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Fran Moreland Johns's Blog

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The affair was almost accidental. Overnight assignment, adrenalin rush, beautiful assistant. Then it accelerated for a while; more adrenalin. He was eight years and two children into a promising, widely admired marriage. His wife of course found out. Filled with remorse and shame, he swore he loved...
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Pelosi Press Conference
All things, I think, do not come to those who wait. What about Godot? Or that Smith-Corona stock that seemed to be such a nostalgic good idea? Waiting was not always totally painful. Back when you knew Santa would bring at least one or two joyful surprises, or when the late-night radio personality...
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Turning cartwheels with Mimi
The invitation to blog about heroes was too tempting. So herewith, cut a little but generally unaltered, the eulogy I delivered at the memorial for my sister Mimi (1931-2008) last January. Mimi was my hero. Beginning with the day she stood down the Alpha kid in our Ashland VA gang. We were about...
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You have to love David Souter. First he tosses the world's best tenured job out the window when jobs aren't exactly going begging, then he doesn't announce a book deal, then you start learning about his digs. The New Hampshire farmhouse, it turns out, wasn't exactly a castle: no phone, no running...
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The big mistake with my first book was writing it. Forty years later it is still in contention for the Worst Book Ever Published award. But I needed the money. And what the heck, with three small children and a husband who was more interested in booze than in holding down a job, a book contract...
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Hal is down to about 80 pounds, blind, bedridden, unable to feed himself, incontinent for the past six years and in a VA hospice. There he receives good care and dozens of daily meds that keep him alive. At the request of a friend of his, I visited him recently to talk about his options. They are,...
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            Dementia, the elephant in the conversational room, has begun to lift its trunk and trumpet around. Ask anyone over 60, or almost anyone whose parents are over 60, to list the Big Fears, and dementia will be up there at the top. But precisely because it defies solution, can’t be...
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Oxalis from the Mother Lode
Pulling oxalis is one of life’s little abundances. Not because of anything to do with gardening, or weeding, or environmental enhancement. If one looks closely at the issue, oxalis-pulling is an exercise in existential self-care. I know this, because I pull oxalis on a continuing basis. As therapy...
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            The sad thing about John Updike’s being dead, other than the loss in general, is the loss in literary size. Like my #1 literary hero Reynolds Price, Updike could do it all: novels, essays, short stories, poetry, critiques, nonfiction, it was enough to make you want to hang up your...
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When my daughter Pam was 17, she had a group of incandescent friends – Julie, Catherine, Kim, Martha, Polly and others – who lit the spaces of our lives. They went on to college, jobs, marriages and adventures, lost track of each other at times and got back together at high school reunions. They...
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Some of us talk to ourselves, some of us talk to cars. As in a recent parking episode, at the intersection of 9th Street and Bryant in downtown San Francisco. It happened at the precise spot where traffic from the Hwy 101 off-ramp muscles its impatient way into the mainstream maelstrom of 9th...
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            OK, let’s see. Derivatives; mortgage-backed securities and collateralized investments (which means stuff that is insecure and lacks collateral); credit-default swaps; tranches and bonds and TARPs oh, my; these are the words one needs today to throw around in casual conversation. In...
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My friend and fellow Red Room author Stewart Florsheim recently had his fine book of poetry, A Short Fall from Grace, featured in Pedestal Magazine, in a thorough and insightful review by Alice Osborn. Early on, Ms. Osborn declared Stewart a “master of the ekphrastic poem…” which sent at least two...
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What with the Olympics, the conventions and other breaking news these days, there seems an awful lot of TV-watching going on. I don’t do TV very well. For one thing, the Comcast people – whom I actively loathe and despise so I hope your mother doesn’t work there – in their infinite wisdom furnish...
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In the virtual world of the blogosphere there are those who suffer guilt over failure to blog. This despite evidence that the world manages to get along just fine without our daily contributions. I hear of this guilt about infrequency and irregularity, though, from my more gifted and committed...
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