Author Archives: normatalksaboutwriting

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.

Be there button.jpg

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.

TWFM button.png

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


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.”


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.


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!


An appropriate word for the day from Anu Garg.



(kak-i-STOK-ruh-see, kah-ki-)


noun: Government by the least qualified or worst persons.


From Greek kakistos (worst), superlative of kakos (bad) + -cracy (rule). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kakka-/kaka- (to defecate), which also gave us poppycock, cacophony, cacology, and cacography. Earliest documented use: 1829.


E.J. Dionne wrote today:

“Let’s be clear: The United States of America is not Donald Trump’s country.

When all the returns are in, Hillary Clinton will emerge with a popular vote lead of about 1.5 million to 2 million votes….

To Point this out is not a form of liberal denial. It’s a way of beginning to build a barricade against right-wing triumphalism—and of reminding immigrants, Muslims, African Americans, Latinos and yes, our daughters that most Americans stood with them on election day.”

There are things we can do:


  1. Support the Popular Vote movement in your state. Eleven states with 165 electoral votes have already joined. We need 105 more electoral votes. When we have 270, the way the electoral college works can change without a Constitutional Amendment. Those states part of the Popular Vote agree to give all their electors to the winner of the national popular vote.
  2. Encourage Nancy Pelosi to appoint Keith Ellison head of the Democratic National Committee. An early Sanders supporter, in 2006 Ellison became the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first black member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.S
  3. Slate has a nice list of ideas of how to channel frustration into action. Check it out.

4. Wear your safety pin. Let the people who feel threatened—people of color, women, immigrants, LBGTs, Muslims—know you are with them. But the safety pin is only a symbol. Action brings the prick.



Mad Grrrls

I’ve been gone awhile. Got sick of hearing myself rant. But this election has called me back.

Donald Trump said, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment…if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”


Tom Friedman wrote in  August 10 New York Times: “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated.”

Donald Trump backtracked, saying he meant the power of the NRA at the voting booth, but Darrin Bell had a great cartoon in the Washington Post showing the fallacy of that claim–are judges chosen before an election, or after?

My favorite response came from Elizabeth Warren, who wrote on Twitter: Mr. Trump “makes death threats because he’s a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.”

Elizabeth Warren

Go Grrrls!


The silence of our friends

Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

I’m sending this to my Mendocino Coast friends, asking everyone who cares about our well-run little town to speak up.

Les and I have lived here, full and part-time, since 1989. We were dismayed by the attacks, before and during the recent election, on what we have experienced as an efficient, caring city government. More dismayed lately by the attacks on those members of the City Council who voted to approve Hospitality House’s purchase of the Old Coast Hotel.

The Old Coast has sat empty for years. I look forward to seeing it filled with people trying to turn their lives around. If you visit a Hospitality House, you do not see loiterers or trash; they are not allowed. Residents who are caught begging, or using alcohol or drugs, are evicted. Hospitality House is not a flop house; it is a place where people ready to change are helped to do that.

I look forward to seeing the Old Coast used for such a worthy purpose: to help the mentally ill and the homeless.


Listening to the radio, I was disappointed to hear a member of the Fort Bragg City Council quoted (I’m paraphrasing): “If two people will change their votes, a Recall won’t be necessary.”

This is not the way a responsible official reacts in a democratic society. When we lose, we don’t threaten. We work with the majority and make sure the bad predictions don’t happen.

Mayor Dave Turner’s daughter wrote a wonderful letter in support of her dad on her blog. Read it here.


She asks that we come to the reception Monday night, March 9, at 5:30, to celebrate the newly renovated Town Hall. Stay for the City Council meeting. The first 30 minutes are for Comment. Friends shouldn’t stay silent.

I will be there. I hope you will.