Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Week Ending March 30, 2014

This week at The Review we've done a spot of travelling--through time and across the globe, to get a bit of insight into a variety of circumstances, the sorts that birth new ideas or shape the people we become, direct us toward what kinds of stories we wish to hear or tell, read or write. While not all these circumstances are cheery, one positive outcome is that they all--real or fictionalised--continue to be told and will go on being passed down to future generations as long as humans exist, for people like nothing better than to hear a story. These events are so important because not only do they affect those who took part, but also all who follow. 

Starting in present-day Linda Root takes us for a visit to Wales with a historical fiction author who discusses a variety of perspectives and angles as to how she writes, what she thinks about and so on. We go on a guided tour, as it were, of the author's works and how they came to be. Next, Lisl takes us across the pond as well as a continent, up a gulf and into a magical, huge land once the scene of a devastating earthquake. Still within living memory, this week marks the 50th anniversary of the shakedown, and across Alaska and the world people remember that day, a few of these precious memories picked out by Lisl for us to have the privilege to share. And to round out our epic sweep, Stuart makes the return trip with us back to the UK--Edinburgh in particular, for a spot of scare and history into the bargain. Told a tale of tyranny, we then are brought back to today as our final narrator brings us to one of the spots in which some individuals also met their end. 

Journey with us again or for the first time, as The Review wraps up a week of adventure.

"We are honored to have with us today a writer whose creative energies seem boundless, Judith Arnopp, who is just as comfortable weaving portions of two ninth century epic poems into her fine novel Songs of Heledd as she is invading Henry VIII's death watch to listen in while the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn intimidates him with her whispers. Join me as we explore Judith's past endeavors, share her present successes and glimpse a bit of what her future offers." So says Linda as she introduces us to an epic interview with Judith Arnopp, who adds: "Although I love all periods of history, I am not drawn to any particular era but rather to particular characters. I am interested in what made them tick, how they might have felt, their motivations. If a situation or historical personage sticks their head up and waves at me, I read around them and see if and how I can take it further." You can do the same with Linda's fabulous interview, and continue the journey with Judith--bring your chocolate and coffee!

Hopping on our transport, we go west with Lisl, to the Ring of Fire in which sits Alaska, an absolutely massive country that--many people are unaware--experiences earthquakes several times a day! Alaskans tend to be used to the smaller earthquakes (many of which are ignored), as they usually result in some rattling and conversations starters. "When the shaking started on March 27, 1964, people generally responded in the same way. It was a Friday, Good Friday in fact; schools were closed and businesses wrapped up early for the holiday. The weather had warmed up to 28 degrees (-2 C) and the afternoon and early evening proceeded like any other.

Unbeknownst to Alaskans, however, the Pacific plate pushing under the North American, 100 miles east of the largest city, Anchorage, had been grinding away and was about to subduct. They were to know soon enough, however, as the rattling continued and the ground began to move beneath them. Surface waves motioned and gaping fissures in the ground split downtown Anchorage apart."

The largest in U.S. history, this earthquake led to the creation of the National Earthquake Information and Alaska Tsunami Warning centers. Read some details of this event and individual recollections as Lisl pauses for Remembrance Week as part of her Great Land History series.

The mother of history series here at The Review, Stuart's histories of Scotland, and particularly his beloved Edinburgh, have always enthralled us. This week Stuart lands us at Greyfriars Kirk, scene of some unsettling history between Sir George Mackenzie and the Covenanters, a persecuted religious group whose members were jailed, tortured and executed for their beliefs. In the spot we visit today are said to be nightly hauntings: "Sir George Mackenzie, the man whose unquiet spirit is said to be the source of the paranormal activity, was born in Dundee in 1636. He was born into a life of privilege, being the grandson of the first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail and attended universities in Aberdeen, St Andrews and Bourges in France. He was elected to the Faculty of Advocates in 1659, and spoke in defense at the trial of Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll, in 1661. He acted as justice-depute from 1661 to 1663, a post that involved him in overseeing the extensive witch trials which afflicted Scotland with a form of mass hysteria at the time."

To see how it all ended, click here, but bring your tissues!

Oh the places you'll go! Last weekend was a wrap up encompassing unusual exploration. No worries if you missed it, just click to catch up!

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