Curiosity: forget “Cherchez la femme” (Look for the woman.) “Cherchez l’histoire.” (Look for the story.)
I finally got to watch “The First Railroad War,” episode 7 of the series “Combat Trains,” on TV! It was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel last night at 10:00PM. Several weeks ago I happened to read somewhere that the series would be shown, then discovered exactly when “my” episode was scheduled.
If I’d been more clever, I’d have posted this blog two days ago, to invite anyone interested to watch as well. The series may re-appear. It was a long wait, since the documentary was produced by a British company nearly three years ago and shown on History Channels all over the world. But, as far as I could discover, it was never broadcast on the History Channel in the US.
Gary watched with me last night and congratulated me on speaking clearly and with appropriate emphasis and humor; sounding “professorial,” as he put it. However, he also noted my slip of the tongue in delivering Abraham Lincoln’s well-known (in certain circles) remark about the railroad bridge that Herman Haupt’s crew rebuilt in nine days: “That man Haupt has built a bridge across Potomac Creek, about 400 feet long and nearly 100 feet high, over which loaded trains are running every hour, and, upon my word, gentlemen, there is nothing in it but beanpoles and cornstalks.” I got the numbers reversed, for crying out loud!
It was also fun to see that Jimmy Blankenship, the Petersburg Battlefield Park Ranger who provided me with so much information, got very extensive coverage. I’m not sure how much credit I can take for that, but I did provide his contact information to Olivia Thomas of Woodcut Media, urging her to get him involved. I hope he found the experience more rewarding than the consulting support he provided the production team for the movie Lincoln. I was surprised his name didn’t appear in the credits for that film. In a brief email exchange, he confirmed that he’d provided extensive support; then added, “See if I respond next time Steven Spielberg asks for help.”
Now, of course, I’m in a different sort of waiting game, wondering if I’ll ever get a positive response to one of my literary agent queries on Who Was That Girl? Stories Behind the Painting. I understand it’s a long, slow process. I’ve already changed the title, re-organized the structure of the story, and come up with a bit at the end that ties it back to the beginning–with a twist.
But, as I repeat ad nauseum: “Tenacity is my middle name.” I don’t give up easily.