ABOUT MY BLOG

REVITALIZING OLD WORK

REVITALIZING OLD WORK

About 10 years ago, I crafted an eBook titled ‘green’. It was a collection of verses I had written over the past 50 years or so. Over the past 10 years technology and the tools available…

AMAZING WOMEN

AMAZING WOMEN

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded on Wednesday to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing in 2012. “This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life,”…

COVID 19 DIARY #1

COVID 19 DIARY #1

The COVID 19 pan-epidemic is approximately 3 months old, as I pinch myself to see if I am dreaming or not. Concurrent to the pandemic outbreak, I moved with my son and his family to a…

I AM IRELAND

I AM IRELAND

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igtE1mLQA00 Sibéal Ni Chasaide performs Mise Éire, a 1912 Irish language poem by the Republican revolutionary leader, Patrick Pearse set to music by Patrick Cassidy in 2016 for the score of the PBS documentary series 1916.…

ARAB SPRING 2.0

ARAB SPRING 2.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKcGgYnm6Bs&feature=emb_rel_pause The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for “its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution of 2011”. The…

WEALTH INEQUALITY

WEALTH INEQUALITY

Wealth inequality in the United States is high and has increased sharply in recent decades. This increase—alongside a parallel increase in income inequality—has spurred increased attention to the implications of inequality for living standards and increased…

MY FEAR FOR 2020

MY FEAR FOR 2020

Major media outlets report tonight that a USA missile attack on the Bagdad Airport killed Qassem Suleimani, leader of the Iranian Quds Force. Iran’s influence ranges across Iraq, through Syria into southern Lebanon and has been…

MY HOPE FOR 2020

MY HOPE FOR 2020

η ρητορική μας ενώνει RHETORIC UNITES US (η ρητορική μας ενώνει), is the basis of all public discourse and makes democracy possible. Rhetoric comes to us from Ancient Greece. Aristotle called it “the faculty of observing in…

BOSTON BOOK LAUNCH

BOSTON BOOK LAUNCH

The entire history of Boston, Lincolnshire – from salt-making during the Roman occupation to the current flood barrier construction – is laid out in a new book that I was fortunate enough to participate in. BOSTON…

AN UNTOLD STORY

AN UNTOLD STORY

From the Stump to the Statue reported by Neil Wright on September 9th 2019 A symposium was held in Boston, Lincolnshire at the Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre on Saturday, September 7th to address the role…

W.S. MERWIN DISCOVERED

W.S. MERWIN DISCOVERED

A young W.S. Merwin(Credit: Estate of W.S. Merwin) I met W.S. Merwin forty-three years ago at the Koko-an Zen Center in lower Manoa on the island of Oahu. Other than his beautiful Hawaiian girlfriend, there was…

INTIMACY & PEACE

INTIMACY & PEACE

Yamada-koun Roshi I first practiced Zen meditation in 1973 when I returned to Japan for university. Over the next four years, I practiced at the Jesuit Zen Retreat founded by Father Enomiya Lasalle. Later, I was…

IRAN 40 YEARS AGO #2

IRAN 40 YEARS AGO #2

Two months before being evacuated from Iran, the tipping point occurred on Ashura (عاشوراء). (see below) Nine days earlier on December 2nd, two million people flooded Tehran’s Shahyad Square calling for the overthrow of Shah Mohammed…

IRAN 40 YEARS AGO #1

IRAN 40 YEARS AGO #1

Forty years ago this week, a Pan Am 747, staffed by an all-volunteer crew, landed in Tehran to evacuate us to Frankfurt, Germany. Though Khomeini had guaranteed safe passage for foreigners wanting to leave Iran, all…

THE NEW GREEN DEAL

THE NEW GREEN DEAL

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the lightning rod of conservative talk shows after introducing a Green New Deal resolution to Congress. The concept is not new. Thomas Freidman coined the idea of a Green New Deal in his book,…

RHETORIC

RHETORIC

RHETORIC The basis of public discourse comes to us from Ancient Greece. Aristotle called it “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” Aristotle identified three elements to appeal to audiences:…

ON THANKSGIVING

ON THANKSGIVING

Plymouth! Why put Plymouth in the main menu? Although I have never lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it is the place that the Cotton Family has lived the longest- one hundred and twenty years (1668 to 1788)…

COTTON SURNAME

COTTON SURNAME

Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM AND COTHAM. The Cotton surname has been proven back to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. The Cottam surname shows a lineage…

WRITING TOOLS

WRITING TOOLS

As I learn more and more about self-publishing, more and more options come up. So after a steep learning curve, I settled on the following strategy:    Buy your own ISBNs through Bowker so that you own…

TCK Consultant

TCK Consultant

While working at the United Nations in NYC, I met Matthew Carpenter, who like my own children, grew up a Third Culture Kid. Matt’s parents are Asia specialists. His father, Bruce Carpenter, is an expert on…

BASTILLE DAY 2017

BASTILLE DAY 2017

À tous mes amis français lors de la fête nationale de France. Avec l’aide de la France, l’Amérique n’aurait jamais gagné son indépendance. Yes, that’s right, without the help of France, America would never have won…

4TH OF JULY 2017

4TH OF JULY 2017

He is gone the veteran is no more Come drop a grateful tear The love of God to call his (home?) While he resided here In that blessed faith through life he (persevered?) And died without…

THE PRIZE

THE PRIZE

Today, as my prize for having won the 2017 Writers; League of Texas Manuscript Contest for Nonfiction, I met with Andy Ross. Andy is from the West Coast and represents authors who write books in a…

WONDERFUL SURPRISE!

