Welcome to my new blog

Hello, my dear friends,

I’ve decided to write a Blog! It’s going to be an intimate glimpse into my life as a woman writer. Sometimes it will include short stories or articles that are too long for my newsletter or Facebook posts. It won’t be in any special order, because the mind of a writer is an effervescent chaos of ideas. It won’t always be the same length. Sometimes there will be lots of photos. I hope you enjoy them!

Love, Nancy

NANTUCKET TOP TEN

1.  COLOR:    Blue and white striped

2.  FOOD:  Blueberry Pie

From Susan Simon’s THE NANTUCKET TABLE

3.  DRINK:   Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

4.  FLOWER:  New Dawn Rose

 

5. BOOK:  The Nantucket Reader

You’ll find tasty excerpts here from Melville, Hilderbrand, Philbrick, and Thayer!

6.  MOVIE: Into the Heart of the Sea

(It’s a great book, too.)

7. Vehicle:

Land: Jeep

Sea:

Kayak, yacht, ferry, Sunfish, powerboat, paddleboard

8.  SONG:   John Denver’s Calypso, in tribute to Jean Jacques Cousteau’s research vessel

9.  ANIMAL:  Lab, yellow or black

 

                  10. LIMERICK: 

 There once was a man from Nantucket

Who kept all his cash in a bucket

But his daughter,named Nan,

Ran away with a man,

And as for the bucket, Nantucket

 

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The Nantucket Atheneum’s Commemorative Review

Who knew that Mr. Rogers had a home on Nantucket, out in Madaket?  For the 1996 review celebrating the newly renovated and expanded library, he wrote, “Dear Friends of the Nantucket Atheneum, Congratulations, neighbors!”

Tom Congdon, brilliant literary editor–he was the editor for Peter Benchley’s Jaws–and gentleman scholar and humanist, added a few kind words. But the funniest words he ever wrote were “Mrs. Coffin’s Consolation,” about um, what whaling wives did while their husbands were away.  You can find it in The Nantucket Reader, edited by Susan Beegel, a brilliant collection of writing spanning from Melville to Thayer! 

 

Beloved Nantucket writer and gardener Laura Simon praised the new library.  Two years later, she spoke at the Atheneum about her wonderful book, Dear Mr. Jefferson, Letters from a Nantucket Gardener.

Journalist and writer David Halberstam and columnist and writer Russell Baker contributed their fond memories of the island library.

And I was so thrilled about our beautiful new library, I waxed poetic!

“Our Atheneum, that magic ship,

Once again is anchored, safe, on our shore,

With its brilliant cargo of knowledge and spices.

It will carry our children into the future.

It will supply Nantucket with truth and dreams.

It will remain always with us by night and by day,

Its whiteness rising like sails to the sky.”

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The Glorious Past of the Nantucket Atheneum

This is builder Charles Wood who built the Nantucket Atheneum in 1846 and 1847.  Not to be irreverant, but hubba hubba!  He looks like quite the dandy and if you zoom up the picture, you’ll see he has gorgeous eyes.  A confidant man!

Maria Mitchell was the Atheneum’s first librarian, the first professional woman librarian in America, an astronomer who discovered a comet and taught at Vassar, and a (surprise) feminist.  I would dearly love to know how Maria Mitchell and Charles Wood got along!

 

Famous anti-slavery writer and orator Frederick Douglass spoke several times at the Atheneum.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and feminist Lucretia Coffin Mott also spoke there.

The Great Hall is now used for research.  Computers are available for Internet use.  The middle of the hall is often cleared of desks and set up with chairs for readings and lectures from famous speakers.

“Cats’ eyes” and figureheads of whaling ships  adorn the library, bringing back a sense of history of the whaling ships that brought prosperity to the island.

 

As a boy, Ernest Hemingway visited the island and the Atheneum with his mother.  I’m sure that’s why he became a writer. 🙂

 

On my next post, I’ll tell you about some of the contemporary writers who’ve spoken in the Great Hall.  One thing’s for sure–they all have better hair than in the 1800’s.

 

 

 

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Nantucket Atheneum

When I moved to Nantucket in 1984, I looked different from the way I look now (yes, shoulder pads) and so did our island library, the Nantucket Atheneum.

Oh, the library looked the same from outside.  The Atheneum sits in the very heart of the town, a great white columned neoclassic building.  It’s a historic icon, rebuilt after a fire in 1837, and once the hub of the island population.  In the 1980s, not much had changed since the previous century.  Its collection was small for the needs of a growing modern community.  And the children’s room was in the dank, dim, rather grim basement.

Then Bob Mooney became president of the Board of Trustees and in 1990, Charlotte Maison (below) took on the directorship of the library.

Under their leadership and with the help of the Friends of the Library and generous donations from the community, a major restoration took place.  Today the library is once more the center of the town.  Best of all, there’s a marvelous children’s wing.

Lucille Walker Hays donated the funds for the children’s wing in honor of her sister Louise, who died when very young.

The Weezie Library is a sunny, busy, happy second home for children. Thank you for changing so many lives, Lucille.

When the renovations of the Atheneum were complete, a commemorative review was published to celebrate the restorations.  The Board of Trustees were photographed for the review.  You can see me — I’m the one in the red suit! 🙂

Actually, I’m in the black skirt and a red-and-black checked jacket. (Yes, still shoulder pads; this was 1996.)The handsome fellow in the back row, second from the right, is our beloved author Nathaniel Philbrick, who was also a trustee.    It was such an honor and a tremendous pleasure to be part of that board and the library renovation.  Charlotte Maison and Susan Beegel (editor of the Hemingway Review and The Nantucket Reader, standing next to me in black velvet collared red suit) and I usually had to go for a soothing margarita or two after our complicated but cordial trustee meetings!

More about our library soon!

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