August 2010

On location

Readers of Turkoise often ask where an idea originated, if such a person actually exists,  or if I’ve actually visited the places I write about. The answers to these inquiries are 1) see “About Joan” 2) no, save known historical figures, Turkoise is 100% fiction  and 3) Yes! Here is one of my favorite locations, the birthplace of Chief Justice John Marshall, in what is… Read More

The mystery of Tullia's tomb

“Now, as in Tullias tombe, one lamp burnt cleare/Unchang’d for fifteene hundred yeare/May these love-lamps we here enshrine/In warmth, light, lasting, equall the divine…” So begins poet John Donne’s “Eclogue, 1613″ for the marriage of the Earl of Somerset to Frances Howard.  The story Donne refers to is that of the opening of the  tomb of Tullia (d. 45 BC), the daughter of Roman orator… Read More

You Are Here ... Or Not

Before GPS, before Google Earth, we had such inventive mapmakers as Pomponius Mela (c 43 AD) and Posidonius (c. 140 BC) who, despite their limited knowledge, managed to make some places  recognizable to us some 2000-plus years later. All these rudimentary landforms were enclosed by a never-ending river of water called “The Ocean Stream.” Beyond the Ocean Stream? The End of the Earth: a locked… Read More