Satsu Issues an Apology

satsuGood Morning Everyone! My name is Satsu and I’m temping here at The Little Bookstore until March 11. Then I’m moving to DC to pick up some more admin work there.

I’ve arrived in the nick of time here. They sure needed help. The fuzzy guy who runs the bookstore has been dealing with the loss of a personal friend, poor brave soul, plus he’s working three jobs – trying to get a class together for the College for Older Adults, run the bookshop, and renovate a room in Hazel House. (That’s the house he helps run for rescue cats, sweet boy.)

They tell me there’s a lady who works here with the fuzzy guy, but I’ve not seen her – unless she’s that flash of cotton fabrics and hair that whirls through the place about once a week. Someone came in the other day, dropped a suitcase, picked up a suitcase, and left again. That may have been her.

I’m told she just turned in a manuscript for her third book, which is about foster care and adoption. Naturally I assumed it was about cats, but no, it’s human children and social workers and foster care parents, all talking about their experiences. Whatever it was, getting it done on time kept her from putting up any other blogs this week. She left a phone message asking if I could write something, and I’m happy to earn my keep here.

There are just a few temps like me here right now. Four of us started together, but two of the younger girls went out the door a few days later, adopted to forever families. It’s always the cute young ones who go first.

But no worries. Me and this plump older tabby named Nancy Drew, we’re headed out next week, gonna go live in the Big City. I don’t know about Nancy – her goals in life seem to be “Move as little as possible, eat as much as possible” – but me I’m looking forward to life in the fast lane. Papers to pee on, files to eat, online documents to destroy with keyboard crossing – oh, I can’t wait to get started!

So if you were expecting to hear from Fuzzy Guy or Whirling Lady, please be assured they’ll get back in touch next week. I think. He’s up to his ears in faucets and pipes and she’s off someplace doing something for her parents. She’ll be back. Fuzzy Guy is expecting her to help him hold some pipes in place.

Hasta la vista, babes!

The Monday Book: THREE LITTLE WORDS by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Ashley-RC-Headshot-1-1A clear, calm, journalistic approach to your own life? Hard to achieve, but Rhodes-Courter did. This memoir is one of those books that isn’t so much about the way it’s written as what it’s written about.

It’s about being a foster child available for adoption (eventually, when somebody noticed and the system got around to it) and winning the adoption lottery, because the parents who adopt you don’t “return” you, even when you put pills in their wine. (Read it; it’s kind of like horror comedy except these were real people coping with the moment.)

The descriptions of how Ashley felt at a young age of course have to come later, so they often have an adult spin put into a child’s word. Which gives it a kind of awkward clarity that’s really helpful if you’re trying to get to the core of the feelings involved. The chronological development of Ashley’s awareness of what kind of rabbit hole she’s fallen down is really described well, because she’s been there done that and chooses straightforward language to depict the twists, turns, and funhouse mirrors.

It is no small thing to turn a maze into a straight line and still let the readers understand what the maze was like. This is that kind of book – no poetics, no histrionics, just the feelings behind the facts. It’s also built on a moment that pretty much sets the tone for the whole book: those three little words are not, in the first instance, “I love you.” Which gives the memoir a lot of its power to help us understand what it means to learn to trust when you’ve seen so little reason for trusting.

An insightful, thought-provoking book, not overly sentimental and not given to voyeurism, is unusual in the growing field of “I was a……” true life books. Good for Ms. Rhodes-Courter. And good for those who want to understand what this strange, broken world of child “protection” looks like these days.