A recent NY Times article on music mentioned that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an enthusiastic, life-long fan of opera. I found out how to send her a signed copy of my book with a little letter, although was not sure she’d even get it.
However, yesterday I received a personal note, on Supreme Court stationary.
She replied: “Today’s mail brought a special surprise, your novel “Aloha, Mozart.”
When I can lift my eyes from the piled briefs, I look forward to a reading
treat. With appreciation for thinking of me.
Mahalo, (thanks in Hawaiian),
(signed) Ruth Bader Ginsburg”
Made my day!
What does a classical singer also do? Here I’m dressed up in traditional style to welcome visitors to the restored native forest. Ancient people had to chant for permission to enter, granted by an overseer. I play both parts, call and response, but you’ll have to imagine me as a 6’4″ Hawaiian. Work on my next novel proceeds daily, best job in the world early in the morning. And best wishes to all at Thanksgiving.
Every morning I work on my new novel, then several times a week I’m out at the beautiful Na Pohaku forest restoration project. After almost 2o years of volunteer work it’s finally beginning to look like something more than a sacred site that in the past was turned into a dump for cars and appliances. Now the Department of Land and Natural Resources is making a series of videos on our progress. At the start of this one I’m teaching a traditional chant to women from the prison, who come out twice a month for trail maintenance and do a wonderful job.
The world’s leading tenor, a superb actor, and a striking example of, ahem, manhood. My publisher sent him a copy of “Aloha, Mozart” and got a thank you that was passed on to me! It’s an admittedly small connection but still a thrill. If you don’t know who Kaufmann is, look him up on the internet, listen to THAT VOICE, and gaze on the most wonderfully intelligent Heldentenor to come along in decades.
Books take directions of their own once they’re launched out into the world.
I’ve submitted my next novel for publication but “Aloha, Mozart” continues to move along in the background a year and a half later.
Word gets around in unexpected ways.
This week two Honolulu book groups asked for copies and discussion sessions in the fall, joining a third group of readers out in Aiea scheduled for the same. More surprising, a University of Miami music professor, on vacation, met me to discuss using “Aloha, Mozart” with his students, all part of a connection with a stranger from 5000+ miles away, made because of a novel. Nice.
Na Pohaku O Hauwahine
The Boulders of Hauwahine
Native Lowland Ecosystem Restoration
At present Iʻm working hard on the final edit of novel #2 (still unsure about the title). When I get out of the writerʻs cave I go straight to Kawainui Marsh to work on saving native plants covered over by mats of winter weed growth–very strenuous but the plants appreciate seeing the sun again.
Tune in tonight at 6 p.m: Hawaii Public Radio, 89.3 FM, to hear an interview with Waimea Williams on “New Letters on the Air.” This show broadcast nationally has been devoted to writers on radio since 1976. New Letters also publishes a highly regarded literary journal for fiction, poetry and essays, and specializes in introducing new work, new authors, and attracting new readers.
During the year few fiction writers have the honor of reading in this large, elegant building next to ‘Iolani Palace. It was a lovely event that started with a friend’s gift of a lei po’o (head lei) she made early in the morning using flowers from her garden. Following a series of short excerpts from the novel, the combination of Hawaii and Salzburg provoked a number of amazed questions and remarks.
See you on March 22 at 11:45
If you’re downtown on Saturday morning, March 22, a little before noon, please stop by and I’d love to welcome you. I’m very grateful for the support of many friends, and honored to be reading at Hawaii’s largest library, now 101 years old.