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One Last Bit O’ Paul

Okay, last time, I left off talking about Paul Revere, the patriot and revolutionary, of whom we all (or most of us) approve.

I said I had one strange personal connection with him. And, I do. It’s a very, Very, VERY slight one, but it’s there, and I’ll mention it.

Not quite ten years ago, I got some pressure from my agent to do a young adult novel about a teenage boy in Boston at the time of the Revolution. I gave it my best shot. I actually ended up writing most of it. was awful. Unfortunately, it seems I’m not made to write fiction. And particularly not Young Adult (YA) fiction. The term “stomach turning” comes to mind.

But, I had come up with what I *thought* (I was wrong!) was a rather clever angle. When the Revolution took hold in Boston, the city was occupied by the British. Many of the town’s adult males who had been active in Revolutionary politics had to flee...most of them went inland, where they linked up with local militias.

About the photos: As usual, two today. The first is another of my experiments with graphics. This is supposed to be a village in old New England around Paul’s time. It is a bit different though in that it is moving. I added a touch of animation with the Runway technology.

However...somebody had to stay in the city and look after the family business. What usually happened was that the eldest son of the clan (or, in some cases, a daughter) would stay behind and run things. Revere’s own son, Paul Revere Jr., did exactly that, operating the Revere silversmith shop until the Redcoats finally headed out, leaving uncomfortable and disloyal Boston for the better harbor and warmer welcome of New York City.

Well, my book was going to be told from the perspective of just such a young man. My hero was going to be the son of a Revolutionary printer--perhaps based on Isaiah Thomas, whose print shop in Boston was called the “Forge of sedition” because of his own radicalism, and because it served as a meeting place for the Patriots in town.* And my hero would find himself trapped in Boston, caring for his younger siblings, dealing with a smallpox outbreak (it really happened! And it was nasty!), looking after the family business, and helping the Cause when he can.

Like I say, a great idea. A terrific idea. A splendid idea. Which is probably why lots of other people had it already.

I learned later just about every gawdanged YA writer in America has done that particular schtick. There are like dozens and dozens of books written about hordes of eldest sons (and/or daughters) bravely carrying on the family trade while canons roar and Dad skips out for the mainland. I mean *everybody* had done it. I was so behind the curve that I coulda met it coming the other way. Back in the days before it hit puberty, and was still concave.

In a word, phooey.

The second is, as usual, of Martha. We were at one of our fav restaurants in Georgetown--i.e., Roots.

Ah well. I didn’t really want to write that book anyway. And have it turn into bestseller. And have me get rich and famous. You betcha. I mean, no, no, a thousand times no. And Heaven Forfend. (What is a forfend, anyway? And is there threefend and a fivefend? Just asking.)

Anyway, that’s my relationship with good old Paul. Small, but real...

Now, next time, I’m finally going to get us into the good stuff. Not redcoats. Not revolutions. Not cannons...but...

There *is* cannoli.

Which is, believe me, a *serious* upgrade.

More to come.


*For more on Isaiah Thomas see the following: “Isaiah Thomas and the American Antiquarian Society,” by Leah Dobrinska,; “A Patriot Printer and His "Forge of Sedition": Autobiographical Excerpts from Isaiah Thomas's History of Printing in America,”; and, of course, his entry at Wikipedia,


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