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Book Recommendation: Flannery O’Connor (on sale)

One of the most amazing American short story collections is on sale for 2.99: A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor.

If you have not read it, please do yourself a favor. If you’ve read it, or her Complete Stories (which is what I own), talk to me. If you decide to buy it, let me know!

The list of included stories (with links to their Wikipedia stories: (racial slur censored here by me, but not on Wikipedia or in the book):

The titular story was taken from the blues song sung by Bessie Smith and written by Eddie Green (lyrics below).

“My heart’s sad and I am all forlorn, my man’s treating me mean
I regret the day that I was born and that man of mine I’ve ever seen
Happiness, it never lasts a day, my heart is almost breaking while I say
A good man is hard to find, you always get the other kind
Just when you think that he is your pal, you look for him and find him
Fooling ’round some other gal
Then you rave, you even crave to see him laying in his grave
So, if your man is nice, take my advice and hug him in the morning, kiss him ev’ry night,
Give him plenty lovin’, treat him right
For a good man nowadays is hard to find, a good man nowadays is hard to find
We always get that roughed ol’ kind
Just when you think that he’s your pal
You go and find him hangin’ ’round some old gal
Then you rave, how you crave
You wanna see him dead layin’ in his grave
So if your man is nice, take my advice
Hug him in the morning, kiss him at night
Give him plenty love madam, treat your man right
Cause a good man nowadays sure is hard to find”

Sufjan Stevens wrote a song by the same title, not to be confused by the Eddie Green original. Steven’s song was influenced by O’Connor’s story. So Green and Smith influenced O’Connor, who influenced Stevens. Song influenced story influenced song. I love it. Stevens wrote the lyrics from the character of the Misfit. They’re below; don’t read if you haven’t read the story yet:

Once in the backyard, she was once like me, she was once like me. Twice when I killed them, they were once at peace, they were once like me. Hold to your gun, man, and put off all your peace, put off all the beast. Paid a full of these, I wait for it, but someone’s once like me. She was once like me. I once was better. I put off all my grief. I put off all my grief. So I go to hell, I wait for it, but someone’s left me creased. Someone’s left me creased.

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Book Review: Charmer by Jack Olsen

Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies' Man and His Victims
There Might Be Cupcakes Podcast Book Review | Charmer by Jack Olsen Click To Tweet

Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies’ Man and His Victims by Jack Olsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Minus one star for the misleading (and arguably offensive) title and subtitle. The only way “Ladies’ Man” applies is if you are looking at the “Charmer” as an incel pickup artist. Which may be the point–I don’t know. He’s a scam artist, a profligate user of young women, and a rapist/murderer. So perhaps the title and subtitle are in supremely bad taste, or just ironic. I know that if the man in question had raped or used me, or murdered someone I love, I would not be pleased with such irony. This guy is a fast-talking charmer in the fact that he got his own ways for so long–but still. As the victim of sexual and domestic violence myself, it just sticks in my craw. I’m usually not so sensitive to such things, so when something like this really does bother me, I pay attention.



View all my reviews

I listened to this book on audio, and it was another enjoyable narration from Kevin Pierce. Pierce is my go-to true crime audiobook narrator.

George Waterfield Russell, Jr. at Murderpedia

Full documentary on YouTube:

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Episode 29: Unpacking the Bunny

episode 27: Halloween Enormous Stories

The Blair Witch series:

Blair Witch books:

Monsters in Virginia: Mysterious Creatures of the Old Dominion by L. B. Taylor

L. B. Taylor, Jr. on Amazon and Goodreads–he’s written 22 additional books about the strange and unusual in Virginia, including The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories

Cassell’s Dictionary of Superstitions, compiled by David Pickering

recommended in episode: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill — horror involving a train trestle and a monster. The audio version is narrated by Star Trek: Voyager‘s Kate Mulgrew, and is available via this link, or you can choose it as your free book when you sign up for a thirty-day trial of Audible and support the podcast.

the Virginia Writers Club

The Big Book of Urban Legends by Robert Loren Fleming, Robert F. Boyd, Jr., and Jan Harold Brunvan is a fun, graphic novel approach from a scholarly viewpoint, published by DC Comics.

