Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mysteries and various musings

Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles mystery series, came to TCU today to talk to a luncheon. She was entertaining, erudite, and informative--in short, a terrific speaker. She talked about her own career, but she put it in the context of the genre and traced the development of women writing mysteries, from P.D. James to Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi to the present when there is a real explosion of women writing mysteries, so much so that they have an international organization, Sisters in Crime. I'd met Susan before and was pleased that she remembered me. When we chatted briefly, I mentioned that I'd written a mystery and didn't know what to do next. Her instant answer wa Sisters in Crime, so tonight I've joined, written a check, and am expecting miracles to happen. Albert's story is one of great luck--an editor who just happened to look at her proposal and liked it--but also one of incredible hard work and of believing in herself. Back to what Jamie said: if you believe it will happen, it will. Okay, I really believe my mystery will sell, and I just have to find the righ path. Maybe Susan Wittig Albert set me onto that path today. Meantime, I'm a big fan of her books. She passed out a bookmark with all the China Bayles books listed, and I realized I have a lot to read.
Oops. I don't know what I hit, but the above posted long before I was ready. I wanted to muse a bit on things tha puzzle me. Tonight I watched the Pennsylvania Clinton/Obama debate. I'll be darned if I can tell their basic positions apart, and I'm glad I'm no longer called on to vote for one or the other. I listen to all the arguments about which one could win for the Democrats, and I don't know what to think. I do know that John McCain is about the scariest man to come along since George W. Bush. Josseph Galloway's column the other day described Bush as not just a disaster for our country but one of Titanic proportions, and I certainly agree. And, unfortunately, I feel McCain would follow the same path and is as unpredictable and unreliable as Bush.
But other things puzzle me too--the seizure of all those children from the ranch in West Texas. I am torn. I probably really think those children were not living healthy lives--abused or not. But is it the state's business to take children from their mothers on such a mass scale? And as a mother, I sympthize with those mothers. On the other hand, I long to protect the children. I wish life came with easy answers.
And then there's the case of those teen-age girls who savagely beat a classmate. How have we raised a generation of children who could even think of that? I am appalled. I watched those videos with horror, and I wondered how I would feel if my child had done that. Except I have perfect confidence none of my children would have. How is the victim going to go on with her life? And what kind of future do the girls who did the beating have? It's almost too frightening to think about--and yet, as the grandparent of young children, soon to grow into teenagers, I have to think about it.
One a lighter note: I'm watching what I eat. Had salad plates for lunch and dinner yesterday, a small quiche and salad today at the Albert luncheon, and tonight I cooked a really good dinner for Jordan (Jacob ate his own things). I floured and sauteed chicken in wine and lemon, then sauteed a stir-fry of sugar snap peas, haricot vert, and sliced mushrooms. The peas were especially crunchy and tasted green and fresh. The big thing is that I sauteed them in a small amount of butter and added olive oil--as opposed to the tons of butter I usually use. And I haven't had a chocolate sundae in four days. Of course I expect the weight to have melted away, but I know that's not true.

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