Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My sad career as a library user, my book addiction, and some questions

Sad career
I am a library abuser, and I SO don’t want to be. I love the concept of a library, and I love checking books out. The problem is, I don’t get around to returning them. It is like a mental problem! So they sit until they are so overdue that I’m embarrassed to return them. I’m talking years here, folks. There have been times where I have lived two blocks from a library and this has happened. Then finally, usually under cover of night, I skulk over and slip them into the slot.

Like any abuse cycle, it soon resumes. I pay my fine and apply for a fresh new library card, hoping the nice people behind the desk don’t have too much data about my evil history in their computers. I’m always shocked when they actually give the card to me, and allow me to check more books out. Are they insane? However, I vow to myself it will be different this time! I check out my first books, excited by the smell. I take them home. I read them. They sit. The self-loathing begins again.

I sort of want to return to the library, but I don’t feel I have a right. Plus, we may move to another city. Maybe then I will. A place where they don’t know me!

My addiction & questions
Anyway, these days, I really love getting books through the mail, new. It’s like my one vice. I love opening the box—there they are, my choices! And I put them next to my bed, all perfect and straight-edged as library books and used bookstore books can never be. When they’re mine, I can read them in the bath. Also, buying new supports authors.

But then, you get into the whole thing about trees and paper. This thought really does plague me. I have a friend who sold a book and somehow got it printed on recycled paper or something by taking less of an advance--I can't quite remember how it all worked.  I long to be published, but I don't want to destroy the homes of woodland animals. I’ve heard Harry Potter destroys entire forests.  

Yes, there are ebooks, but I’m not ready to jump there. I am with a computer so much for my job, and I have a great love for reading in the bath, so 75% of my books get wet. Another question for readers: what happens when everybody uses e-readers and libraries develop really robust e-book catalogs, and you can download them through the web? Who would ever buy a new book then? The product would be identical.

If my books don’t get all wet, I will sometimes sell them to used bookstores. That sort of recycles them, and I’ll also buy books at used bookstores, but then the money doesn’t go to the author. Hey English people - does England still do that thing where it’s illegal to resell books?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heroines who remind me of girls I knew in high school, Part TWO

Why am I doing this? See part ONE below.

Savi Murray: (Demon Moon by Meljean Brook)
Savi reminds me of that rare kind of girl who was liked by kids from all walks of life—burnouts, the nerdy smart set, even the jocks, (thanks to her fake ID selling business for the fictional Savi). She’s the girl who spent most of her time in the computer lab (when I went to high school, kids didn’t have their own computers to bring). Savi is one of the smarter heroines I read, which is highly enjoyable. In classes, the Savi type of girl I'm specifically thinking about was a bit of a screw off, only because she was bored by the lessons, being that she already knew everything. You can sometimes find a Savi type of girl in band, playing a more outrageous instrument like tuba or drums. And if bagpipes were allowed in band, she would probably go for that. Never flute.

Anita Blake (Anita Blake, Vampire Slayer by Laurel K. Hamilton)
In high school, Anita was one of those girls other kids didn’t understand, skulking around the halls in black. Really goal-oriented and tough and serious, and maybe a bit judgmental. I was slightly in awe of the Anita I’m thinking of, and I would’ve liked to know her better, but I if actually socialized her, I doubt she would’ve had much patience with me - she would’ve thought I goofed around too much, like I wasn’t a really serious person. Anita had precisely one friend, and together they had their own private, rich, interesting world. They could frequently be found doing interesting projects with some hip teacher.

Margrit Knight (Heart of Stone, C.E. Murphy)
I had a friend like Margrit—the serious smart girl who wins all the awards, and a member of a lot of clubs, on the paper and all that. We scheduled classes together, like German, where she was the star. We were also on track team and tennis team, where we had weird little private jokes. She had excellent taste in music and a slight weight fixation. My Margrit was sensible, reasonable, mature and fun. This Margrit type makes for a strong, totally admirable heroine.

Jezebel (Hell’s Belles by Jackie Kessler)
Jezebel was a girl I secretly watched and tried to copy in the fashion department, with dismal results. She smoked in the bathroom and sucked at gym class, math and all other classes, not that she cared. The Jezebel type I’m thinking of would seek out a more studious girl like me out around test time, begging for me to explain stuff to her, because she blew off class and homework. And I would help her and explain things to her, just to be near her, hoping she’d rub off on me a little bit. The Jezebel I remember was on the sexy dance squad, and then she was kicked off the sexy dance squad. An enjoyable heroine to read about.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Heroines who remind me of girls I knew in high school, Part ONE

I recently made a list of heroines I identify with in a comfortingly seamless way during the act of reading--like they’re an other me.

