Sunday, November 25, 2007

This photo has nothing to do with what I’m writing about today. Or maybe it does. But it’s one of my favorite photos. I took it in Newport. It's a motorcycle tombstone. Really.

One of my favorite Sunday activities has always been reading the Sunday paper. Wherever I have lived, it has been part of my Sunday ritual. When I lived in the cities, I really enjoyed the trip to the place where I’d buy my paper. For years, I never kept a subscription because the trip was part of it, you know?

In Atlanta, it was Oxford Books, back when there was an Oxford Books. In Britain it could be any number of newsagents where I’d go to pick up a Telegraph or Guardian…and maybe one of those chocolate oranges. They had them in dark chocolate. In Dallas, it was the closest paper rank to wherever the crowd was having brunch that day. And in L.A, well, I can’t remember but it was probably close enough to walk to but you took the car anyway.

When I first moved here, there was no paper delivery. I’d drive to Black’s Market and hope they had a paper. Now, they do have delivery. I get the local paper, The Newport Plain Talk.

I spend a lot of time with this newspaper. I even spend hours in the library going over the past issues. Not so much for the news. If I wanted the news, I’d get the Knoxville paper. No, The Plain Talk unerringly reports on things that spark my imagination. I get so many of my story ideas from the back issues. Sometimes they are very sad things. Sometimes they are unintentionally funny. Sometimes they are just funny. I’ve been saving clippings for a while. I understand that that’s how Carl Hiaasen works when he writes fiction. And he’s in Florida where they have gobs of stories like this.

I think my favorite part of The Plain Talk is the “From the Record” page. These are the sheriff’s and police blotter reports. My goat theft showed up there.

For instance, on Friday in the police report section they had one entitled “Where’s the Beef?” This guy goes into a local grocery store and shoplifts seven rib eye steaks. An employee grabs him by the shirt and the guy rips free, losing his shirt yet somehow managing to hold onto the meat. The shirtless meat snatcher is spotted running through town and finally seen running down the railroad tracks with the meat. They didn’t catch him. The incriminating evidence has probably been grilled and consumed at this point.

Then today, we had this gem. “Driver swerves to miss hog, ends up in ravine”. The headline is pretty self-explanatory. Woman swerves to miss a large hog crossing the street and ends up doing more damage than if she had just hit it and had a pig pickin’. She was okay. They didn’t mention how the hog was. Pretty upset, I’d imagine.

Anyway, that's one of the places where I get my story ideas. Really, you can't make this stuff up. But you can put it in a blender and come up with something like Porn and Donuts.

Happy Sunday


  1. samuel said...
    You mention getting news from the Knoxville paper as if at some point in the past you'd seen the Knoxville paper actually contain news. I can only wonder what that must have been like.
    Rosie said...
    Hehe...Samuel...everyone complains about their local paper. I think I've dissed all of them except the that's news. I like the NY Times too. But the News Sentinel is the closest paper that sort of has newspapery stuff in it. It also prints news about my county that they won't print here. Small town press is sort of like that...different ballgame...different standard. But hog stories? Can't get that in K-town.
    kazari_lu said...
    My favourite ever newspaper artical was in the police report on a small island. It talked about vandalism in a particular subdivision near a sports centre.

    The next week (we only had a weekly paper there) there was a retraction. But the police cricket team wanted to recruit whoever had hit a six out of the ground, over the highway and three condo's to finally break some guys bedroom window.

    This was the same newspaper that reported Samuel Bodden had been found drunk and disorderly, was taken home and 'tucked into bed by his mother'.

    I love small town papers.
    Jbeeky said...
    Hey Rosie,
    Have you moved yet? I need some catchin up.
    Thinking of you,

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