Author Archives: normatalksaboutwriting

Racism-1962 and now

The past came home when BBC Radio’s “Witness” program interviewed me about the day over half a century ago when James Meredith became the first black American to register at the University of Mississippi. (Click the link above to listen)

Gov Ross Barnett

Once again I heard the voice of Governor Ross Barnett promising segregation forever.

At an Ole Miss football game the weekend before, he stirred the crowd to fight integration.

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I heard the voices of broadcasters describing the riots that occurred that fateful night in Oxford, Mississippi.

the riots

Two died and many were injured.

Meredith registered and attended classes, accompanied by federal protection until the day he graduated.

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Surely, times are better for people of color today–but the old fears linger and percolate.

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As Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” .

 

Today is the birthday of my new book!

birthday w:fireworksFriday, September 1, 2017, is  publication day for my new memoir, That Woman From Mississippi 

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Plus the first paperback edition of the previous memoir: The Last Resort

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Here are the independent bookstores where you can find them.

Celebrating Books

Les and I spent a very warm (heat index 112 degrees) few days in Mississippi celebrating books–the people who write them and the people who read them. The Mississippi Bookfest  was held at the State Capitol, wonderfully grand and cool inside

Miss State Capitol

and hot as you can imagine out on the lawn where we signed books.

signing outside

My panel was called “Her Story,” and featured five of us. Susan Cushman moderated and is author of A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be; Mary Ann Connell is a pioneering Mississippi lawyer and author of the memoir, An Unforeseen Life; Jessica Harris, food historian and author, came with her memoir My Soul Looks Back, which describes living in New York with everyone we wished we’d been fortunate enough to know; Suzanne Marrs, is a scholar of Eudora Welty. Her latest book is Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald.

Marrs recalled Eudora telling her about one of the dreadful stories I wrote in her creative writing class at Millsaps: Two old women get rid of unpleasant people by carving them up and putting them down the disposal. Marrs said, “Eudora got such a kick out of that.” I blush remembering.

I was there with the sequel to The Last Resort, That Woman From Mississippi, both coming out in paperback September 1 from Nautilus Publishing.

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Here are a few places you can get one–or both:

Read localbd

Nautilus Publishing, Oxford, Mississippi

Lemuria, Jackson, Mississippi

Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi

Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, CA

Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Union Ave. Books, Knoxville, TN

Malaprops, Asheville, NC

City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC

and, of course, on Amazon.

 

 

On my way to Mississippi

Miss map

I’m on my way to Mississippi (which I expect to be the temperature of this image),  celebrating early the September 1 publication of my new book at the Mississippi Book Festival . This is a sequel to The Last ResortTHAT WOMAN FROM MISSISSIPPI–the story of what happened to that woman in 1966, after she drove off down the road with a civil rights lawyer.

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Doug Fortier, my social media guru, made a button for my husband Les to wear. If I had fifty friends left in Mississippi, I’d make them wear one, too.

If you’re nearby, we will be telling “Her Story” in State Capitol Room A, Saturday, August 19, 12-1pm.

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More to come . . .

On this day without women, a new way to do business

March 8 is International Women’s Day, marked this year as a National Day Without Women.

I hope you’ll be wearing red, not shopping, or shopping only at woman-owned businesses, paying with CASH.

Speaking of women, here’s a little good news:

In the Saturday March 5, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle,  Caille Millner wrote about a woman-owned firm called Soko.

Soko makes jewelry, but the business model is brilliant. Surely it could be replicated for any product women can produce at home.

Here’s how it works: Soko does high speed production, but instead of using a factory, the jewelry is made by artisans working at home or in small workshops It’s done using an amazing technical platform on mobile phones.

When an order comes in, say for 2500 necklaces for Nordstrom, the artisans receive their assignments through their phones. Each artist makes only a manageable number of pieces, but the database of artists is large enough to produce the order in the same time a large factory could–two weeks.

The workers are paid through their phones and the average artisan makes enough to send all her kids to school, feed her family, and save.

If you know what people are afraid of, you know how to reach them

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Mick LaSalle (movie reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle), had a brilliant piece Sunday. Making the point that Oscar-nominated movies are not the big box office hits, he wrote about what the majority of Americans prefer to see at the movies.

“So people are not flocking to the best movies. They’re not flocking even to the movies they believe to be the best. Instead they’re paying to see alien invasions, malevolent AI and civic chaos, films showing either the destruction of the world as we know it . . .or a post-apocalyptic world, with humanity forced to endure a dystopian nightmare.

“What does the persistent popularity of these recurrent themes tell us? . . .The fear of alien invasion is an elaboration and distortion of the fear of immigration. The fear of artificial intelligence taking over is a disguised wariness of automation, of computers taking away our jobs. And the depictions of civic chaos . . . is a manifestation of the modern fear of terrorism. . . .

“As the dominant themes of our films, they probably can be called the dominant fears of our historical moment. They may even help explain the result of the 2016 presidential election. Once you know what people are afraid of, you know how to reach them.”

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10 Top-Selling Movies of 2016                     9 Oscar-Nominated Best Films of 2016

 Captain America: Civil War                                          MoonLight

Rogue One                                                                          La La Land

Finding Dory                                                                    Manchester by the Sea

Zootopia                                                                             Hidden Figures

Jungle Book                                                                       Lion

The Secret Life of Pets                                                     Fences

Batman v. Superman                                                     Hacksaw Ridge

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them                Arrival

Deadpool                                                                            Hell or High Water

Suicide Squad.

The Resistance

Looks like that’s our name now–the 54% of us resisting a smaller, meaner country.

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Here are some words to live by in troubled times. They were sent by my friend Glenn Terry:

1. Don’t use his name;
2. Remember this is a regime and he’s not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him–it doesn’t work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk
7. Support artists and the arts
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it.
9. Take care of yourselves; and
10. Resist!