Monday, November 23, 2015

What Constitutes A Stellar Memoir Is Different For Agents, Readers, and Writers

Dear Lit Loves,

Greetings fellow lovers of literature I was attending a medical appointment with my Meniere's disease specialist here in North Carolina today.  While waiting for my consultation and subsequent hearing tests, I was reading a medical memoir written by a popular surgeon.  When I returned home from my appointment, I started working on writing a review of the surgeon's memoir when it dawned on me that what constitutes a good or stellar memoir varies depending on the person you ask. Let me explain what I've personally experienced  in terms of what an agent believes is a good memoir, what a writer believes is good memoir, and what a reader often defines as a good memoir because I can assure you, there are very real and distinct differences especially among the three.

Literary agents, in my experience, appear to prioritize "platform" when acquiring in the memoir genre.  One friend of mine that I recently had lunch with thought this meant that the literary agent wanted a memoir writer who was also a good speaker.  If that were the case, she thought I would have no problem because I have a background in education and have taught public speaking.  I informed my friend that for many a literary agent "platform" means you are a celebrity, rock icon, gangster, morning show host, or sports figure.  Someone who is a household name.  Now "platform"for many literary agents can also mean you have a grand social media following. This type of  "platform" can take the form of a writer with 6,000 Twitter followers, 1,000 Facebook friends, or a gazillion blog followers.  To this my friend said, "But what about the content, the experience? Shouldn't that be the top priority?"  Well, you would think that should be at the top of the list, but again, based on my experiences as a writer, I'm not sure that really matters to many a literary agent acquiring in the memoir genre.  And quite a few literary agents want to acquire memoirs written by journalists, reporters, opinion columnists, or academics.  Now maybe those writers do come with a built-in audience, but I often find that memoirs by writers with that type of background write a memoir like it's a report they will discuss on the six o'clock news or a subject on which they will give a research lecture.   Their memoirs often do not flow like a story or personal tale and  those memoirs have very little of the author's voice conveyed in the writing so the book comes across to me as dry and boring.  Finally, literary agents have indicated in their query guidelines that they just want a good story well-told.  From my experience, this usually means the agent wants lyrical, poetic or what I call "sing-songy" writing.  When I read memoirs written in this manner,  I usually find myself putting the book down and thinking, could you just tell the story and get to the point!  And usually the theme or lesson of the memoir may or may not be readily identified and explained by the average reader. 

Now, as a writer in the memoir genre here is what I think about when I question if I should consider writing about specific experiences:  Is this experience relevant?  Will my story resonate with other readers, primarily women?  Does the experience I am writing about reflect important women's issues?  Is there anything from my experience that would be helpful to someone else?  Are the experiences I am writing about going to reflect my life passion and distinct southern voice?  And above all, will my story hold the attention of the reader and keep them interested?  To me, social media is not as important as the story I am telling and if I have a unique way or manner of communicating that story.  And let's be honest, social media did not always exist.  I have no problem with maintaining a website and blog as well as being connected on LinkedIn and Goodreads, but Twitter I find obnoxious and Facebook to me is just too invasive.  I don't need to share every detail or picture of my life with the whole world.  To me, Facebook is a way of people tooting their own horn, sharing way too much information, and a way for many people to find validation.  I've never needed Facebook or MySpace to know I'm a worthy individual with valuable insights to communicate whether via writing, speaking, or teaching.  So sue me!  I LIKE being considered "old school". 

Finally, as a reader I will tell you that I most likely will NOT read a celebrity memoir.  I want to read a memoir written by a female writer that is telling a story about experiences that reflect an issue that is timely and important to women today such as overcoming domestic violence, finding your calling in life, the strong bonds of female friendship, dysfunctional families, developing a brave soul and standing up for yourself, elder care, being your own best patient advocate within the quite chaotic medical establishment we have today, and handling family drama as well as coping with the death of a parent.  And here's another tidbit:  many memoir authors today have websites, blogs, etc. and offer ways to contact them.  The problem is this:  many of those memoir authors do not respond to their readers or the people who bought their book, paid good money for it, and helped put the writer on the bestseller list.  And to me, that's just shameful.  If you can't be bothered to respond to your readers then what was your real motivation for writing the book?  If you can't at least send a proper "thank you" when a reader writes you then I think you might need a good and serious reality check.  Never, ever take your memoir readers for granted.  If you do take them for granted, they probably will not be buying your next book, recommending a book of yours to others, or supporting you in growing your writing career. 

