Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Part Two of My Interview with Jane Kirkpatrick

(To read Part One of the interview, scroll down to my October 28th entry)

Cindy: Tell us a little about The Tender Ties series, and this remarkable woman that you wrote about, Marie Dorion. Now, I hear it as "DOH-ree-on" in my head, but do you pronounce it a little different?

Jane: "DOH-ree-on" is how I pronounce it, but when we went back to the Ioway nation and spent some time with them, because this is their ancestor, they pronounce it "de-ROIN"...and the French, my French-Canadian contacts, pronounce it Do-ree-OHN, so there are a variety of little pronunciations. But I just call her "Marie" (laughs). And she was the only woman in the Astor Expedition, which was the first big fur-trapping expedition after Lewis and Clark came back. And there were two pieces--this is like, 1811 and '12..that really intrigued me. One was that she was the only woman in this 60-man expedition, and she was with her husband and two little boys that she took with her. Indian women were very important when people trapped when they actually were fur-trading, but this was an exploratory expedition to see if they could set up a post on the West Coast, and that would help trade with the Orient without having to bring it back through St. Louis. So, there wasn't any reason for her to be there, and that was intriguing.

And then the second thing, in doing the research I discovered that there was about a five-week time period where they were negotiating for horses that she and Sacagawea were together at the same time for about five weeks. So here were these two Indian woman, they were both pregnant at the time, they were both married to French-Canadians,and they were both affiliated with these white male fur trapping expeditions. And I thought, "Now, what did they have to talk about, do you suppose?" (laughing)
And then, she remains in the Northwest. But for me, it's a story about how sometimes very short contacts with people can really change our lives and can really affect us.
And I think, the other thing for me, is that this is the story of a woman who wanted to do the best she could for her family without losing herself in that process, and I think that's a struggle that we face today.

Cindy: Very true. And another thing that is wonderful about reading about Marie, is, I would have thought that I would have very little in common with a Native American woman that lived so many years ago. And yet it just goes to show you that so many themes, and so many of the issues that women deal know, issues of how their children interact with them, and their husbands, and friendships with other many of those issues are still issues that we as women are dealing with today.

Jane: Right.

Cindy: And so, I did identify with Marie, and I can't wait to read the next book because I became very caught up in her life. Another thing about your books: obviously so much research is necessary to get it know, to get the story right, although you do have some license to use your imagination of course, and add some things...but you have to get it right about how they dressed, and what they ate, and all of that sort of thing...

Jane: Exactly.

Cindy: Do you enjoy the research aspect, or is that just something, a chore that you have to do...or do you actually enjoy it?

Jane: No, I really enjoy it. I sort of think about it as...trying to uncover little mysteries, about, "Well, what would they have talked about over their dinner table?" And then it's like, "Well, would they have had a dinner table, and if they did, what would it have been made of, and where would they have gotten the wood, and would it have been smooth or rough?" (laughs) So, it's really fun to do that. It can be very addictive, and I have to start writing before I think I should. I'm always researching while I'm writing, I'm finding some new little tidbit or I'll look up something I didn't realize I needed to address. So, it's an ongoing process, but I love that part...but I have to say that I love the writing more. So that's good. That's a good blend, then.

For more about Jane Kirkpatrick, check out:

Jane's website, or
My website

In the "reading" section of my site is information about many of my favorite authors, as well as several book reviews, including the review of the first two books in Jane's "Tender Ties" series: "A Name of Her Own" and "Every Fixed Star."

I wanted to see what all the "24" fuss was about, so...

I checked it out myself last night. My son, my brother (who is a police officer) and some other people had told me this series was intriguing, fastpaced, well-acted, and well-written. I must admit, after last night's episode (the first in the new season), I have to agree. The fact that the series revolves around terrorism make it even more timely and relevant.

So far, so good.


The Frog in the Grocery Sack!

Earlier this week, my radio co-host, Chris Carmichael, shared with me on the air about a friend of his finding, in the bottom of her grocery sack...A FROG!!!!!

I told him she should take it to the public health department. If it really is from parts unknown, it could be carrying some kind of disease or something. We already had a big problem with diseased prairie dogs in the Chicagoland area, and I just thought discretion would be the wisest move.

Well, apparently a listener took issue with my comments.

Chris told me yesterday (off the air) that he got a call yesterday from an irate listener. (It never ceases to amaze me what listeners will sometimes get irate about ).

She said, "I have a complaint about the tacky comment you and Cindy made today about the frog in the grocery sack."

Genuinely puzzled, Chris replied, "Oh? What was that?"

"Well, for your information, frogs are as common as flies in Costa Rica, and for there to be a frog with the bananas just means that those are healthy bananas. I just think what you said was really tacky, and to talk about suing the store was really uncalled for!"

Chris was stunned, as was I when he relayed this to me. The only thing we could deduce was that she was offended by my suggestion that Chris's friend take the frog to the county health department, and I stand by that remark. We have had too many cases of diseases (sometimes fatal and incurable) being caused by animals from parts unknown.

Also, it seemed she was insinuating that we had somehow impugned the health standards of the nation of Costa Rica, which country we NEVER ONCE MENTIONED ON THE AIR.

Also, we NEVER mentioned or suggested anyone suing the store, and we purposely did not mention the store's name on the air!

Really, our conversation centered around how freaky it waa to find a frog in your grocery sack...and I still think that's pretty freaky.

BTW, Froggie has been adopted by Chris's friend, and as far as I know, she hasn't taken it to the health department.

My name is Cindy, and I'm a cryptoquote-aholic.

Yes, it's true. I am now hopelessly addicted to those little word puzzles in which you have to have to figure out the code and substitute the nonsensical letters to find the quote.

I used to be a crossword puzzle maniac, and that is still a lesser hobby. But I simply can't stop doing the cryptoquotes. My friend Vicki introduced them to me about a year ago. Our local newspaper carries one every day, right under the crossword. In no time, I was hooked. The cryptoquotes are usually pretty difficult (in fact, to be honest, I don't really like the ones that are too easy...I thrill to the challenge! :))

Soon, just one cryptoquote a day was simply not enough. Last week, I shelled out five bucks to buy a book of them at Wal-Mart. Now I seem to divide most of my leisure time between reading and doing cryptoquotes!

The thing is, though, you can't just mindlessly do a cryptoquote. You have to concentrate. One of the good things about it, is that you simply cannot dwell on your own problems or anxieties. You have to focus on solving the cryptoquote. And once it starts to fall into place, and you realize that you've unlocked the code, what a delicious feeling of accomplishment! :)

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