Weird Virginia: Your Travel Guide to Virginia’s Local Legends and Best-Kept Secrets by Jeff Bahr, Loren Coleman, and Troy Taylor

All of these books have been added to the podcast’s bookshelf on Goodreads. Please feel free to friend me on Goodreads.

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Mental illness lies to us about isolation

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Hi, my name is Carla, I’m 46, I’m a podcaster, I have 2 dogs…and I have chronic primary and secondary depression and anxiety. What I mean by this is that I have them as stand-alone diagnoses, then have them compounded as both symptoms of, and then also natural consequences of, my chronic illnesses of EDS, fibro, and POTS. Triple whammy. I also have some PTSD issues even now from the assault I described and unpacked in episode 34, “This Girl Just Had a Bad Date”. Depression and anxiety (and PTSD) are liars, and one of the most insidious lies is that you are alone in this pain, and that you are alone in this—inability to cope? Inability to bootstrap yourself? Inability to YOLO? So I made a list in my #commonplacebook, which goes with me everywhere, of successful, “happy” people who do or have struggled with mental illness, often multiple disorders, like me. A couple of them, like @ladygaga, are also chronically ill like I am. Now, next time depression or anxiety tries to tell me I am all alone or desperate, I have receipts. I hope this list helps someone else, too. Add me to the list, and add yourself to the list. As Rumi said, we’re all just walking one another home. I will put a picture of the full list on theremightbecupcakes.com. #depression #anxiety #mentalhealth #strength #bujo #bulletjournal #neveralone #horrorpodcast #truecrimepodcast #bookpodcast #literaturepodcast @braintrustfm #chronicillnesspodcast #chronicpainpodcast #spooniepodcast #spooniepodcaster #zebrapodcaster #zebrapodcast #braintrustnetwork #cursiveismagic #chronicpain #chronicillness #PTSD #beyourownheroine

A post shared by There Might Be Cupcakes (@theremightbecupcakes) on

full image of spread:

 

Quote I referred to in the Instagram description:

We are all just walking each other home.

Rumi

Recommended reading:

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott

Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater

my Goodreads chronic illness bookshelf (to be read and read)

These books added to the podcast’s bookshelf on Goodreads | please feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads

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Book Lists: Chronic Illness

Listopia on Goodreads:

my chronic illness Goodreads bookshelf

Bumped to the top of my to-be-read list from these two Listopia/Goodreads lists:

Do you have any recommendations or additions?

the podcast’s bookshelf

please feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads

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Episode 28: Watching the Detectives, Part 2

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series My Writing

Have you ever considered knitting? There’s no corpses in knitting, BeeGee.

–Carla Hufstedler, Watching the Detectives

As I said in the episode, my novel is inspired by the true crime case of the missing person Maura Murray.
Missing Maura Murray Podcast at Apple Podcasts
the statement of the website of the podcast and soon-to-be documentary
their photos of the accident site

Missing Maura Murray at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

 

Whisper campaigns are rampant in both Rockingham and Loudon Counties about the possible fate of Beatrice Burchett. Public morale and confidence in the police are threatened at this time, due to silence and perceived lack of investigation.

And still, a twenty-one-year-old is not in class with her peers where she belongs.

–Carla Hufstedler, Watching the Detectives

There are always books

All, of course, have been added to the podcast’s bookshelf on Goodreads.

