Showing posts from July, 2012


Jefferson Davis Riddle wasn't always Jefferson Davis Riddle. Until he was about ten years old, he was a boy named Charka, which meant handsome youth in the language of his mother's people. He came from the Lost River. His mother was a Modoc, his father a white settler. He was born during the Civil War, and died as World War II was beginning. I don't know why, but the guy haunts me. So I wrote a play about him, and the events that twisted him into a riddle.

Well, that's not entirely true- but then again, what is?

I set out initially to write a play about the Modoc War of 1872-1873 that happened in Northern California and Oregon, which is mainly a story about Captain Jack, a Modoc chief whose story is Shakespearean in scope. His story is one of heroism and betrayal on a massive scale- and I do include that in my play.

But once I began writing, the play quickly became about Riddle himself, and what it means to be a mix of good and bad- to not really know what your roots ar…