Friday, December 1, 2017

Kaye Barley muses...


HALLIE EPHRON: Today it gives me the greatest pleasure to welcome Kaye Barley, our dear "Oh, Kaye!" who has blogged once a month for us since... forever... and is now stepping away from that regular gig. Fortunately, she agreed to come on as a guest.

Kaye, I “met” you via your blog, Meanderings & Muses. I know you started blogging ages ago (2008??)—tell us when and what got you started?  And where is it taking you these days?


KAYE BARLEY: In a very round-about way, I think Meanderings and Muses came to be because I quit smoking.

Evelyn David, author(s) and member of The Stiletto Gang asked me to write a blog piece about that. That was during the summer of 2008 (and I am still smoke free – yay!).  Then in September of that year, JT Ellison asked me to write a piece about how theinternet might be a “Virtual Montparnasse” for the blog Murderati.

Then I attended my first Bouchercon in October.  How could I not want to write about that?  I couldn’t wait to share that experience along with some pretty awesome pictures.   Talk about Fan Girl – that was me.

All these things seemed like fun things to share in my own blog, hence Meanderings and Muses was born.  But I wanted it to be about more than my ramblings about my own life.

After floundering around for a bit and after running the idea by several author friends I decided to try out an idea just to see if it would fly, and boy did it ever. I sent out invitations to some author friends asking if they’d be willing write a piece for yet another blog - about whatever they cared to write about.  Every invitation was met with a “yes.”

In January 2009 the author spotlights were kicked off by my dear friend Pat Browning.  I was a huge fan of Pat’s work, especially her essays.  She had a way of writing that was so comfortable.  Readers felt like they were sitting down for a cup of coffee and a chat with a close friend while reading Pat’s pieces.  Perfect for the atmosphere and ambience I hoped to have at my own blog.

What started as the 2009 Meanderings and Muses Dream Team of about 12 authors – one a month – grew to two authors a week (sometimes three), every week, in 2013.
By this time, many of the contributors had participated every single year. And I was beginning to get requests from people who wanted to come play.

But it had turned into more than I had hoped and was becoming more like work than fun for me. So at the end of 2013 I thanked all the guests one final time. 

Guests being a delightful mix of bestselling authors, mid list authors, unpublished authors, regional authors, poets, publicists and publishers, bloggers, friends of the mystery community and readers who read a bit of everything.  I was even able to convince my husband to write a piece and wasn’t the least bit surprised when the number of hits kept rising and rising and rising.

