Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance: “I’m Going to Ask?”

It's 1967, and two sixth-grade girls are selling candy so Baltimore's Herbert Malone Elementary School Orchestra can travel to regional competition in Harrisburg. Both girls have "sworn they would absolutely die if they didn't get to go . . . " * "Hold the whole carton up when they open the door," Sonya told Willa. … Continue reading Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance: “I’m Going to Ask?”

Interview with Elizabeth Buhmann, Author of Blue Lake

  Yesterday we posted a review of Elizabeth Buhmann's novel BLUE LAKE. Today we hear from the author herself:   Where did you get the idea for Blue Lake? A friend told me something about her family history. Her grandmother, who was born in 1910, had 12 children. By the time the last child came … Continue reading Interview with Elizabeth Buhmann, Author of Blue Lake

A Mid-Century Murder: Elizabeth Buhmann’s Blue Lake

  "Rural Virginia, 1945. The Second World War had just ended when Alice Hannon found the lifeless body of her five-year-old daughter, Eugenie, floating in Blue Lake. The tragedy of the little girl’s death destroyed the Hannon family. "More than twenty years later, Alice’s youngest daughter, Regina, returns home after a long estrangement because her … Continue reading A Mid-Century Murder: Elizabeth Buhmann’s Blue Lake

H Is for The House of the Seven Gables: #atozchallenge

Unable to think of an H word I could get a post out of (I searched the dictionary for a likely candidate, but in vain), I fall back on a post that appeared April 9, 2018, exactly one year ago, for Day H of the A to Z Challenge. It's a little English majory, but … Continue reading H Is for The House of the Seven Gables: #atozchallenge

A Is for Anne Tyler: #atozchallenge

Anne Tyler has done it again. The last time I wrote about her, I was in a snit. She'd killed off my favorite character halfway through the novel I was reading, and I was not happy. I'm writing this time because she's made me laugh. The book is Vinegar Girl, a retelling of Shakespeare's The … Continue reading A Is for Anne Tyler: #atozchallenge

Mark Twain’s Mother

Her interest in people and other animals was warm, personal, and friendly. She always found something to excuse, and as a rule to love, in the toughest of them--even if she had to put it there herself. She was the natural ally and friend of the friendless. It was believed that, Presbyterian as she was, … Continue reading Mark Twain’s Mother

One Dollar and Eighty-Seven Cents

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. … Continue reading One Dollar and Eighty-Seven Cents

One Pebble in a Shoe Can Change the Universe

It happened again. An author killed off a character I love. I hate that. I hate the author. I continue to like the book, but the author I despise. This time it's Anne Tyler. I love her novels. The Accidental Tourist. Breathing Lessons. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. My favorites, if I have favorites, are Back … Continue reading One Pebble in a Shoe Can Change the Universe

17 Must-Read Books*

Gertrude Stein   said,   " To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write."  She spoke the truth.  Email. Blog posts. Blog comments. Email. Manuscripts. Introductions. Blog posts. Email. Email. Email.  What happened to reading?  I shall find out.   ***  Pennebaker. The … Continue reading 17 Must-Read Books*

Poetry: Huck Finn Praises Emmeline Grangerford’s Tribute to Stephen Dowling Bots

Mark Twain is given official credit for this poem, but it was really composed by Emmeline Grangerford, whose family Huckleberry Finn met on his Adventures down the Mississippi River. Below, Huck quotes Emmeline's tribute to Stephen Dowling Bots, who came to a watery end. He also records what happened to Emmeline, whose compulsive rhyming finally … Continue reading Poetry: Huck Finn Praises Emmeline Grangerford’s Tribute to Stephen Dowling Bots

“Use the right word . . . “: Mark Twain’s Mother

Mark Twain cared about words: Pa's boot with a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end; the sow lying in the middle of the street looking as happy as if she was on salary; and Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on. "The difference between the almost right word … Continue reading “Use the right word . . . “: Mark Twain’s Mother

Excerpt: Lynna Williams’ “Personal Testimony”

In yesterday's post I wrote about Lynna Williams' story "Personal Testimony." Here are the first three paragraphs of the story. ### "The last night of church camp, 1963, and I am sitting on the front row of the junior mixed-voice choir looking out on the crowd in the big sanctuary tent. The tent glows, green … Continue reading Excerpt: Lynna Williams’ “Personal Testimony”

September SinC-Up: Lynna Williams’ Gift of Voice

On my way home from work one night in the '90s, I heard actress Judith Ivey on Selected Shorts, reading "Personal Testimony," a short story by Lynna Williams. The narrator is eleven-year-old Ellen Whitmore, a preacher's daughter from Fort Worth, who is at Southern Baptist summer camp in Oklahoma. At evening services, when campers are … Continue reading September SinC-Up: Lynna Williams’ Gift of Voice

Elegance

Dinner with the cast of Giant at El Paisano in Marfa, Texas.   Photographs of James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson by Kathy Waller shot from photographs hanging in El Paisano Hotel, Marfa, Texas Related articles Video: Pop Pilgrims 2012: James Dean's last movie was Marfa, Texas' first Hollywood experience "60 Minutes" to air … Continue reading Elegance