Lois Lowry's Blog


The Truly Tawdry

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 in Uncategorized


Okay, here's a confession. Almost every day at lunchtime I leave my desk, leave my office, and take my lunch into the TV room and turn on Court TV. Then for an hour I watch a little slice of the seamiest part of American life. Lately it has been the trial of Phil Spector, sleazy music mogul (see attached photos) accused of shooting would-be starlet Lana Clarkson.

This trial will end soon and it will be hard to say goodbye to this cast of characters. Yesterday, testifying for the defense, was a friend of the victim who thinks her pal committed suicide. She was apparently very depressed because a famous movie person (I missed the name) didn't recognize her, at a party. "She freaked out," said the witness.

All of the above took place at what the commentators refer to as "the mansion" belonging to Spector (again see photos), a 33-room house, the scene of many parties and much gun-waving.


The witness, and friend of the victim, was a hefty blonde whose profession was "doing clubs." Her name—I am not making this up—is Punkin Pie. I watched in a kind of grim fascination as lawyers in expensive suits and ties called her, politely, "Miss Pie."

There must have been a time when people like Phil Spector, now on trial for murder, and Lana Clarkson, now dead with a bullet through her head, and Punkin Pie, probably back doing clubs, were six years old and starting first grade. They probably had shiny new shoes, once, and a mom who brushed their hair, and a little lunchbox with a sandwich and some cookies inside. What happened between then and now? Where did things go wrong for them, and why? This is of course, the material of which fiction is made.

The jury will begin to deliberate Phil Spector's fate after Labor Day. Soon he will either go off to prison with a new haircut, or back to his 33-room mansion to party on. Public attention, including mine, will wane. Court TV will move on to its next tawdry tale, maybe the one they are already calling "Astronaut Love Triangle." I will sit with my sandwich once again and wonder what the heck caused these trainwrecks to occur.

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Kelsey Monday, 29 November 1999

That is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen! It is such a gift to read to your children. When I read to my daughter, I can still here my mother's reading voice in my head.

Jennifer D G Monday, 29 November 1999

I remember in Marguerite de Angeli's book THEE, HANNAH where Hannah borrows and ruins her friend Celia's sash and then hides it in a drawer. I remember also how Hannah helps a runaway slave. But still, as a child, that sash scene is what scared me most.
I am glad to be reminded of those wonderful stories.

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

My copies of the de Angeli books are in my old farmhouse n Maine. My son, who has two little boys..now 7 and 9...uses the farm often, when he takes his boys up there to ski. One time after he had been there, I found "Coppertoed Boots" by de Angeli in the children's bedroom. He had been reading it to them at bedtime. Isn't it great that some favorites continue though generations?

Nathalie Monday, 29 November 1999

Yes, I love Marguerite de Angeli too! My favoite is Up the Hill. Which is your favorite?

Monika Monday, 29 November 1999

It's so fun reading about the books you remember from your childhood. I had Swedish friends who introduced me to Pipi Longstocking and the horse named Flicka.
I still remember the day I saw The Giver on the library shelf (it must have just been published). I devoured it--it fed something deep inside me that I didn't know was even there. I didn't know you had written a sequel until last year, when a girl I babysat loaned it to me. Amazing!
As a beginning children's writer, I've often thought about how you wrote your books and tried to learn from you. Thanks for writing such great stories!

Robin Monday, 29 November 1999

I enjoyed reading this post. The photograph of your mother being read to by your grandmother is just beautiful!
Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr, and Flicka Ricka, and Dicka, were in our family library when I was growing up, and I loved them. This year, when I started teaching 2nd grade (after being a 6th grade teacher for 16 years), I brought them to school and read them to my students. They enjoyed them, and the stories sparked some good discussions about helping others.

Melissa McWhinney Monday, 29 November 1999

I'm reasonably sure that Snipp, Snapp and Snurr are in paperback at the Robbins Library (main library) in Arlington. Or at least they were 10 years ago, when my children were young enough to enjoy them. If those paperbacks haven't lasted, I hope they were replaceable. Anyway, you may want to give the library a call. Or even search on the Minuteman network!

Oswaldo Jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

I have an advanced Galley of a book titled "THE SOLITARY VICE, against reading" by Mikita Brottman...She is a practicing psychoanalyst, and professor of language, literature and culture.
She asks "Just why is reading so great? it's a solitary practice and takes away from time that could be spent developing social and interpersonal skills. And if it's so important, why do we feel the need for slogans like "Reading Changes Lives" and "Champions Read?"....
I've been putting off reading it but its subject matter is making me itchy to read it....I'm playing hopscotch with other books I'm reading so adding another might be a challenge.. If I learn something worth reporting...I'll post it right away...

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