This made me think about heroines I love reading about just as much, but don’t identify with as completely. I have decided this happens when the heroine isn’t A) vulnerable enough in a way that resonates with me, or B) she is vulnerable enough, but way too different than me, like a different animal.

Sometimes I prefer that. Reading about heroines like these is like having an adventure with a friend who is fascinating or admirable in some way, rather than a comforting proxy self. Reading should take a person to new places and new realities.

On my heroines I totally identify with list, some people mentioned Sookie as a heroine they identify with, and I really thought about putting her on that list, because I am CRAZY about those books, and I love her and I enjoy being in that wonderful world she inhabits. Especially if Eric is hanging around. (I may even splurge on the new book coming out in May, even though it’s in hardcover. Please, don’t ask me why I can’t show my face in the library anymore. That’s a topic for another day.) However, while I identify with Sookie often, she is often an othergirl to me—in a good way.

Anyway, thinking about all this, I realized this weird thing: when I think about heroines I love reading about but don’t 100% identify with, I think about girls I knew in high school and I put them in categories from high school. I don’t know why, as I am MANY years past high school. Maybe I’m just not over it. Without further ado:

Sookie: (Southern Vampire mysteries by Charlaine Harris)
I had a best friend like Sookie - sweet, sexy, blonde, smart, her own easy fashion sense, all the boys loved her. (I know supposedly boys don’t like Sookie because of her telepathy, but you know. I think they sort of would.) Sookie is also vulnerable and her world is delightful to dwell in, but she is so the opposite of my high school self—I was not pretty, smart but not a high performer, and a total moron when it came to boys, hair and fashion. So while I identify with Sookie in a pleasurable way while reading, I identify with her as a best friend rather than a proxy self.

Phedre: (Kushiel’s Series by Jacqueline Carey)
Phedre is the mysterious girl I would’ve admired from afar and been in awe of. I would’ve wanted to be friends with her, but she would’ve run with a cooler group and taken more obscure classes. Her cleverness with guys would’ve mystified me, too. And if I’d ever talked to her, like at parties, I would’ve said stupid things, being so in awe of her. I would’ve wished desperately to be her, just for one day. Though I frequently identify with her during the act of reading, Phedre is very othergirl.

Riley Jensen: (Riley Jensen Guardian Series by Keri Arthur)
Riley’s kind of a wild girl, and she loves to have fun. I had groups of friends that contained wild girls like her, and every once in a while, a Riley would befriend me for some inexplicable reason, and we would drive with the music too loud, and she would rampage around at the Walgreen’s, maybe get us kicked out of the A & W and it would seem like an incredible adventure to me. Eventually our friendship would fizzle, because I could never keep up with a Riley. Not that I didn’t long to.

Tomorrow: Anita Blake, Margrit Knight, Jezebel, Savi Murray

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Identifying with heroines

Well, I must say that Three to Get Deadly, the third Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich, is really doing the trick for an escapist comfort read. I am just a sucker for that world. Mom has been making pot roast. Faithful Rex the hamster is always running in his little wheel. Last night Joe Morelli even brought over a pizza from Pino’s. He was there when I ordered it, and decided to surprise me.

Don’t worry, I know that I’m not Stephanie, but I have to say that my experience of identification with Stephanie is scarily complete when I’m reading one of these books, and I’ve been thinking, what’s that all about? A lot of it is obviously about her vulnerability - she's not that great a bounty hunter, and she's even scared a lot, and checks her closets when she gets home.

Of course I’ve read heroines who are so vulnerable and needy that I want to slap them. You have to have something on the plus side, too. For Stephanie’s it’s her resourcefulness, and the fact that she never gives up. Plus, she has this intense desire to be a good bounty hunter.

I don’t have to identify with a hero or heroine to love them or love a book, but when I want a comfort read, I do. So what the hell, I have decided to make a list.

