Tuesday, June 22, 2021


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  

1. What are you currently reading? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R. A. Dick. At the dawn of the 20th century, Lucy Muir's husband died, leaving her with two small children and barely enough money. To stretch her funds, she sold their home and most of its furnishings and rented rural, fully-furnished and under-priced Gull Cottage. It was a bargain because no tenant stayed there overnight. Because it's haunted. The ghost works hard to drive everyone away.

But the ghost takes a liking to Lucy. They learn to co-exist in his house, then become confidantes. He appreciates her and sees an integrity in her that no one else does. When he began referring to her as "Lucia," I melted. In its way, this is a very romantic book.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Kennedy's Avenger by Dan Abrams and David Fisher. Jack Ruby was a murderer. He shot Lee Harvey Oswald on live national TV. There was, literally, a world of witnesses to his act.

This book chronicles his 1964 trial. It could have been dry, but it isn't. It's factual, detailed and riveting because of the human drama represented by Jack Ruby, who is largely forgotten by history. Oswald's assassin is now a footnote, only invoked by conspiracy fetishists who need him to bolster their theories.
He was a confused misfit. He thought that since Dallas policemen accepted free sandwiches and coffee from him in exchange for looking the other way at his nightclub's liquor violations, they were his friends. He thought he was an insider. To the Dallas business community, he was seedy and small time. He worked day in/day out with scantily-clad burlesque dancers, but his dog Sheba was his best girl. (There's also a lot about his medical condition and psychological outlook, but I don't want to give too much away.)
All of this came from trial transcripts and real-time press coverage. I put myself in the place of the jurors and, after reading this book, don't believe I could have found Ruby able to pre-meditate the murder we all can see him commit on YouTube.
If you're interested in our justice system, this is a compelling read. I recommend it.

PS Strippers in the early 1960s had great names. Ruby jurors heard testimony from Penny Dollar, Tammi True and Little Lynn.

3. What will read next? I don't know.

I am Carrie. Carrie is me.

Last week was my staycation. I let everyone I work with know this. Yet the team that handles our car care client ignored that and sent me my July assignment (five blog posts) on Wednesday. I saw the assignment but didn't read it. I shot them an email reiterating that I was on vacation and would start on it Monday.

Today is Monday.

I just wasn't gripped by the first of the five. Motor oil filters. The client wants these posts to be conversational, perhaps a bit cheeky, to have personality. I couldn't settle on a way in, a way to infuse motor oil filters with personality.

So I went grocery shopping. I checked in with my boss and my art director. I took a nap. I reminded myself that since I may have a big dental bill on the horizon, I need this job. I met with my movie group and had a margarita. I loathed myself. I started to watch the ballgame but fell asleep again.*

Then, when I woke with a start at midnight, I had an idea! I'd solved my big problem. I found my "way in."

I suffer from tinnitus. I always hear a constant, distant sound, like the one you hear when you press a seashell against your ear. That's why complete silence makes me crazy. I need background sound to distract me. So I turned on the E! channel and there were the Sex and the City reruns I count on to keep me company.† 

So there I was in bed, my MacBook Air on my lap, pounding away. And there Carrie was, in her bedroom, pounding away. Life imitating art. Of course, she was writing about whether or not she and Mr. Big had a future, and I was waxing eloquent on what happens when a good oil filter goes bad,

4 hours and 418 words later, I'm halfway done. My agency got their money's worth out of me today, just not during regular business hours.

*The game didn't go well. The Cubs lost 4-0, and Rizz was 1-3. 

†If it hadn't been Carrie Bradshaw, I would have switched to Carrie Heffernan and The King of Queens on TVLand.