In early August 2016 I started The Bulls of Durham book project — the lofty aspiration of telling the story and history of Durham, North Carolina through “the bull’s eyes.” Going about it in a way far different than the literary norm. Instead of a concrete outline each interview leads to the next. Instead of keeping mum about the project until completion the progress of the book is shared in blogs as well as on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Who knew writing a book could necessitate a logo and involve the opportunity to ride in a holiday parade?
Outside of this project, 2016 was a real humdinger, fandoozey and venture into the Twilight Zone. A year marked by great losses, turmoil and bizarre events. There is nowhere else I would have rather been than Durham, a city that values diversity, creativity, intelligence and compassion.
Beginning this project I thought I would be real lucky if I got an interview ever week or so over the course of a year. To my pleasant surprise it’s become more a matter of finding the time to interview 1 -2 people most days of the week! Yesterday I had the honor of sitting down with Ethel Simonetti as the last and 50th Bulls of Durham interview for 2016. I am humBULLed, grateful and more in love with the Bull City than I ever.
Below are all 17 The Bulls of Durham blogs to date, which I’m calling the best of The Bulls of Durham 2016. I can’t help it. Every interview has been the best. At the very end is a list of book on Durham I’m working my way through as research. Please let me know if there are any other reads for me to add to the list. Finally, if you or someone you know would make an incrediBULL addition to The Bulls of Durham project please email me at TheBullsOfDurham@gmail.com.
Thank you Durham for being the shining light in 2016.
A Bull’s Eye View of Durham, North Carolina — Where it all began.
A Walkabout in the Bull City of Durham, North Carolina — Intentions of The Bulls of Durham book project and the art of bull spotting revealed.
Behind the Bull of Bull Street Gourmet and Market — The first interview for The Bulls of Durham book project couldn’t have been any better. Anne Niemann is an incrediBULL woman and Bull Street Gourmet and Market is a great place to eat, write and meet with your favorite Durhamights.
Take Me out to the Bull Game — Perhaps one of the most iconic ways to enjoy being part of the Bull City is enjoying a local Beer Durham brew at a Durham Bulls baseball game on a warm summer evening. Wool E. Bull giving it his all to “Hammer Time” is everything.
The Brightest Bull — Artist Jewel Conway paints a vivid picture of the Bull City.
Seeing Bull City Images Come into Focus — Photographer Christopher T. Martin shares his perspective of Durham.
The Bull That Friendship Forged — Longtime Durham resident and metal worker extraordinaire Neal Carlton shares how friendship brought him to the Bull City and success doing what he loves.
Candy Coating the Bull City Art Scene & Defying Expectations — Candy Carver is one of the most well-known artists in the Durham art community bringing both talent and heart to all that she does.
Sweet Story of How One Bull Came to Be — The secret ingredient in Rebecca Burnett’s confections is Bull City love.
The Bull City: on the Rise, but Forever Dirty — Nicole Hensley and Tamra Williams took over Durham Durham Official this year and The Bulls of Durham book project with this piece being the most widely read of all the pieces! Further evidence the Bull City takes great pride in its dirty, gritty roots and reputation.
Bring Bright Eyed Perspective & Beats to the Bull City — Local hip hop artist, father, marine and all around great guy John Lawrence shares his perspective on Durham and the direction it’s going.
The Rickhouse in Bull Durham’s Backyard — Part owner of the Rickhouse Daniel Kulenic shares the real inspiration behind the Rickhouse and how it got its name.
Locals Claim the Bull City Mayor is Cool — The first half Mayor Bill Bell’s interview highlighting what it is about him that the locals love and why they’ve voted him Mayor of the Bull City for 8 terms!
Bull City Mayor Bill Bell Gets Real about the Bull City’s Hardest Problems — The conclusion of Mayor Bill Bell’s interview gets real discussing the city’s poverty, affordable housing crisis and crime.
Bull City Olive Oil Comes Full Circle at Brightleaf — Julie Steinhauer was once the new kid on the block in downtown Durham and now her beloved olive oil store is.
Bull City Newcomer, Head Distiller, Graphic Artists, Ninja, but Not Imported from Detroit — Sean Stark makes for a great friend as he’s distilling liquor and training ninjas in Bull Durham’s backyard.
Bull City Veterinary Hospital Brings Heart and Health to Downtown Durham — Veterinarian Lani Sabin shares why downtown Durham was the perfect place to open her practice.
Books on Durham
Durham Tales, Durham County and Durham: A Bull City Story by Jim Wise
Upbuilding Black Durham by Leslie Brown
The Way We Were, Remembering Durham by Mena Webb
Durham North Carolina by Stephen Massengill
Bull Durham Business Bonanza by B.W.C. Roberts and Snow L. Roberts
Durham in Changing Light by John Zager
Durham’s Haytii, North Carolina by Adree Vann
African Americans of Durham and Orange Counties: An Oral History
27 Views of Durham — Multiple Authors
Favored by Fortune: George W. Watts and the Hills of Durham by Howard E. Covington
The Best of Enemies by Osha Grey Davidson
Duke Homestead & the American Tobacco Company by Jennifer Dawn Farley
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To follow The Bulls of Durham book project email TheBullsOfDurham at gmail.com and say, “Yo Sheila. Please put me on the mailing list.” Also follow the project on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Oh! And now that this website is a thing, you can check back here. Make it your homepage. Tell all your friends. Write home to your mom about it. :::Flashes Bull City hand sign.:::
Oh and treat yourself, your mom and everyone you love to the best coffee mug of all time, which happens to support this here book project. No big deal. But very big deal. Click HERE.
Sheila Amir is a health & nutrition writer who fell in love with Durham, North Carolina and starting writing a book about it.