Meanderings and Muses author spotlights made its mark in the mystery world.  I’m always going to be quite proud of that.  How could it not with a line-up including...
 Avery Aames Megan Abbott Patti Abbott Victoria Abbott Suzanne Adair Ellery Adams Riley Adams Michael Alatorre Tasha Alexander Lou Allin Beth Anderson Patty Anderson Susan Anderson  Donna Andrews Maggie Barbieri Donald Barley Wendy Bartlett  Cara Black Rachel Brady Peg Brantley Duffy Brown Pat Browning Brenda Buchanan Julia Buckley Robin Burcell Lucy Burdette Alafair Burke Tony Burton Sarah Byrne Bill Cameron Dana Cameron Chester Campbell Lillian Stewart Carl Cathy Lee Carper Toni McGee Causey Diane Chamberlain Joelle Charbonneau Laura Childs Jane Cleland Stacey Cochran Mark Coggins Jeff Cohen P.J. Coldren Meredith Cole Reed Farrel Coleman Alan Cook Thomas H. Cook E.J. Copperman Gary Corby Shelley Costa Cleo Coyle Elizabeth Spann Craig Bill Crider Deborah Crombie Lonnie Cruse Evelyn David Hilary Davidson Krista Davis Mark De Castrique Vicki Delany Deni Dietz Nan Dillingham Julie Dolcemaschio Alice Duncan Carola Dunn J.T. Ellison HallieEphron Linda Fairstein Nancy Peterson Farina Robert Fate Gerrie Ferris Finger Barbara Fister Jen Forbus Barbara Fradkin Shelly Fredman Leighton Gage Kate Gallison Kaye George Shane Gericke Gina Gilmore Debra Ginsberg Chris Grabenstein Andrew Grant Judith Greber Beth Groundwater Carolyn Haines Tim Hallinan Denise Hamilton R.J. Harlick Rosemary Harris Libby Fischer Hellman Sara J. Henry Sasscer Hill Beth Hoffman Judy Hogan Lesa Holstine Julie Hyzy Coco Ihle Roberta Isleib Dean James Nancy Lynn Jarvis Craig Johnson Larry Karp Toni L.P. Kelner Dana King Vicki Lane Bob Levinson N. J. Lindquist Mary Jane Maffini Victoria Maffini Morgan Mandel Margaret Maron Nancy Martin Ashley McConnell Jenn McKinlay Marilyn Meredith Jenny Milchman Celia Miles Robin Minnick Donna Moore Bobbi Munn Tim Myers Patricia Neeley-Dorsey Radine Trees Nehring Kris Neri Scott Nicholson Doris Ann Norris Karen Olson Mike Orenduff Alan Orloff Ann Parker Bronson L. “Bo” Parker Brad Parks Sandra Parshall Louise Penny Twist Phelan Dee Phelps Neil Plakcy Jonathan Quist Cornelia Read Mary Reed Gillian Roberts L.J. Roberts Chris Roerden Carolyn Rose S.J. Rozan Janet Rudolph Sandra Ruttan Hank Phillippi Ryan Karen Schinder Brandon Seidl L.J. Sellers Sarah Shaber Deborah Sharp Zoe Sharp Andi Shechter Clea Simon Joanne Campbell Slan Ben Small April Smith Sylvia Dickey Smith Alexandra Sokoloff Robin Spano Earl Staggs Kelli Stanley Patricia Stoltey Niki Strandskov Pari Noskin Taichert Marcia Talley Kathleen Taylor Pattie Tierny Elaine Viets Miranda Phillips Walker Robert Walker Kathryn Wall Mary Welk  Melinda Wells Jeri Westerson Molly Weston Shirley Wetzel Leslie Wheeler Sharon Wildwind Michael Wiley Simon Wood Nancy Means Wright Elizabeth Zelvin

Meanderings and Muses has gone through a lot of changes and now it’s become a place for me to do an occasional book squeal, share some of my photography, share a piece of poetry or art I’ve stumbled across. A place where I share stories and pictures about friends and family, and political rants. 

It’s a place I lean on and love.  And I have no idea what might show up there on any given day.

HALLIE: Whoa! That's some list!!

One of your “muses” was surely Harley. A corgi, AKA Harley Doodle Barley.  (And BTW I love the idea of that little energetic dog being named after a motorcycle.) He’s inspired you, your blog, and your writing. Tell us how.

KAYE:  Oh, Harley.  I miss that funny little dog every day of my life.  He would have taken this new kid, Annabelle, in hand and given her a good talking to.  He was a joy, a tonic, a mischievous little soul.  And he did “inspire” us to write a book with him – all about him, of course.  It sold quite well, and still picks up a new sale every now and then.

HALLIE: Tell us about Boone, your home in the North Carolina Mountains, and how it shapes your literary life.

KAYE: Boone.  Talk about a love/hate relationship!  

I adore our little house on the edge of the wilderness and I adore our neighbors.  This area of the North Carolina mountains is beautiful.  We have a small group of neighbors who are like family.  There’s nothing I enjoy much more than shopping in our little downtown area where we have some outstanding shops and galleries and a few good restaurants. 

I’m afraid, however, what I love most about it is slowing changing and disappearing.  

Developers love lopping off another mountain top to toss up another group of cheaply built houses/condos/apartments.  They’re starting to ignore their own rule about building height.  The university is taking over the sweet downtown area and housing prices are ridiculous, meaning many of the service people will be living outside of Boone and driving in to work.  One of the largest employers, Appalachian State University, doesn’t believe in raises for staff, and I could go on and on and on.  You may have seen Boone on the Rachel Maddow Show during a segment of voter suppression. 

North Carolina, in general, has been a challenge in recent years. It shapes my literary life in that I always find things here to photograph, to contemplate, and to write about.  It’s a dichotomy I’m constantly exploring.


HALLIE: Please, share with us your wish for the new year, and what books are on your bedside table…

KAYE: In semi-permanence on my bedside table are a couple of books by Pat Conroy including his cookbook which has some of the loveliest essays he’s written.  Also, his “My Reading Life,” and “Lowcountry Heart.”  

