Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fireside Chat

The recliner seen ‘round the world. Photo from The Washington Post.
(No photo credit given but the AP photographer was Sue Ogrocki of Okahoma City)

By Pat Browning

Fresh from my debut as the Associated Press poster girl for fine furniture … in case you haven’t heard … last May I used my federal stimulus check to buy a $199 recliner at Big Lots! I mentioned it on my blog, along with the merry tale of acquiring a big coffee table by dumpster diving.

An AP business reporter in Raleigh, NC picked up on the recliner bit, called me, and sent out a photog from OKC. I tried to get a copy of my book, ABSINTHE OF MALICE, in the photo, but no luck. Probably my feet take up too much room.

The reporter gave me 8 lines at the end of his story. As reporters past and present know, editors cut a story from the bottom to fit available space. So far, so good, though. The reporter gave me a nice 8 lines:

“Mystery book author and retiree Pat Browning said she cashed in her stimulus check this spring and bought a $199 blue microfiber recliner at Big Lots! in May.

“‘The comfort level is important because I am home all the time,” said Browning, 80, of Yukon, Okla. “I spend my life sitting at a computer, writing and doing endless research, but the mind can absorb only what the seat can endure. My best writing takes shape when I'm drowsing and dreaming at nap time in my new recliner.’”

Ooops. He got my age wrong, but not by much. My fault. I should know better than to joke with a reporter. I said I would never tell my age or my weight and then I popped off … oh-well. When I get to be 95, I’ll either start lying about my age or start bragging.

In some kind of harmonic convergence my essay, Blogging 101, is a text presentation at PPWebCon Oct. 24. In it I talk about the long reach of a blog. The AP story is just the latest example. You can see the AP article by Emery Dalesio at:

among other places.

Holy mackerel, Andy, I’m falling in love with myself. I just Googled “Pat Browning AP” and up popped the Charleston, WV Daily Mail; (Philadelphia Enquirer connected); Houston Chronicle;; Miami Herald; Fort Worth Star-Telegram;; Columbus GA Ledger-Enquirer; Omaha World Herald;; Newsday; The Washington Post … the Washington Post?

Horrors! The Post used 2 photos, one of them truly awful. My hair looks like two cats had a fight in it. I look like a 400-pound bag lady. Your Honor, I just came inside to get out of the cold. Sat down to rest for a minute in this nice recliner. It tuckers me out, shoving that shopping cart all over town, all day long, every day of the week.

Now why on earth would the Post use such a terrible picture? Must have been a slow news day. The photo editor probably fell down laughing. I fell out of love with myself. No wonder celebrities pay people to keep stuff like that out of the papers.

To ease my descent from Mount Olympus, I did a little long overdue filing. The first tattered sheet of paper I picked up was covered with scribbled quotes. Wisdom of the world, not all of it pretty. I’ll share.

“The past is forever with me and I remember it all.” – Nien Cheng, LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI.

“There is no apology that can ever atone for what I saw.” – Ray Leopold, 28th Infantry Div. US Army, World War II, on Nazi death camps.

“It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over.” --Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950).

“Listen; there's a hell of a good universe next door: let's go.” --e. e. cummings

“How was it that people never noticed the immediate improvement in their inner being that followed a session of throwing things away.” --Nury Vittachi, THE FENG SHUI DETECTIVE.

“Memory opens on small hinges.” James Sallis, CRIPPLE CREEK.

“The horse could be out of Secretariat … who knows what those horses do when nobody’s watching them?” – Stuart Margolin in “The No-Cut Contract” (The Rockford Files).

“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” – Chuckles the Clown eulogy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

And finally: “If the AP calls, don’t hang up.” – Pat Browning.


Jean Henry Mead said...

I love this. Great photo, Pat! What's the old newspaper addage, "Say anything about me but spell my name right?" I think your 15 minutes of fame has spread worldwide and who knows? Maybe even the president will pick up a copy of your book. Best of luck with that. :)

Unknown said...

The recliner seen 'round the world. ...