Over a beer, maybe."