“By digging and digging the truth is discovered.”
– Telugu Proverb

As a writer, I am interested in the intersections between memory, image, and narrative, and the ways in which the things we unearth – photographs, artifacts, ephemera, and other fragmentary evidence – can help narrate a life.

For quite some time, I have worked on Dangerous Archaeology: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother (and Others) – a memoir in fragments (with photographs by Autumn E. Monsees), a mixed-genre project that springs from my research into my mother’s unusual and complicated childhood in rural South India as the daughter and granddaughter of foreign missionaries. I have imagined myself as an archaeologist, digging and digging my way to some kind of truth, some kind of understanding.

Started privately in 2013, interrupted, begun anew at a transition point in my life, this blog will move me into new territory. Where it will take me (and you, dear reader/viewer), I do not know. So…

With this blog – part field notebook, part gallery space, part meanderings, musings, and asides – I continue to unearth the fragments before me and sift out what it might mean to narrate a life, piece by piece.

Here, then, is one writer’s excavation.

Martha Andrews Donovan

Photo credit: ©Jamie Clifford Photography

Photo credit: ©Jamie Clifford Photography

§ 5 Responses to About

  • ailsasteinert says:

    Love your page, Martha, and was able to click back to the Hayden’s Ferry piece…impressive…keep on going and keep me on your list!
    Great to see you,


  • Thanks, Ailsa! I am continually inspired by my strong, independent, fearless women friends – such as you – so blessed by our friendship that has spanned four decades now!


  • Paul Heusinkveld says:

    I’m a graduate of Kodai School and wonder when your mother attended.


  • Hi, Paul. My mother graduated in 1940. She attended Kodai all but first and ninth grade when her parents were on furlough.


    • Paul Heusinkveld says:

      Hi Martha, I’m writing a book about Kodai School and would like to include the story your mother wrote “Indian Shangri-La.” It’s a wonderful story and I’d like to share it with others. I will of course credit the story to her. I can also include your name and mention your website or whatever you’d like said.


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