Hillary Clinton, My Literary Muse

Hillary and San AntonioHillary Clinton helped me finish my memoir. Not the candidate herself, of course, but the example of her life. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear earlier on in this election cycle.  I was being, well, politic.

No longer.

Fear of Being Tarnished

It’ll come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me that I’m a Hillary supporter and have been since 2008. But I wasn’t as vocal about it on social media as I wanted to be. During the primaries I fled into Secret Hillary Supporter Land because I couldn’t deal with the rancor towards my candidate from my Bernie-supporting friends.

I grew bolder after Hillary secured the nomination, but still didn’t cop to my feelings very explicitly. That was in part because rancor turned into the lesser-of-two-evil-ism, which is insidious.  I posted, yes, but largely kept my enthusiasm in those same secret groups. Aside from not wanting to expend emotional energy on engaging with adversaries, I didn’t want to put off potential book purchasers.

Pretty wussy for a person who wrote a tell-all book involving sex, nudity, and travel freebies.

Direct Personal Inspiration

But here’s the thing.  The trajectory of Hillary’s 2015-6 campaign coincided almost exactly with my Kickstarter campaign and subsequent efforts to finish and publish Getting Naked for Money. When I was in a funk over a particularly difficult writing phase, feeling sorry for myself,  I thought about Hillary’s tenacity, her ability to keep on keeping on in the face of virulent attacks. What were writer’s block and insecurity compared to eleven hours of being grilled by the bogus Benghazi committee?

If you’re upset that I said the word “Benghazi” and didn’t hiss and spit and turn around three times, you probably weren’t going to buy my book anyway.

Hillary Hate Through the Decades

As it happens, Hillary didn’t only inspire me to finish my book. She’s also in my book.

It was 1993, and I was researching the first edition of my first guidebook, Frommer’s San Antonio & Austin. I’d never been to either city I’d been assigned to cover, but I was psyched. I was a huge fan of Ann Richards, then governor of Texas, and journalist Molly Ivins; whatever was in the water in Austin, where both of them lived, I wanted to drink it. Although I didn’t have any favored San Antonians, I was looking forward to the bustling, tree-lined River Walk; the chain of Spanish missions, including the Alamo; and Tex-Mex food. What’s not to like about a town where women called chili queens reigned over the town plazas, ladling out picante stew?

San Antonio was proving to be everything I’d hoped for. I had just found an excellent researcher to assist me at a bookstore near the Alamo called Booksmith’s and was feeling great about the city. Temporarily.

The following is a preview of a chapter excerpt that I posted on Medium.com from “Chapter 10: Messing with Texas.”

A Toxic Mix of PR and Politics

Downtown was not only the locus of one of my most helpful tourism encounters in San Antonio; it was also the site of my worst. My dinner with Georgia Calloway, the marketing director of one of the top hotels on the River Walk, was a textbook example of why public relations and politics don’t mix.

The meal started off pleasantly enough, but once a glass of merlot loosened her tongue, Georgia could not stop railing against Bill and Hillary Clinton, who had just been installed in the White House. She was especially obsessed with Hillary, who was going to be a guest at the hotel after giving a talk on…I can’t recall. Georgia’s diatribe was too distracting. I knew that Hillary’s comment about not staying home to bake cookies had earned her the title of evil radical feminist in some circles, but this was the first comprehensive summary I’d encountered of her shady land deals, her complicity in the murder of Vince Foster, her lesbian affairs — or was it an affair with Vince Foster and the murder of one of her lesbian paramours?

For the rest, see Can Texas Turn Blue?



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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

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