I didn’t just lose Carlotta that day

November 14, 2019

It has been 42 years since that October afternoon in 1977 when Carlotta Hartness and her friend Tommy Taylor were shot to death near a baseball park in northeast Columbia. Tommy was 17 years old. Carlotta was just 14. The random, gruesome murders of two innocent teenagers rocked Richland County. “I didn’t just lose Carlotta…

Read More

Inspector Gamache, Je T’aime

October 17, 2019

J’adore Armand Gamache. That would be Chief Inspector Gamache, head of homicide in the Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force of Québec, Canada. My fictitious love is the leading character in Louise Penny’s murder mystery series, set mostly in the lovely Eastern Townships of Québec. The Canadian author has just released A Better Man,…

Read More

Men and Guns

September 19, 2019

And so, the killings continue apace. In the month of August alone, 53 people died in mass shootings in the United States. The final carnage last month took place in Texas, when, after a traffic stop, a gunman began shooting randomly at cars, killing seven innocent people and injuring 22. Once again, it was a…

Read More

The Unsettling Truth

August 12, 2019

If you are a white man, you have an excellent chance of being elected/appointed to a governing board at one of South Carolina’s 10 public universities. If you are a woman, however, don’t get your hopes up. Here are the unsettling numbers, as compiled last month by statehouse.com: the governing boards of South Carolina’s public…

Read More

Needed: more leaders who look like me

April 19, 2019

If I lived in Colorado, nearly half my state legislators would look like me. But because I live in South Carolina (and despite our state being 51.5 percent female) only about 16 percent of the lawmakers in the S.C. General Assembly are women. This ranks us a dismal 44th in the country in terms of…

Read More

Where are all the female college presidents?

March 15, 2019

In the next few months, a new president will be appointed to lead the University of South Carolina. Considering the school’s 218-year history, odds are another white man will succeed President Harris Pastides in the top job. Neither a woman nor a person of color has ever held that position at the University. Why is…

Read More

Well Done, Ms. Athill

February 15, 2019

The last volume of Diana Athill’s multi-part memoir was published in 2016 when she was 99 years old. She died last month in London at age 101. You are forgiven if you’ve never heard of Athill, although she had been a legendary book editor and publisher in England since the 1940s. But she became internationally…

Read More

Hear Us Roar

January 18, 2019

Women of “a certain age,” as the French say, will remember the powerful song by Helen Reddy called “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)”—a 1971 hymn to gutsy, strong members of the female sex. Reddy is 77 years old now, but I imagine she still roars. So do an increasing number of older women who…

Read More

Journalism in the “Year of the Woman”

November 16, 2018

I read an article the other day entitled “25 Dying Professions to Avoid”. Journalism was one of them. For people in my profession, that disturbing headline was accurate in more ways than one. Reader circulation has dropped for 17 straight years, and Sunday circulation of U.S. newspapers is at its lowest level since 1945. The…

Read More

Reprise: Anita Hill (and Christine Blasey Ford)

October 19, 2018

I still believe Anita Hill. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. Each and every one of my female friends also believe these brave women. Truly, as a colleague of mine said the other day, these are times that try women’s souls. And so, later this month, for the 27th year in a row, several hundred women…

Read More