Category Archives: Writers

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The Extraordinary Mark Twain According to Susy

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I got this from a school book fair. $5 was the final and fair price.

The Extraordinary Mark Twain According to Susy, by Barabar Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, had a creative narrative and brilliant illustrations with little inserts of what Susy, the real life daughter of Mark Twain had to say about him.

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Funnily enough, a couple years ago, my dad said we should write short biographies of each other! Susy ended up writing over 130 pages about her dad!

In regards to Susy herself, I think it’s very appropriate and entertaining to write your own family member’s biography—especially in their life time so they can get more of a say. Susy wrote when she was thirteen, “It troubles me to have so few people know Papa, I mean really know him.” She made a good case for her papa and added unknown dimensions of him. From her portrait of him, I still saw a narcissistic man, but I felt more sympathy with how insecure and just how loving he was.

While I like what all the creators of the book did, I found my mind wandering, and it was hard to concentrate. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I recommend that classrooms should get their own copy.

Thank You, Ann Rule

One of the greatest writers died on July 26, 2015.  This tribute to true crime writer Ann Rule is long overdue.

I don’t think I was even seventeen when I read experts from The Stranger Beside Me that appeared in Readers’ Digest. I was a lot more alert of my surroundings after that. I think that cautious mindset saved me a couple times at college.  I believe more people—especially young women—should read at least excerpts from the book. It should be required reading.

I read The Stranger Beside Me entirely a couple years ago. I was intrigued and wondered why I read it at night. I mean I was living alone at that time. And had an interesting experience…

I went to the grocery store and something told me to park closer. I shrugged off the thought.  After I bought my groceries, the bag boy asked if I needed help. I had a prompting to say yes but said no. “Are you sure?” I wanted to say yes so badly but told him I was fine.  I regretted that immediately.

I rushed to my car and threw my groceries in. As soon as I sat in the driver’s seat, I didn’t hesitate to lock my doors. Almost immediately men pulled up. I panicked as I started the car and saw them pointing at me.

They came up to me and knocked on the window.

“Excuse me. Excuse me.”

I mumbled I couldn’t talk, but one said “I want to talk to you.”

I felt trapped. They asked for directions to another grocery store. I acted clueless—and desperate. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Inside they might know.”

They pulled back, and I put my foot on the gas. Through some miracle I made it home safely.

I sometimes wonder if I overreacted. Maybe those men really just needed directions. However, I had received multiple promptings.

I believe Ann Rule contributed to my awareness that day.

Thank you a thousand times, Ann Rule. Rest in peace.