Ray Bradbury

scifi

Harlan Ellison, also gone like his friend Ray, but not forgotten. In the story “The Pedestian” by Ray Bradbury it is 2053, and roads have fallen into decay. Mead enjoys walking through the city at night, something which no one else does. “In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not one in all that time.” On one of his usual walks, he encounters a police car, which is possibly robotic. It is the only police unit in a city of three million, since the purpose of law enforcement has disappeared with everyone watching television at night. When asked about his profession, Mead tells the car that he is a writer, but the car does not understand, since no one buys books or magazines in the television-dominated society. Neither the police car nor its occupants can understand why Mead would be out walking for no reason and so decides to take him to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies. He is forced to get into the car. As the car passes through his neighborhood, Leonard Mead in the locked confines of the back seat says, “That’s my house.” As he points to a house warm and bright with all its lights on unlike all other houses. There is no reply, and the story concludes. It is based on a true incident that happened to Bradbury, and led to Fahrenheit 451, chosen as one of the top 100 American novels ever written. Ray was a mentor, in a way. Answered every letter I wrote him, and even sent me a poem. The Pedestrian is included in the collection The Golden Apples of the Sun.

  —J. Lowe

Ray Bradbury

Bookmans

Trailer Trash by Angie Cavallari

Trailer Trash

Call it a mobile home or trailer, there is a history of exploitation or desire for an 8 Mile escape among many past, current, and future residents. Trailer parks are “a great investment” for the rich seeking real estate paid for by desperate people. The future looks great or bleak, depending on who you ask. As the divide widens, who will survive? Will society itself collapse into a shootout between gated communities and roving bands of bunker survivalists? Angie Cavallari is an assiduous writer that has been hammering away at the craft for over 20 years. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, Healthline, The Reset, SF Bay Reader, among others. A transplant to a plethora of U.S cities including her current home, Denver, Angie grew up in Florida, then moved to NYC where she picked up her husband in a bar. In spite of her propensity for wanderlust, she managed to settle down long enough to have two extraordinary kids and build a solid life with her husband of 16 years. Angie Cavallari her pen/maiden name and Angie Walker her married name as co-founder of Retro Publishing, LLC. She joined forces with a fellow book nerd and Gen X’er that had always wanted to be an indie publisher. Her new book is not fiction, and there are others too in both fiction and non, all eye-or-ear openers.

Jonathan Lowe:  What made you want to write TRAILER TRASH and open up stories about your life in a memoir?
Angie Cavallari:  Let me start by saying that I have always been a writer but the idea of making any money—even a pittance—as a writer was not something I was encouraged to do at any age. Instead, I would read, then write, rinse and repeat with a measure of spirits thrown in for courage. I have boxes of unfinished manuscripts and embarrassing journals dating back to when I was nine-years-old, but what I confess prompted me to write and complete my first book was that I longed to live through the stories of my youth again. To revisit these stories and memories be it good or bad. I am estranged from my family and many of those in my book like so many that we have lost in our lives are magnified like a rear-view mirror when they are gone. It’s my belief that this truth is at the heart of every author that has ever written a memoir. 
JL: What was it like growing up in a trailer park and attending private schools with friends that lived in normal or typical neighborhoods?
AC: It was befogging. I remember always being aware of the social divide even from a very young age. My friends didn’t have neighbors that were openly intoxicated before noon or homes with dark, particle board walls and a roach problem. One thing I can tell you about living in a trailer—no matter how much you weigh or your age, when someone is walking down the hall it sounds like a herd of elephants approaching you. However, even as inhospitable as it sounds, I have a deep appreciation for the community that I lived in and the people that lived there. Unlike a typical suburb (which I live in today), these people are as real as it gets—they don’t put on airs and are working too hard or living too hard to bother. 
JL: Do you have a favorite tenant or neighbor from your childhood? 
AC: They were all so colorful but I would say, Florence. In fact, my favorite chapter to write and share during a reading is Chapter 3: The Tenants. Here is an excerpt from Trailer Trash: an ’80s Memoir. 
“Perhaps the most memorable tenant I knew was Florence. And we were warned never to call her “Flo” or risk a backhand to the head. Her lot sat smack dab on the south side of our yard, and, during the eight years that she lived there, I never saw her sober. She always seemed to be coming and going from her many trips to and from the liquor store or the local watering holes, much to my father’s chagrin. You may have not heard her leave, but you always heard her return because she would take out the metal trash cans and stray cats with her 1970s pale-blue, rusted- out Cadillac. On many occasions, my father decided to perform a more subtle intervention by filling her gas tank with water while she slept off the Colt 45. Florence held a strange fascination for me and my sister. For starters, I could never figure out her age. She may have been in only her early sixties, but I would place her around seventy-eight in booze years. And she wasn’t the kind of sweet old lady who wanted to connect with children or keep butterscotch candies in a faux crystal jar for younger guests. Most days Florence would proudly sport a halter top sans a brassiere and briskly march across her yard in crudely trimmed cut-off jeans—her cheap flip flops flailing off her feet and her sagging breasts bouncing in cadence to her determination to find escape through a good time.”
JL: Do you listen to audiobooks?
AC: I prefer to listen most books on audio, but classics such as Pride and Prejudice I prefer to read in print. Currently, I am recording my book from the privacy of my closet and an expensive microphone. I hope to have it finished in the next two months but it will need finessing by a professional so stay tuned! 
JL: I have an upcoming story collection, including scifi and satire based on The Rockford Files. Do you think your book will reach a wide audience?
AC: That is my hope as an author. But even if a reader cannot relate to trailer park living, or even spending sticky summers in Florida, they can certainly connect to ’80s nostalgia. Believe it or not, I have many millennials that love learning about the ’80s and are fascinated by a time when they were not tethered to technology—I think we are all longing for that time as well.
JL: Indeed. It’s all about money, now, maybe even to Eminem. Thanks, Angie.

