Barack Obama, Fifty Shades of Grey, Louis C.K., and Gather at the Table

Posted September 24th, 2012 by

It’s all about timing.

Right place, right time.


We’ve all heard about it, sometimes witnessed it, probably even envied it. Someone we know is the 15 millionth customer through the turnstile at Disneyland and wins a new Mustang. They write a song that Dolly Parton turns into a top-ten hit. They write a book and events in the world converge to unexpectedly turn it into a bestseller.

Well, I haven’t been to Disneyland in years. Sharon hasn’t written any songs lately; not that I know of. But we have written a book and a few events have unfolded recently that have me scratching my head and smiling just a bit….

When we first envisioned writing Gather at the Table we had no assurance that it was going to be published at all, let alone that it would be published less than a month before election day. And the first line of our manuscript?

F**k that dumbass Obama!

You’ll have to pick up the book, of course, to place that sentence in context.

We also wrote our book long before women throughout the world became smitten by the internationally best-selling erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey. And the title of the second section of our book? Yep, no kidding…

Shades of Gray

Then last night, just two weeks before our book is published, in which we write about our encounter with comedian Louis C.K., he wins two Emmys for writing!

Gather at the Table is not a book about elections, erotica, or comedy, not directly anyway, but perhaps our story is coming at just the right time.

We shall see…


8 responses to “Barack Obama, Fifty Shades of Grey, Louis C.K., and Gather at the Table”

  1. Suzanne says:

    I heard you on WNYC this morning anbd can't wait to see your book. My abolitionist family married into a family of former slaveowners, and the subject has already come up with the grandchildren. What can be said about the slave owners today, particularly the men who fathered so many children with slave women, by consent or not? We don't know how to deal with this topic, especially since the current generation of the slaveholding family are perfectly decent and caring people who shouldn't be blamed for their ancestors' acts and situation. What to say, what to say?

    • Thomas Norman DeWolf says:

      Thanks for writing, Suzanne. For Sharon and me, the answer to "what to say" is… the truth. Sounds kind of trite and simplistic, but that's the answer. We hope our book will provide you with some inspiration and some tools that you'll find useful. Dealing with issues of race and injustice can be such a challenge, but my experience (speaking specifically as a white man) has been that on the other side of the scary doorway is where we find liberation.

  2. It was my privilege to listen to you and Sharon Morgan on Bernice Bennett's Blog Talk Radio this September 10th. Thank you for your advice during this show! My family and I will follow it. We are working to find and contact biracial relatives descended from our slaveholder ancestors.

    I've approached the Creative Writing faculty at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT to suggest that we schedule you for an interview and book signing. (I'm an Emerita Professor there, newly retired.) They welcomed my suggestion and are sharing it with our Peace and Justice committee. I will keep pressing them in the hope that we can engage you during our spring semester. (I've sent this same communication to your Beacon Press agent.)

    I'm extremely grateful to Sharon for her frank statement during Bennett's show, wondering "how someone could form their brain to own people." That is the same devastating question that prompted my recent investigative memoir (7 years in the making) of my white SC slaveholding family. (A scary doorway indeed.) Title: Into the Briar Patch. Website: We need to look historically at the vital question of exactly how good slides into evil. I'd like to contribute to that conversation.

    You and Sharon are an inspiration.

  3. Bonney Andrews says:

    I will miss you in Charlottesville at the Unitarian Church this Wednesday, Oct 10. Where is the next time and place that you will appear? I am hoping it is in the area.

    • Thomas Norman DeWolf says:

      Our two appearances in Charlottesville are at the Unitarian Church in the evening, and at Monticello from noon – 2pm. We'll be in Richmond the following day (Thurs, Oct 11) for two events as well. Click here for full details on our upcoming schedule. Thanks for your interest!

  4. Katarina says:

    Thank you for the amazing work you have done. I can't wait to read the book. I am a parent of a teenaged son who is of partial Native American ancestry. Yesterday was Columbus Day and we were both shocked by the lack truthfulness regarding this chapter in American history. The headline on the front page of our newspaper read "Happy Columbus Day," and described how Columbus "discovered" America – and this is 2012! Why are people so reluctant to talk about the truth in our past and how the wounds can be healed. How do I explain it to my son who is confused by the lack of honesty and stereotyping that he encounters?

    • Thomas Norman DeWolf says:

      You've identified the huge challenges we face in healing the wounds of the past. It begins with acknowledgment. More and more people are waking up. We hope our book will help. Thank you for writing and for taking a stand! Your son will be served well by your truthfulness.

  5. isabelle says:

    Thank you for the amazing work you have done

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