Greetings From Apalachicola

images.jpgIt has been about ten months since my daughter moved me down to Florida to make her family unit multigenerational: her two kids at one end and me at the other. Most of the construction is now completed and I am very comfortable in my two rooms with all my books, my T-shirts, and my dog Ricky (we miss Luci).

This last weekend the more active members of the family spent a few days cavorting at the beaches of the gulf and I stayed behind to enjoy cold-brewed coffee and read poems by Allen Ginsberg. It was only two days but the peacefulness of being alone with my thoughts was refreshing. When the family returned, my precocious little granddaughter brought me a cowry shell with Apalachicola engraved on its top and a gold sticker announcing Made in the Philippines on the bottom.

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13 Ways of Looking At a Fat Girl

images.jpgMona Awad is an Arab-Canadian and the product of creative writing schools. I don’t know if she had any first hand knowledge of her subject, but her 13 vignettes in the life of a woman with severe body issues certainly seems viable. Awad has a strong grasp on the essentials of good fiction. As someone once said, It’s all in the details.

Each individual story (vignette) shows a different view of a fat girl’s involvement in the everyday elements of life: food, clothes, exercise, friends, sex. The conflict comes, however, not with ripped seams in an expensive dress or an extra cannoli for dessert.

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Vinegar Girl

imgres-2.jpgReading this new novel by Anne Tyler I couldn’t help but hum those memorable Neil Young lyrics

I could be happy
the rest of my life
With a vinegar girl.

It’s not really The Taming of the Shrew (or even 10 Things I Hate About You) but it does have a similar vibe. Here the scientist father needs to assure the continuing services of a Slavic lab assistant nearing the end of his visa work permit. Perhaps the scientist’s older, somewhat rebellious daughter would marry the guy until the residency requirements are met. Wacky, huh?

Actually Anne Tyler writes a smooth narrative that is engaging and entertaining, but not terribly deep or thought-provoking.

Vinegar Girl comes from the old adage, “You can catch more flies with cinnamon than you can with vinegar.”

Messy Look

WildrootcharlieWhen I was a kid I wore my hair presentably long and experimented with Brylcreem, Vitalis, Wildroot, and any brand product down at Thrifties Drug Store that promised to corral my hair and attract girls

I tried the oily look, the dry look, the casual look, the bomb-proof look. For a period in High School I was so anal about my hair that I used great gobs of L & B Butch wax. It should be noted that butch wax was apparently made from wax lips leftover from Halloween, melted down, and mixed with a little lanolin to differentiate it from something used to deflect enemy phasers. The idea was that butch wax would make the short hairs on your head stand up straight and stay at attention. This was especially useful for the ancient hairstyle known as the “flat-top” (an early ancestor of the Fade). An although a often was forced to get a cooling short haircut for Summer, I never used butch wax on my butch haircut.

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