Columnist: DG Martin

Mar. 01, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

Building community with a front yard library

“We’ve got a new library in our front yard.”
My grandchildren's report should not have surprised me. These kids and their parents have chickens and bees in their backyard and a host of projects that sometimes make me wish I could be a child again, just to grow up again alongside of them.
But a library in their yard?

Feb. 27, 2014 @ 09:53 AM

Exceptional images, and extraordinary craftsmanship

Her images are dark: The spaces look abandoned except for the straight-on shot of a fully stocked bar neatly arranged with a full assortment of beer, whiskey and snacks. It is the only indication visually that these are viable places temporarily empty of people.  

Feb. 25, 2014 @ 02:44 PM

Planting native, saving our diversity

First question for you, says UNC-TV's “Exploring North Carolina” host, Tom Earnhardt, when he begins his talk to a Rotary club or other civic group, is, how many of you have spare parts somewhere in your body?

Feb. 22, 2014 @ 12:13 PM

‘Every relationship is bicultural’

On a recent Valentine’s Day in Carrboro, a husband brought home to his wife a dozen roses “bundled in red crepe paper and tied up with a pink satin bow” and a small box of “ebony hearts and dense chocolate squares topped with sea salt like cut glass.”
Sounds nice, but nothing special, maybe you are thinking.
But this was a first for this long-time married couple. In the past “each year without fail” she had given him presents on this day, but he had never before reciprocated. And the presents she had given him, “cologne and shaving cream bottles,” were neatly lined up unopened under the sink. “Nearly identical shirts and sweaters” were still hanging in his closet, untouched.

Feb. 17, 2014 @ 10:31 PM

Documenting Down East’s disappearing way of life

“Down East” in North Carolina does not mean what you think it means.

Feb. 15, 2014 @ 11:39 PM

Struggling readers are helped by writers who also had to struggle with words

Orange County is blessed, they say, with many great writers who call our area home. Of course, many moved here from some other place. Daniel Wallace, for instance, grew up in Alabama, where he set his first novel, “Big Fish.”
Then there are others who grew up with us and then moved someplace else, like Jay Leutze, who now lives in Avery County. It is the scene of his compelling and highly praised “Stand Up this Mountain,” a non-fiction account of a long, complicated, and successful effort to save a treasured mountainside from a quarrying operation.

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 07:54 AM

Truth in fiction—How bad did the recession hurt?

The good news for all of us in North Carolina is that the unemployment rate is declining and the increase in economic activity is opening up new jobs to replace some of those we lost during the recession. 

Feb. 06, 2014 @ 10:53 AM

A local contribution to the annals of Black History Month

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.”
This quote from Maya Angelou helps us remember how closely connected “Black History Month” is to the history and the horrors of slavery.
A headline from The Hollywood Reporter could be read to send the same message:  “Oscar Nominations: ‘12 Years a Slave’ Remains the Film to Beat.”

Feb. 04, 2014 @ 01:42 PM

New book follows rest-of-the-life of a failed athlete

What happens to a promising young athlete’s career when it comes to an end earlier than expected or hoped?

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 06:29 AM

’A writer’s truest reward is simply to continue’

If you were Hillsborough’s Allan Gurganus, you would probably want to kick back and rest a little bit after touring around the country visiting book stores and book groups to talk about the new book, “Local Souls.”
The three novellas in the book have gained glowing critical attention across the country.
Reviewer Jamie Quatro wrote in The New York Times, “It’s been 12 years since Gurganus last published a full-length work -- but if there remains any doubt of his literary greatness, his fifth book, ‘Local Souls,’ should put it to rest forever." 

Jan. 28, 2014 @ 12:22 PM

A richly complex response to a simple call

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

These words from Isaiah 6:8 inspired the daughter of a pre-Civil War Southern slaveholder to travel to Africa as the wife of a Baptist missionary to bring the Word of the Lord to the Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria.

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

Chapel Hill’s Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones

When she was a little girl, Jodi Magness did not dream of growing up to be a movie star.
From the time she was in the seventh grade, she says she dreamed of being an archaeologist. She made that dream come true. Today she is Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at UNC Chapel Hill, the leader of important archaeological excavations in Israel, and the author of several important books on archaeology.

Jan. 22, 2014 @ 11:39 AM

Adventure and history on a trip down the Cape Fear

What could you learn from a trip down the Cape Fear River?

Jan. 16, 2014 @ 12:32 PM

Remembering our history — birthday card and apple trees

H.G. Jones knows how to put a mark on important historical events. He spent a lifetime doing it for others, serving as curator of the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill for many years. Before that he was director of N.C. Department of Archives and History.
A recent day at Galloway Ridge in Fearrington Village marked another important event, his 90th birthday. Not content to celebrate only with his friends, he joined with two fellow Galloway residents, Lee Stillman, who also became 90 this month, and Ted Reyling, who became 95.
Their friends and families packed the largest room at Galloway Ridge.

Jan. 14, 2014 @ 07:43 AM

Remembering Franklin McCain

When Franklin McCain died last week, I remembered how often his acts and his words inspired me.