The Last Ones to Let You Down
That time of the year approaches…

That time of the year approaches…

The University of Minnesota Press 2014 gift guide.

The University of Minnesota Press 2014 gift guide.

What time of the year? Halloween? Thanksgiving? We are well beyond that, right? I’m sure many of you are thinking of the holiday season and what gifts to give your friends and loved ones.

Books are always a good choice! I received the University of Minnesota Pressholiday gift guide in the mail on Friday. The good news: all of the books are 30%…

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New movie: “House of Manson”

New movie: “House of Manson”

Another creative project about Charles Manson comes to audiences. This time, not a musical, but a feature movie.

Will you go see this? I first came across the Manson story when I was 11 years old and it has captivated me since then. I would check out a movie that attempts to delve into Manson’s character.

You can see it 9:30 p.m.…

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Thank you, South Dakota!

Thank you, South Dakota!

The first view of South Dakota as you enter from Minnesota.

The first view of South Dakota as you enter from Minnesota.

I attended the South Dakota Festival of Books as a presenter two weeks ago, but only now have I 1) had time to write a post about it, and 2) had time to process those few days.

The book festival ended up being a writer’s dream for me because something seemed to “break open” there. It’s not too often that I get to take off my teacher’s…

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A unique gesture to remember a sister

A unique gesture to remember a sister

PeopleWhoEatDarkness

Continuing my lifelong fascination with true crime stories, I recently read People Who Eat Darkness, the story of a young British woman murdered in Japan in 2000. (My review is here). Lucie Blackman’s death devastated an already fragile family. The author, Richard Lloyd Parry, describes the gesture Lucie’s sister made when Lucie’s ashes were finally interred after years of limbo.

“Sophie had…

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A Charles Manson musical

A Charles Manson musical

This is the edition of Helter Skelter that I have. Mine is quite worn with lots of dog-eared pages.

This is the edition of Helter Skelter that I have. Mine is quite worn with lots of dog-eared pages.

Does this strike anyone as bizarre? A musical about Charles Manson opened in Hamburg, Germany. A Los Angeles Times article says the play “provides a glimpse into Manson’s failed music career and his relationship with his followers who became known as the Manson family.”

Manson still captivates…

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20 documentaries about death and dying

20 documentaries about death and dying

Nonfics.com posted a list of 20 documentaries about death and dying. How many have you seen? Any others you’d add to the list?

I love documentaries, but I’ve seen very few of these. Gates of Heaven is on my list. I’ve seen Grizzly Man, though I guess I don’t think of that as an outright film about death and dying.

Faces of Deathsoun…

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One memoir I’m looking forward to reading

One memoir I’m looking forward to reading

Columbine memorial

I recently saw this announcement on Publisher’s Marketplace:

Memoir
Mother of Dylan Klebold, one of Columbine High School shooters, Sue Klebold’s story, inviting readers into the very private struggle of the last fifteen years as she and her family have tried to understand the events of that terrible day and the role they ultimately played in it, with the hope that the insights she has gleaned…

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History! Fall colors! Cemetery walk in Mankato on Saturday, Sept. 27

History! Fall colors! Cemetery walk in Mankato on Saturday, Sept. 27

The colors in the Glenwood Ravine likely will look much like this on Saturday. Photo by author.

The colors in the Glenwood Ravine likely will look much like this on Saturday. Photo by author.

If I weren’t presenting at the South Dakota Festival of Books this weekend, I would be participating in Mankato’s cemetery walk Saturday, Sept. 27, at the beautiful and historic Glenwood Cemetery.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous! And the trees are starting to turn colors here in southern…

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If a man is buried and no one is there to see it, did he really die?

If a man is buried and no one is there to see it, did he really die?

Photo Credit: Ðenise via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ðenise via Compfight cc

Imagine this:

Your son has died, but you know only when. You don’t know where he died, or how.

He was a soldier. There’s been fighting and unrest nearby, but your government won’t acknowledge that. Someone is fighting there, but it might as well be phantoms because there’s no official word.

Your son has a secret funeral, held early in the morning (others are…

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The strangest question I’ve been asked at a book event

The strangest question I’ve been asked at a book event

SDFestival

The South Dakota Festival of Books is rapidly approaching: Sept. 26-28 in Sioux Falls. I’m excited to be presenting a writing workshop there along with doing a reading. Too bad my reading is at the same time as Tony Earley (Jim the Boy). Fortunately he’s also giving a writing process talk, so I look forward to that. And Kate DiCamillo is the keynote speaker. It’s always nice to hear her speak!

I…

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