Heroines I have the highest and most gratifying identification experience with during reading:

1. Stephanie Plum.
2. Harper from the Grave Surprise series. Sorry, I have a kitty on my lap, so I won't be getting up to see what the official name of the series is, but it's the other one by Charlaine Harris. I sure love this heroine. Every town she goes to, everybody thinks she’s a freak because they’re sort of scared of her, and because she makes them uncomfortable. Then she ends up helping them, because she believes in what she’s doing. And the assholes end up feeling or at least looking like real assholes. It’s an unusually satisfying series in this way. She is so easy to identify with, though.
3. Georgina from Succubus Blues. I haven’t read the new one, so maybe she gets downgraded or upgraded in relate-ability, but she has a tragic vulnerability in the first book in that she will destroy any man she loves, but she wants to love! Her wanting something badly and never getting it, and the internal struggle of that somehow makes her really easy to identify with.
4. No, this isn't a book, but how could I not put Buffy on this list?

Tomorrow: Heroines who I admire and/or am of in awe or fascinated by, but don’t fully identify with.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fabulous winner news

Running a contest is fun, and it feels good to give away prizes. It sure made me feel better after a sad kitty day. And my winners chose really interesting books. Also, you'll want to watch their blogs for their pay it forward contests!

Vicki, who you can visit over at Writing with Vicki, chose prize #1. So in addition to Bettie Sharpe's Like a Thief in the Night, she decided to check out these books by new authors:

Vicki Pick #1:
Total Control
by Pamela Britton

Indi Wilcox has a bad track record with race-car drivers—and the skid marks on her heart to prove it. So when she's forced to team up with Todd Peters, NASCAR's number one bad boy, to grant the wish of a terminally ill child, she vows to keep things professional.

Todd isn't sure what he thinks about the new Miracles caseworker. Except that she's gorgeous—and steaming mad. Not that he blames her. He accidentally let down one of her kids. Determined to prove to Indi that he's not just another spoiled NASCAR star, Todd sets out to make things right. With every combustible moment they share, deeper feelings take over. Giving up total control might be the scariest—or the best—risk they ever take.

Vicki pick #2:
Danger Zone by Debra Webb

For team owner Buck Buchanan every day at the Huntsville track is a rush. The noise. The dirt. The roar. The furor. NASCAR's golden boy has only one regret: Jenna Williams. Not that he blames her for ditching him twelve years ago, but now she's back and has thrown a red flag.

Jenna is downright frantic, clutching a ransom note demanding a cool million in exchange for her daughter's safety. Their daughter's, actually. Yes, she knows how it looks asking Buck for help. But it's true. The child is theirs and Buck's the only one who can wrench her out of danger.Even if that means trading himself for a girl he's never known.

Her two other new author books are:

Rachael pick #1:
Black Magic Woman (Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation) by Justin Gustainis
CHECK out the Jim Butcher blurb.

"Black Magic Woman is the best manuscript I've ever been asked to read. Keep an eye on Justin Gustainis. You'll be seeing more of him soon."
- Jim Butcher.

"Family vendettas abound in an intriguing tale that pits a descendant of Bram Stoker's Quincey Morris against two kinds of dark magic -- an inherited curse and Zulu fetish witchcraft. As much as I enjoy walking in a Wiccan wonderland, stories that explore other witchcraft traditions are a treat. This one's a real page-turner and a solid start to a new paranormal detective series."
- Elaine Cunningham

Rachael pick #2:
Greywalker by Kat Richardson

PI Harper Blaine sees a strange shift in clientele in Richardson's dizzy urban fantasy debut. After being dead for two minutes as a result of a clobbering by an angry perp, Harper discovers icky side effects complicate her Seattle life in unexpected ways—she sees ghosts and attracts otherworldly business as she pops in and out of a shadowy overlapping world. Harper seeks the assistance of Ben Danziger, self-proclaimed "ghost guy" and linguistics professor, and his wife, Mara, a witty Irish witch. They educate Harper on the Grey, "a place between our world and the next." Harper tries to maintain a normal life, dating a sexy antiques expert while battling wits with Seattle's vampire king, but being a Greywalker means she can only "pass for human."

And our Lisabea from Nose in a Book went with the Bettie Sharpe book and a craft! The book she wants her craft based on: Demon Moon by Meljean Brook. Not only will it be based on this book, it will physically contain elements of it. Perhaps I will put a photo up here when I actually make it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The pleasures of cozy

It was only this year that I learned what exactly a cozy mystery is. I sort of find the term odd. I guess I’ve read a few, particularly if you count Dorothy Sayers. And this year I have started the Stephanie Plum series of cozy mysteries, which I love. I first read #2, and later #1, which was so excellent—wow, could I ever feel the first book energy in it.