Thanks Lit Loves.  I really needed to get that off my chest.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Memoir I Voted For In The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards

Dear Lit Loves,

Well, I have to say that after looking at the list of books that made the finalist list under the Autobiography/Memoir genre for The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, I was disappointed.  Actually, I almost didn't even cast a vote at all.  I'm not a fan of celebrity memoir or autobiography unless your name happens to be Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep.  I don't buy celebrity memoirs because I try to make my living via writing whether via teaching writing skills, editing, or attempting to get my own personal narrative/memoir manuscripts published.  Writing is My Cup Of Joe so to speak.  Celebrities have usually already made serious money by the time they or someone else writes the story of their life.  So if you are a television show host, actor/actress, sports star, musician, etc., you might as well hang it up if you are waiting for me to buy your book or for me to advise others to buy your book.  In my opinion, over half the books that made the final cut in the memoir/autobiography category on Goodreads were about celebrities.  There's a big difference between celebrity memoir and what I call "mainstream" memoir which is written by your normal, average Jane or Joe.  In other words,
I prefer memoirs like Wild and The Glass Castle and The Rules of Inheritance over anything by Patti Smith, Georgia H.W. Bush, or Mindy Kaling.  I want to read how "real" people who haven't already  acquired spoils and riches via another line of work handled life issues; people who don't have body guards, a weekly television show, a rock band, or who are already paid well for hosting a television network show.  The celebrity stories are important to a degree and I'm not taking anything away from them except to say there is a distinct difference between "celebrity" memoir and "mainstream" memoir.

So I voted for Hope:  A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus (with Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan), a memoir about how these two young women handled the experience of being abducted, held captive, and mistreated by a delusional maniac who believed he owned them and how they coped for years living in isolation with no one knowing what had happened to them or if they were even still alive.  Talk about having your life shattered and learning to live with trauma that will probably haunt these women for the rest of their lives.  And yes, I know they were in the news and covered by local and national media which did make them somewhat familiar to us all, but really, they were just teenagers living their lives until catastrophe struck.  Those are the stories that inspire me.  I will always endorse a memoir written by a "mainstream", "normal" woman who speaks openly of catastrophe, hardship, impoverishment, domestic violence, etc. and lays her bare soul on the page.  That's what we're lacking presently in the memoir category and that's the type of memoir we need to see more of, but until literary agents, editors, and publishers grasp the importance, relevance, and potential of these type of books we're just going to be bombarded with celebrity memoirs. And that my fellow book lovers is a real and total shame and a black eye for the publishing industry.

Until my next rant, review, or update,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, And Miracles With The Heroes Of The Hospital by Alexandra Robbins

Dear Lit Loves,

As regular readers of my blog probably know I write about the personal experiences I have encountered with our medical system in this country via my own peculiar illnesses including Uveitis, Uveitic glaucoma, Meniere's disease, and some unknown or undiagnosed autoimmune disorder that is believed to have given rise to all these illnesses (no one's been able to pin down an exact autoimmune problem). Additionally, I've seen my dad cope with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a stem cell transplant, quintuple heart bypass surgery, and most recently, a new targeted drug therapy which eliminated the cancer yet subsequently, my dad died this year of pneumonia and heart failure.  My mom has had breast cancer and I've dealt with basal cell carcinoma which was a walk in the park compared with potentially losing my eyesight and hearing. Thus, I may not be the best person to evaluate the book entitled The Nurses:  A Year Of Secrets, Drama, And Miracles With The Heroes Of The Hospital because I admit I am a bit biased as I think the real heroes of the hospital are the patients themselves.  Since I've been reading books that address the medical chaos my family and I have experienced, I'm always ready to read what someone else thinks of the medical establishment and what types of experiences they have encountered with hospitals, doctors, interns, residents, hospital administrations, etc.

First let me say that in my opinion the book The Nurses:  A Year Of Secrets, Drama, And Miracles With The Heroes Of The Hospital is not necessarily exclusively memoir or exclusively narrative nonfiction; I think it is actually a combination of both.  It was written by an experienced journalist.  Ms. Robbins follows the stories of four different nurses who are at different levels in their nursing careers.  She also gives quite a bit of detailed information on the burnout rate of nurses, inadequate working conditions nurses encounter, the gallows humor doctors and nurses utilize to "blow off steam", the clique-like nature among many nurses, and the notion that many nurses suffer a form of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the injuries they witness and treat or hostile patients and a patient's family members.  So let's start first by taking a look at the four nurses the author shadowed.

