Sunday, March 26, 2017

Old Friends From Dead Trees

I reconnected with a childhood friend a while ago.  The first question she asked was, "Do you still sleep with like a dozen books?"

It started in hospitals.  In rural Maine when you live 2 hours from the nearest hospital your working class parents can't visit every day.  Also, hospital staff always put me in a private room, I guess so every time they shot me up with adrenaline it wouldn't freak out other kids. I always managed to wheeze, when the nurses tried to remove my books from the bed, "No...please..."  Books became my comfort, my nourishment, my loyal friends.

At first I had thought Kindle was a genius space saver, but the cumulative eyestrain and dry eye and headaches sent me back to my friends made of trees, friends carefully crafted and maybe a little stinky, because there is nothing like a used book..

Last night after a horrid nightmare I threw my arm over the cool angles of this book, even smiling when the sharp corner bit me in the armpit.  I held it close in the dark and sighed, flooded with comfort.

A story is always there for you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

White Writer

When people rail against "PC culture" they tend to say that the people they are attacking become "offended".

They never use the word hurt.  Or sadness, or pain, or grief, depression, despair.

People who brag about "not being PC" do so in that tone boys in grammar school used before putting a frog in the teacher's desk. They want to gleefully rebel against the most basic social contract: being nice.

As a writer I care about people, my characters, and my world.  I don't think this world needs another jerk in it.  So in addition to being raised in a household where kindness was an important value, and aside from being the kind of raging empath who weeps several times a week because I have to read the news, I prize kindness.  It's a comfort food for me.  I like being kind and recognizing when others are kind.  It gives me a happy.  When others get hurt it makes me sad.

So for me being a white writer is a lot like rafting in white water.  I've always, from the time I was around 10, written many non-white characters.  This is potentially very hurtful to non white people. There are hidden traps beneath the churning water, there are lethal hard places, and there is the rushing pace of media and social media to keep up with.  So I have to shove out into the turbulence.

I want to write my stories.

I also want to be a nice person.