Sunday, December 31, 2023

Top Posts of 2023!


 JENN McKINLAY: I'm a big one for end of the year tallies and whatnot. I like to look back, see what was accomplished and what is left to do. In the case of this blog, I like to review what posts of ours resonated with our readers and which ones didn't.

Not for nothing, but according to the stat machine of Blogger, the Jungle Red Writers had 1.7 M views and 26.8 K comments just in the past twelve months. Whoa! 

What a year it was! We covered everything from Barbie to the World Economic Forum to beans! Your comments and the stories you shared with us made our posts even more engaging and we thank you for joining us and bringing your wit and wisdom to the party. 

As we launch our new venture Reds and Readers (click the name to join) TOMORROW on Facebook (it's a new place for giveaways, live chats, etc.), we look forward to even more shenanigans in 2024! Make no mistake, we will never give up our blog, but we do want to be able to chat with our community, our readers, our friends, a little more easily and it's our hope that this group will do that! So come on over and check it out!

And now here are some of our top posts from 2023 to revisit: 

So, Readers, what were some of your favorite posts from last year? What do you think we should talk about next?


Saturday, December 30, 2023

Failure: It's Important

JENN McKINLAY: As we step into the new year and plan our next goals and adventures, I want to remember why not achieving those goals and plans can be equally important. 

Failure matters. Yes, we all know it’s like zucchini or doing push-ups, good for you but not very yummy or fun. I don’t care what recipe is supposed to make zucchini taste better. Bleck! And I hate push-ups! Still, I eat zucchini and I do push-ups and I fail. I’m pretty good at all three, but I excel at failure because it’s important. Yes, even more important than zucchini or push-ups and apparently it’s genetic.

Way back when he was in elementary school, one of my hooligans came home from an event in which he had competed. During the testing, his mind had done that lovely panic thing where it goes blank and there is no muscle memory or any memory to draw from. He did the best he could but feared failure was looming. It was particularly painful because he had studied and practiced extra hard.

Hub and I knew it had gone horribly wrong when he went straight to his room and shut the door, requesting to be left alone. My mama antennae went berserk and it was all I could do to honor his request. Okay, yes, the Hub did sit on me for a bit but finally when we agreed he’d had enough time to process, I went to check on him.

I was allowed in. No small feat since we'd entered the tween years and zombie and superhero posters glared at me, warning me away from his adolescent sanctuary. I found my hooligan supine on his bed, staring at his ceiling. I reclined next to him and stared at the ceiling, too. I asked if he wanted to talk about it and he said no.

Clearly, he was willing to have company in his misery but not conversation, at least not direct conversation. Of course, this was a huge problem for me because I like to verbally analyze data pretty much until my equipment gives out. 

Finally, I cracked and said, “You know what I wish for you?”

“That I don’t fail,” he mumbled. He made it sound as if I were wishing for the impossible like the ability to become invisible or fly.

“No,” I said. “Actually, I want you to fail.” He gasped and I continued, “I also want you to have your heart broken and to know real poverty.”

The boy turned and gave me the hairy eyeball. “You know that’s not normal, right? I’m pretty sure normal parents don’t wish that for their kids.”

I shrugged. “How will you ever value money if you never know the lack of it? How will you ever appreciate true love if you never feel its loss? How will you know what you’re made of if you never fail?”

He was quiet for a moment and then asked, “How poor?”

“Pretty poor,” I said. “Like cashing in your change jar for groceries poor.”

“Were you ever that poor?”

“Daddy and I bought our first Christmas tree out of our change jar,” I said. “Best tree ever.”

We contemplated the ceiling some more.

“I still say other parents don’t say these things to their kids,” he said.

“Maybe,” I agreed. “Have you decided what you’re going to do?”

“Work harder, practice more, test again,” he said.

“Not quitting, huh?” I asked.

“How will I know what I’m made of if I quit?” he asked. Then he grinned. 

As it turned out, he didn't fail but he was mentally prepared if he did and later in life when he actually did fail - quite spectacularly - he was ready.

See? Failure is important. 

When I was six, I wanted to be a singer. I would sing and sing and sing, dreaming of the day I was filling stadiums with clamoring fans. I was in a variety of choirs all through school, but it soon became apparent that I was good but not great. It was a heart wrenching fail and I quit. 

When I went to college I decided to be an artist. I doodled a lot but really did not have an original thought in my head. It was another personal fail and I quit again. 

