by Bruce Anderson
paperback: 214 pages
published February 19, 2008
An anecdotal history of Mendocino County by Bruce Anderson, the long-time editor and publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
from the back cover...
The idea of this book, the first in a series, is to give readers a sense of what vast Mendocino County is like, really like, from its beginnings to now. The contents derive from my readings of the scant formal histories of the county, and from my readings of the slightly more abundant memoirs of early settlers. My experiences are mixed in, and some of the book is autobiographical because you may want to know something about the person telling you these things. My family's history is intertwined in mostly oblique ways with the county, whose written history commenced with its merciless first settlers, the long, lethal sons of Missouri who rode west from the gold fields to occupy what must have seemed to them an endless, empty Eden of well-watered little valleys. But there had been people in this Eden for 12,000 years. Those people were annihilated before they could teach us what only they knew. The bouncing ball of the narrative you'll find here moves back and forth across time conveying, I hope, my sense of an accelerating history of often absurd, often bloody events visited upon a uniquely beautiful part of the country.
a short excerpt...
At a Green Party meeting several years later, the circle meeting format had been expanded to include a tiny, Peter Pan-ish man who said his name was Morning Light. Morning Light held up a battered asparagus fern. "Only persons in possession of this fern are empowered to speak," he said, "and I will start the discussion by passing it to the person to my right." I wondered who had empowered him. Had the gnomish little fascist simply taken advantage of stoner inattentiveness to seize power?
Morning Light said he would also function as "vibe watcher," explaining that if the discussion became too heated, he'd play a tune on his flute until proper rhetorical order was restored. Morning Light added that instead of clapping and cheering when we heard something we approved of, we should "twinkle" or raise our hands over our heads and silently wiggle our fingers. "It's so much less disruptive than clapping and cheering," he explained.
interview with the author...
listen to Michael Krasny's interview with Bruce Anderson
Get Your Copy
$20 from the author (includes postage)
send your request (and check) to: AVA, Box 459, Boonville, CA 95415