WONDERFUL SURPRISE!

The WRITERS’ LEAGUE OF TEXAS announced that I won the 2017 Manuscript Contest for nonfiction. Contestants submitted one chapter of a work along with a publishing proposal. My submission was a biography of my 7th Great-grandfather,…

COTTON HAPLOGROUP

COTTON HAPLOGROUP

My FamilyTree DNA test results resulted in a new Haplogroup that contains both my results and two Singletons. The Haplogroup is defined as BY2574.Cascading down from Z255 to L159 to ZZ7_1, Haplogroup BY2574 shares BY2573 with…

LANCASHIRE CONNECTIONS

LANCASHIRE CONNECTIONS

Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM AND COTHAM. The Cotton surname has been proven back to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. The Cottam surname shows a lineage…

4TH OF JULY 2016

4TH OF JULY 2016

Plymouth Rock is one of America’s most visited historic sites, but this famous chunk of bedrock wasn’t always the shrine it is today.  The first settler made no mention of it in historical accounts about the…

KNITTING EYEBROWS

KNITTING EYEBROWS

“Cotton’s conversion by Sibbes and his shift to Sibbes’ plain evangelical style of preaching was affirmed when John Preston knocked on his door to tell Cotton how his sermon had enabled “God to speak effectually unto…

ROOTS?

ROOTS?

In a 2014 article in Time Magazine opinion article Gregory Rodriquez says that genealogy is nearly as popular as pornography as Americans obsessed with their ancestry has spawned a billion-dollar cottage industry. ABC News Good Morning America reports that…

TRIBES?

TRIBES?

Genealogical research can only go so far as it is based on written documentation. The farther back in time one goes written records become more and more scarce. Ultimately, written records are nonexistent. DNA research now…

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWS & UPDATES ON THE COTTON CHRONICLES

Writing a BLOG is a new experience and one that I do not do often enough. To tell the truth,  I am not attempting to establish myself as a Blogger. I have thought about setting a goal of writing at least one blog post a month. But somehow, it seems too artificial. So it looks like my blog will grow in a more spontaneous and organic way and I will post when inspired or feel that I have something I want to say. Writing is a solitary activity that ripens in its own time. After all, I really have nothing to prove. My writing is what it is and progresses slowly and painfully as I am committed to caring for my two grandsons and have little time to write. The only thing I know for certain is that I must stick with it if I am ever going to finish a book.

I have titled my BLOG, the Cotton Chronicles, and given it the tagline- “occasional musings of an itinerant seanchaí polishing his craft online.

Musings of an itinerant seanchaí because having traveled from place to place throughout life, I have developed a sense of Mono no aware (物の哀れ) which is a  Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō) or transience of things and a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about being the reality of life. 

Seanchaí in honor of my pure Celtic/Irish DNA and traditional Irish storytellers. Storytelling was one of the main forms of fireside entertainment among ordinary Irish folk and the storyteller was held in high esteem by the ordinary Irish who revered and cultivated story and song as their principal means of artistic expression.

Having discovered that I am the 7th great-grandson of John Cotton, the Puritan Patriarch of New-England, has become both a blessing and a burden. A blessing because it roots me in the past. A burden because digging in the past unearths bones that cry out for flesh. After all, John Cotton was a Founding Father to America’s Founding Fathers and he established America’s first public school, the Boston Latin School, and its first university, Harvard University.

While fleshing out the past is both exhausting and exhilarating work, it is very demanding. Dots are connected, patterns emerge and stories unfold.  These stories need to be told. This “blog” – this “website” – results from the need to become intimate with ancestors long dead and forgotten and shed light on their lives.

For me, digging up bones is more enjoyable than assembling skeletons and connecting dots and finding patterns is more enjoyable than crafting stories. Writing does not come easy. Taking Pains only begins to describe the process.  I have never written a book but will endeavor to do so.  I have never written a blog but will do so to log my progress.

Over time, my story as a storyteller will unfold. I relish a good story and I aspire to be a great storyteller. Storytelling is as old as humanity. My problem is that I have chosen to relate “real stories” grounded in history. Yet, I am not a trained historian. Nor, am I a certified genealogist. And, I don’t have an MFA in creative nonfiction. So aside from my innate curiosity and a desire to become intimate with the past, I have little to offer by way of qualifications. The learning is in the doing.

Currently, I am working on a biography of John Cotton titled John Cotton: An Intimate Investigation of His Life and Times, which was awarded First Place in the 2017 WRITERS’ LEAGUE OF TEXAS MANUSCRIPT CONTEST for nonfiction. I am also working on two books THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY COMPANY BOSTON MEN and LINCOLNSHIRE MIGRATION TO NEW ENGLAND 1620-1640. The first book will focus on how ten men from Boston, Lincolnshire played a pivotal role in founding the Massachusetts Bay Company. The second will detail 255 individuals from Lincolnshire that emigrated to New England from 1620 through 1640. I have also served on the Board of the Winthrop Society for 9 years, was elected National Chairman & President, and became President Emeritus in 2010. Concurrently, I served as Trustee of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons for 14 years, authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly and contributed several articles to BOSTON: The Small Town with a Big Story published September 2019.

Barry’s quotes

“In zazen, leave your front door and your back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.”— Shunryu SuzukiGoodreads Quotes