Feeling old? Let me tell you about the speaker we had at a book luncheon at TCU today. When Mary Penson arrived at my office, I told her I was going to introduce her and asked, "May I say how old you are?" Her reply was, "Of course." She's 91, and she wrote her first novel at 70. TCU Press has published three young-adult historicals by Mary. Today at the luncheon she was a delightful speaker. To a roomful of women, with one lone man, she talked about how 19th century women were chattel and had two responsiblities--to marry and "pop babies" (I swear, that's what she said). When the gentleman in our midst said, "Sounds good to me," she threatened to see him outside after the lunch. And later something else she said prompted her to turn to him and ask if he was still with her. Then she said, "I'm really glad you came today." She talked about writing historicals so that she doesn't have to deal with the lingo of today's children, and she talked about her absorption in history. She said she felt her newest book, Martha Mary Overestreet, M.D., was her best to date (she's not through writing), and I agreed. It's the story of a young girl, eighth grade, in a small North Texas town in the late 19th century, who is determined to control her own destiny and not to marry and "pop babies." I've never asked Mary, but I'm sure her formula for living a long life is to keep busy and involved--and it sure works for her.
A friend I met for breakfast this morning gave me another clue for living a long life. She said her doctor had advised her to eat steel cut oatmeal (as opposed to rolled, which are cut into pieces and then rolled to make them thin). Steel cut oats are not rolled, and they take longer to cook and are chewy. But Mary said she feels the difference since she's been eating them with a bit of brown sugar, cinnamon, some dried apricots, and milk. It's on my shopping list for Saturday!
Tonight Betty and I tried a new restaurant--new to us and in a new location for the restaraunt. Called Chadra's, it's a Middle Eastern, maybe Lebanese restaurant. I had eggplant with ground sirloin and tomatoes--delish! And the small dinner salad was very lemony and good. A successful adventure!
I'm reading a mystery that started out slow, then seemed to diverge into two separate plots--one involving the husband and the other the wife--but now, two-thirds of the way through, the plots are coming together, and I'm finally hooked. I chose it because I read that this author wrote Santa Fe based mysteries but so far they have been only passing references to Santa Fe and no action there. I'm ready for a novel that sweeps me up and carries my away! But it strikes me as funny that I can so clearly see structural problems in other people's work, even published work in an established series, but I can get my own mystery published (and it of course has no structural problems--well, okay, not that I see!)