On this episode of "That’s Life" hosted by Lois Richter, we meet MaryLou Anderson, a local artist and writer with whom Lois became acquainted at the Davis Art Center. They met while Lois was admiring MaryLou’s glasswork and got to talking; and here they continue their conversation with us on KDRT. Lois and MaryLou cover a lot of ground — from MaryLou’s pen name (M.L. Edson) to the chemical properties of dichroic glass — there is a lot to learn.
For starters, they discuss "The Six Rivers Killer", a book published by MaryLou in 2012. The book is a fictionalized version of a real murder investigation that took place in the 1970s. The story is one she picked up 35 years ago when she was peripherally involved with the case and continued to consider during the years she work within the prison system and. Although she thought all along the story was worth writing, she was only able to accomplish this feat after she retired in 2008. MaryLou’s exposure to the criminal justice system through her work and volunteering with the sheriff’s office provided her with insight that peppers the story with insider knowledge from the field. The book is presented with an omniscient narrator who provides many angles — the motives of the murderer, the cover up attempts, as well as the frustrations of the sheriff’s department.
From there the interview becomes a little more personal — MaryLou talks about self-publishing, her poetry book, and other writing projects she has been a part of. She is enthusiastic about the Sacramento Suburban Writers Club, which can be found at http://www.sactowriters.org/ .
Fused glass artwork is the next topic of discussion. MaryLou and Lois together explore a collection of pendants brought from her studio. The shapes and colors — how they get there and where they come from — many details are questioned and explained. MaryLou starts with sheets of glass — some clear, some which have already been colored with powdered minerals or metals, and some ‘dichroic’ (a space-age technique creating highly reflective metallic looks). Several technical topics are covered — beginning with the difference between glass fusing and glass blowing. (Glass fusing, which is the type of work that MaryLou does, is done at a lower temperature so the glass softens but doesn’t puddle. Glass blowers work at a higher temp with molten glass.) From frit to dichroic to the use of gold leaf, glass terminology and techniques were explored.
Because they are small and easy to carry, MaryLou brought in pendants. But she also makes larger items — bowls, plates, and hanging panels — from the same materials. MaryLou said at one point, “Humans take glass for granted.”
Lastly, MaryLou talks about her latest writing project, a book which includes three other writers from the Sacramento Suburban Writers Club. "Love and War: Four Romances, Four Wars" is an anthology telling of a love story set in each of four different wars: the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Iraq. Each story is about 25,000 words; the expected release of this title is in the next month or two; and samples of the writing are available already.
Lois concludes with the idea of bringing some of the other writers from "Love and War” to be on the show later this year — so look out for some more great writers coming up on "That’s Life”!
Summary by Alison Borkowska and Lois Richter