The plot thickened

Leicester Mapp thought Ferdinand Morton was a pest and would have avoided him if possible.
But before I launched into the reading of Chapter 8 of Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz music at the San Francisco Main Library this afternoon, there was some scene setting to do.
We began with the first 23 minutes of the Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California documentary, going from Queen Calafia to Mary Ellen Pleasant.
The library had helped me set the scene for Cakewalk in a number of ways. Last year, I was the opening speaker for the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial exhibition. The research I did on the many underappreciated connections between Lincoln and San Francisco’s abolitionists helped me to crystallize the content in Cakewalk.
This novel is about real people in real places carrying out real events during the 14 year period from 1906 to 1921 between the San Francisco earthquake and the forced expulsion of 1,400 persons from the Barbary Coast.
It is also about the 14 year period between 1995 and 2009 when I was led to research the real origins of jazz music.
The very engaged library audience was as interested in my journey as the amazing information embedded in the novel.
Several told of their own research in the field. One couple asked where they could donate some sheet music from the period.
There are lots more questions to answer about Cakewalk. Join us Tuesday at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor lounge of the Mechanics Institute, the 150-year-old private library at 57 Post St. as we celebrate National Novel Writing Month with a discussion on Writing About Your Passion, focusing on the 22 days it took to write Cakewalk last November.

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