Homage to Keene Public Library

I wrote this piece for The Keene Sentinel. A Place of Safety and Discovery by Ernest Hebert When I retired from teaching June 30, 2015 I vowed never again to volunteer for committee work. I broke that vow almost immediately when I was asked to be honorary chair of the Keene Public Library Capital Campaign. The reason: I owe a huge debt to the Keene State Library, the Dartmouth College Library, the New Orleans Public »

Satire: The Death Penalty

The current methods of execution are not inhumane. Natural death routinely causes more suffering than executions. What's inhumane is the sentence of death, knowing you are going to die at a predetermined time, the agony of waiting while being incarcerated. The only humane way for the state to kill somebody is not to tell them they've been sentenced to death. Then, when they least expect it--when they're sleeping, eating a meal, or sitting on the »

Fan Mail

I just ran across this phone message. When I'm feeling too swell headed I think I'll haul it out and re-read it. "Mr. Hebert, I am confused. You write in the back of "The Dogs of March", under your photo, that your book is about the 'native versus newcomer in New England'. Seems to me that this story was mainly about the raw, cruel, ugly people in that New Hampshire village. Why would you take »

The Bible According to Ernie

Archangel Gabriel, heaven's spin doctor, is in the office to discuss a problem with his boss. GABE: Bio issue in the Garden of Eden, not sure if it's a software glitch or a hack. All hell is breaking loose. GOD: Hell? What the heck is hell? GABE: Don't you remember? It was in the beta version of the Garden of Eden. GOD: You're right, back before we took all the suffering and bullshit out. I »

What It's Like

I turned 75 this year, and I ask myself what it's like as opposed to, say, turning 25 or 35 or even 55. Here's what I've come up with. Imagine yourself lying down outside. It's a beautiful day. You can feel the warm sun on your face. You hear the birds chatter. Friends and loved ones come by and you have great conversations. You don't worry about having to go to work. Your schedule is »

A Belated Thank You

People often ask me what my favorite book is among the twelve I've published. In the past I've always dodged the question by saying that I think of my books the way I think of my kids: I don't play favorites. But the other day while I was drawing (crazy but I get literary ideas when I'm drawing) I realized that my favorite book, and probably the most artfully conceived and written, is my historical »