belleboggs (at) gmail (dot) com
Lippincott Massie McQuilkin
27 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
maria (at) lmqlit (dot) com
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Oh, dear Bell, finding “Mattaponi Queen” at the library here in Blacksburg, VA has made a very difficult summer tolerable. I tell people that the Mattaponi is my ancestral river. Although I grew up in and around Richmond, whenever my family would go “home” it would be to a farm at Newtown in King and Queen Co. As a child,I swam in the river with my grandmother, aunts and cousins and courted with my son-to-be-husband there. I also tell people that I “saved” the river. Donations that my mother made to the cause, letters we wrote and essays I wrote for the Roanoke Times left me believing that without us, the empoundment would have been built. I send lots of people there with their canoes and kyacks to discover this treasure. You are a dear woman, for finding your inspiration in this land that time forgot. My family’s rite of spring would not have been complete without going to the reservation and buying shad and its roe from, then, Chief Custello. My mother is still hale and hearty at 100, living with my sister in Bridgewater, and she will be thrilled to hear about your book. Thank you, Belle, for taking us “home” again, and what a kick to be told that Biddy Acre is a friend of your mother!
Elizabeth Minor McCommon
Dear Elizabeth, it’s so lovely to hear from you! I think of the river that way, too–growing up, we always lived close enough to walk to it or hear it, first at Hayes Farm, then Aylett’s Mill Pond, then in Walkerton, where my parents live now. My family’s favorite kayak trip is from Zoar to Walkerton. I’m always surprised when people say, reading the book, “oh, it’s good you got away from there,” and make a point of saying “It’s beautiful there! The Mattaponi is the most pristine tidal river on the East Coast” (thanks to people like you. Anyway, thank you for brightening my morning with you message, and please pass the word to others you think would like the book. Let me know if I can send your mother a copy–I would be delighted to sign and send it to her in Bridgewater.
Dear Ms. Boggs:
My name is Debbie Brockwell and I attend meetings of the Town of West Point Library Book Club. My family moved to downtown West Point about a year ago and I read Mattaponi Queen shortly thereafter. I recommended your book to the book club and will be hosting a discussion on August 26th. I’ve read your blogspot and your interview with Eric Forbes. I’ve also noticed you had some correspondence with a person from Urbanna and that you may have e-mailed him some discussion points for his book club meeting. Would you be willing to help me with some pointers? Many book club members are longtime West Point and King William residents, so I’m sure it will be a lively and opinionated meeting. Thank you for writing a wonderful book and I look forward to hearing from you.
Looking forward to talking with you about your book club, Debbie! -Belle
I enjoyed your comments and insights at the JRW conference. I found the following quote among some of my older notes and thought it might make you smile:
“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.” – Martin H. Fisher
I’ll try to never let that be the case! Best always,
Pat Smith (Walkerton roots)
It was such a pleasure to meet you last weekend at the JRW conference. I wanted to let you know that I took Mattaponi Queen with me on a train trip to DC this week and began reading there. Belle, this is such a beautiful collection of work. I’ve been finding excuses to curl up with your stories every chance I get. Best wishes at the LVA Awards. I’ll be thinking of you.
Thank you so much, Meg! My mother loved your book as much as I do!
I work at the elementary school in King William County. We would LOVE to have you visit with our students to talk about your experiences with writing! Please contact me if you are willing to talk with students while you are in the Walkerton area! Thank you.
Dear Tara, I would love to visit! Please email me at belleboggs (at) hotmail (dot) com and we will make plans–if not this year, then possibly the fall?
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Just ran across “The Art of Waiting” reprint in HARPER’S May 2012 issue. Lovely writing with a powerful emotional center. Thanks for that. Now that I’ve discovered you, I look forward to reading much more.
Thank you, Nolan!
Just read “Imaginary Children” in ecotone, and simply feel swept over. I’m also a high school English teacher and — yes. Yes, and yes. I plan to look for more of your work this summer. Hope some much needed rest is soon upon you, too.
Thank you, Emily!
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