Nurse #1:  I am referring to the nurses as numbers because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who has yet to read it.  Nurse #1 is in my opinion, the best of the group.  She's ethical, will stand up for herself in the face of an arrogant doctor,  and can work effectively as a nurse in almost any kind of hospital whether it's a hospital located in the most violent part of a town or one located in the suburbs visited by affluent patients.  She recognizes when she is exhibiting symptoms of nurse fatigue or burnout and she has ways of taking care of herself and assuaging the demands of the job so she can always bring her "A" game to work.  She appears to be a team player and never displays any tendency to misuse some of the powerful drugs she is required to administer to patients.

Nurse #2:  Nurse #2 is the chief breadwinner for her family.  She has a rather revolting husband who she acknowledges probably cheats on her, is verbally and emotionally abrasive toward her, and who appears not to really care when she finally leaves him.  He stays home and takes care of the kids and depends on Nurse #2 to provide for him and the kids though she moved out and relocated to an apartment.  This nurse also had a tendency to suffer migraine headaches which she often did not have time to take off work and go to a neurologist for examination and prescriptive meds.  She had a previous drug problem as a teenager I believe and she falls into using leftover vials of pain meds to alleviate her headaches and the pain from them.  She finally admits to stealing and utilizing the pain meds and in order to save her nursing license, she goes for drug abuse treatment and spends several years on desk duty or probation before she is allowed to return to being a bedside or ER nurse.  The interesting part is that a hospital later recruits her to improve conditions for nurses at the hospital; however, she appears to be the only one to really buy into the concept of improving conditions.  The hospital had formed a group of medical personnel to find ways to improve nurse morale, but none of the more important ideas are ever truly implemented by the hospital administration even though they are aware that nursing morale is a its lowest and they have a high turnover rate among nurses.

Nurse #3:  Nurse #3 has the tendency to allow a charge nurse to assign her way too many patients than she can properly care for or supervise in a single shift.  She realizes that there is a clique of nurses on her unit.  They go out together, correspond online, and in Nurse #3's opinion, exclude her from the group.  Honestly, it was almost like high school social cliques.  I found the whole idea juvenile, but this nurse felt she was being excluded and it led to quite a bit of resentment.  And I had no idea how one nurse or group of nurses can actually demonstrate bullying behavior until this nurse's experience.  Nurse #3 is well-skilled and devoted.  She had a tendency to overshare detail from her personal life with her charge nurse in an effort to make a friend or possibly gain entrance to the nurse clique in her unit.  This backfires when she wants to move up the clinical nursing ladder as the charge nurse uses that personal information not to recommend her for a higher position. 

Nurse #4:  Nurse #4 is the youngest and least experienced among the group of nurses that were shadowed by Ms. Robbins.  She initially is shy and to me, makes some questionable choices when it comes to combining your private life and career life.  At one point she dates a doctor on her unit who is many years older than her.  And it appeared that she had a reputation for getting involved with medical staff at other hospitals where she worked.  She does develop her confidence to stand up to senior nurses who like to bully new nurses and I was proud that Nurse #4 did learn to not be afraid to question doctors and do what is necessary to advocate for the patients for whom she is responsible. 

The amount of research the journalist author did was astounding.  For example, the most frequent bullying medical personnel are general surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, othopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and neurologists.  The hospital departments most likely to have bullying employees included the Operating Room, Medical Surgery Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and the Emergency Room.  The worst holiday for nurses appears to be New Year's Day and that's because of the number of drunks that go to the hospital.  There appears to be an unspoken "Code of Silence"among nurses in that you do not "rat out" another nurse if you see her displaying suspicious or questionable behavior.  The worst time of the year to get sick appears to be in July when there is a mass influx of new interns and residents that become directly indoctrinated into hands-on patient care.  The hospital morgue is never labeled "Morgue", but something more along the lines of Anatomical Pathology so hospital patients and visitors don't get freaked out by the notion of death or dead people.  Even if as a patient you have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) paper, it might get ignored if you are unconscious and your family puts up a fight to have you ventilated and treatment continued.  I definitely did not agree with the notion of experts recommending healthcare professionals use gallows humor as a survival tactic and as a means of preventing burnout.  Now, it's one thing for nurses to prank one another.  It's a whole other ballgame when doctors make fun of obese patients on the operating table or hospital personnel keeping something known as a "butt box" for all the different items that have to be removed from patient rectums.  Honestly, I thought that was unsanitary and gross.  Also, I found it highly immature of hospital personnel placing bets on patient outcomes of  risky surgical procedures, a patient's blood-alcohol level, or who can best guess the incoming injuries of a patient arriving by ambulance.  Hello!  This not high school folks!  And who in the world knew that there was such a thing as a "slow code" which basically means hospital personnel are to respond slowly to a patient who is not expected to survive and responding hospital personnel should just generally go through the motions of attempting to revive the patient. 

