etc. 

Missoula writer Susan Morgan’s debut novel, Confluence: Love and Adventure in the Wild American West, is the breathy story of a married woman who embarks on an affair with a man she meets while hiking in a national park. It’s a romance novel. But is it “too hot for TV?” And by “TV,” in this case, we mean “Whitefish.”

According to the novelist, she had been slated to give an in-store reading at Whitefish’s Saddest Pleasure Used Book Store on Fri., Aug. 20. But three weeks ago, Morgan says, Saddest Pleasure’s Hannah Plum told her that the reading had been canceled.

“Her words were, ‘We decided we can’t do it because it’s too graphic,’” Morgan says.

The author says she offered to read a different part of the book. (She had originally planned to read the first chapter, which contains romantic language like “my loins were begging me to open myself to his love,” but offers no description of actual sexual contact.)

Morgan says she left a message for the proprietor asking what was considered offensive, but that all of her calls went unreturned.

“I’ve read it in Missoula and nobody seemed offended,” Morgan says. “Is it too racy for Whitefish? I don’t know. It’s non-traditional.”

The Independent made multiple attempts to contact Plum, but a Saddest Pleasure employee who answered the phone says her boss will be visiting family and unavailable until Aug. 20, the date the reading was scheduled.

However, “I’d say there’s definitely another side to [the story],” the bookseller says.

For that other side, stay tuned to this column in the weeks ahead. We know Susan Morgan will.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” she says. “Maybe they’ll tell you what’s going on.”

•••

Last time we chatted with Paul Befumo, campaign spokesman for Initiative I-148, his crew was madly collecting signatures to qualify the medicinal marijuana initiative for November’s ballot. They succeeded. If approved, the initiative will allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. So far, Befumo has seen opposition only from a two-member committee appointed to write a rebuttal to the initiative, Rep. Jim Shockley (R-Victor) and Roger Curtis, director of alcohol and drug services for Anaconda and Deer Lodge County. “I’m against the bill,” says Shockley. “I think it’s a bad idea.”

So far, though, his voice is not one of many. Rallying cries from socially conservative organizations like the Montana Family Foundation and the Coalition for Community Responsibility are absent.

Both sides believe that the lack of sparks between those who favor and those who oppose the legality of medicinal marijuana might indicate the issue is a shoe-in. If he had to guess, says Shockley, he’d say people don’t need to call loudly for the defeat of the bill because they don’t believe they need to; it will be easily defeated on its own. If he had to speculate, says Befumo, he’d say that most people realize that the initiative is about “having some compassion for sick people,” and “that’s a pretty hard thing to oppose.”

Funnily enough, the bill isn’t an easy one to endorse, either—at least publicly. Befumo has on hand one letter of support from the Western Mountain District of the Yellowstone Conference of the United Methodist Church. He says he has verbal support from the Western Cultural Heritage Institute and the ACLU, though he doesn’t consider such approval an official endorsement until he has a letter on file. The Montana Nurses’ Association will soon decide whether to endorse. “Hopefully,” says Befumo, “it’ll be before election day.”

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