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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
newseum event

Gail Sheehy and Jane Adams are two of my favorite guests on the show and I got to hang out with both of them last Sunday, one in person and the other between the covers of a smart, sexy new novel. It was also the day Life (Part 2) came to life; we premiered on our producing station, tpt, in St. Paul/Minneapolis.

Gail and I were guests at an "Inside Media" forum at the Newseum, a spectacular taj of journalism near the National Mall, well worth a visit. Rich Foster, the director of education and programs, moderated. I enjoyed answering questions instead of asking them for a change.I talked mostly about the show while Gail's deft story-telling fleshed out the statistics of the Boomer generation. After all, this is the reporter whose Passages changed the way people thought about their lives and their cohorts. A Newseum volunteer, a social worker during the week, stopped Gail to say that reading her in college had informed his career choice.

Gail, who appears on show #3 (Caregiving) and #8 (Boomer Dating), talked at lunch with me and Naomi Boak, Life (Part 2)'s executive producer, about her latest project, a book on care-giving. She's been researching the final chapter about a community in San Francisco expressly created for mutual care-giving.

Jane Adams' new novel, Sugar Time, was my companion on the three-hour train rides from and to New York. I'm not much of a chick-lit reader and would not have picked it up if I weren't interested in Jane - I know from her appearances on show #2 (Generation Gaps) and #5 (Money Is Love) that she is an insightful, down-to earth social psychologist and I wondered if that could translate into fiction. I packed her book in a bag of reading material, figuring to take just a preview peek. I never got to the Sunday papers or anything else.

I was locked into the funny, poignant, page-turning adventures of Charlotte Sugerman Kane, a fifty-something television writer/producer who has issues with her Mom, her kids, her dog and a conniving assistant as she lunges at what could be her last chance at a successful TV show. If that wasn't a plateful, she suffers a series of stress-induced cardiac events that she hides from the network and from her wonderful new lover lest they both cancel her. And it seems that Mr. Dreamy has a secret, too. Sugar is sharp-tongued, bawdy, intelligent, tough, and engagingly vulnerable. I know enough not to conflate characters and authors, but I do have to ask Jane about those sex scenes. Of course, before I do I'll re-read Gail's "Sex and the Seasoned Woman" so I don't seem totally uninformed.

 

Photo by Bruce Guthrie

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