Then, I latched onto writing. I failed at it for a solid eight years, but it was the one passion I refused to quit. Somehow I knew deep down that this was what I was supposed to do. By trudging forth amid a wasteland of rejection, I did figure out what I was made of – pretty tough stuff and a whole lot of stories. I’m just beginning to think I’m okay at this wordsmithing thing, but I have a long way to go to really master my craft and I am absolutely fine with that. 

How about you, Reds and Readers, what failures have you overcome? What did you learn from it?

Friday, December 29, 2023

The Five Year Plan

JENN MCKINLAY: Many, many years ago, the Hub and I were gifted dinner at Monti’s, a famous steakhouse on Tempe’s Mill Avenue back in the day. Our first anniversary was coming up so we decided to blow out the gift card on that night. 

Everything was magical. Dinner was amazing. We’d recently found out we were going to be parents. It was all lovely and then I said to the Hub, “We should discuss our five-year-plan.” He looked at me as if I just started speaking Greek and then dabbed his mouth with his napkin and replied, “I’m more of a seat of the pants sort of guy.” 

WHAT?! I was shocked. In the year and a half we’d been dating and the year we’d been married, I had never noticed that I had committed my life to a person WHO DID NOT HAVE A FIVE YEAR PLAN! Meanwhile he had never noticed that he lived with a person WHO ALWAYS HAD A PLAN, A BACKUP PLAN, AND AN IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS PLAN. Neither of us spoke for the rest of the meal. 

Now as we creep up on our twenty-fifth (Gah!) wedding anniversary this spring, I realize we were both right. It’s important to have a plan but it’s equally important to be flexible, which is much like being a plotter or a pantser as a writer, I think. Looking back, I was not a plotter at the time of this dinner but I became one a few years later. So, now I’m wondering if there is a correlation between our personal lives and our writing style.

I am a plotter in life and on the page, how about you Reds?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Hmm. No plan. I think if I plan, it won’t happen that way anyway, so… waste of time. I have shorter-term deadlines and goals, and an idea for something that has to happen two years from now, but that's only one thing.   But oh, I make lists like mad, as you know.. But there’s no five-years-away list.

Does “someday we’ll have to clean out the basement again” count? 

HOWEVER  I am nudging Jonathan to add his numbers to our little book of account numbers and passwords because THAT kind of administrative planning seems wise.  And we do have a financial planner. 

I’m so interested, though, Jenn,  to know what your plan entails. Was being a WILD success part of  it? Because you are. And how did you PLAN for that? (Asking for a pal…) 

HALLIE EPHRON: I am definitely a planner. The busier I am, the more I need lists… if only I can remember where I put them.

My favorite thing are spreadsheets that tell you “if you keep doing what you’re doing, this will happen.” Pretty important if you want to ride through retirement in the style to which you have become accustomed.

There were things I didn’t have a chance of doing (emptying the basement) when Jerry was here. Now I’m happy with my empty basement but I’d be happier to have Jerry here to complain to about an overstuffed one.  


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Same here, Hallie, except for me it's the barn Ross would not stop throwing things into "just in case we need them." Sigh.

RHYS BOWEN:  it’s funny, but in my writing life, I am a pantser. I don’t like to plan ahead too far. I have a vague idea where I’m going, but I like to be free to takeoff when a brilliant idea comes to me. In real life I have to have something to look forward to, and to know what’s going to happen. I do make lists. I like to plan vacations and special occasions and then savor them. 

I have a special book that I take out on January 1 every year and I write my plans for the year in it and the next January 1 I go through and see which plans succeeded in which didn’t and why.

(I did write “write a bestseller” long ago. That turned out pretty well)

In my financial life I am meticulous in planning. Luckily so is John. He calculated how to pay off the house before he retired. 

We have a living trust, a financial planner etc. I don’t like to worry and certainly not take risks 

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I am more or less a plotter when it comes to books. Life, not so much. I'm big on the immediate planning, lists and calendars and to-dos. But I have trouble planning big things more than a few months ahead, and even the words FIVE YEAR PLAN make me feel panicked. I think I'm afraid I'll jinx myself.

LUCY BURDETTE: I wish I’d been more of the planner you are Jenn! For vacations, I have a pal who plans out where she wants to go years in advance. I like to wait and see what comes up and THEN plan like mad.

But I’m definitely half-**sed with my writing life. I should set more goals because then my brain will know to work toward them. I think I’ll try that this new year, make my intentions and hopes very very clear so the Universe can help:). 


