Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I have a feeling

. . . that I may be writing a lot about my dad--about both parents, actually.

I'm actually doing well.  You don't need to worry or anything.  But it gives me a lot of pleasure (and some comfort) to think about him and to write down tiny snatches of memory.

Last night Geoff asked me about a certain person.  I thought things over and then I said, "Well, you know, he's a different cat."

Geoff laughed because that's what my dad would say sometimes.  I've said this about the Coach before, but he was an interesting mix of salt-of-the-earth farm boy and cool rat packer.  I can remember him leaning against the bleachers at one of my boy's games, wraparound sunglasses shielding his eyes, and saying about someone we both knew, "Yeah.  That guy's a different cat."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Listening to Tana French

Or maybe not actually listening to Tana herself--listening, instead, to her novel Broken Harbor, read as an audiobook.

Lisa B  is a great fan, so when I told her I was finally becoming acquainted with the French's work, Lisa told me to start at the beginning with In the Woods.  However, I had already become hooked on Broken Harbor--not so much on the story at first (although I am now), but because I am a sucker for stories read to me by men (sorry, ladies) with any kind of British (English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish) accent.

Meanwhile, I am marveling at Tana French's prose.  Soooooo amazingly fine.  I can't believe I've waited this long to invite into my life.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Oh, Sean Spicer

I can't tell you how much noise my jaw made as it dropped to the floor during Sean Spicer's press conference on Saturday when he said that the media had made up the story about Trump's rift with the intelligence community (because, yeah, the media is the entity that dropped the term "nazi," not Trump) and also that the media had lied about the number of people at the inauguration (because, yeah, size matters and the press deliberately framed photos to make the crowds look smaller).

I just felt so . . . depressed by Spicer's performance.

Here's the deal.  The press and the POTUS always have a contentious relationship.  If they don't, that means the press isn't doing its job.  But this attack from Trump's team is unwarranted, unprecedented, and unfair.  DUDES!  HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF THE FOURTH ESTATE?!

I can't believe that Spicer, in his heart of hearts, believed a single thing he said.  But I've come to the conclusion that this is Trump's end game.  He won't be able to deliver on all of his grandiose promises.  He ran for president.  Not dictator.  This means Trump has to work with other people who don't want the same things he wants.  So when it becomes clear that he can't deliver, Trump has already set up a perfect patsy.  The press.

He can point a finger and say, "I could have done everything I promised to do-- if only the press hadn't lied about me.  SAD!"

I'm rarely political online.  Not my style, really.  But this.  This made me ill.  I somehow expected better from Spicer.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What I'm reading

My friend Dr. Write had this to say about books.  Lovely, isn't it?

Meanwhile, I thought I'd account for what I've been reading.  Which isn't much, frankly, although I hope to change that.

This week I've read Advanced Reading Copies of soon-to-be-released graphic novels by Shannon Hale and Nathan Hale.  (Not married.  Not related.)  I liked them both.  (I mean the books written by the not-married Hales, not the Hales themselves.)  (Although I like the Hales themselves, too.)  And let me say that reading graphic novels is a pleasure because it takes me back to the days when I sat on Wendy and Diana's front porch during the summer, eating cookie dough while we read Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not comic books.  Also, I was a fan of Tales from the Crypt, although that series induced in me a life-long fear of accidentally being buried alive.

CAN'T YOU TELL I'M NOT DEAD, I imagined myself shouting.  From the crypt.

I've also read part of CLEOPATRA by Stacy Schiff and part of THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith.  I like them both.

What are you reading?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Nude vs. Naked

For some reason this morning, I woke up thinking about my old seventh-grade art teacher, Mr. Greer at Farrer Jr. High, who was famous for his "Nude vs. Naked" lecture.

Mr. Greer looked like he could be a stunt double for Jacob Marley.  Or even for Scrooge himself, not counting the George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol."  He was thin and hunched with a skull sparsely populated by random hairs.  He wore a painter's coat over his clothes with paintbrushes sticking out of his pockets, and it was apparent that by that time in his career he genuinely disliked kids.

Still, we'd all heard about his "Nude vs. Naked" lecture and were eager to hear it for ourselves.  Also, I should point out here that when he said "Naked," it sounded like "Neked."   So yeah.  Bring on the "Nude vs. Neked" lecture, we all said.

Because this was titillating stuff in the late sixties before stuff like the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show hit network TV for all of us to see.  And see and see and see.

Good stuff, right?

And here is the difference, in case you want to know.  Nude is art.  Naked is pornography.  Or regular unglamorous people just crawling into the shower each morning.

(I made up that last distinction, actually.  Because I just got out of the shower myself.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gratified. But mystified.

So suddenly I realized I had a deadline and NO IDEAS for a column.  Somehow I ground out this one.  And I did think unto myself, "Yeah.  This probably really sucks."

But it's gotten more hits online than usual, which is a good thing in NewspaperWorld these days.  It's just . . . surprising to me.  I wonder why some things seem to work and other things don't.

I felt that way at the TKE today as I pulled for returns.  Why do some novels take off?  And other equally worthy novels never do?

It's a mystery for sure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


My neighbor Johanna--a tall and beautiful Dutch woman in her sixties--told me that when she heard about my dad's death, she remembered how she used to pick berries with her own father when she was a little girl.

"I haven't thought about that in years," she said.  "It's like the floodgates have been opened.

It's strange how triggers work.  In the past few weeks I've been thinking as much about my grandparents as I have about my dad, hearing their stories and feeling thin Wyoming sunlight on my bare brown arms.