David James

Michiana Chronicler

David James is a musician, activist, adjunct faculty member, editor, writer, and grandfather. A first-time homeowner for one-and-a-half years, he hangs his wash on a line, gardens, cans, mows, edges, clears snow, splits wood, and uses tools.

Ways to Connect

Headed for Evart

Oct 6, 2017

Last July I sloughed off all my obligations for a long weekend and headed for Evart. Evart, you say. Is that a person? A place? A thing? It is, after all, a noun, so it must be one of these. If you guessed from context that this is a place you’re the winner, but it’s much more. It’s the location of a dulcimer festival, and from all the evidence the largest one in the world; but it’s much more than that even. Lemme tell you about it.

 

Matt Farnsworth

It’s late in the night and a train is hammering down the rails only a block from my home in River Park. Some neighbors are bothered by the locomotive horns blowing for the crossings, but I love them, even when they wake me in the night. That lonely sound puts me in mind of songs I sing—Milwaukee Blues, Midnight Special, 500 Miles, almost like a greeting from the pages of history.

Yes, I know they have been employed as a medicine-a tonic-since time immemorial. Yes, I know they are more nutritious than many of the vegetables I grow. Yes, I know people used to clear away the grass to give them more room to thrive. Yes, I know the poets extol their virtue.

David James

Seven objects- found in a corrugated box on my sun porch, there since 2014 when I moved in.

A copy of my 2007 1099, listing my music income for the year as $3725.00. Ten years ago. Never had the knack o' making money-learned that from my ole man, who died intestate, bankrupt, and drunk, bless his heart. That's  why I had to wait on Social Security for any hope of a mortgage. Realizing I had a time capsule here I started paying attention to the contents. Most were innocuous cash register receipts, but buried in the shambles were:

Good Riddance, 2016

Dec 30, 2016

I get the last Chronicle for 2016. [sings] “Fast away the old year passes,” couldn’t end fast enough for me. It was a leap year, if you’ll recall, and altogether too much “leap” for me. That extra day, I think, was the tipping point; that meant .2739726 per cent more fake news, unkeepable promises, odious posing—did you notice the candidates had their own unique arm, hand and finger gestures? When we were kids we called that “fakey.” Now I call it posturing—same thing only a two-dollar word.

David Gans

1981. The last year of the Wrigley ownership of the Chicago Cubs. The Tribune Company took over, the Cubs finished fifth place, six games behind the Expos in the National League East–as usual. Seventy-three years had passed since they had won a World Series and it was another of those "Wait 'til next year" toasts. 1981. I was driving into Chicago for a New Years Eve gig at the Earl of Old Town with my friends Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong, and the warm-up was Steve Goodman–can you believe it–with Jethro Burns of Homer and Jethro fame; Steve, the ultimate Cub fan.

Bumping Into History

Sep 9, 2016

Away in the southwest of Ireland, south of Listowel, home of the Harp and Lion; south of Tralee; south of the Dingle Peninsula from whence St.

    Big Weeds and Small Weeds

Freedom Summer

May 20, 2016

FREEDOM SUMMER

Spring

Mar 25, 2016

I get to be the first to welcome in spring on behalf of the Michiana Chroniclers. The first sign of spring for me was a couple of weeks ago: Michiana Monologues, produced by the IU South Bend Women’s and Gender Studies Department and Chronicler April Lidinsky.

Making a Deal

Jan 22, 2016

World War II

Dec 4, 2015

Splitting Wood

Oct 16, 2015

Michiana Chronicles Essayist David James talks about splitting wood.

You know, sometimes I think my troubles started when I learned how to read. A good book stops me in my tracks—political ones, such as The Way of the Knife—about the CIA’s secret army; histories, like Vietnam and America; novels, mysteries—I just finished a chronicle of the Gastonia, North Carolina, 1929 textile strike—and a novel that surrounded that experience with the beauty and anguish of the mountains: Call Home the Heart, by Olive Tilford Dargon.

Selma—Movie and March

Jan 16, 2015

Twenty-fifteen is the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march. A person can get a good idea of the issues and the drama of the events down there back then by viewing the movie Selma, in local theaters this week. I’ve studied a lot of civil rights history.

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