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner: audiobook format, narrated by the author, and Kindle format
Use my Audible link to receive it for free in audiobook format with a free 30-day trial membership to Audible: audibletrial/mightbecupcakes

James Renner’s blog

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild documentary

American Appetites by Joyce Carol Oates

Dyatlov Pass Incident

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

Mountain of the Dead: The Dyatlov Pass Incident by Keith McCloskey

(recommended horror movie: The Devil’s Pass)

“Watching the Detectives”

“Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, by Elvis Costello

Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello by Graham Thomson

Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakauer

 

This time, there was also music

Used in this episode: “The Mechanics of Leaving”, Haunted Me

She is watching the detectives

“He’s so cute”

watching the detectives

when they shoot shoot shoot shoot

–“Watching the Detectives”, Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True

“Keep a constant positive attitude and remember to always appreciate your team members.”

A post shared by Missing Maura Murray (@missingmauramurray) on

mauramurraymissing.org

Maura Murray missing poster

Take Back the Night campaign

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Episode 26: Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek
Little Piney Creek, Amherst County, Virginia
photo by Carla

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: Kindle, Audible (narrated by Tavia Gilbert), paperback formats

Some books entertain you, some books distract you, and some books, if you are very, very lucky and find them, captivate you, and take your breath away from the very first page. You recognize them–and it almost feels as if they recognize you.

–Carla Hufstedler, episode 26, Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

The Little Piney River is a 7.6-mile-long tributary of the Piney River in Amherst County in the U.S. state of Virginia. Via the Piney and Tye rivers, it is part of the James River watershed. (Wikipedia)

The Piney River is known around here as the “Big Piney”. Naturally. And notice we are so out in the country that the map just says “2” for “District 2”.

Walden (free in ebook format), by Henry David Thoreau — I once spent the afternoon at Walden Pond, and that place truly has an aura about it. I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. In the spirit of nature writing, here’s the facts:

  • Kettle hole formation lake, formed by glaciers retreating 10,000 to 12,000 years ago
  • Depth: 108 feet (33 m)
  • Surface area: 2,657,157 sq feet (246,858 m²)
  • Shore length: 1.70 miles (2.74 km)

Also recommended in the spirit of this book

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Philip Lopate — the personal essay is a window into the private human condition. My best English teachers gave me scores of essays to read, from antiquity to modern American history, and they taught me much about what it is to be human, and to communicate that humanity with emotional power.

my essays shelf:
Carla's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (essays shelf)

It is winter proper; the cold weather, such as it is, has come to stay. I bloom indoors in the winter like a forced forsythia; I come in to come out. At night I read and write, and things I have never understood become clear; I reap the harvest of the rest of the year’s planting…The mountains’ bones poke through, all shoulder and knob and shin. All that summer conceals, winter reveals.
—Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Little Piney River
Little Piney River, January 8, 2018, taken by Carla’s husband

It has always been a happy thought that the creek runs on all night now every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale.
—-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Little Piney River
Little Piney River, January 8, 2018, taken by Carla’s husband

Putting you in the mood to put pen to paper? Good!

And you’re going to need a paper companion for your initial forage into your environment. I suggest these guided ones, which I plan upon playing with myself, and may discuss my adventures with in a future episode: The Pocket Scavenger and How to Be an Explorer of the World, both by Keri Smith.

All books, of course, added to the podcast’s bookshelf on Goodreads. Please do feel free to add me as a friend there should you like.

Also mentioned in the episode

 

And we the people are so vulnerable. Our bodies are shot with mortality. Our legs are fear and our arms are time. These chill humors seep through our capillaries, weighting each cell with an icy dab of nonbeing, and that dab grows and swelss and sucks the cell dry. That is why physical courage is so important–it fills, as it were, the holes–and why it is so invigorating. The least brave act, chance taken and passage won, makes you feel loud as a child.

–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Perhaps it is all balanced as it should be, perhaps everything is happening exactly as it should. And, to reference the minor prophet Ferris Bueller, if you don’t open our eyes, life goes pretty fast, you’ll miss so very much. You can choose to see pain and horror or beauty and mystery in every process, every moment while still being bluntly honest about what’s happening.

–Carla Hufstedler, episode 26, Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

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