Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Writer's Retreat

Yesterday circumstances brought me to Chicago's North Avenue Beach; it was cold and gray and windy--the perfect weather for contemplation. In my view were the skyline and--you can see it in tiny silhouette--the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

There's nothing like a beautiful landscape to get a writer thinking.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Farewell to Grace

On this day in 1982 the world learned that Princess Grace had died in an automobile accident. All sorts of speculation swirled around the incident, but the apparent reason that Grace's car plunged down a Monaco cliff was that she had suffered a stroke at the wheel. Both Grace and her daughter Stephanie were injured, but Grace far more so. The treatment that Grace received after being pulled alive from the wreckage is still controversial, as some experts think that Grace, for all of her fame and power, actually received shoddy medical care.

In any case, the world lost one of its loveliest stars that day--not only because Grace Kelly lit up the screen in several notable movies in her short Hollywood career, but also because Princess Grace did much for others, notably children, and was known more as a philanthropist than an actress by the time of her death.

image link here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lincoln's Wisdom

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."

"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day."

The words of Abraham Lincoln, quoted here, seem most applicable to our inability to comprehend the events of September 11th, then and now.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sleepless Night Suspense Reading

I am re-reading RED LIGHTS, by Georges Simenon, which I read two years ago and have thought about many times since. It's as much a psychological exploration as it is a suspense tale, but Simenon really kept me--well, not on the edge of my seat, since I was lying on my tummy, but AWAKE until the end of the book. (And that is a feat that is harder and harder to accomplish). :)

This mystery is all about MOOD and the city at night and all of the scary possibilities of the dark . . . .

The story begins when Steve Hogan and his wife Nancy are getting into their car to pick up their children from camp. It's dark on the road, and Steve is distracted by the lights on the highway and by his strong desire for a drink (he had two before he started). On the radio they hear of the predicted fatalities for the weekend, because it's a holiday. Steve eventually stops at a bar, against his wife's wishes, and hears that a man has escaped from prison.

The more Steve drinks the more he wants a drink, and when he stops at yet another bar his wife, who has been arguing with him, tells him that if he goes in, she will drive on without him. Maliciously (and drunkenly), Steve takes the keys from the ignition and goes in. He drinks more whiskey, and when he comes out, his wife is gone . . .

This was the first Simenon I'd read (I might have read a couple of Maigret novels in high school) and I was impressed. I've been meaning to look up a biography of this writer, but in the meantime RED LIGHTS is going on my most-suspenseful list.