About the Author
For decades, Lance was an autoworker in Detroit, refinery worker in Texas, and merchant seaman sailing from Great Lakes and East Coast Ports. In between were stints driving a cab in Boston, bartending in Greenwich Village, and as the world’s worst waiter in various cities. He retired from industry as an electrician in New Jersey and currently teaches math in a GED program in New York City.
- October 20, 2022
- I wrote The Weber House for fun, as a gift for our daughter. The Maine setting, middle school, soccer, treasure hunts, and of course, father-daughter frictions, were, with some license, borrowed from family experiences.
- Then, I decided to include some social issues, hence Alice and Dolores.
- When the 9/11 attacks occurred, I was working as an electrician in a basement printing plant two blocks from Ground Zero but since I worked nights, I wasn’t there when the attacks occurred. Friends of mine however, taking an 8:30 smoke break on Greenwich Street, saw the first plane hit. They saw people jumping.
- Why mention this?
- In The New York Times Book Review (31 July, 2005) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, contributor Liesl Schilliger wrote:
- I like fantasy and escape as much as the next guy. But I believe that some readers, including young readers, also ask substantive questions and wonder why would people fly airliners into skyscrapers? Mass murder; no question. Still, the question lingers: why?
- I think the answers lie, not in magic, or religious bigotry, let alone racism but rather in history and politics. The friendship of two girls is the heart of the story which attempts to touch on issues of race, class and history. The letters from the merchant seaman to his daughter describe what he saw in Europe in 1946 including devastation in the Soviet Union, post-war violence against Resistance fighters in France and the rehabilitation of Nazis in Germany. As a former merchant seaman, the letters are those I think I would have written to my daughter if I had been sailing at that moment in history. Most broadly, The Weber House attempts to assert the primacy of reason against modern-day superstition, East and West. If anything, I think this is more relevant now than in 2001.
- I believe that today, and for some time now, the Enlightenment is under attack. The most articulate statement of this that I have seen was in a 1992 speech by Czech president Vaclav Havel. He denounces the belief that the world
- Havel goes on to say that
- Havel concludes that
- Havel, a playwright, believed that the curtain has come down on the Enlightenment and even “arrogant” reason itself. I believe that it’s time for writers, activists and a revitalized, internationalist labor movement to raise the curtain on a new, historical act.