“Left in the dryer too long”

My blog post today highlights a line I like from a book written by the late Sue Grafton. Ms. Grafton died last month after a two-year battle with cancer. She was known for her alphabetical book series. The first book in the series is A is for Alibi. Ms. Grafton had written her way all the way through the letter “Y” at the time of her death. Her fans are disappointed that there won’t be a “Z” book.

A is for Alibi

I was late to jump on Ms. Grafton’s bandwagon and have only read A is for Alibi and B is for Burglar. I was in my early 60s when I read A is for Alibi, so the following line from that book resonated with me. Today is my 65th birthday, so I wanted to share that line with you.

“She was probably 65, with a finely wrinkled face, like something that had been left in the dryer too long.”  From A is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton.

I love that line! I have a finely wrinkled face, but that is the least of my worries. In the grand scheme of things, wrinkles don’t matter to me.

Out of curiosity, I looked online to see how old Sue Grafton was when she wrote A is for Alibi. Since she was 41 years old when it was published, I guess she wasn’t dealing with wrinkles yet. It would have been interesting to ask her about her thoughts on the matter when she turned 65 in 2005.

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Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash

I truly cannot believe I’m 65 years old, even though over the last few months I have received mail from just about every insurance company in the United States proclaiming in bold and large font that I would soon be turning 65 and it was time for me to select Medicare supplemental insurance.

It seems that two or three times a week I receive notices via Facebook that more and more of my high school classmates are having birthdays – and I can’t believe any of them are turning 65 either.

I celebrate today, and in the coming days and weeks I’ll try to embrace my age and remember to say or write “65” when asked my age. With a little luck, I’ll continue to think Ms. Grafton’s “left in the dryer too long” line is funny.

Can you do me a favor?

At the end of last Monday’s blog post I included a request for your name, your e-mail address, your location (because I’m curious about where in the world you are), and a comment so I can start building a mailing list. I filled it out myself, just so I could test it and make sure it was working. I received an e-mail letting me know that I had signed up for my own mailing list. I didn’t hear from anyone else, as in zip… zero.

I’m including the same form at the end of today’s post, except I’m going to try to override the required comment.

If you filled out the form last week, please let me know so I can try to determine why I wasn’t notified.

If you follow my blog via e-mail you probably think I already have your name and address, but I don’t have access to that information.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I just finished reading Nightwoods, by Charles Frazier.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

If you are also 65 years old, I hope you’re happy in your own skin, and that includes not minding if you have “a finely wrinkled face, like something that had been left in the dryer too long.”

Janet

P.S.  Please fill out the form below. I promise I will not overload your inbox with e-mail.

Some books I read in February

On February 21 I posted a blog about some of the books I read in January. I think in the future I will blog about the books I’ve read in a given month at the end of that month or first couple of days in the following month. I have good intentions, but you know what they say about those!

“Exploring North Carolina” is one of my favorite shows on UNC-TV. The host, Tom Earnhardt, never fails to educate and entertain as he explores the varied and rich geography, geology, flora, and fauna of the state. Although the vast majority of my books come from the public library, Mr. Earnhardt’s book, Crossroads of the Natural World: Exploring North Carolina with Tom Earnhardt was a book I knew I wanted to own. It’s the kind of book from which one can learn something new every time it is read. As if I needed any encouragement to visit every nook and cranny of North Carolina, this book makes me wish I could spend all my time doing just that.

Now that Sue Grafton is nearing the end of the alphabet, I decided to start reading her books. I read A is for Alibi in January and plan to continue reading my way through her popular alpha series. I couldn’t help but notice how telephone communications have changed since A is for Alibi was published in 1982. It almost places the book in the historical fiction genre.

Another case that falls into the “so many books, so little time” category is John Grisham and his books. I finally got around to reading Gray Mountain. (Yes, Sycamore Row is still on my “want to read” list — which is growing far faster than I’ll ever be able to keep up with.) I thoroughly enjoyed Gray Mountain. I love the way Mr. Grisham gets his points across regarding social justice issues without beating us over the head. In Gray Mountain, he puts a human face on how surface mining has scarred so much of our nation’s coal-producing region.

I was delighted to win a copy of The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II with Johnathan Wilson Hartgrove. I participated in the Moral Mondays Movement in North Carolina in the summer of 2014, so I was eager to read Dr. Barber’s book. Even though I pride myself for staying informed about local, state, and national politics, Dr. Barber’s book opened my eyes to some historical connections that I had not made. This book shines a light on dirty politics in North Carolina but gives strong hope that this current grassroots movement will persist.

The Dark Road to Mercy, a novel by my fellow North Carolinian Wiley Cash, is primarily set in Gastonia, North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is the sad tale of two young sisters abandoned by their father and then left in a children’s home when their mother died. Long lost Dad shows up and wants his daughters. Thus begins a tale that will keep you wondering what’s going to happen next and what the final outcome will be. If you want to read what inspired Mr. Cash’s book, read his author page on Amazon.com. I’ll be on the lookout for his next book.

David Baldacci’s The Guilty was the next book I read in February. Mr. Baldacci did not fail to give the numerous twists and turns for which he is known. This whodunit is a true page turner. As a Southerner, I think the accents were at times overdone, and I was surprised he made the mistake of having a character ask another character, “What do y’all want” when obviously speaking to one lone individual. Also, I’ve never heard a Southerner use the term, “Yous.” On a positive note, he did spell “y’all” correctly, which is something some Southerners don’t do. The deeper I got into the fascinating story, the less I noticed the vernacular. Not sure how I’d feel, though, if I were from Mississippi.

Perhaps I am just sensitive about the accents because use of accents and brogues in dialogue is something I’m struggling with in my fiction writing. I’m dealing with Carolina backcountry settlers from Scotland, Ireland, and France and slaves from Africa in my historical novel manuscript titled The Spanish Coin. Since I’m a novice writer, who am I to criticize someone like David Baldacci? I’m striving to strike a balance between giving characters authentic voices and overdoing vernacular to the point that it distracts the reader from the story. It is a writing skill I must master.

Now I’m afraid this post is too long. Do I need to blog about what I’m reading more often than monthly?