Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Darwin at Venice

Martin, Dr, Motes, will be speaking to the Venice Orchid Society on Wednesday evening, September 2nd, and the subject is Darwin and Orchids. Of course, just the phrase “Darwin at Venice” has a fine ring to it, as though some scholarly botanist has discovered a forgotten trip the great man took, a Victorian Mediterranean voyage. One sees him gliding along in a gondola, maybe checking for molluscs or whatever there might be clinging to the mossy walls of the palaces lining the canals.

Of course, Darwin and orchids are indelibly bound together and a perfect subject for an orchid society talk. I am very pleased we have a new topic because though Martin is a great speaker, when the subject is orchid culture there are really very few variations on presenting the rules for watering, tackling mites or repotting cattleyas. And as a loyal wife and partner accompanying Martin on many of these trips I’ve heard them all.

I’m lucky, of course, because at these meetings I have a chance to steal five minutes from the potting and the insect warfare, and introduce my popular, comic novel Orchid Territory. This is what every struggling author dreams of: a captive audience interested in their subject. And I also slide in and speak at the very start, when the audience is at its most captive.

I’ll have something new to introduce now - this blog. And for Wednesday evening at Venice, I’ve just discovered a lovely fact about Darwin. In his later years he confessed that what he really liked to read were “popular novels” though "...only if they do not end unhappily - against which a law should be passed."

Orchid Territory passes the test! Darwin - a great man indeed!

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