Author Archives: Val

The Divine Placement of Elemental Objects

While in graduate school, I often read creative non-fiction to better fixate the details of an historic event within the context of its physical and timely occurrence.  My field of study, 19th century American history, provided me with inspiration for many of my assemblages. This week I work on “regions of optical power”. These boxes range in size from 3″x4″ to a large circa 1930s suitcase with a wood frame and canvas exterior. My mother-in-law gifted me with  the suitcase […]

then Marlin Fitzwater says to me…

This is an excerpt from a review on Marlin Fitzwater’s book “Esther’s Pillow”. I interviewed Mr. Fitzwater for the review. The review is on Popmatters.com website. When I asked him about the integrity of the press, and how his experiences as a press secretary influenced his characterization of the newspaper reporter in the novel, he replied, “My characterization of Temple Dandridge [Star reporter] reflects my journalism training, and my years as a press secretary. I generally believe in the integrity […]

assemblage art 2

from the same review: If you know Fitzwater, it should come as no surprise that one of the main characters in the novel is not a person at all, but an entity–The Press. I emailed Fitzwater to ask him about the significance of the Kansas City Star in Esther’s Pillow. He told me: “The Kansas City Star is a character in Esther’s Pillow, especially because its extensive coverage helped change the moral attitudes in Lincoln, Kansas and the nation concerning […]

assemblage art 1

from a review I wrote Stories, like dragons, are hard to kill. Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater rows across the river of historical fiction with both oars in the water. As the quintessential media-man, Fitzwater can sure write the story. This time, though, he’s not putting the spin on a Reagan policy decision or facing the press corps’ questions concerning a George H. Bush legislative agenda. He’s got a personal stake in his new novel, Esther’s Pillow. Fitzwater’s […]

My Little Town and Economic Reality

Growing Up Knowing the Future People who grew up here in my little town knew how their lives would unfold. Like those who lived in a mill town outside of Aiken, South Carolina or a coal mine community in Harlan, Kentucky — the options were clear. Some would work on the mill floor and a scant few would rise to management and work in the office. Some would go down into the earth and others would work in buildings above it […]