Honestly, we're going to need more nurses in the future with all the baby boomers who are retiring and living longer.   According to this book, good work environments for nurses include favorable/low patient-nurse ratios, positive and not demeaning nurse-doctor relations, nurses being involved in hospital decisions, and managerial or charge nurse support for nurses who have no choice but to take on eight patients at one time.  I would venture to say it would be important to have fellow nurses who are supportive as well and to work as a team.

What do nurses advise for hospital patients?  Have a family member with you at the hospital and have someone who can be the spokesperson that interacts with the nurses and doctors so that person can relay the information to all the other family members.  Ask questions of your doctor.  Honestly, if a doctor doesn't present a condition or treatment in terms you understand, by God, make him/her repeat it or find someone who can explain it to you so you are well-informed.  Patients should be informed by knowing their meds, diagnoses, allergies, and emergency contact numbers.  Also, watch the hygiene habits of hospital staff members.  If hospital personnel do not wash their hands before touching you, ask them to do so because you're safety and well-being may depend on it.   I felt the nurses left out the need for hospital patients to have a living will or how much extraneous care do you wish for yourself if you are incapacitated.  Make sure you have a healthcare power of attorney and that the hospital personnel knows who that is.  Also, if you wish for your doctors and nurses to provide updates and health information to extra members of your family such as children, you better make sure you've signed a HIPAA waiver form that enables doctors and nurses to exchange that information or those family members could be left in the dark completely. 

I learned quite a bit about the nursing profession and the positives and negatives of a career in nursing from this book.  As a person who writes strictly memoir, it was often hard to keep up with the personal narratives of four nurses from chapter to chapter because nursing research and statistics often concluded each chapter.  I missed the continuity of following the story of each nurse and oftentimes found I had to go back and reread a section just to make sure I was clear on what was occurring for each shadowed nurse throughout the book's entirety.  The research information was outstanding and concise.  I now know that I will be paying attention to the actions of nurses I encounter at each clinic or hospital visit I make based on what I've read in this book.  It makes for a more informed patient and a more informed patient advocate.  And most people will tell you I am all for information sharing and being your own best medical advocate. 

Till my next read or publishing update,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Happened To My North Carolina?!!!

Dear Lit Loves,

Salutations, good day, and please understand that every now and then I have to diverge from discussions about my often horrendous interaction with the publishing world and just write about something that either strikes my fancy or lights my fire, okay?  I moved back to my home state of North Carolina about a year ago and in the year that I've been here I have been shocked, ticked off, ready to launch a protest movement, and floored by what I am witnessing in North Carolina after having lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA for fourteen years.  Honestly, I am ready to launch and institute what I call "Operation Bring Back The Art Of Southern Sophistication".  I've been horrified at what I am witnessing in my home state.  The following is what has led me to wonder what in God's country happened to southern gentleness. 

1)  When Did Interstate 40 East And West Become The New INDY 500 Track?  

For Pete's sake folks, it is NOT necessary to drive like a bat out of hell on North Carolina Interstate Highways!  Not only are people driving sometimes ten and twenty miles over the speed limit, but I have been forced onto the embankment of a highway entrance/exit ramp because other drivers who SHOULD move over to allow me access to the highway, refuse to do so.  Maybe people around here forgot what a turn signal indicates and why some of us use it?  Maybe there are a good many people who have transplanted themselves here from other states and this kind of backassward, rogue driving is what they learned in their former state?  And I have been cut off by so many aggressive, phone hogging drivers that now, I've just started taking down the color and make of the vehicle along with the license plate number and voluntarily giving this information to my friends at The N.C. Highway Patrol Office so you can be ticketed for aggressive driving and driving while using a handheld cell phone.  Next, there are those drivers (in my experience it is usually a person driving a Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, or some other high-falutin' vehicle), who ride the ass of my vintage Mustang.  One foolish male tried to pass me on a two lane road that was a no passing zone with oncoming cars headed toward both he and I.   Now, rogue fool, if you wish to drive like a maniac from hell and have a death wish for yourself, might I suggest you take you and your overpriced vehicle, ugly personality, and total disregard for safety to some other state.  Don't get behind my Mustang and ride my bumper like you're under a Nascar caution flag.  And do not flip me off and yell profanities at me when you do get an opportunity to pass me.  And finally, the other day I was taking myself to lunch in an upscale shopping area near where I live in the Triangle area of North Carolina.  The parking lot was packed and I had been driving around being patient waiting for a parking space.  Finally, I see a woman leaving a salon.  So I pull around, give her plenty of space to back out and wait patiently as she leaves so I can then park my car.  Would you not know that some wing-ding, it's all about me twenty-something, most likely driving her mom or dad's sports car, speeds down the aisle from the other direction and pulls right into the parking space for which I've been waiting.  Folks, there was smoke coming from my ears.  I have never in my life seen such rude, despicable, aggressive, self-centered drivers in this state!  And let me just add that I think it's true that a person's true personality is revealed when he/she gets behind the wheel of a car.  So I have concluded that we now have some seriously foul-smelling personalities in this state and if it were up to me, you wouldn't be allowed to live here.  And oh yes, I forgot to mention that I do believe in Karma and man is it a bitch when it comes back to bite.