Additional permanent book residents include Rick Bragg’s “My Southern Journey,” and Neil Gaiman’s “The View From the Cheap Seats.”  I love essays and poetry for bedtime reading.  The books of poetry on that messy bedside table right now are Mary Oliver’s “Devotions,” Christopher Buckley’s “Star Journal,” and Ntozake Shange’s “Wild Beauty.”  The novel I’m reading is Dawn Tripp’s “Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe.”  Next up is Tahereh Mafi’s “Whichwood, a companion to her “Furthermore” which was pure magic.  And my oh so cherished Kindle Fire so I can have any book I might have a hankering for at any hour of the day or night.  Push a button and “POOF!” there it is.  More magic!

As far as the coming year goes, Donald has joined me as a retired person so we hope to just relax and enjoy time together.  We’re both nesters, so being at home is always nice, but we’re also looking forward to doing some traveling.  He’s agreed to go to Paris with me next September and we’ve already booked a small studio apartment on the Ile Saint-Louis for a week, followed by a train trip to Amsterdam where we have a hotel room booked for 3 nights.  Between now and then, just to make me quit talking obsessively about all things Paris, we’ll be making little day trips to Asheville and other places we enjoy that are close by, and a trip to beach is always on the agenda.
 
HALLIE: Are you working on a new book?

KAYE:  I’m working, sporadically, on two manuscripts.  One is another Whimsey novel in which I’m trying to tell Olivia’s story.  But, it feels like I’m just retelling the story of Whimsey, so I’m not happy with it.  We’ll see where it, and if, it goes.

The second is a novel which takes place in a small mountain town.  It’s a little darker.  One has to be careful not to poke at and peek under some fairly harmless looking rocks.  I’m having a whole lot of fun with this one, truth be told.  But I am a very slow writer, for which I have stopped thrashing myself.  

My favorite writing is creative non-fiction essays, so I find myself doing a lot of that, along with some short stories.

HALLIE: Kaye, we’re going to miss you as a regular contributor to Jungle Red, so I hope you’ll come back often as a guest.

KAYE: Hallie, being an Honorary Red for five plus years has been an honor.  It’s been fun and of course I’ll come back as often as allowed.  I thank Hank for the initial invitation which was a huge and fantastic surprise and I thank all the Reds for their friendship and support.  It’s a pretty amazing group of women I’ve been hanging with, I must say. 

HALLIE: Ending with a quiz for our readers, who have gotten to know Kaye over these last years. One of these is TRUE about Kaye… which one is it?

1. She danced on stage with Bruce Springsteen in Atlanta.

2. She sang on stage with Willie Nelson in Atlanta (just one short chorus of "On The Road Again").

3. She was on Atlanta TV getting a kiss from a camel.

4. She was part of the peanut gallery for the Howdy Doody Show.

5. She was on Atlanta TV helping Paula Deen make Shrimp & Grits

41 comments:

  1. Oh, Kaye . . . you will be missed.

    I remember Kaye wrote something about Bruce Springsteen and dancing to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” . . . .

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    1. Thanks so much, Joan - it has been a very fun time. I did dance to Bruce Springsteen singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. HOW did you remember that?! But. Not on stage I'm sad to say. I was with my friend Tammy Mulligan and a couple of Atlanta Policemen joined in the dancing. It was quite a night.

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  2. Kaye, your monthly visit will be missed.

    I am glad to have met you that way virtually and then in-person at the Bouchercon in NOLA.

    Hope you and Don enjoy being officially retired together.

    Asheville, Paris, and relaxing at home with Annabelle all sounds lovely and well deserved.

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    1. Grace, I have enjoyed getting to know you! I always love reading about where you're traveling, what wonderful restaurants you're trying and always wish I could do as much of it as you do. Think of me as your virtual travelling pal.

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  3. Wonderful interview ladies! Kaye, you do such a great job of documenting your journey of the past ten years--we have so enjoyed being a part of that. And glad you are getting your hub to visit Paris!

    And to be honest, I'd believe every one of those quiz possibilities could be the truth!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lucy/Roberta - I have loved every minute of being here. Donald in Paris! I honestly never thought that would happen! Who knows what other surprises he may have up his sleeve.

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    1. Hahahaha! Hallie. We need to get you some red cowboy boots, honey! You would rock 'em.

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  5. Enjoy the time with Don, Kaye. Knowing you from here, I'm with Lucy. Any one of those could be a possibility!

