Community

Word of the Day Challenge: Racism

Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

I grew up in a suburban town just north of Seattle and lived in the same house for almost 20 years.

I went to the same schools as the rest of the neighborhood kids and worked at the Mall with my friends when we were in high school and we partied and hung out at the same places.

When I was older got married and had a family of my own, I became involved in local politics and the Democratic Party.

In these efforts I was working with my neighbors or reaching out to my neighbors in the same County I had grown up in.

I was your typical Suburan Gen X’er whose kids played soccer and sometimes we went to Seattle for concerts and I went to my friends and neighbors barbeques and we went power walking around the same lakes.

I was your typical suburban housewife doing the typical suburban things.

One Summer I was working with a group of activists on a human rights event when one of my friends turns to me during the part when we do reach out into the various communities- and I was drawing a blank because I wasn’t sure how I could contribute to that when my Uber Progressive friend says- and WOW is she excited- ” and you can do reach out into the Asian Community, right Anita?”

” Well…” I was at a loss because at that point my Uber Progressive Friend- who I had went to Highschool with, we car pooled at one point we were working at the Mall at the same time and used to catch the bus together-

my friend who could tell you the same story about our shared suburban experience was some how under the impression that I had this secret life where I snuck off and was a member of ‘ The Asian Community’.

” It’s a pretty big Community ” I said.

” Sure. But you’re part of it right? “

And I guessed at this point I realized my friend- and as the years went one I ran into this over and over again- didn’t really see me as a part of the Community I grew up in, that I participated in, the community where I raised my kids and learned how to drive and took music lessons and egged my first house and graduated from high school and got kissed for the first time and watched my parents grow old in.

To them I really was part of another Community.

They had nothing against it- or me but at the end of the day I had never really been a part of their community.

Racism can be as brutal as someone putting their knee to your neck or it be as light and airy as latte art.

And it doesn’t matter what ‘community’ people think you belong to.

In the end, after experiencing racism you don’t feel like you belong anywhere.

Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

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The Bells Are Ringing

I could be like some of my friends- they will NOT talk about the state of the world we live in.

In their world they see breathtaking sunrises, majestics sunsets through the haze of tear gas, they close their eyes and take in deep breaths of Coronavirus free air, the man that is leading them is their gold plated promise and he shines brighter then any star in their universe.

But I can’t be like them.

I can hear the Bells ringing can you?

 

The Bells Lyrics

Ring, ring the bells
Wake the town, everyone is sleeping
Shout at the crowd, wake them up
This anger’s deeper than sleep

Got to keep awake to what’s happening
I can’t see a thing through my ambition
I no longer feel my God is watching over me
Got to tell the world we’ve all been dreaming
This is not the end, a new beginning
I no longer feel my God is watching over me

Break, break the code
Concentrate, let the doors swing open
See through all your walls, all your floors
Now you’re in deeper than sleep

Got to keep awake to what’s happening
I can’t see a thing through my ambition
I no longer feel my God is watching over me
Got to tell the world we’ve all been dreaming
This is not the end, a new beginning
I no longer feel my God is watching over me

When you let me fall, grew my own wings
Now I’m as tall as the sky
When you let me drown, grew gills and fins
Now I’m as deep as the sea
When you let me die, my spirit’s free
There’s nothing challenging me

Sunday Stealing-Questions for Readers

Sunday Stealing Challenge:

Pick a book you have read and answer
the following questions:

Challenge accepted- the book I have chosen is…

 

The Ghost Belonged To Me

1.  Why did you pick the book?

I read it when I was about 12 years old. At that time, I had been writing for almost 2 years, looking back I know I was reaching for my ‘ voice ‘. This book was my key. It was my creative roadmap.


2.  What did you think about the book?

Loved it. It was written for young adults and even though it touched on suicide, a dead girl being robbed, the opening and closing graves, a house of ill repute and a wide assortment of unsavory chracters- it did it with a light yet powerful touch and it did it with humor. I strive to do that in my writing to this day.


3.  What do you know about the author?

Not much. I know had been a teacher, he was from Illinois. It was info I got off of the book jackets. But I never looked for more about him. I’m not sure why. I did read all of his books and I was sad to hear he died a few years ago.


4.  What’s the most memorable scene?

There’s a scene where a local man goes crazy and spends all day and into the evening ( he only had one hand, he lost the other when he was working for the railroad ) cutting at the posts that held the trolley tracks up that crossed over a ravine.

Then he set them on fire.

The Ghost warns the main character about the fire and Alexander stops the Trolley before it crosses the ravine.

The Conductor, who is super angry, insists Alexander go look at the ‘damage’ with him and says if Alexander is messing with him he’s going to pay for it. So they and the curious passengers make their way to the creek bed to inspect the posts and before they get down there, the the Crazy guy steals the Street Car.

The Crazy man races it across the tracks, by then the flames have engulfed the posts and are starting to burn at the tracks too and the Man- Amory I believe his name was, goes crashing down into the ravine and the blazing the fire below.

He rang the bell all the way down.


5.  How did the book make you feel?

Like I wanted to go to New Orleans the way Alexander, his Uncle and his friend Blossom did and write a spooky story- and eventually I did. I went for Halloween about 10 years ago and did just that.


6.  How do you feel about the way the story was told?

It was like having someone sit next to me and tell me about ‘this thing that happened to them when they were you. Reading a spooky story is great. Hearing someone tell you one is even better.


7.  Which parts of the book stood out to you?

When Alexander’s soon to be friend ( Blossom and I use the word ‘friend’ lightly because at this point he doesn’t like her ) chooses to ride in the baggage car with the skeletal remains of the Ghost Girl ( Inez ) because she tells Alexander she knows what it’s like to be alone

I also like the part where Alexander’s Uncle tells a story about the suicide of the Captain who built the house Alexander’s family lives in. It happened in the sitting parlor where they are sitting and Alexander’s Mom is entertaining one of the town’s most socially prominent people. He even points to the spot where he hung himself


8.  Which specific parts of the protagonist can you relate to?

Alexander belongs to two different worlds and he doesn’t feel comfortable in either one.


9.  Which character did you relate to the most?

Blossom Culp.


10. Share a line or passage from the book:

There’s a scene where Alexander’s Mother and her cousin and Alexander’s sister are complimenting each other on how fine they look and I think comparing themselves to a royal figure and they say” You look like (?) only younger” etc and then Alexander says to his Dad that he looks ‘miserable’ and Alexander’s Dad says ” So do you, but younger.”


11. What did you think about the ending?

I liked it because in the end Alexander is sad to lose the Ghost Girl ( and her dog ) and talks about how his Uncle died shortly after their adventures, so it seems like he has lost everything important to him, but his adventure made him wiser and less afraid of the world and more a part of it too.


12. Is the story plot driven or character driven?

Character driven.


13. If the book was made into a movie, what changes or decisions would you hope for?

Pecks makes it clear that Blossom and her Mom were exotic looking- in the movies and book covers she’s your typical midwestern looking girl. Peck goes into great detail about what the characters look like so I was surprised to see this changed. I’d change it back.


14. How did the book change you?

I can’t say that it did, but I did learn a lot about writing from it.


15. If the book is part of a series, how does it stand on its own?

All of the books about Alexander and Blossom are stand alone. When you do read them together it’s like running into friend on accident and you end up having a very enjoyable visit.

Books in the series:

The Ghost Belonged To Me

Ghosts I Have Been

The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp

Blossom Culp and The Sleep Of Death