Anyway, the central drama these days in my life is our beloved cat, Petunia, being sick with cancer. She has been for months, but she has continued being her kitty self, so it was okay for the most part. But now she seems to be getting worse, and she’s become less often her kitty self. I can’t tell you how much we love this cat! Anyway, after a very sad day today of agonizing over what to do when, some books arrived in the mail from Amazon. I am such an addict of ordering books. And in spite of an outstanding roster of books I am currently reading: Demon Moon, My Fair Captain, and Karma Girl, there was the third Stephanie Plum mystery in that box, and it’s like the only thing I can think of reading.

I want Stephanie’s mom to make roast and exhort me to sit at the table and ask about my day, and do I want dessert? And what about that nice nephew of somebody? And for Grandma Mazur to appear wearing something outrageous, and for the father to be grumbling from behind the newspaper. And I want Morelli to be just this dependable guy, attracted, interested, but nothing dramatic. And Ranger always willing to show up. Cozy mystery seemed such an odd term, but now it doesn’t seem odd or wrong at all. There is something so wonderfully cozy about that world. It’s all about that world. Cozy and familiar. Always waiting for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Winners: Vicki, Lisabea, and RachelfromNJ!

You will be happy to know that each of your names was written on a ripped up piece of envelope and put in a little pile other ripped up pieces of envelope with other names. I then lovingly transported them across the apartment in my trembling, cupped hands, and knelt before my husband, trembling. My lord, I said, would you do me the honor of choosing among the worthy entrants of my contest. He bade me stand, and breathlessly he chose your three names as I wept with joy.

Okay, actually, he was at his computer and he looked confused that I would want him to select ripped up bits of envelope from my hands when he had so many better things to do. But he complied. And chose you!

Now, you must choose your prizes! Here is the prize recap:

1. Support new authors prize - This is in honor of new author Bettie, who put up with a lot of changes from yours truly on the header. The prize is Bettie’s new book, LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, PLUS two other books of your choice by NEW authors. (Sorry, no hardcovers. But you can pick fancy trade paperbacks if you want!) If you already have Bettie’s book, then choose a different third. What’s a new author? I’d say somebody on their first or second book. Maybe without a giant promo engine behind them. But you can define it for yourself.

2. Support new authors and keep your coffee warm - You get two books of your choice by new authors, PLUS a cup warmer. It’s like a little hotplate for your coffee cup. Yes, I’m regifting, but the cup warmer is super cool. Bettie says it's great as a candle warmer, or for wax.

3. Crafty + book - I will make a really super funky piece of art incorporating the cover of any book you please, possibly suitable for display (that is, I will feel it’s suitable for display. Also, understand that the cover may be cut up, altered or merged with other elements and possibly objects in ways that I feel make a sort of sublime sense.) It can’t be out of print because I will need to buy it. I will probably also read and review it. In addition to that piece of art, or rather, “art,” I will send you ONE book by a new author.

I'm not totally sure how to do this, but I think you should email me - carolyn7000(at) - note lowercase letters - with the names of whatever book/books you choose and I'll swing you an Amazon gift certificate (after I investigate how to do that), and then I should get your addresses if you choose the coffee warmer or crafty prize! And I guess only one person gets the coffee warmer!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Come for me!

I am sure I’ll regret posting this entry, but it has been a burning question of mine for some time:

Does anybody really say Come for me in real life?

Lately, I have seen this phrase pop up in sex scenes, where the partner, usually the more experienced or bossy one, says this, and the other magically complies. I mean, obviously they were heading there anyways, but still. I don’t get it. In my world, many things are amenable to verbal requests and commands. Coming is not one of them.

Like Einstein doing his famous thought experiments as he developed his important theories about time and the curvature of space, I have done my own thought experiments on Come for me and in what way such a command could possibly be effective. Maybe I am showing off my sexual naiveté for all the world to see here, but through my own thought experiments, I have determined that if my husband or any pre-husband man I was with said Come for me in bed, it would have the total opposite effect. I would be out of the zone because suddenly it’s supposed to happen at this given time. I am going to excuse hunky Captain Nate from saying it to Aiden in My Fair Captain. I could definitely see it working on a 19 year old boy. Or, I could see it having the intended effect if it was put in an interestingly dirty way. Or, if you’re already past the point of no return, so to speak. But Come for me? And what if then you didn’t? Isn’t there enough pressure on the female orgasm already?