JULIA: So I am very much NOT a planner, either for writing or for life, but I'm working on changing myself. Mostly because I've learned it was fine if I was being all "la-la-la" and skipping down the path to who-knows-where when I had a super organized partner (except for the above-mentioned barn) looking out for me. It's not nearly as much fun to live a spontaneous life when you have no guardrails. 


So this past year, I've been using an outline while writing the next book. And this coming year, I'm going to channel Rhys and Jenn and set down some goals and then plan for them. Because I know goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound if I want them to happen. (Thanks, Celia!)

How about you, Readers? Are you a plotter or pantser in life and art?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Authentically Merriam Webster

 JENN McKINLAY: I'm sure my etymology professor from university would be shocked (perchance relieved?) to discover that I no longer find the study of words and their origins utterly boring. Eh, I was nineteen when I took that class and much more interested in my social calendar than my studies. 

Anyway, as I've matured into a fully functional adult with a wordy profession, I have developed the habit of checking to see what rando word Merriam-Webster has chosen for their word of the year as well as the runner ups. Incidentally, "rando" is not one of them.

The MW word of the year is "authentic". I found this fascinating because during a recent conversation with a friend of mine, she told me she had been struggling with a toxic work associate, who everyone else seemed to adore. She couldn't understand why. My friend's therapist helped her see that what she was struggling with was the person's lack of authenticity. My friend could sense that the person was full of rubbish behind the winning smile, and she simply couldn't warm up to her.

I then applied this information to a few people that bug me for no explicable reason and lo and behold, yup, that was it. To me, they were very inauthentic sorts of people -- you know the type, the ones who shake your hand but are too busy looking past you to see if there's someone with more clout in the room. Ahem. And yet, everyone else seemed to adore them. I thought I was being petty but I realized, nope. They just weren't authentic...with me.

(MW Online Dictionary Screenshot)

So naturally, I assumed MW picked this word because we're dealing with a world full of shallow people and MW was calling them out, but that wasn't entirely it. The word was actually chosen because as reported by PBS, the definition of authentic was increasingly searched for in 2023. 

“We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity,” Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, said in an exclusive interview given to The Associated Press. “What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more.”

I have to agree. Writers are now adding notes to their books declaring that they weren't written with the help of AI. As a writer and a reader, I can definitely see why authenticity has become a thing.

I did like some of their other highly searched runner up words:

Rizz -- Short for charisma. Cute! I like it! 

Implode -- Because of the Titan submersible which captured the attention of the world after it devastatingly imploded. 

Deepfake -- AI generated a phony ad of Ryan Reynolds pimping Tesla which caused this term to have a searchapalooza of its own. Along with authenticity, I'm seeing a theme...

What about you Reds and Readers, what do you think of authenticity as the word of the year? Do you agree or what would you have chosen instead?

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Art of Gift Receiving

Jenn McKinlay: Well, we've survived yet another holiday season. Phew! And now it's time to reflect upon the insanity of the gift giving season.

There is no evidence, at least none that I’ve found, to support my theory that people spike the eggnog during the holidays to get through the arduous process of gift giving and receiving, but I’m pretty sure that’s why they do it. Okay, why I do it. Unless you’re a miserable curmudgeon who refuses to buy anyone any gift ever -- and here I pause to raise my nog to you -- odds are you’re going to have to confront the reality of living in consumer nation and pony up some gifts.

Children make it so easy. I like shopping for kids. You get an itemized list of what they want and if you have a real overachiever on your hands, they’ve already price checked the retailers and will give you a detailed map of the layout of the best store with arrows walking you right to the coveted item or even better a link to the online store. Teens are nice, too. You have to love their clear cut need and desire for cash. Nothing says “I love you” to them more clearly than the notification of a Venmo deposit to their account.

It’s adults who make the whole gifting venture dicey, and unless you’re lucky enough to have only people who collect troll dolls or beer cans on your list, you have now entered the dance of “Do you think they would like this or that or these?”, which is as painful and repetitive as an eighties dance party where they keep playing the Electric Slide.

Gift giving is great if you happen to be the sort of person who enjoys finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list and then revel in  wrapping it in festive paper, decorating it with a snazzy cloth ribbon that you tie yourself and finish the whole thing off with the gift tag you hand stamped. You know who you are, and I can’t even be mad at you for setting the bar too high for me to reach, because, yeah, you just gave me the perfect gift.

The rest of us poor saps struggle through the gifting ritual, and it’s not because we don’t care. We’re just truly flummoxed when we walk into a store and get a Three Stooges double-eye poke at all the sparkly gee-gaws in front of us. Honestly, if you’re not a shopper (and I'm not - unless we're talking bougie thrift, but that's another post), it’s a bit like being a diabetic in a candy store.

