Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three Amazing Women and One Old Redneck

Christina Carson

Christina Carson doesn't have a Wikipedia Page, yet. One day she will, when the right person reads Accidents of Birth Book One, or Book Two, or Dying to Know or Suffer The Little Children, or her current work in progress.

That's all fine and good, but as far as I'm concerned I will never need a Wikipedia Page or a one sentence mention on an obscure blog site, like this one, to find her.  I know where she is right now, and if you ask me tomorrow, or the next day, or the one after that, I'll still know.  Christina is my wife and I waited too long to find her not to know where she is at any given moment of my life.

Long before she became my wife, Christina gave up her position in a doctoral program in neurophysiology at UCLA and left the United States to protest the country's involvement in the War in Vietnam.  Twenty-eight years later, I found her in Canada and persuaded her to marry me and move back to the States.  We are a unlikely couple - redneck and scholar, Vietnam Veteran and Vietnam War Protester, American by birth and Canadian by choice... the list goes on but matters not.  What matters is the alliance works and it works very well.

Alice LaPlante
When we decided to write, we began collecting books on the subject of writing.  Through the
years, we've accumulated quite a collection of them.  We have Stephen King's book on writing and Ray Bradbury's and Al Zuckerman's and Jack Woodford's, to name a few.  Finally Christina found the best book on the subject, The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante.  She told me about her find but it took a couple of years for me to get curious enough to pick up her copy and read the first chapter.  That's all it took.  Now I have my own copy thanks to Christina's introduction.

Sharon Olds
If you are a writer or aspire to be one, don't miss The Making of a Story.  You won't need another book on the subject and you'll quickly find a priceless bonus as you study with Alice.  She will introduce you to some of the most amazing writers and poets ever collected in one place.  From James Baldwin (first in the permissions section) to C.D. Wright (last in the permissions section).  In between Baldwin and Wright you'll find Larry McMurtry and Anne Lamott and the amazing poet, Sharon Olds.

I vaguely knew Larry and Anne but had never heard of Sharon until I read Forty-One, Alone, No Gerbil, in the second chapter of The Making of a Story.  So here I am, a 73- year-old redneck, hammering away at computer, something that didn't exist when I was born, assembling a story about a woman who protested a war I fought in, married me, then introduced me to a woman who introduced me to another woman who, in 2005, told Laura Bush, when the First Lady invited her to The White House, what I hope I would have told Lady Bird Johnson if she had invited me to The White House.  If you are curious about what she said, here it is:

"So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it".

That's my story for this cold winter night, the story of three amazing women and one old redneck who is a better man for knowing them.


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