Like Einstein, because you know I am totally like Einstein, I have this theory that the phrase was born in the fictional universe and spreads only there, from character to character without ever interfacing with real life. Like, the Regency rake says it, so suddenly some other author’s domineering werewolf character has to say it. And then the vampire brothers can’t be left out. And suddenly the sexy policeman is saying it. Because it’s the bed command all the cool heroes are using, sort of like Open your eyes, Watch me, or some other sort of command along the lines of See what I’m doing. Which I could see working.

I mean, obviously lots of things in the books I read don’t happen that way in real life, but Come for me, specifically, has me wondering. So please, people, enlighten me. Take the quiz at the left!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Villain recognition

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Gabriel's Ghost
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Spoiler level: low-medium

Wow, I am REALLY enjoying this book!! The characters are wonderful, the action is tight. I want to talk about one little plot aspect here that I really admired: the villain giveaway. 

I’m one of those people who pegs the villains fast. It’s a talent that impresses my husband to no end during TV shows and movies. Of course I don’t tell him who the villain is – that would ruin his fun, but being the smarty-pants show-off I am, I do coyly tell when I know.

Like any minorly awesome talent, this one can be a burden. Because it’s no fun to know the villain TOO soon. Especially in novels. Which comes down to the author’s ability to manage the readers’ perceptions.

Managing the reader's perceptions for maximum fun is something Linnea Sinclair does wonderfully well in Gabriel's Ghost. Which brings me to my great moment, which was a culmination of great moments of this book. Let me take a time-out here to stress here that Gabriel’s Ghost is NOT about a ghost, and our hero is not the dorky ghost looking figure on the cover, a worry of mine in a previous post, possibly a case of PTSD from LU.

Now about that villain! Okay I had an inkling about the identity of the villain early on but certainly not from the first or second time of “exposure” let’s say, to the character, but early enough. But then I wasn’t so sure. Then I re-suspected, but then not, due to a character I trusted not suspecting. And then it became quite plain, and then there was real evidence, but our heroine, Chaz, overlooked the evidence—understandable for the situation, though this ignorance naturally put Chaz and her hero in danger.

It’s fun knowing the villain when the hero and heroine don’t, but it’s not fun if it goes on too long. Here it went on just long enough, and then Chaz got it. It was a perfectly satisfying arc.

This book shows up on a lot of best of lists, and I can see why. It’s smart all the way through, there are larger themes treated interestingly, and the HEA has a realistic edge to it. I could see people arguing about the HEA and it would be a very enjoyable argument to have.

An exciting bit of news to the many fans of this book - a sequel, formerly entitled Chasidah's Choice, now called Shades of Dark, is coming out in July.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Protective bawdiness

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: My Fair Captain
Author: J. L. Langley
Spoiler level: medium

Well! In honor of man-love Monday over at Lisabea’s and Sula’s blogs, and also being somewhat observed at Tumperkin’s blog, I would like to pay tribute to an outstanding moment from My Fair Captain, the gay outer space Regency romance that’s all the rage right now.

There are two - nay, three things I enjoyed in this highly scandalous and delicious scene. Imagine: young Aiden steals into the older and more experienced Captain Nate’s bedroom in order to catch a glimpse of the cock ring he was so shocked to discover during an earlier moment of mild impropriety. Aiden hides behind a chair as Nate comes out of the shower, but not before accidentally dropping a drawing pencil on the floor. Oops - does Nate see it? Aiden thinks not - phew! - but the fair reader suspects otherwise.

Nate then flops onto the bed, naked, and proceeds to masturbate rather wantonly, while imagining, out loud, a totally bawdy scene between him and Aiden. I won’t give things away, but it gave me some psychological insight into the practice of fisting that was heretofore missing from my pantheon of sexual knowledge. Of course the reader suspects Nate is purposely trying to steer young Aiden away from the roguish likes of him. It doesn’t really work, being that Aiden gets off on it rather heartily. After, Aiden runs away the first chance he gets.

