Monthly Archives: July 2012

Warning! Road Closure Ahead

Bend, Oregon, is known to be a mecca for outdoor activities, funky music venues, arts and craft fairs, and brewfests. Perhaps signage should be made before the beer is poured:

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I’m not full of …


I often work myself into contortions trying to stress the importance of proper punctuation … but sometimes all it takes is an example so succinct that the point is driven home without so much as a deep knee bend.

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Unlikely Superheroes

We have become accustomed to ordering our books from Amazon, downloading audio versions from iTunes, or buying our reading material at local brick ‘n mortars, be it a little indie shop-around-the-corner or a big box Costco. We look for a bargain, but still, we pay.

The library, which offers all of the above for free, isn’t as popular, like the last kid picked for dodge ball.

But libraries are no longer just places where out-of-print books, yesterday’s newspapers, party-mix CDs (ah … cassettes), and every National Geographic magazine from its first publication in 1888 live happily ever after. Gone are microfiche readers and card catalogs, and even “library voices.”

If you haven’t been lately, libraries now have state-of-the art technology, wireless access, and online “reservations” for bestsellers just published.

And librarians? Well, they’re no longer just behind the desk checking out books, calculating late fees, or shelving returns and hosting storytime for toddlers. Today’s librarians have become cheerleaders for the library system, dreaming up clever new ways to bring in readers.

Take, for example, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Librarian, Karen, whose book club “kits” have become a book club “hit.” One such kit included several copies of The Home for the Friendless, donated by author Betty Auchard – which I was lucky to have edited – complete with discussion questions.

Karen, and all the other librarians, are my superheroes … busy fighting the crime of obsolescence. Like the original BatGirl, by the way, whose alter ego Barbara Gordon was head librarian for the Gotham City Public Library.

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Fifty Scents of PINE SOL

Unless you’ve spent the last four months sequestered on a jury or living as a cloistered nun, you have probably read, talked about, or at least heard of Fifty Shades of Grey.

And as I’ve mentioned before, in the name of research, I’ve done all three … actually, four, since I am also writing about it.

Though most of my friends and I do not understand the reason for such wild success, we do wonder if the tables were turned (so to speak), would the story appeal to us; that is, if the characters and the room and the rules were written from a different perspective.

What if Christian was the Submissive and one of my friends was the Dominant? If she had a playroom, what would it hold? How would she want Christian to “willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things … to please me?” (Fifty Shades of Grey, pg. 100)

So I revisited Chapter Seven of above-mentioned book and think …

The moment Christian walks into her fantasy room, he notices the smell of Pine Sol and Windex – with a faint citrus scent. Instead of a large wooden cross, a broom and mop are fastened like an X to the wall. Instead of ropes, chains, and shackles, scrub brushes and rubber gloves are suspended from the ceiling. And rather than paddles, whips, and riding crops, plungers, vacuum hoses, and swiffers hang from curtain rods.

Forget the stout six-foot-long table with ornately carved legs and matching chairs. Replace them with a pedi-spa chair and accompanying stool from which Christian can gloriously paint her ticklish toes.

Dominating the room is no longer an enormous late-nineteenth century bed, but a massage table with pink satin sheets and goose down pillows. The suede feathery flogger? The belt to a plush silk-lined robe.

She will, however, keep the large oxblood chesterfield couch, piled high with books on her favorite subjects and by her favorite authors that Christian will happily purchase for her without complaining how much she spends on them, and will interrupt her reading only to ask if she’d like another latte.

(Next blog: The 50 PINK rules and incentives)

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Filed under books, English language, publishing, reading, Uncategorized, writing