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Thanks so much Mary. This next life phase is one we've looked forward to and talked about for many years. I'm pretty excited.

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  6. Most certainly we will still see you around the Interwebs and conferences, but your contribution here will be missed - although it lives on in cyberspace for eternity. Enjoy the travel! I know you will.

    Oh, and why do I suspect all of those things are true about Kaye? Certainly seems entirely possible.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristopher. Yes, I will definitely be around. And I look forward to seeing you at mystery cons. Well, who knows, we could be on another panel together some day!

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  7. Kaye, I share your frustrations with what's been going on in the North Carolina mountains and around the state. My wife and I once thought about retiring to Asheville, but one can no longer look at the beautiful mountains without seeing the protruding McMansions. Not to mention the goings-on in Raleigh.

    I wanted to be on Howdy Doody but didn't get to, so I'll guess that one (if they're not really all true). Best wishes from another recent retiree!

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    1. Jim, isn't it the truth?! Frustrating. Maddening. Heartbreaking. Aaargh!!!!! I did want to be on Howdy Doody's show, but the closest I got was being told, often, how much I looked like him when I was a kid. Skinny. red hair. freckles. I was always a little scared of that Buffalo Bob guy . . .

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    2. When I was in third or fourth grade Clarabelle made an appearance at a shopping center near where my family lived one Saturday. One of the neighborhood dads piled about nine of us into his station wagon(no seat belts in those days) and took us there. And I found out that I was terrified of Clarabelle!

      DebRo

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    3. Oh, Deborah - this made me HOOT! I think I would have been terrified too!!!!!!! What a great story

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  8. Kaye, with your irrepressible spirit of fun, any of those things could be true, and possibly all of them!

    I'll guess #2, though.

    Your essays on so many of the same things that touch my own heart--mysteries, dogs, travel, sweet husbands, author friends, nature, country life, politics (!), and so many more--have brought me a lot of enjoyment, darlin', and I thank you for that. I'll miss your Oh, Kaye Sundays.

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  9. Karen, thank you. We are, most definitely, kindred spirits. I agree. Sadly, I have not had the pleasure of singing with, or even meeting, Willie Nelson. Dammit. If it ever happens he could very easily find himself with a couple of new "family members" with him on his famous bus. And would have a hard time getting rid of us. Don Barley loves him as much as I do. I'll keep you posted on the possibility of that ever happening!

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    1. I'm right there with you on Willie. I have always had such a crush on him.

      We have to make a point of getting together at either Malice or Bouchercon this year. Mwah!

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  10. Love you, sister of my heart. Well, we're down to the camel and Paula Deen. I'm going with the camel. I'm going to miss you here, but I know where to find you!

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    1. Sister Lesa. Since we chat ALMOST ever single day, you certainly do know where to find me. Always. And yes - being kissed by a camel on Peachtree Street in Atlanta GA. My claim to fame. The camel's name was Gus, and I still have the pin that came along with the kiss. Several blocks of Peachtree was blocked off for a "Save the Fox (theatre)" event. There were food vendors, musicians, dancers - and Gus. My boss at the time was at home asleep on the sofa. His wife woke him up saying, "Jack. Kaye's on TV. Being kissed by a camel. You might want to see this."

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    2. Oh, Kaye! That makes me laugh.

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  11. Kaye, we'll miss you so! And your beautiful photographs, and the corgi stories... But oh, my gosh, a studio in Paris? That's my dream getaway (although, like you, I couldn't stay too long - have to get back to the Shih Tzu!)

    I'm with Hallie - I think we should ALL get red cowgirl boots.

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    1. Oh, Julia - Thank you. I've loved every second of being an Honorary Red. Yes to the red boots!! Yes! AND - how about a Reds get-a-way in Paris next September . . .

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  12. Oh, darling Kaye! Paris with Don??? How wonderful! And now I can look forward to your pictures. I am so going to miss you here, except that I can keep up with you on M & M and Facebook etc. etc.--and maybe in person sometime soon? Bouchercon in St. Petersburg? And PLEASE plan to come to Dallas for 2019! We will show you a great time, I promise.

    I'm voting yes on all the Kaye options:-)

    And going for the red cowboy boots!

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    1. I cannot wait to see a parade of Reds wearing red boots!!!!! YeeHaw! I will not be coming to St. Petersburg because . . . Paris! But. I REALLY really hope I'm able to get to Dallas.

