SLOW FIRE: Thoughts on writing and the writing life
July 24, 2012
This is another image that may be useful to people who live near Rocky Flats or in the Denver metro area.
July 19, 2012
Readers have asked me to post the chart showing the plume from the devastating 1957 fire at Rocky Flats. Two years after this fire, the surrounding area showed an increase in childhood leukemia and other cancers and health effects. Contamination from the 1969 Mother’s Day fire followed a similar path.
July 16, 2012
The May 11, 1969 “Mother’s Day” fire at Rocky Flats brought the Denver metro area to the brink of a catastrophic nuclear accident, and sent a radioactive cloud over the entire area. Residents were not warned or evacuated, and even after the fire, few people were aware of how devastating the fire was, and its long-term consequences for the Denver area. Later, tests by the DOE and independent scientists confirmed plutonium contamination as far away as 30 miles from the plant.
July 15, 2012
At Powell’s bookstore. A great crowd, with good questions. The story of Rocky Flats is not just about Colorado. It’s a story that’s happening all over the country at places like Hanford, the Savannah River site, and many more. People who live near former nuclear weapons sites, current radioactive/toxic storage sites, and nuclear power plants have the same concerns: how is the environment being affected? What does this mean for my health, and the health of my family? Can I trust the government and the private corporations who manage these sites to tell me the truth?
July 15, 2012
Tags: book tour photos
It was such a treat to read at Collected Works in Santa Fe, a long-time favorite bookstore, and afterwards go out for blue corn enchiladas and margaritas.
July 15, 2012
Great crowd, with great questions.
July 12, 2012
One of the big highlights of my book tour–and certainly one of the highlights of my life–was to be introduced by Daniel Ellsberg at my reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera (San Francisco area). Afterwards we had lunch and a lengthy talk. It was a great honor and pleasure to spend time with such an extraordinary person. Rocky Flats was a big part of Ellsberg’s life and work.
I also had the great pleasure to spend a little time with my dear friend Molly Giles, a wonderful novelist and director of the MFA program at the University of Arkansas. (She believed in my book from the very first paragraph; she is a great inspiration to me!) Andy Ross joined us, too. I first met Andy at the San Miguel de Allende writers conference, where we shared a little tequila and talked about writers and writing. Andy was owner and manager of Cody’s Books in Berkeley for almost thirty years, and now has his own literary agency.
The best thing about a book tour is connecting with readers, writers, and friends!
July 8, 2012
July 6, 2012
June 17, 2012
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I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Edinburgh and London, where I spoke at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to a very engaged audience. Not only did people have great questions about Rocky Flats and the nuclear history of the U.S., but we had a lively twitter exchange going on during and after the event, with people tuning in from all over the world. Several people asked: How could something like Rocky Flats happen in the United States? How did local populations not know what was going on? That led to a lively...read more
I’ve spent more than a year on the road, talking to school groups, universities, book clubs, environmental groups, and many others about Rocky Flats and similar sites around the United States. Audiences always have lots of questions! With the help of a graphic design wizard, we’ve created a brochure that answers many of those questions and also provides a Rocky Flats timeline. Plus: Have you ever wondered if you live close to a nuclear site? Check this map to find out. You’ll find the brochure on my website, here, where...read more
I’m thrilled and very honored to announce that Full Body Burden just won the Colorado Book Award in Nonfiction! Time was short, but we had a great trip to Aspen for the awards ceremony, and then a beautiful hike the following day up to Maroon Bells, one of the largest–and certainly most beautiful–wilderness areas in the...read more
How my life has changed since the publication of Full Body Burden (published in Chapter 16 www.chapter16.org). Full Body Burden is a book I wasn’t sure would ever get published. It’s personal. It’s controversial. Sometimes funny, often dark, it tells a hidden, secret side of American history and how that history affected the lives of individual people—that is, me—as well as my parents, my siblings, and our horses and dogs and cats. Not to mention our neighbors and everyone else living in the area. Few people knew the story and devastating...read more
I’m back in Memphis now after weeks of being on the road. The summer humidity hasn’t set in yet, and it’s sunny and bright with a crispness in the air that reminds me of my beloved Colorado. It feels good to sit down at my desk and get back to some serious writing. I’m feeling a bit stunned that this last year has passed so quickly, and now–less than two weeks away–the paperback of Full Body Burden is coming out! I’m so excited. I love the cover. (Do you? Send me your thoughts!) It’s...read more
On April 16, I was very honored in Washington, DC to receive an award from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, along with fellow honorees U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, director and filmmaker Kathleen Sullivan, and environmental lawyer Diane Curran. My sister Karma was in the audience. It was an evening I will never forget. I feel very fortunate that my book is reaching so many readers and getting so much recognition in the world. Full Body Burden was chosen one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, the American Library Association,...read more
A local Colorado resident living near Rocky Flats has started a petition to oppose development on contaminated land around the Rocky Flats site. The petition already has nearly 2,000 signatures! People who live near Rocky Flats deserve to be informed about contamination in the soil and air, and the building of the Jefferson Parkway will not only stir up contamination in the soil but lay the groundwork for expansive future development of homes in the area. Here is the petition: “Building a tolled four-lane highway and future hiking and...read more
I just returned from a whirlwind trip to New York, where I had the great honor of attending a luncheon for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award finalists, and then to Denver to see my father, and then on to Tucson for the Tucson Festival of Books. The past several months of being on the road with Full Body Burden have taught me how to travel light and keep a suitcase packed and ready! It has all been such a thrill. And I’m very happy to report that my father is now out of the hospital and has improved dramatically. All of my...read more
January 12, 2013 The controversy about development around Rocky Flats is an ongoing, raging debate, and at this point it looks like the new parkway will go through, despite vehement opposition from local citizens and environmental groups. It’s very important for citizens to understand the health and environmental risks of the proposed Jefferson Parkway and the residential and business development that will follow. This very thorough article discusses why activists and local residents are concerned about building a highway on land...read more
Due to emails from readers, I am reposting this map that shows areas of plutonium contamination in areas around Rocky Flats.read more