Number one, I liked the scene itself - I’ve never seen anything like it. It was unexpected, creative and believable for this world. Two, I liked the way Nate’s motives aren’t confirmed right away - you suspect he knew Aiden was there, but you don’t get Nate’s side of the experience until a bit later. I found myself thinking, Well, maybe he really didn’t know Aiden was there. So then it was a highly entertaining surprise to find out how much Nate knew about what was happening. And thirdly, I rather enjoyed the characterization of Nate here.

Nate, I have to say, has wonderful intentions around not compromising the virtue of young Aiden, but in practice, he really doesn’t do a great job of keeping his boundaries. He wants to be good…yet not! It’s the perfect portrait of temptation - you edge a bit closer, often in the guise of resistance - and then closer and closer, always with a seemingly good reason, and then it’s too late! And you wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Do you like my new header? I love it verra much, as Jamie Fraser would say. I won it in Bettie Sharpe’s “Pay it Forward” contest. If you win the contest, you have to hold a contest of your own where you give away something to others. It could be graphic design time, like Bettie, or a book, or even a promise to send something unusual to the winner at some point in the upcoming year. The prize could be something simple or more elaborate. I guess my prize is on the elaborate side, but I'm in an elaborate mood.

For my pay it forward contest, you get to choose your prize! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered. The drawing will be on January 15th. THREE people will win a prize. Considering the low readership on this blog, the odds for you are excellent.

1. Support new authors prize - This is in honor of new author Bettie, who put up with a lot of changes from yours truly on the header. The prize is Bettie’s new book, LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, PLUS two other books of your choice by NEW authors. (Sorry, no hardcovers. But you can pick fancy trade paperbacks if you want!) If you already have Bettie’s book, then choose a different third. What’s a new author? I’d say somebody on their first or second book. Maybe without a giant promo engine behind them. But you can define it for yourself.

2. Support new authors and keep your coffee warm - You get two books of your choice by new authors, PLUS a cup warmer. It’s like a little hotplate for your coffee cup. Yes, I’m regifting, but the cup warmer is super cool. I had one before, but then I got this high-tech thermos carafe.

3. Crafty + book - I will make a really super funky piece of art incorporating the cover of any book you please, possibly suitable for display (that is, I will feel it’s suitable for display. Also, understand that the cover may be cut up, altered or merged with other elements and possibly objects in ways that I feel make a sort of sublime sense.) It can’t be out of print because I will need to buy it. I will probably also read and review it. In addition to that piece of art, or rather, “art,” I will send you ONE book by a new author.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Goofus v. Gallant

Maybe I’m dating myself here, but do people remember that cartoon for kids called Goofus and Gallant? It was about two brothers, the screw-up, Goofus, and the good brother, Gallant. It was a two-panel affair, with the first panel saying something like, Goofus throws his banana peel on the floor. And then the second panel would say, Gallant puts his banana peel in the garbage and takes the garbage out without his mother even asking.

There is actually a point to this. We rent the second floor of this old triplex. The landlords, an older couple, live on the top floor and this other couple, B & D let’s call them, rent the first floor. Anyway, this whole thing has evolved where the landlords have decided that M & I are Gallant, and B & D are Goofus for no particular reason. Like, whenever a light is left on, B & D get a note. Whenever there is some trash left somewhere, or a door left open B & D get a note. Because M & Carolyn Jean couldn’t POSSIBLY have done it. While we’re slightly more conscientious than B & D, it’s not like we’re perfect. We have actually laughed about this whole thing with B & D.

Well, today the landlords went to Mexico, and because those Goofuses B & D are such screw-ups, Gallant M & Carolyn Jean have been asked to care for the landlord’s cat, and take out the trash, and shovel if there is a big snowfall. The ugly side of being Gallant has emerged!

Anyway, another version of Goofus and Gallant is the Ant and the Grasshopper. Do people know that one? The Grasshopper sings all summer while the ant works hard to store away food, and then in the winter, the grasshopper is really bummed.

Somerset Maugham, one of my favorite old authors, had this total fascination with the grasshopper, and if you really look at his work, you see that the grasshopper was the hero of many of his stories and novels. But the way he worked it, things end up turning out okay for the grasshopper, and the ant is the one who is bummed. In Maugham’s moral world, the grasshopper is rewarded for following his heart and doing what he pleased instead of slaving away with a grim, puritan work ethic.

This is what I was thinking about as I dragged the big garbages to the curb. That Goofus and the grasshopper and Somerset Maugham are totally on to something.