Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Apologies to Candy Hatcher

I am subject to delayed grief, but this Monday, at the coffee shop in Seattle, it was when I finally realized that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is gone forever. It's not ever coming back. I am so very sorry about that. I miss that paper and I miss how newspapers used to be even a few years ago.

I miss the Los Angeles Times when I read it on my sister's kitchen table in Venice Beach -- acres of print, an abundance of more than I could ever read, vast resources of highly-skilled reporters going over stories from every possible angle. The Los Angeles Times is still with us, but it's a pale ghost of what it was.

Now I feel the need to apologize for some comments I made this spring about the demise of mainstream journalism -- I mocked them in their hour of defeat when I should have shown sympathy.

I apologize to Candy Hatcher at the Virginian-Pilot, to Elaine Kolodziej and Susan Hodges at the Wilson County News, to Stedem Wood and Beverly Crichfield at the Skagit Valley Herald, to Sandy Stokes at the LaConner Weekly News, to Tara Nelson at the Northern Light and to Monica Guzman at the Internet version of the Post-Intelligencer.

You are all doing good work. It's getting really tough, and I don't know how this will work out, but ..... Hang in There, and It's Not Over and Don't Quit.

I actually like a well-worn cliche. There are times when nothing else will do.

SCARECROW. Welcome to the world of best-selling authors. Sometimes the vast multitudes are right and there's no reason to be a snob about that. I have been enjoying the detective novels written by Michael Connelly, especially Angels Flight and the Lincoln Lawyer.

Connelly was inspired by the hard-boiled fiction of Raymond Chandler, and his novels celebrate the landscape of Los Angeles.

When I talked to Connelly at the book-signing yesterday, I said, "You love Los Angeles, I can tell." He protested and said, "I get pretty cynical about it, but yes I do."

The book-signing was at the Seattle Mystery Book Store in Pioneer Square in Seattle -- a couple of hundred people quickly lined up at noon for the ritual. Connelly sat in a fat leather chair behind a table, protected by hovering acolytes on each side, obviously weary of the whole procedure as he has been manhandled from city to city on his book tour -- but he's a game fellow just the same, willing to do his duty and sign book after book, while mumbling platitudes of appreciation.

He's left-handed.

That was yesterday. I read most of Scarecrow last night and I finished it this morning. It's very good.

THELMA PALMER. It's possible to write a very good poem on the Internet. This poem is by Thelma Palmer who lives on Guemes Island.


By summer dream
a stile rises from the bay
beyond my bedroom window,
that is low and open to the night.

And, there, dead darlings
from my childhood rise and call to me.

One by one they climb the steps,
pause briefly at the top,
sing out their names
and slowly walk back down to water.


If I call out in trembling
"What do you want?"
they answer back,

"Remembering. Just remembering."

LOVE LETTERS FROM THE SIXTIES. I have been writing about love and marriage these past few issues, and its been very rewarding. I hit a vein of solid gold when I wrote the high school story about Jill's letters to Sam. It was like letting something out of a closet that had been nailed shut for 45 years. Things happen in high school that are very, very important, but it takes some strong medicine to deal with it. I think we've had enough for now.

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