Tuesday, May 29, 2012

History based

My stories very much blend the history of the real world with what happens in their universe.

My first novel takes place in 2002 because of some of these elements. The characters don't work if they are removed from that time.

Etienne and Basilie must be children of post World War II. Basilie has to be a corporate raider circa 1980s. Adelaide can only rise as a supermodel in the pre-waif days and in the shadow of beauties like Cindy Crawford.

More importantly, Etienne's uncle dies in Algeria. His father probably served in Indochina. He completed his national service in a post colonial Djibouti, which means he didn't see the action his father and uncles did.

I was reading Frantz Fanon yesterday, and as a anti-colonial philosopher AND a psychiatrist, he had some interesting notes about the impact of warfare on the Algerians and the French alike during the war for Algerian independence.

I realized, reading these notes, that I had finally found my link to Uncle Gaston's service, conduct and death. This excites me.

The intricate crossing of fiction and history allows the author to comment on the actions of nations and the state of society.

I've already written a short character sketch to introduce Khadijah, who may challenge everything Etienne believes about his family, his country's "civilizing mission" of yesteryear and what it means to be "French."

It may help him do what's right in the aftermath of his own actions.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why write?

When writing non-fiction, it's easy to explain your motives. You have a goal. You want to educate. You hope to prove something.

Fiction... Sometimes it can feel like a waste of time. You're making up stories. Who cares?

The simplest answers may be that writing fiction addresses the human condition or comments on a moment in time in our society. Both are important.

But why bother? To a certain extent there is the ego factor. I did this. I like this. I want to share. I seek feedback.

Seeking publication is hard and serious work. Is it worth it? If you don't know if you'll reach the end goal of publication, why bother?

The answers vary.

It can be therapeutic to transfer energy and emotion into ideas on paper.

It can provide a sense of accomplishment.

I have trouble finding enough books I want to read or stories that hit all the criteria that make me enjoy reading.

So, I write them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May resolutions

I always anticipate the month of May. Spring approaches, and to me that's the sign of a new year and a new beginning. When the chives sprout, the forsythia turn yellow and my hyacinth pokes its head out of the ground. At least, I think it's a hyacinth. I did not inherit my mother's green thumb.

By May, the roses are blooming. They usually open their buds for Mothers Day weekend but this year they bloomed two weeks early.

Spring in recent years has started with hope and ended in disarray. Losing a job (twice in spring), fighting anemia, breaking my teeth, recovering from anxiety, and now the stress has threatened its resurgence with an incident at work that has been fighting old anxiety and knowing I got a 59 on the economics final about which I felt really confident.

But May also brings my highest hopes. I plan to have fun with my daughter, read those books on the pile, clean the house, bicycle, scrapbook...


Finish the manuscript that I discovered is ready for a new ending. Yup. After all these years I noticed that book one of Fashion and Fiends cries for a new ending.

Finish the travel piece I'd started regarding my journey to Tunisia.

Get a good start writing the initial stages of my honors thesis, which will look at the role of the Algerian independence movement in the creation of the French fifth republic and how that affects "anti-Muslim" laws and the rights of Algerians/French citizens of Algerian descent in France today.

So, May is my New Year. My clean slate. And it sounds like I'm making resolutions.