EARTH DAY – Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle

REDUCE: I drive a hybrid car thereby reducing my consumption of fossil fuel.
REUSE: To name just one, I wash and air dry Zip Lock storage bags (a trick I learned from my sister Sheila) so I can reuse them.
RECYCLE: The usual – I recycle paper, plastic, and glass.
REPURPOSE: I’m not into repurposing such things as a water bottle into a rolling pin or repurposing an old sweater into a tote. To save myself from a fail in this category, I’m going to take the opening pages of my novel and use them for this week’s blog. Repurposing!  Kinda of a sneaky cheat, I know, but I’ve been sick and slept most of the day. I did not work on my blog, but I don’t want to disappoint my loyal fans who check in every Friday.

My novel began with my imaging of Nancy Drew at 62. Please do not think of the matronly Louise Fletcher of MURDER SHE WROTE. My character came of age in the 1960’s. She and her generation were very much into…well you know all that. She, and the Baby Boomers, are inventing new ways to be senior citizens.  The Nancy Drew franchise is still prolific annd profitable.  No way they would let me use their character’s name! My amateur sleuth’s name is Carolyn Quinn. In the Latino population of Southern California, her last name is pronounced like the word keen. My tribute to Carolyn Keene, the pen name of all the authors who write Nancy Drew stories. I hope you enjoy the opening of my novel THE SECRET IN THE AVANT GARDE PAINTING.





“I think something bad has happened to my daughter.”

Rewind a moment. The ringing of my new land line had startled me. The number was supposed to be suppressed. I hadn’t given it to anyone except my father, Andrew Quinn, and his housekeeper, Esther. He was eighty-seven and frail. Reason enough to answer the phone, even if it somehow turned out to be one of those annoying telemarketing calls.

I scrambled from my lounge chair on the patio and hurried into my bungalow. Mocha, my foster dog, dragged herself to her feet and followed me. I whispered a one word prayer, which was a short sentence with the words run together. My cheat. Being a non-believer, I allowed myself that when circumstances turned dire.


By the time I reached the desk in my office, the answering machine had picked up. After the beep, a woman’s voice came on the speaker. Familiar. But I couldn’t quite place it. Worried about her daughter. Was it wrong that I felt a moment of relief? And to wonder’ how she had gotten my land line number?

As I lifted the receiver, I did a little wiggle dance to relieve the pain in my lower back caused by a protruding disc at L5. In spite of my best efforts, lately, the passage of time was taking a toll on my body. I hated the aches and pains that came with being seventy-two.

Damn. Damn. And double damn.

I picked up the phone, interrupting the “record a message” function, and said, “Hello. This is Carolyn Quinn. May I ask who is calling?”
The caller said, “I’m sorry. I should have identified myself. This is Sandy Vandagriff. I saw you jogging with a huge dog on the boardwalk at Turquoise Cove this morning.”

“Do I know you, Sandy?” My tone wasn’t friendly. As a young girl, I’d been a local, minor celebrity in the town of Corona del Sol. The Beach Cities News, which covered the ocean front communities of Orange County, had dubbed me an amateur sleuth. A nick name I had come to hate. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out where this conversation was headed. I rubbed the lower, left side of my back.

“Yes, you know me.” she said, “At least you did before you left Corona del Sol.”

“That was forty years ago.” I sighed. During my four decade absence, I’d come back as often as I could to visit Quinn, but I’d avoided going out in public. I didn’t want to be drawn back into my long ago life of solving mysteries. And, in secret, I dreaded meeting one person in particular in a chance encounter.

“Yes,” she was saying, “A long time ago. I was Sandy Williams back then. We were in the same homeroom class at CdS High.”

“Sandy?” I croaked. She and I had been good friends. A mental image of her came to me, looking suspiciously like her yearbook picture, Thick, wavy, shoulder length, brown hair. Large brown eyes. High cheek bones. A wide, friendly smile. The bruised, swollen, bloody face of a similar looking young woman replaced that image. Her missing daughter? Beaten, raped, and murdered? A shiver passed over me. I didn’t want any part of it.

Damn.  Damn.  Double Damn.

REPURPOSED: Opening pages of my novel have been turned into a blog. Maybe I will try making a water bottle into a rolling pin or an old sweater into a tote.


3 thoughts on “EARTH DAY – Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle

  1. I loved the Nancy Drew books!!! Read them all when I was a teen.
    Earth Day, A great way to save the earth, if people try. Not good at all the Re things but, I try.
    Will be nice when you get your book on the market. I can read them now as a senior.


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