Sunday’s Gumbo

  • Some people make what they call “gumbo” with filé powder and no okra. I cry foul. “Gumbo” is a synonym for “okra,” so if you’re using that powder and no okra, what you have ain’t real gumbo. My 2¢.
  • While waiting for two Kristin Hannah books to arrive, I’m enjoying re-reading Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. I first read it in 2016 so by now I’ve forgotten so many details, it’s almost like reading a factory-fresh new book. From the publisher: Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from. When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes. During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is―as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences. From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.
  • According to a Facebook meme, we’ve left spy balloon season and entered train derailment season.
  • It’s sad to see former President Jimmy Carter going into hospice care. My wife and I met Rosalynn Carter when she gave a wonderful mental health-related speech at the Atlanta History Center. After the talk, she walked through the audience row by row and thanked each of us for coming. Her hand was so fragile I felt like I might inadvertently crush it. Her smile though and her focus on each of us when we shook hands–those were indestructible. I’ve been impressed by the Carters’ long-time support of Habitat for Humanity, including going on-site and hammering nails.
  • Note Number Two: It really irks me that they (whoever they are) took the ¢ sign off the computer keyboard. It seems more useful than the + sign which is still there. In the 1950s, we would have said that commies were responsible for this conspiracy. Now, I’m guessing it’s some neo-whatever group.
  • Dear Ingram: Every time you raise printing prices, we have to redo covers and update the price of the books in the bar codes and on the site. This is a real hassle. Think of the price you first charged us as similar to rent control and engrave it in stone for all time.
  • Aw shucks, none of my books made it onto PEN America’s literary awards list of finalists. With a share of PEN’s $350,000 in total prize money, my publisher wouldn’t have to worry about the costs of updating our Ingram covers.
  • I was all set to drive a $70,000 Plus Six Morgan off the lot when my wife steered us to the Honda dealership where we bought a 2019 HRV at a fraction of the cost. My realities don’t match my dreams. Of course, if we’d bought the Morgan, we would have needed to clean out the garage so that at least one car fits in there. So, there is that.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the comedy/satire novel “Special Investigative Reporter.