So, why is gift giving such an anxiety maker? I figured it out many years ago when I eavesdropped on a father talking to his five children in the Providence airport while traveling for Thanksgiving. Don’t judge me; it’s an occupational hazard…really. 

The dad said, “Last year we gave you everything you wanted and it was the worst Christmas ever. This year you get four things; something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.” I wanted to go over and hug him for his genius, but I felt that might be awkward. Instead, I decided to implement his plan with my own hooligans.

It goes without saying that much debate ensued, as in “Isn’t something to wear and something you need the same thing?” For the record, no, it is not. That particular year, it turned out the much needed item was a duvet to cover up the rather well-loved Batman comforter that was too dear to be parted with but also too embarrassing to have on the bed anymore.

When one of my hooligans opened this “something you need” gift, I fully expected a bored look or a groan of disappointment. Instead, the boy went wide-eyed and said, “Oh, wow, I really needed this. Thank you so much!” He beamed at me, and I felt it all the way down to my toes. In that moment, I understood the responsibility of the gift receiver. It is that person who makes or breaks the entire gift giving deal.

Maybe you’re like me and gift giving makes you reach for the nog. That’s okay. You can excel in the art of gift receiving. Yes, this means you have to dig deep and be expressively pleased by all the gifts you receive even the ones where you’re not quite certain of what exactly it is. Yes, that has happened. Also, when you're gift bombed by an over-gifter. That, too, is a thing but also a post for another day because...oof!

And, sadly yes, you must express appreciation even for those passive-aggressive goodies, like gym memberships and self-help books for issues you don’t have. *SIGH* On the bright side, if the gift is well received, you can then re-gift their oh-so-thoughtful presents (because you loved it so much!) right back at them – on their birthday. Ha!

So, how about it Reds and Readers, are you a good gift giver, receiver, or are you just over the whole thing?

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Bring it, 2024 -- And by "it" I mean BOOKS!

JENN MCKINLAY: It’s that time again, Reds, to tabulate the total of our bookstore gift cards received during the holiday season (woo hoo!) and plan our purchases for 2024! So, what are your most anticipated reads (excluding the Reds because of course we’re on the top of each other’s lists) for the coming year?

I’ll go first:

ONCE UPON A MURDER by Samantha Larsen

I absolutely loved, loved, loved the first in this new series - A NOVEL DISGUISE - An impoverished woman masquerades as a male librarian to an earl to keep the roof over her head, set in 1754. Brilliant!

ONE OF US KNOWS by Alyssa Cole

I really enjoyed WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING and am eager to see what this author does next for a suspense/thriller read.


I've read all of Abby's books - she is fantastically funny, poignant, and delightful. I will read anything she writes, even her grocery list.

All right, Reds, your turn! What titles are you most looking forward to? 

HALLIE EPHRON: Top of my list: I’m looking forward to reading a book that slipped by me this year, a memoir by Patrick Bringley, All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me

It’s Bringley’s first book. In it he tells the story of how, after his younger brother died, grief-stricken and lost, Bringley quit his job in publishing and took a job at the Met as a guard–where  he found the time and space (and the beauty of the works of art) that he needed to grieve and heal.

I love the Met. Spent untold hours there when I was an undergrad and an art history minor at Barnard. I’ve become intimately acquainted with grief in the last two years. I don’t know how I missed this book when it came out but I’ll be making up for that in January. 

RHYS BOWEN:  with various health concerns looming over us, including a new knee for me sometime soon I need good suggestions for comfort reads!

But I am looking forward to Jackie Winspear’s last Maisie Dobbs novel. That will be bitter-sweet reading as I’ve enjoyed Maisie’s journey.

LUCY BURDETTE: Rhys, have you tried the Lane Winslow series set in western Canada? I just finished the first, A KILLER IN KING’S COVE. After a slow start, I loved the book.

I’m also hoping Santa brings me Richard Osman’s THE LAST DEVIL TO DIE, and François-Régis Gaudry’s LET’S EAT PARIS. And I’m finally going to read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, which is already waiting on my nightstand.

JENN: I loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE but haven't watched the Netflix version - afraid they'll ruin it. Anyone see it?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm looking forward to Deborah Harkness's THE BLACKBIRD ORACLE, the long-awaited fifth book in her All Soul's series, but that's not out until July. A little sooner is Natalie Jenner's, EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, out in May. And I am hoping there will be a new Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London novel in 2024, although I haven't seen anything about a release yet. 

