Ruth: So yesterday at a cocktail party, I was talking to a woman I’ve known for years who’s also been a writer most of her life.  When I complained (as I’ve been doing too much) of the isolation, she told me she used to plan trips to the grocery store during the day so she could talk to the clerks.  Another woman at the party was married to a man who used to stay at home writing.  He assured her that if he did anything during the day, he would manage to shower and dress by the time she dragged in from work after 5.  Some days, that was all he managed to do.  Right now, he’s more happily employed.

Yes, Michael.  This is the business we have chosen.

But in spite of all this, I’m having some successes.  Have an essay about breast cancer and the world of too many nosy optimists that will come out Sunday in the Austin American-Statesman.  They even took my photo for it yesterday.  I told the very sweet photographer that the only stipulation I had was that it had to be highly flattering.  If he had to take it from a mile away or if it didn’t even look like me, too bad.  Flattering.  I demanded that.

Another piece on my oddball trip to Dubai this summer will be published in the Texas Observer, which I’ve never written for.  So I’m feeling pleased by this and have other essays making the rounds out there, somewhere, in the ozone.

When I get into a foul mood, I can always check into the political scene, which puts me into even more of a snit.  This latest weirdo imbroglio, with Rudy Giuliani getting a call from his wife while he’s addressing the NRA, is too much for me.

I asked my husband — who gives quite a few talks himself — if he’d answer a call from me while he was speaking.  He looked at me like I was nuts.  Of course he wouldn’t.  Was I kidding?  Hell, yes.

Besides, if I called and he was talking to the NRA, I’d demand to know why he was talking to a bunch of gun nuts who run this country and why the hell do they continue to oppose reasonable legislation like the assault-weapon ban?  When they invited him, did they realize he only owns a BB gun?

Oh, but Rudy now says he only took the call “because of 9-11.”  You know what?  I’m sick of these preening politicos bringing up the issue of national security and a bona fide national tragedy as if they, personally, owned it.  It belongs to all of us — or at least it used to — and they’ve besmirched its memory for personal, political gain.

End of rant.  End of ramble.  The day calls.

(Copyright 2007 by Ruth Pennebaker) 

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