2)  What Is With All The Overpriced And Butt-Ugly Homes In The Area?

Honestly, me and my husband have been renting an apartment since we moved back to North Carolina.  Every now and then I decide to go drive around the Triangle region just to see what homes are going for and what styles are available.  Let me tell you I have been laughing my ass off that homeowners here think that you are going to find someone gullible enough to buy your 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on .02 acres for $550,000!!!  Is the bathtub made of gold?  Are there marble floors throughout the house instead of hardwood floors or carpet? Does it come with a Ferrari? No, you say?  Well, welcome to reality.  Ain't no one, unless he/she is one gullible person with more money than common sense, that is going to pay you $550,000 for that fifteen year old three bedroom, 2 bath cluster home, ranch, or God Forbid, craftsman style house.  And what is with all the Craftsman style homes around here?!  They look like something out of the show "This Old House" without any renovation or "after" work done at all.  And let me tell you, I have no problems telling a real estate agent what I think of a house and exactly what I think that house is worth!  You know why?  My mother worked in the real estate industry for over thirty years so I know what the going rate is for your home, I know what you paid for it, I know about the schools in the area and the crime rate as well as what you have or haven't done to maintain and update said property.  And if you overpaid for a house you bought during the mortgage meltdown, prepare to take a serious loss.  You should NEVER have paid that much for that house. That just plain incompetence.

3)  What Is With North Carolina Being Next To Or Last In Education?

When I read recently that North Carolina came in either next to last or last in terms of public school education, I was offended.  Seriously offended.  But I know why it's happening.  The state is NOT paying your teachers enough!  You are paying those assistant principals and principals especially and often overly adequate salaries, but the state is giving the teachers here bread crumbs.  I know.  I used to teach here. The operative words are "used to".  I no longer tolerate not being more than adequately compensated for bringing in top student reading and writing test scores.  I don't need to teach in a school that is so out of control that a student purposely slams a classroom door on my hand, breaks the tip of my finger, and the principal or assistant principal gives them one day of in-school suspension.  And that truly happened to me.  If your principal and assistant principals don't have enough decency and authority to make sure North Carolina teachers are not dissed or injured, then why should I put my life on the line?!  And no, the governor has not given teachers a substantial salary raise in this state nor do I think he ever will.  And would somebody explain to me why N.C. State University keeps sending me requests to tutor students in English for free?  I paid for my education and you damn well can afford to pay me for my expertise if your students require it so badly!!

4)  And Why Did Our N.C. Governor Fast Track A Bill To Permit Fracking?

I just recently learned that back in 2014 the governor of N.C. fast-tracked a bill to permit fracking.  Oh Jesus and Mother Mary Help Us All.  People, if you think fracking is a good thing then go take a look at the state of Texas.  In Texas, fracking decimated the land, home prices dropped through the floor, people started developing respiratory illnesses and cancer, and the air there is polluted something awful.  And now I'm learning that our N.C. governor wants the citizens of N.C. to subsidize fracking?  If you don't know what that means let me tell you:  He wants tax payer dollars to be given to the oil and gas industries who make billions so they can implement fracking in North Carolina so our land, water, and citizens can be poisoned all for the sake of discovering a little natural gas!  Ain't no way I'm voting for it.  I'd rather see our governor start having to dig his way back to Charlotte with a teaspoon than give him one ounce of authorization to use my money to ruin the land, water,  and people of this state.  And what also bothers me is that the governor chose to sign this fast-track fracking bill at N.C. State University.  So I have to ask:  Is N.C. State University backing fracking?  Let me know N.C. State Public Relations because I will not be recommending your institution to any college-bound senior high school students or college transfer students either.

