My dear husband was on the road yesterday and reported hearing two commercials from a small radio station in Mississippi.
The first was: “Here’s the Funeral Report, brought to you by the Piggly-Wiggly.” Do you remember the Piggly-Wiggly stores? Oh, I do! And I recall funeral reports from the radio when I was a child. I picture old women sitting around the radio, leaning forward, avid to hear who has died, and sorrowful but maybe a little gleeful at times, too.
The second was: “Shop your home-town Save-More Pharmacy, where you can ask for Frank. He’ll come in the night and open up for you.” Good Lord, there’s my town of Valentine! And people call my books fiction.
The Valentine radio station showed up in my last book, Chin Up, Honey. I had more fun with it! Not much was made up out of whole cloth but came from direct experience. In Little Town, Great Big Life, Winston grandly hollers out over the airwaves: “GET UP, GET UP, YOU SLEEP-Y HEAD! GET UP AND GET YOUR BOD-Y FED!” I took that from a big-city radio station in Oklahoma City. Some near twenty years ago, I was heading into my son’s bedroom to wake him up for school. Just as I walked through the door, his radio alarm went off, volume full-blast: “Get up, get up, you sleepy-head. Get up and get your body fed!” Liked to have scared me to death. For years afterward, our family would shout the refrain at each other.
Our lives are made up of these small, seemingly inconsequential moments, ones we carry with us. We do well to keep the good moments, and let the not-so-good fade.
Reviews are starting to come in of Little Town, Great Big Life. One is from my mother, who said: “The best and funniest yet.” Hey, when a girl pleases her mother, she’s done well.
A more non-biased review from Publisher’s Weekly: “Readers should hold on to their hearts; losing them to these unforgettable characters is a real possibility.” You can read more of the Publisher’s Weekly review at my website.
I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it’s reflecting life–toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things–and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict.” ~Greer Garson.
Fiction is made up of troubled vistas, but it also makes sense of them, and in Valentine, everything comes out right.