In the meantime, maybe I will get to the copy of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE on MY nightstand!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I am about to devour my idol Lisa Scottoline’s THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS, which I know will be fabulous. Oh, what else–Soon I’m going to interview Elizabeth Gonzalez James about her new THE BULLET SWALLOWER, which is billed as a magical realism Western. What?  Yup. It is fabulous so far!   SWIFT RIVER by Essie Chambers, so looking forward to it. And the wonderful Mary Kubica’s new SHE’S NOT SORRY. One more? Michael Koryta, one of my favorite authors ever, has a new novel which he’s written as Scott Carson called LOST MAN’S LANE. Cannot wait! 

(Don't you love how our choices are different?)

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, I didn’t know about the Michael Koryta book - he’s one of my faves, so thank you or the heads up!

As one of our resident SF fans, top of my list is THE MERCY OF GODS by James S.A. Corey, the pen name for the writing duo that brought us the brilliant Expanse series. Humans become the captive and unwilling helpers of their alien conquerors as the latter attempts to dominate the galaxy. No one does realistic political space opera like these guys, so I’m already pre-ordered, and the book doesn’t come out until August.

And my most anticipated “haven’t read it yet but will in 2024” is YELLOWFACE by R.F. Kuang. I think Jenn has read this? It’s gotten major attention since it came out at the beginning of last summer, but of course, I’m always reading a year behind or a year ahead…

JENN: Yes, I did read Yellowface. Let me just say, it is a wild ride. There is some very cutting observations made about publishing that I enjoyed tremendously.

All right, Readers, your turn. What are you most eager to read in 2024?

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas, Readers!


and to all who celebrate this holiday season. 

JENN McKINLAYAh, the holidays, a time of Norman Rockwell expectations and Married with Children reality. Every year, without fail, it seems we all gear up for some mythical idea of what the holidays should be as if we haven’t been members of our families our entire lives. We consistently labor under the delusion that this will be the year that the turkey comes out perfectly, everyone gets along and we’ll all randomly burst into song because we are so full of holiday joy.

The heck with that, I say. Embrace the chaos! You see I, too, suffered from a holiday delusional notion that was beaten out of me several years ago. It was Christmas. I was hosting, and I spent weeks planning and prepping to make sure everything was Better Homes and Gardens perfect. And it was…until the guests arrived.

It started with my sister-in-law’s dog, who managed to clear whole rooms as he slyly trotted through the house emitting a purple fog that was so noxious it had everyone checking the bottoms of their shoes to see if they’d stepped in something foul.

The turkey came out so under cooked we had to catch it before it made a run for it. The sweet potato balls exploded. The person charged with saying grace took a beer fueled power nap halfway through the blessing until they were snapped out of it by a well placed under the table kick. The children squabbled, the adults imbibed and the eccentric neighbors dropped in, wearing the decorations that had been previously been hanging on my front porch and then made themselves at home to the remaining desserts while they took over the living room to watch a Simpsons marathon.

As I surveyed the wreckage of my expectations in complete bewilderment, I had to laugh. Had there ever been a more chaotic holiday? No. This was a catastrophe that not even Martha Stewart could resuscitate with thumps to the chest and mouth to mouth.

Now here’s the take away, this is far and away my favorite holiday memory. Why? Because in the end, this is the Christmas that the Hub and I remember and chuckle about the most. 

Now that our holidays are quieter, the children are grown and there are empty seats at the table where dear ones used to sit, I'm grateful to have the memory of that cluster of a Christmas. And I realize as long as I have those memories, the people who have walked on are still with me. And truly, if the holiday hadn't been an utter disaster would my memory of them be as clear? Probably, not. So, embrace the chaos! You really will laugh about it...someday.

Glad tiding to you all, and if you have a holiday disaster story to share, well, I'm all ears.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Yes, Virginia

 It's been a very long 4 days with no power, and another ridiculously busy 2 days trying to jam in a week's worth of Christmas preparation. So for today, I want to rerun my very favorite piece of Christmas Eve writing; one that's held a special place in my heart for 23 years now


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It's Christmas Eve today, and rather than blather on and distract you, on this, the most magical night of the year, I'd like to share with you a piece of writing that is very dear to my heart. Everyone knows the take-away line - it drives my daughter Virginia mad every December - but not everyone reads the whole of the essay, which contains some of the sweetest thoughts about Christmas magic - and Virginias - ever written.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
                   -Francis P. Church, The New York Sun, 1897