Tuesday, November 27, 2001

I finally had an interesting day in class that I can talk about.

In the morning we met with Barbara Fineman who is a ghost writer for a variety of well known people. She told us some interesting stories about people she's written for. The most interesting was about Hilary Clinton. Guess what? She didn't write "It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child", heck she didn't even come up with the title. Barbara was hired when Hilary only knew that she wanted to write a book, she didn't even have an idea of what sehe wanted to write about beyond "something about children." They sat down together and brainstormed ideas and titles. Barbara thinks that if you can come up with a good title you can come up with a good book from it. They had no luck. Barbara went to interview a well known woman executive for a Vogue article. The woman she interviewed was a black, single mother who had made it big... very far from Barbara or Hilary's life. Barbara asked the woman who she manages to raise a child and work at the same time. The woman said.... "it takes a whole village to raise a child." That's how the book got started. I guess Hilary had used the term in earlier speaches but the whole book concept came after she decided to write a book and even after the title... how sort of depressing.

To all those Republicans out there you will also be pleased to know that Hilary sort of screwed Barbara over and was kind of a bitch. She had promised Barbara $120,000 for the book with no royalties because she didn't want people to know she had a ghost writer. That was okay, as the advance was much more than the usual. She also expected to be listed in the acknowledgements which is very important to a ghost writer. Whoops... Hilary only wrote: it takes a whole village to write a book-- a phrase Barbara once saide AND THEN... they also refused to pay her the full amount because the book was still changed a lot after Barbara finished with the Clintons...

It goes on. Barbara had also spent a weekend with the Clintons where she was only a room away from the 'papers' that were so scandalous in the Whitewater investigation. This meant that Kenneth Staar and the FBI supenoed (sp?) her and she ended up having to hire a lawyer and all kinds of other junk.

Bottom line... you might want to stay away from the Clintons. They must have liked Barbara's work because they asked her to stay on as a speech writer... she declined, she "just wanted to get out of that place."

Sort of sad story cause I want to like Hilary.

There is more, but I have to be off to class.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Back from Florida. I had a great time. I took a long time to get there and a long time to get back. The quickest route to Florida from DC is through Detroit... hrm. That means it takes about 7 hours of travel and a few more of sitting around. Even so, it didn't detract from the weekend. The weather was wonderful, the people even more wonderful making it an extremely enjoyable weekend... albiet a bit short.

It was really nice to see both where my Uncle Jim and Wendy live and the place that my grandparents spend the winter. My grandparents live in a mobile home park... it isn't what it sounds like. They have an adorable little place all decked out Florida style with a couple of bedrooms and bathrooms. It's almost more space than they and thier little dog need. The park is for retirees (sp?), and is filled mostly with "Snow Birds"-- the people that spend winters in Florida. It is sort of a little family as almost everyone is related or has known at least another neighbor from before they moved to the park. It is a perfect place for them. My grandfather can golf, fish and bike and my grandmother can chat with the neighbors, bike and sit in the sun. Not to mention Jim and Wendy live close by.

They live in a little cottage that they rebuilt from near disgrace a year or so ago. It is adorable and filled with cats and kitchy little things they have both picked up along the way. They did a great job shuffling me about the town and showing me the sites. Tarpon Springs is a Greek Sponging town. The Sponge Docks are downtown and filled with Greek Shops and Resturaunts. Wendy and Jim took me for a walk through the town and even to a little church built by a woman in attempt to save her sick son.

My favorite part of the trip aside from a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner shared just by Wendy, Jim, Grandpa, Grandma and I, was Kayaking on a river who's name I can't spell or pronounce. I've never Kayaked before and although I felt quite akward thought I made a pretty good go at it. I enjoyed winding through the river and learning about plants and trees from Jim. We didn't see too much wildlife... a couple of turtles, some fish, an eagle and an osprey, but it was really enjoyable...

What else? Grandma, Wendy, the little dog and I took a nice after Turkey walk through a park and to the water. It was funny... one minute you are walking through a pine forest and the next you are looking out at the Gulf. We were able to walk along the beach and climb up an overlook before heading back down the trail to the car. The little dog, which is a tiny little terrier had the most fun although it kept getting all these long pine needles stuck to its legs which looked pretty funny.

Overall... a great time. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa and Jim and Wendy for showing me such a good and relaxed few days. I promise to come back if you'll have me.