News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sex and The Middle School.

An exchange of dialogue at the last Presidential Debate has me considering the way we teach sex to our youngsters about to enter puberty. I refer to Michelle Bachman's outrage at Gov. Rick Perry for ordering compulsory immunization against the Human Papilloma Virus for twelve year old girls.
This is a sexually transmitted disease that leads to uterine cancer later on. The problem is it has to be administered before there is any sexual activity. Ms. Bachman thought twelve year olds were too innocent to have to deal with such stuff.
Well, the truth is that if you put it off another year, you'll miss a percentage of girls. They are already active. Forgive me for not having the statistics, but I'm betting almost all middle schools in the country have had to deal with pregnant twelve or thirteen year old girls.
In our quest to embellish our life on this planet with all sorts of beliefs in family values and religious dogma, we forget that man is a mammal whose purpose on this earth is to be born, procreate, and die.
It's the procreate we have trouble with. Suddenly girls are awash in hormones that feel like true love. There is that other very human fear of being alone--cut from the herd--left out. How is a young female going to come through this jungle unscathed unless we teach them about their bodies? It isn't love, stupid; it's a hormone called copulin.
The mystery is explained in my book, The Alien, (unpublished). The five commissioners of the planet Agra, who are all species of moss, are discussing human procreation.

"It sounds most inefficient to me, this requirement for two people," Four said. "I don't understand this male-female thing. Why do they need both?"
Five replied, "My research indicates it is because of the rather involved human procreation process. Periodically, the female produces eggs, which are like our spores, and holds them inside her body. The male fertilizes them, and when they have grown into small humans, they are shed by the female and nurtured until they can live independently."
"It sounds rather chancy to me.” Three said, “What if the male isn’t interested? How does the female compel the male to fertilize?"
Five answered. "The male has little choice in the matter. His nose controls him. The female has scent glands behind her ear. When she has an egg ready she emits a scented hormone called 'Copulin.' Glands in nearby males are stimulated by this odor to produce another hormone, testosterone, in their saliva. They put their mouths together─Earthlings refer to this action as kissing─and the saliva arouses the female, encouraging further male activity. Fertilization takes place."
Three asked, "Why can't she fertilize them herself, like we do?"
Two shifted restlessly. "Really, One. This is most tedious. Must we discuss it further? I don't care how procreation is accomplished and I don't want to learn."
Five intervened, "We cannot strategize victory if we don't understand what motivates these creatures. We have essential oils regulating our behavior; humans have hormones. The mystery is that the human nose cannot detect these substances, which dominate their behavior to a great degree, subconsciously. They are not aware they are being motivated by their hormones."
"Considering how rapidly humans multiply," Two intoned critically, "I should think they would be educated at an early age to be aware of this and control their response."
So there you have it. The next time a boy tries for sex with a girl too young, she can simply chalk it up to hormones and tell him to get lost.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing History--The Ultimate trip

My new book, "The Hidden History of Eureka Springs," is about to become a reality. Writing this book has changed me. My world now has color and form way beyond the normal. The reality of every event, every political decision, now comes with an invisible kite tail weighing it down, governing its outcome.
When History Press asked me to write this book, my first thought was, "Who, me?" I write romance or urban fantasy. I like to make things up. This stuff already happened.
I quickly discovered that relating what happened is hardly scratching the surface. My advantage was living in a town that should have never happened. Eureka Springs was an accident. In 1879 there were no maps, no roads, not even a path pointing the way, but there were rumors of a puddle of water, at the base of a hill, that would heal sickness. Once the word was out, they came in droves. 500 in one month, camping around this puddle. 10,000 in a year, all with one thing in common--they were sick, in terrible pain, and without hope.
Thus began the journey that changed my life and the way I see things. I met ordinary people with extraordinary talents who simply appeared when they were most needed. Every time the battle to survive the looked lost, somebody was there, and these people stay with you. I find myself wondering what the wily Claude Fuller, master politician in 1926, would do about this present-day congress . They'd never know what hit them.
And General Powell Clayton, of Civil War fame. He showed up in 1882 determined to make a town out of this mish-mash of shacks and hovels. Within four years he had a railroad, a water works, electricity, and streets with gas lights. No TARP or stimulus for him. Just do it.
And so it went. For each triumph there was a disaster that leveled the town . . . again. The story reads like a bad soap opera.
I even have a mystery man. He was there at the beginning, a charismatic man the citizens followed without question. For two years he led them through the basics of making a town, then disappeared. I can't find one reference to him after 1881. His name was Hugh. I'll find him. He's my hero. Probably the romantic lead in my next book. Maybe we'll do a little time travel.
If you need some excitement in your life, write history. It's the ultimate trip.
You can order the book at or look for it in a few weeks on