others' disarrangements

28 May 2002

Acknowledgment: Yesterday's entry was another non-entry.

It's actually a couple minutes past midnight on the 28th. It was a wonderfully lazy three day weekend, but I have to go to work tomorrow. That's dreadful. As in, I dread it -- going to work.

Saturday at the picnic table I told my brother and my mom that after Laura graduates from high school, I'm quitting work as I know it. I told them I will have been doing this (meaning being a legal secretary) for over 29 years at that time and I'm sick of it. Neither one of them seemed too happy about it. I suppose they think I'm going through some sort of midlife crisis. But, I don't think so. I've been thinking about this for a long time. A lonnnnng time.

What am I going to do? At this point, I have no solid plans.

Monday at the picnic table Mary mentioned that Jay Dee, who is in Kuwait with the 183rd, said morale is very low over there. Mary indicated that she thought the Canadians were unjustified in their criticisms of the United States and how they handled the whole situation with the inadvertent bombing. I didn't agree with her. Rather, I disagreed and she wanted to know why. Without getting into the specifics, just suffice to say that I think I may have raised Mary's level of sensitivity to our neighbors to the north a notch or two. I've been avoiding writing about the inadvertent bombing incident only because it seems like it would be just too much speculation on my part.

Here's another thing from the weekend. I've now told both my sister-in-law, Gael, and my niece-in-law, Jill, that I have a web site. Neither one has asked anything about it, much less for the url. Just more evidence that I'm writing all this for myself. Actually, I don't presume to think that anyone would really want to see anything I've written.

Bill and Jill came to Springfield today. They rode their motorcycle from North Carolina. They're going around to as many national parks as they can and getting stamps in a little passport type booklet for a motorcycle club Bill is in. She said they're so happy. I think that's so wonderful. It's just the two of them. Doing what they want to do.

Both of Jill's parents work for the CIA. Her dad is in maps and satellites. She told me her dad was a regular on flight 76. He flew on it about once every three weeks. He was scheduled to be on that plane on September 11, 2001. But, on September 10, he found out he was being called to a meeting at the Pentagon on the afternoon of September 11. So, he changed his flight plans to an evening flight on the 11th. And, as we now know, it was flight 76 that crashed into the Pentagon on the September 11. Needless to say, he's so grateful that he wasn't on that flight.

8:12 p.m.

I made it through the workday. But, it was like a double Monday. Just glad its over.

This is something. John Langone, whoever that is, has written an article in today's New York Times Books on Health section entitled, "Easing Sorrow by the Pen." That's good, because at first I thought it said, "Eating Sorrow by the Pen," which conjures up images of sitting down at the table, placing a pen by your side, crying, and eating.

Actually, it's an article about a booklet entitled, "Writing to Heal the Soul," by Susan Zimmerman. It's put out by Three Rivers Press for $13. Ms. Zimmerman's 16 year old daughter has a brain injury which causes her (the daughter) to function like a six month old. When the Ms. Zimmerman tried to ease her own pain by filling her life with work among other things, it didn't work. So, she picked up the pen and starting writing about her daughter. That worked better. And now she's written a little instructional on how to do this.

I think I was on to this concept first. I should have written the instructional.

Note: Because that link is on the Times, it'll only be good for about a week.

This is very significant. The New York Times is running a little series of articles by authors who focus on the meaning that a sense of places evokes. Again, I think I've done some of this. The most recent article is entitled "Judy Blunt Took Bleakness and Ran With It."

The significant thing is that the writer, Ms. Blunt, apparently embellishes in her writing too. Her book is a memoir about her life -- the very difficult life of a woman -- on a Montana ranch.

She writes about one particular instance where her former father-in-law was furious because she was late in getting lunch on the table. She writes that he took her typewriter outside and "killed it with a sledgehammer." The father-in-law, who never read her book, but did read some reviews, wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper denying that he ever did that. Ms. Blunt was later confronted about the incident by a reporter from The Great Falls Tribune about the typewriter incident. According to the N.Y. Times, "Ms. Blunt conceded to the reporter that Mr. Matovich did not hammer the typewriter. She explained that the scene was meant to be ‘symbolic' of what she had endured on her husband's ranch. The actual typewriter event was less dramatic, she said, but she declined to elaborate."

Why is this so significant? Well, again, this is something I've done a bit of. And, in my memoirs, which are still being written, I've acknowledged the embellishments up front. Not item by item, but generally. I'm not saying my embellishments are justified because of Ms. Blunt. No, not at all. I would have done them anyway. I just think it's noteworthy that other people do it too. It's interesting though, that her editor didn't get to the bottom of the stories before publication. Some kind of disclaimer could have been made at the beginning of the book to avoid possibly embarrassing explanations later. And, of course, there's the issue of credibility. The article further discusses the issue of factuality.

Oh! Two more little things from the article. According to Robin Desser, Ms. Blunt's editor, the book is "selling exceptionally well for a memoir by a nonfamous person...." And, "In The New York Times Book Review, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, ‘Judy Blunt is such a natural writer and this book is so good, it's unthinkable to imagine that she might have never pursued this craft.'" Hmm, I wonder if anyone will ever say those things about my writings.

Not ...

very ...


Note: The article will only be on line for about a week because it's on the Times web site too.

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© L.M. Carnes 2002.

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