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  13. I'm disappointed; I was sure it was Willie Nelson!

    Those boots are fantastic! And I do love bright colors!

    Keep on chatting here, there, and everywhere, and let us know about all your trips.

    DebRo

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    1. Deborah - the boots also happen to be the most comfortable shoes/boots in my closet. Let's get you somme!! (Oh, how I wish to meet Willie Nelson. If it ever happens you will never hear the end of it). LOL!

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  14. Kaye, Jungle Red won't be the same without you, but it sounds like the days ahead are full of new adventures! Don't stop talking about the Paris and Amsterdam trip. Half of the fun of travel is the anticipation!

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    1. oh, Ingrid. That is a very sweet thing for you to say. Thank you. And I agree with you about half the fun of any trip being the anticipation. It really is. Planning and dreaming and reading about where you're going - ALL part of the whole great adventure. It's been lovely meeting you, Ingrid, and because of Reds I've become one of your biggest fans.

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  15. Kaye, there's so much I want to say. Why is it when one wants to say so much, you stumble over trying to say it. You are a sister to me that I love and adore and am grateful for every single day. Our time in New Orleans last year was so special, and the gallery with the chicken picture and me getting busted for taking the picture by the gallery employee and then the three of us becoming friends. That is a typical experience with you, my darling girl, so I'm not a bit surprised about the camel. You are fun, fun, fun! And, your sweet Harley and sweet Annabelle. The pictures and stories about them have been and are treats I long for every time I get on FaceBook. Your political pieces are always just what I'm thinking, too, and, of course, I love sharing reading with you. You introduced me to the poet Mary Oliver, and I am now such a fan. Then, there are the red boots and your beautiful dresses and wardrobe you wore in Paris. I'm so happy that you and Don are going to get to experience Paris together. I'm also glad that Annabelle will be waiting at home for you so we don't lose you to Paris. I will miss your posts here, but I will continue to read Meanderings and Musings. Your Paris write-ups were fantastic. You are simply a soul-mate for me that I couldn't be more thankful for. You are a force of beauty and love and wit and courage in this world, and we need that so much now.

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    1. Kathy Boone Reel. You have made me cry, sweetie. Good tears. I love you to the moon and back and I'm pretty sure it's through Jungle Red that we "met." And I will be forever grateful and thankful for you. We still have loads of adventures ahead of us, girl. Thank you, Kathy, for being you and always being the most generous of women.

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  16. Kaye,
    When I was brand new to the mystery writing scene, you invited me to Meanderings and Musings and you were so lovely and gracious, I have considered you a friend ever since. Thank you so much for your warmth, humor, kindness, passion, wit, and zest for life. I so enjoy having you as part of my days even if it is mostly over FB. Adventure on, dear friend, but please be sure to come back and visit -- often.
    XOXO
    Jenn

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    1. oh, Jenn, you and your family touched me heart and soul when you first started showing up on my "mystery radar." You, my friend, are going to be with us for a very long, and very enjoyable, time. xxoo

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  17. Peanut Gallery? Gosh, I will miss Kaye's first Sundays, but I plan to find all of her essays. Kaye, do you have a website? What will happen if I Google you! Enjoy life!!

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    1. Oh, Laws - no telling what you'll find if you Google me, Denise Ann!!! But yes, I have an author website (which is not, truth be told, very active. At all). And my Meanderings and Muses which is active. I post there pretty regularly about whatever thoughts might be crossing my mind on a particular day. http://www.kayewilkinsonbarley.com/ and http://www.meanderingsandmuses.com/ . And Denise Ann? I have very much enjoyed getting to know you here at Jungle Red.

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  18. Running in late to the party... but oh, Kaye we LOVE YOU! And you know I have been one of your biggest fans forEVER. I love your adventures, and I love your brain, and I love your life and I love your..red boots! And you know you're welcome to visit here WHENEVER. And oh, I love your Paris photos! I'd love to hear about the retro ones--amazing.

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    1. I love you more, Hank Phillippi Ryan! Weren't the 1920's photos wonderful?! Lesa and I had the best time. I have never outgrown playing dress-up and having Lesa along to play with me made it even more special. When you and Jonathan go to Paris again, you might want to think about doing this.
      https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/43018

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  19. So it's Paula Deen or the camel?

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    1. Hahahaha! Read some of the comments and you'll find the story to go with the answer, which is - The Camel.

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