Writerly Wednesday 12.19

Yes, I know I’m late. I am sick. Have been for a week. The grunge is heinous this year. And now the hubs has it. LOL. This will be short and sweet.

I already feel like I did an arc run with The Body in the Pool, here on the website. But if anyone wants to officially ARC for me, perhaps someone who didn’t read it from the site, let me know, via the contact me option. I’ll happily send you a hard copy and you can give me feedback. Yay!

 

Book Review: Not Quite Not White

I love reading books from a point of view that is not my own. Not Quite Not White by Sharmila Sen is about her experience emigrating from India when she was 12.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race – on INS forms, at the doctor’s office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new “not quite” designation – not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian — and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate–watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts–she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?

Part memoir, part manifesto, Not Quite Not White is a searing appraisal of race and a path forward for the next not quite not white generation –a witty and sharply honest story of discovering that not-whiteness can be the very thing that makes us American.

 

My thoughts:

I very much enjoyed reading about her experiences. I’ve never been a 12 year old leaving my country for a new life my parents think will be a positive move for our family.

In the end though, our opinions on how to address the issues of race in America are polar opposites. And that is to be expected. We have two different back grounds to draw our opinions from. I believe the way forward to is to stop naming race and color and religion as though they describe what matters about humans at all.

Perhaps that’s because I am perceived as “white”. I’ve “enjoyed'” a life being perceived as white.  But that label tells nothing about who I really am.

Am I kind person who donates money to charity or a money hoarder who cares only for her own immediate family?

Do I work at a job I love or am I miserable but chasing the almighty dollar?

Am I a lady who lunches or do I clean my own home because I think it’s weird to have another human pick up after me?

Did I vote for Trump or Hillary?

Am I brilliant or average?

Can I make you laugh or do I tell knock knock jokes?

Do I go to church?

Do I pray?

The word white doesn’t answer any of these things for you. Neither would the label black, brown, purple, or pink with polka dots. Why bother to use a label that gives no meaningful information at all?

 

I’ve been thinking Thursday: Baby, it’s cold outside

Seems like lots of people are up in arms about this Christmas song this year. I heard even the composers daughter has felt compelled to defend her father. How sad is that? Defending her dead father because of the way people now choose to view a song written in 1944.

It’s been suggested the song was actually written by Loesser to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel, to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.

It’s been viewed as a critique of drinking alcohol.

Other have suggested over the years it was a critique of a society which shunned women who spent the night willingly with their boyfriend or fiances.

And really, the lyrics can be read many ways.

In the study of history, we talk about something called temporal chauvinism. That’s where you judge the people of the past by the standards of today. A simple example is people used to bathe weekly at best, frequently once a month or less. By today’s standards, ewwww. But that was a norm then.

So when I look at the lyrics to this song, and I think 1944, I hear a woman who actually wants to stay but is afraid of what society will say about her if she does what she wants. She’s looking for any excuse to stay. And the man, a problem solver, is giving her many options to choose from.

Think of the privilege we women now enjoy that we can interpret the lyrics as something bad because spending the night with a man is a choice we can freely make.

 

 

Writer Wednesday 12/12

I recently decided to really pursue writing like it was a career, rather than a fun (ish) hobby. LOL. I know, I know, it’s been years I’ve been fannying around with things.

What does that mean, treating it like career?

Well, for one, blocking solid time each week to write and to handle writerly business.

Second, investing in some decent marketing.

Three, recovering an old book and having it make into an audio book.

Scripting the Truth is out there now on Audible, Amazon, and I tunes.

Book Review: You

It’s so weird why I picked this up. On the front cover is a line about not everyone wants to be followed…I immediately thought of previous social media books I loved and grabbed You by Caroline Kepnes. So not what I thought.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

My thoughts:

Dark, this book is madly dark.

It’s also 80-90% stream of consciousness so be prepared for a heavy lack of interaction. I loved the style but at several points it dragged for me and I found myself skimming pages looking for something to actually happen.

I found all the behavior totally believable. People do indeed act this way. Humans are flawed.

This is totally the opposite of the way I write. I am all action, either in movement or dialogue. This is all one man’s head but it was compelling. Possibly because it’s one of my own short comings. That stream of consciousness style.

I’ve been thinking Thursday: The Tube

In the last pages of one my of favorite Agatha Christie books, The Secret of Chimneys, one of my favorite A.C. characters, Anthony Cade, says “My belief in the Brotherhood of man died the day I arrived in London last week, when I observed the people standing in a Tube train resolutely refuse to move up and make room for those who entered.”

We took the tube a lot in London. It gets you around quite quickly and the schedule is so functional, 2, 3, 4, four minutes for the next train beats standing in the rain for 25 waiting on a bus. LOL.

It was often crowded but only once did I have to force people to move so there would be room for the kiddo and I.

More importantly, I watched as three perfect strangers extended their hands to keep a man from falling over backwards and landing on the floor, and he was going down hard.

The Brotherhood of man is not dead. It just needs to be reminded every once in a while that we are all part of the same Brotherhood.