A. What am I currently reading?
- I am still reading Writing In Flow by Susan K. Perry at a very nice pace.
Here is a blurb that answered a couple of questions that I had about my strange tendency to write better during certain periods of the day or night.
To recap: you can enter a flow state anywhere and anytime: during the preparation/thinking/dreaming/planning stage, the incubation stage when you’re consciously doing something else (resting, tidying the drawers, playing racquetball) and waiting for the ideas to gel, the illumination/inspiration stage, or the rewriting and revising stage.
- Too Heavy A Yoke by Chanequa Walker-Barnes -
Under the guise of presenting a corrective to deleterious images of African-American women, the “race women” at the turn of the century developed and reinforced a model of Black womanhood that continues to conceal the authentic experiences and needs of Black women, that encourages women to deny and ignore themselves and to maintain a façade of imperturbability at the expense of personal health and well-being. A full century later, this model of identity—the StrongBlackWoman—has contributed to a health crisis among African-American women that reinscribes the very racial-gender disparities that the women’s clubs and Christian women’s conventions worked hard to dismantle. In large part, the ideology of the StrongBlackWoman has escaped significant criticism by African-American cultural and social institutions because it is a controlling image that was developed and promulgated by those very institutions. Moreover, because its controls are seemingly benign (that is, influencing behavior in directions understood to be positive), it is overlooked as a source of control that is predicated upon negative images of Black womanhood. However, as Collins asserts, controlling images must be challenged regardless of whether they were developed outside of or within African-American communities.
- Shifting by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden
I am slowly getting through this one and the one by Barnes' above, because they rattle my brain. In order words, both give me lots to think about in relationship to how I was brought up. These stereotypes still exist in some parts of the Deep South among Black Women. Blurb below:
While most people of color, and African Americans in particular, are perceived through a distorted lens, Black women are routinely defined by a specific set of grotesque caricatures that are reductive, inaccurate, and unfair. bell hooks of the City College of New York enumerates these “gendered racist stereotypes” that include the emasculating Sapphire, the desexualized Mammy, and the scheming temptress Jezebel.3 Today, in the twenty-first century, these and other stereotypes, so prevalent in old Hollywood movies and black-and-white television reruns, have mutated into contemporary versions of their old selves. Sapphire, for instance, can inevitably be found with just a few clicks of the remote control in an old episode of NYPD Blue or Law and Order when police make their way into a poor Black neighborhood. Sapphire is harsh, loud, uncouth, usually making the other characters seem more professional, more charming, more polished by contrast. She is a twisted take on the myth that Black women are invulnerable and indefatigable, that they always persevere and endure against great odds without being negatively affected. This is one myth that many Black women themselves embrace, and so they take on multiple roles and myriad tasks, ignoring the physical and emotional strain, fulfilling the stereotype. There is peer pressure among Black women to keep the myth alive, to keep juggling, to keep accommodating. Some women who desperately need balance in their lives, who greatly need assistance, never seek or receive it. Instead, their blood pressure soars. They overeat. They sink into depression. Some kill themselves or try. Others simply fantasize about making an escape.
- I have just started on Jordan McColl’s Character Arcs because I am revising the character arcs for my own manuscript. So, this book may take me some time to get through since I like to implement what I have read immediately in my revision for my arcs.
Nailing down the character’s core motivations can help us discover what she’s lacking, too. Often, turning to these favorite questions helps us dig even deeper. If our heroine is working on restoring that old house to create a real home and preserve the area’s heritage, why? What does she get from doing this, on an emotional level? What does she need? Similarly, we can take one of these aspects that might be a positive thing and extrapolate it to find a negative extreme. If our hero’s great strength is his intelligence, perhaps he doesn’t suffer fools well. If our heroine excels at keeping confidences, maybe she’s also really good at keeping secrets from people who should know them, or she’s very bad at trusting other people with her own.
- What have I finished reading?
I finished A Mind For Murder by P.D. James and will probably start on another of her books. I love the way she builds up her scenes.
- What do I think I’ll read next?
I wanted to start with Csikszentimihalyi’s Flow this week, but I didn’t get to it. So I’ve pushed it up two weeks. Maybe, the first or second week in February. Hope to start on Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice and How Fiction Works by James Wood soon.
So, here is my WIPpet for this week:
The quads and the four girls are sitting around the kitchen table having breakfast with Phoebe and Granny, and Phoebe interrupts the conversation.
“Quads, you’re going to be good, right?” Phoebe asked, interrupting their conversation.
“Always good,” said Quad 1.
“Me too,” said Quad 2.
“And what about you, Quad 3 and 4. Are you going to be good while I’m out this evening?”