Trailer Trash tells the story of Angie Cavallari, your typical girl growing up in the 1980s who finds herself cradled in an arm of a society that would be considered anything but your paradigmatic suburban neighborhood. In 1980, Angie and her two siblings are dropped into a world of the poorest tenements during a decade where material wealth was worshipped. But these are not your usual run-of-the-mill Florida retirement occupants—these are tenants with issues that Angie soon realizes are the same that can happen anywhere—even under her own roof. Her place in society is further confused by the fact that she doesn’t live in a trailer but nonetheless, shares a postage-sized backyard with a less-desired community by societal standards and attends a prestigious private school more than 45 minutes from her cinderblock castle. After spending a decade living in a world of indiscernible differences, Angie’s family decides it’s time to pull up stakes, sell the trailer park and buy a double-wide trailer of their own in the Carnie Capital of World, Gibsonton, Florida. Funny at times, nostalgic throughout, Trailer Trash hits on some serious notes and undertones about societal differences and the trials of surviving childhood in any decade and any environment. 

 

Why I Like THE ROCKFORD FILES

James GarnerJust heard James Garner’s biography on audio, and was struck, not just by his honesty, candor, or his anecdotes on movies, but his generous attitude and lack of ego, despite being labeled as a “curmudgeon.” The Rockford Files is one of the few TV series that I truly enjoyed, due to its offbeat yet believable writing, its humor, and its lack of bling. (One of many surprises, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers was a foul-mouthed mini-Hitler who hated actors, writers, and agents…but he was afraid of Garner, thinking he might pick him up and throw him out the window, as Errol Flynn once threatened to do!) Garner appreciates writers, unlike many other actors, and never tried to change scripts as bigger egos tried to do.

If you can’t live up to “What would Jesus do?” as a motto, don’t descend to “What would Joel Osteen or Trump do?” but instead consider “What would Jim Rockford do?” In a world of hustlers and con men, Rockford maintained his honesty and dignity, was loyal to his friends, and treated everyone as equals. Modest, yet unimpressed by fame or fortune, he gave everyone a fair shot, yet never fell for a sucker punch twice, and had a nose for deceit. A man of his word, even if he bent the rules, Rockford was nobody’s fool, yet he had a heart of gold. Women depended on him, even if they never took him seriously in the end, living in that trailer, and often betrayed him. But he never used them. Simple and sincere, Jim Rockford was one of a kind, with his own thoughts and values, which were unshakable. Often the victim, the good guy who finishes last, he reemerged intact, able to enjoy the sunrise of the next day. How many men in the real world can go through what he went through, yet remain true to themselves?

James Garner dies

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Julie Andrews
One of the best anti-war films ever, “The Americanization of Emily.” Julie Andrews reads the introduction to Garner’s audiobook “The Garner Files.” Andrews has met Trump, but denounced his pulling out of Paris accords and cutting funding to the arts. She lives on Long Island. Garner was a Democrat.
Stories by Jonathan Lowe
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