Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Look of Elvis

Elvis Lives On

It has been thirty years since Elvis Presley died. It hardly seems possible. Throughout life there are a handful of events in which one can remember where they were and what they were doing when it happened. Things like the Kennedy assassination, your wedding ceremony, birth of a child, 9-11, a special celebration, are usually recalled with vivid memory. For many of us, the day Elvis died is imprinted in our memory.

I was at my arts and craft store, and decided to go across the street to the hometown drug store and buy a snack. I was paying for my candy bars when a small radio sitting on the shelf behind the cashier, announced the news of Elvis’ death. Unbelievable. I walked out, and stood on the corner feeling sadness, feeling a loss of an old friend. I never saw Elvis in person.

It all began for me in 1956. Some years back I wrote this, through the eyes of the teenager I once was:

Sharon was still excited as we went into the small record store a short distance from our homes. She had been excited since the previous day when she called to share her discovery with me. She told me I wouldn't believe my ears. But who was this guy anyway? I had never heard of him before. What a funny name. Elvis?

The owner of the store put the 45 record on the turntable and the music began. Wow! Sharon had been right. I could not believe my ears.

What a song, what a voice! Where had this guy come from? She had told me last night on the telephone that he was good looking and as I listened to the music I studied his face on the poster that was hanging on the wall. What an understatement she had made. This guy was gorgeous, and man, so sexy. Look at those eyes! I do not believe that charisma or sex appeal was really a part of my vocabulary then but it would not be long before those words became attached to his name in my mind.

The store owner was trying to sell us. Heck, he did not have to do that. Who wouldn't have wanted to take Elvis home with them? Any young girl in her right mind would and he told us that if we bought the record we would also receive an Elvis poster along with it. We could not dig the money out of our purses fast enough.

Elvis was going home with each of us! We were in love!

Let me tell you, that guy would never find himself at the end of some lonely street in some run-down hotel. No, not if the two of us were around. You could bet on that!

A few months later, we were at our local theater numerous times watching Love Me Tender.

Now, fifty-one years later, I see on television the tens of thousands who are in Memphis to honor Elvis. Wednesday night 50,000 were expected at a candlelight vigil at Graceland. People have come from Europe and Asia, from everywhere, to Memphis.

Elvis hasn’t died. Not really....

P.S. Sharon and I have been friends since we were six years old! A long time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Best-selling Author Catherine Coulter Book Signing

I recently attended a book signing by best-selling author, Catherine Coulter at a local used bookstore in Roseville. Nancy had alerted me to the fact that Coulter would be appearing. Nancy reads her books and was looking forward to the latest FBI Thriller, Double Take, featuring husband and wife special agents, Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock.

I decided to attend to get Nancy an autographed copy of the hardcover for her upcoming birthday.

Catherine writes historical romance and contemporary suspense thrillers. Her publishing career is rather impressive. Her first romance was published in 1978 and she has written more than fifty books. Since the publication of her first FBI thriller her books have been best sellers.

I may have read some of her earlier books, I don’t know, but I have not read any of these thrillers. I did get an autographed copy for myself, and one of the early ones in the series. The bookstore had brought in new copies of every book she wrote so there was a big choice of her writing.

Coulter spoke for 45 minutes or more before signing. She’s an attractive, petite woman and had on a nice stylish brown suit and brown pumps with a 3 or 4 inch heel. Her skirt was much too high above the knee, inches, and should be left to those under 30 years of age. (She’ll be 65 in December, but does look damn good for her age). She is apparently known for "her legs" as she was recently voted "Best Legs" at a Romance Writers Convention in San Diego. She was interesting, humorous, and answered questions from her fans. I say her fans, because many of the group of 30-40 people knew her characters in several of her series well. Although I do not call myself a fan, I do respect the success of any writer and always want to know more about his or her creative drive and writing process.

She stood and moved around as she spoke, and even remained standing throughout the book signing. By the way, I think she did a very nice personal inscription for Nancy, wishing her a Happy Birthday.

But as I found myself envious of Catherine before long. I’m not an envious person at all, but I was envious and irritated as time went on. Why, you ask? Was it her success as a writer? NO. Her obvious wealth from collecting all those royalties? NO. Was it her appearance? NO. It was her SHOES! Every time I looked at her SHOES it irritated me. Why, you ask? Because I was standing in sandals with sore feet and a bad low back. I was in pain, and for minutes I would forget my pain as I concentrated and enjoyed what she was saying. Then I’d see the high heels again, the shoes! I was envious of her ability to wear heels of that height and be on her feet for more than two and a half hours, and looking very comfortable the whole time. Although the bookstore had refreshments and bottled water (great for a 100 degree day) they failed to provide CHAIRS. So there we all were, standing, shifting from one foot to another, holding our backs, and I was not the only one very uncomfortable. At least part of the time I had the frame of the plate glass window to lean against (hoping we did not have an earthquake roll through Northern CA). I’ve never been able to wear high heels, even in my younger days, and have always loved heels with jeans.

The woman who had arranged for Catherine’s signing there, Kim, had her own used bookstore here in town until a few months ago. I did a book signing there with my friend, author Evelyn Fuqua about three years ago. I told Kim for the next author signing they have to have chairs, and if not, I will not be there!

I did meet two other authors there who had come for Catherine’s signing. Brenda Novak who has published a number of romance and romantic suspense novels and Robin Burcell who will have her fourth novel published early 2008. Both are award winners. I liked them both. I wish we’d had more time to have discussions about writing. I would have enjoyed that. They both live in the area and Coulter lives in Sausalito, above San Francisco.

For future book signings, NO HEELS ALLOWED! Only sandals, boots, flats, tennies, and oh, slippers.

~ Linda

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Photograph from Minneapolis Bridge Collapse, Three Priests by Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

Following the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis many photographs appeared online in slide shows. Both Nancy and I, separately, were so moved by one photograph and each of us found it to be profound. This photograph stood out from all the others, and is worthy of a Pulitzer and all other prestigious awards of excellence. The photo of three priest from the St. Paul Archdiocese
was taken by Jim Gehrz, award-winning photographer for the Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

His photograph really says it all....

Photograph Copyright 2007 by Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota