Branch’s narration brings the story to life | Entertainment
The Maryland Writers Association created the Writers Roundtable Program to encourage writers, poets, playwrights, and authors through monthly articles and activities.|
Notable Maryland Author articles and associated prompts from Fun With Words authors are the centerpiece of the program. Each month, Southern Maryland newspapers will feature a Maryland Writer’s Association article about an author. Marylanders are encouraged to read the articles and try their hand at the writing prompts each month.
“History is the key to citizenship.” -Taylor Branch
Genre: Narrative History — The practice of writing history in a story-based form, employing a narrator and re-enacting a series of short-term events. Narration helps place the reader in the events instead of just objectively reading an analytical or interpretative exposition of historical knowledge.
Sample Playlist: “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63), “Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65”, “At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968 “, “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President” and “The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA.”
Taylor Branch is an American author and lecturer best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, “America in the Age of the King.” His first book, “Parting the Waters”, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. The next two volumes – “Pillar of Fire” and “At Canaan’s Edge” – also won critical and popular acclaim. Writing the trilogy took 24 years of intensive research.
“By the time you’re done [Pillar of Fire]you almost feel like you’ve relived the era, not just reading about it,” said Richard Bernstein of The New York Times.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Branch earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and then an MPA from Princeton University in 1970. He began his writing career with three years at a time at the Washington Monthly and at Harper’s and a year for Esquire. In the meantime, he met and became good friends with Bill Clinton and began his work on “Parting the Waters”. In addition to the Pulitzer for History, Branch’s King Trilogy and his other works have all received critical acclaim, such as the National Humanities Medal in 1999 and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Branch has a long love of music, which began when he started singing in the Atlanta Boys Choir in the 1950s, a high school folk trio, a contemporary octet for spirituals, and now provides music for the Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore.
Branch and his wife, Christina Macy, have two children and live in Baltimore.
The MWA invites you to have fun writing narrative history like Taylor Branch. Using only 100 words, choose a historical figure and, as the narrator, write down a short-term event in your historical figure’s life. Title your work and submit it to https://marylandwriters.org/Notable_Maryland_Authors by the 22nd of the month to receive an MWA Fun With Words submission certificate. Selected responses will be published in next month’s article and posted on the MWA website.
Last month, readers were asked to write a devotional like Charles Constantine Pisa and choose a higher power, while praising its attributes and qualities or interaction. Their responses are published here and on the MWA website: https://marylandwriters.org/blog/id/190.
Here are some selected answers:
Your word, O Lord, is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.
He says, You know the plans You have for me. Plans to make me prosper and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future.
He promises that you work for the good of those who love you, like me, who have been called according to your purpose.
He tells me, when you work for my good, you will restore to me the years that the locusts devoured.
I have seen this in my life and I praise you for it.
I ask you for help, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, to raise my voice to God.
I find comfort in knowing that you are like me, of fault and sin, but that you have performed great acts of faith, hope and charity, serving as an example of how I, too, can better consecrate my life to God.
Pick a rose for me, as you pray, I’ve asked you.
In return, a single red tulip grew along the road, a symbol of your intercession. Afterwards, my life changed dramatically for the better.
You magnify my prayer intentions towards God.
Moses, the boll weevil and you
In Exodus 3:2, Moses encounters a “boll weevil” (sort of) as God speaks through a burning bush…but what about this “boll weevil”?
In the early 1900s, a boll weevil infestation wreaked havoc on cotton farming in Enterprise, Alabama. Two locals (HM Sessions and CW Baston) decided to give up cotton and plant groundnuts instead. Successful peanut harvest has spread from Enterprise to the entire southeastern United States
With this, another Enterprise local (Bob Fleming) wanted to commemorate the idea that “disaster could be a catalyst for change”; thus, on December 11, 1919, in downtown Enterprise, Alabama, Fleming dedicated a monument to the boll weevil.
Enterprise, like Moses, allowed this capsule weevil to redirect their lives for the better. I hope we too can be as flexible.
A Prayer for the Universal Complainer
Job 17:16 “Shall my hope go down with me to Sheol? Are we going together in the dust?
Lord, may nothing ever go right for me. Allow me to complicate the hiccups of struggling life. Let me live my days like a curse. Keep forever a thundering cloud above my head. In this way, others will know about my misery and also hear about it. If anything goes well with me, don’t let me endure such a blessing for long. Remind me that you reign over everything, your shoulders as wide as the universe (wide enough to carry all my blame).
Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf
“Sofia, I have to go,” Ron said before leaving the door. After working for weeks as Mud Angels at the Florence Biblioteca, cleaning up the damage caused by the 1966 flood, he had no choice.
Turning to his chest, his small hands crossed under his chin, tears flowed like blood unnoticed on the shower floor that morning. Holding closer – a physical being, his eyes closed without tears. Carefully, he released her for one last long look – the love of their lives.
“Sofia, I love you, but I can’t look back. Alright”
Months later, letters unanswered, little Gino was born in Stockholm.
Rob Billingsley, Caroline Shores
The MWA is a 35-year-old statewide association dedicated to encouraging and nurturing Maryland’s writers, poets, playwrights, and authors. For more information, go to www.MarylandWriters.org for more information.