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Ruth Francisco's Blog

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My seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Sweeney, was young, handsome, and hip. We were all in love with him. He was politically radical, witty, his teaching Socratic. This was in the 1970s. We read Silent Spring. We discussed the “population boom” and the precipitous decline in wildlife and the...
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I've always been a fan of “beyond reasonable doubt.”  I've always believed in Lord Blackstone's famous dictum, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”  It is based on Christian notions of not judging neighbors too harshly.  Seems perfectly...
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I've never been to war. No one in my family has gone to war. My brothers were Conscientious Objectors. I was raised with Quaker values and went to a Quaker college. I have always assumed war was bad, the national defense budget ridiculously bloated. I assumed that as human civilization evolved...
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Geoffrey Canada, author of Fist Stick Knife Gun, who grew up in the Bronx in the fifties and sixties, explains that guns were never a part of his childhood. Violence, sure, fights, a rite-of-passage, but guns? No. So why is it children are now armed? Ironically, he explains, the culprit was the...
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When you look at violence in human history, the hysteria about mass shootings and gun violence in America may seem overblown. The annual homicide rate in our most violence cities—53 per 100,000 in Detroit, 51 per 100,000 in New Orleans—pales in comparison to the murder rate during the Crusades,...
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The LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle or Personnel), otherwise known as the Higgins, was instrumental in the storming of Normandy. While most of the amphibious assaults in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operation occurred on the coasts of Northern Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France,...
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When I first drove to the Florida Panhandle from Los Angeles five years ago, I was smitten by the unspoiled beauty of the place. Thousands of Monarch butterflies flitted around my car as I drove down to Alligator Point. The first morning I woke to mullet jumping in the canal and screeching great...
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What's my favorite trick?  I study photos. I study the clothes and hairstyles. I try to imagine what the people are thinking in the picture—what came before the picture was taken, what came after. When I wrote The Secret Memoirs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, I wrote almost exclusively...
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I realized this weekend that I would not be the person I am without Roger Ebert. It was quite a revelation to me. Few have influenced me as much. I remember seeing his reviews when I was a child. For the first time, I realized that film was something more than entertainment. That it was both...
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I do a LOT of rewriting for my books, and spend more time rewriting than the initial draft.  It always is difficult.  So I've been trying to put together some notes to help myself and others.  Hope this helps. NOTES ON REWRITING Before Rewriting -Set it aside for six weeks or...
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to read, that is. Middle-aged women are the biggest readers, the largest group of book purchasers.  Therefore, a writer, before setting aside a year to write a book, might want to ask, “What do middle-aged women want to read about?”  It's a question I always ask of readers when I meet...
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"Sunshine Highway" has been out a year now.  Publishing a book that actually means something to the local community has been an eye-opener to me.  Fiction can make a difference?  Who would've thought?  Sure, Jonathan Swift and Charles Dickens and Upton Sinclair made a...
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A glass of white wine at breakfast; midmorning scotch and soda; lunch, port, followed by Pol Roger champagne, a brandy or two, perhaps a beer; before dinner another whiskey (Johnnie Walker Red Label); dinner, more champagne, several brandies; before retiring, a port or two, and a final weak...
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I've been trying to understand why there is so much push-back from conservative Republicans in this election cycle.  Whether legal or illegal, they're doing anything they can to roll back any progressive ideas to the era of robber barons in the early 1920s.  Taken together, their...
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Romney isn't going to get out of this one—insisting he left Bain Capital in 1999 and that he had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it since 1999 (apart from going to some board meetings, and yes, signing off on SEC filings and company sales and a host of other important documents). Either he...
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