5)  Why Have I Been Assigned To Vote At A Church?

The last time I checked (and I also have a degree that allows me to teach history) the founding fathers of this country wanted separation of church and state.  Okay.  No problem.  And then I register to vote in North Carolina and I receive my voter registration card telling me I am supposed to vote at a church?  Say WHAT?!  Oh Hell To The No.  I've voted at courthouses, schools, fire stations, city hall, etc., but never have I been instructed that my voting place is a church.  Why is that happening is what I want to know?  This is a serious violation of the law in my opinion.  It will not prevent me from voting, but I find my polling place to be high suspicious. What I really want to know is who in their right mind designated a church as a polling station?!!

6)  What Is With All The Weird 'Cue?

Okay, so for the uninitiated what I am saying is this:  what in the hell is going on with all the weird barbecue places springing up here and there all over the Triangle area?!  Dear God.  Now in N.C. folks, barbecue is as serious as your religion and I am telling you I am from near the Winston-Salem area and as far as I'm concerned this is what N.C. Barbecue is:  well-chopped, spicy with a distinct tang.  It is served with hushpuppies and spiky, sharp-shooting, make grandma sit up and scream vinegar based slaw, and usually this comes with a sweet tea.  So I move to the Triangle region and start trying various barbecue restaurants.  Somebody Call The Pope!  What in the tarnation is this grub you are trying to serve me?!  N.C. barbecue ain't sweet (that's Georgia); it ain't ribs; it's not burnt to a crisp (that's Texas) and it surely is not served in strips that are barely cooked!  And no, quality N.C. barbecue is not served with fried okra, pinto beans, some kind of nasty mayo coleslaw or worse, mustard colored potato salad!  Now, I haven't tried all the barbecue restaurants here yet and I am hopeful that I will discover serious, quality North Carolina barbecue in the N.C. Triangle region, but so far NADA.

7)  What Is With All The Rudeness?

So my husband returns home from getting a his hair cut and styled at a salon.  He enters the apartment looking like someone just stole all his Edy's chocolate chip ice cream from our refrigerator and he is massaging both sides of his temples.  During his salon visit, the stylist located next to his stylist had a five year old kid whose mother forced him to come to the salon and get a his hair washed, cut, and styled.  The kid screamed from the moment he was put in the stylist's chair.  He yelled that it hurt to get his hair cut.  And he screamed in an ongoing fashion for the entire forty minutes my husband was there sitting in a station beside him trying to get his hair trimmed.  Did the mom take the kid outside?  Did the mom pick up the kid and say that she would come back at another time?  Did the owner of the salon intervene?  Oh no.  No one stopped this scream king.  He went full tilt.  My husband was concerned because he couldn't even hold a conversation with his own stylist and he was also afraid that his stylist was so distracted by the screaming that she was going to mess up and leave him with a cowlick which has happened.  Rude, rude, and just rude.  Because your kid needs his hair trimmed and you insist it be done on your schedule and then your kid starts acting like a hyena and giving other customers and stylists migraines, you as a parent just ruined a salon experience for seven other customers. Ever heard of discipline dear momma?  Take a class, read a book, or google it on your new Apple smart phone.  Time for some people to go to school and learn how to parent.   By the way, I went to this salon on one occasion, judged them to be seriously lacking due to my hair being five different colors, and promptly called my brother Kegan, the McDaddy Edward Scissorhands of Raleigh, North Carolina and now, I have seriously fierce hair, but he ain't cheap and no, he will not tolerate screaming spoiled five year olds.  And finally, the other day I was shopping in Belk.  I happened to be looking at a pair of pumps.  Suddenly I heard a seriously awful conversation peppered with the most foul language.  It was coming from a dressing room.  So I went to see if maybe this was a person or persons who worked for Belk.  Oh no.  It was two fully grown women trash talking one another as they tried on clothes.  And I noticed customers in the area hurrying to vacate the store and not one employee dared call security or intervene.  I was frankly annoyed.  I could have bought two pairs of shoes, but rather than have to listen to two grown adult women talk smack, I left.  Shame on you.  You people are old enough to know better.


Till my next book review, literary rant, or soap box call to battle,