Colorblinded in troubled times

My last post was a political one. This post is not. At least it is not intended to be, though race relations have been politicized to the point where it is difficult to separate the two. Over the past few days I have seen so many tragedies in the news, however, useless killing on the streets of my country. These killings deeply wounded the black community and the blue community. My heart goes out to both, along with my fear and worry for the future of our world and our country if we can’t find a way to mend attitudes and live together. When I tried to put my feelings into words, this is what came out. I don’t write poetry very often but this feels like poetry to me.

 

Colorblinded

By Michelle Garren Flye

I am not colorblind.

I see you. I see your differences. When I pass you on the street, I see you aren’t the same as me. Your skin, your attitude, your music, your life. You are different. I see you, and I don’t know you.

You are a mystery.

I am colorblinded.

Do you see me? Do you see the mother, the artist, the poet, the person who is me? Can you see past my skin, or does it blind you? Do you see only a white, privileged, raised-in-the-South woman who doesn’t understand?

I don’t think you see me.

I think you are colorblinded, too.

Tell me what would happen if I reached out to you. Tell me what would happen if white skin touched black…and black touched back. If hand held hand in a long, long line of red and yellow, black and white…

Could we be colorblind together?

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Disregarding the Oracles

I love science fiction. As early as the 1800s, science fiction authors were predicting today’s everyday things like motion-sensing doors and credit cards. Pretty commonplace by today’s standards, but imagine how out-of-this-world it must have seemed when Jules Verne described his “phonotelephote” which allowed “the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires”. And yet today we take things like Skype and FaceTime for granted.

Other predictions have hit close to the mark as well. H.G. Wells predicted the atomic bomb. Tom Clancy wrote about a terrorist attack that was very similar to September 11. Writers have predicted everything from the World Wide Web to skywriting and lunar modules launching from Florida. So what is my point?

Yesterday I happened on this petition: Writers on Trump. It said many of the same things I have felt for most of this election season, which is, basically, that Donald Trump as president of the United States would be a disaster. I’ve kept my political views off this blog for the largest portion of the election season, but I’m crossing the line now. Here it goes.

This petition, which I did add my name to, is signed by some of today’s leading writers. Bestselling authors. Household names. Stephen King. Amy Tan. Jane Smiley. The authors whose names are bigger than the titles of their works. The ones whose new releases have long reserve list even though the library splurged and bought thirteen copies.

Today’s oracles.

Writers see the world differently. Writers observe, but they also influence. When Aldous Huxley wrote about mood-enhancing drugs in 1932, perhaps it sparked the invention of anti-depressants? But it is very difficult to understand how Jonathan Swift in 1735 could predict that Mars actually had two moons, a fact that was not discovered until 1877.

What are today’s writers predicting? Dystopia seems more prevalent than Utopia these days. Apocalyptic futures abound. Are these prophecies unavoidable, self-fulfilling or just warnings of what might be?

The Writers on Trump petition is pretty damn clear, and here’s the part you may want to pay attention to:

“Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response…we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”

Warning or self-fulfilling prophecy? History will decide.

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50 Golden Things…Again

In honor of my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary, I’ve put a few new touches to the 50 Golden Things blog post I wrote three years ago for their 50th. For their true inspiration of love:

 
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Where to buy Out of Time

I’ve been asked where you can get copies of Out of Time. I’ve included a few links below. Paperbacks are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace, the others are ebook only.

Amazon (paperback and ebook)

Barnes & Noble (paperback and ebook)

CreateSpace (paperback)

Smashwords (ebook)

iBooks (ebook)

Kobo (ebook)

OverDrive (ebook)

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The genesis of a character

It’s the awkward question every author dreads from their readers… Where do characters come from? Worse even than the very similar “Where do babies come from?” when your toddler asks it. Because while there’s a real, tangible answer to the toddler’s question, there isn’t one to the reader’s.

Obviously they come from my head. So is it like Athena springing fully formed from Zeus’s head? The very thought gives me a migraine. So, no. It takes a while to really get a hold of who a character is. But where do they come from?

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Mountain laurel from NC mountains, because why not?:)

I can’t answer for other writers, but my characters are formed by the plot of my story. Of course, I have to have some idea about them in order to get started on the story, but it’s really a very soft-edged, sort of fuzzy idea at first. I always start with a hero and a heroine and fill in the side characters as I go. For instance, when I started Out of Time, I knew I needed a heroine who could start out the story a little clueless and very down-to-earth, but Kaelyn became a highly adaptable leader as fantastic events unfolded around her.

As for my hero Jack, I knew he needed to be serious in the beginning. After all, his role for a hundred years has been as a self-appointed guard against danger. He starts out almost severe, but from the moment he encounters Kaelyn, there’s a spark of something else there. Over the course of the story, he developed a sense of humor I enjoyed writing. Love brought out the best in him, I suppose.

As for what they look like, I did make them sort of opposites on purpose. Kaelyn is blonde, fair, blue-eyed and (of course) beautiful. Tall enough to reach the top shelf on her own…but not too tall. Jack on the other hand is over six feet tall, gorgeous, dark hair and complexion. You can figure out for yourself what the dark complexion means…I’m not totally certain myself, but it felt right to me when Kaelyn thinks about his “dark perfection”.

But are my characters ever based on real people? Not anymore, and never on purpose. I did it by accident once with a minor character. I hadn’t even realized how I felt about the person I based the character on until the reviews started coming in, and everybody disliked the character in question, who I thought was a positive to the story…and then I started to make the connection.

I still hope the real person doesn’t realize what I did.

I’m very careful about that now. I don’t dislike anyone enough to subject them to the unforgiving permanence of the written word. (Even my written word, which is read by literally dozens of people and may not really be that permanent at all.) I try never to use any names of people I know, though I think they sneak in from time to time. And if I base the appearance of a character on anyone, it’s on someone I don’t actually know. I mean, you only have so many different natural hair and eye colors, and romance characters are almost always slim and/or well-built. It’s escapism, after all.

So, I guess in a very real way, my characters grow existentially. I pluck their little stick figures from my head, put them in a story and they take form and flesh from their surroundings, turning into real imaginary people.

It really doesn’t have anything to do with birds and bees.

Do you have any favorite fictional characters? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Out of Time: What Does It Mean?

Yesterday was so much fun and so exhausting jumping from one website to another and back to here, I never really got a chance to talk much about my book. So I thought I’d do a little of that today.

The title of my new romantic fantasy/fantasy romance is Out of Time. It’s a play on words. The main characters are from a dimension that is literally outside of our time. But they are also under attack and running out of time.

Time is the only noncorporeal entity I know of that is referred to as a commodity. And that’s because we as mortal humans realize we have a limited amount of it. You can’t touch it, but you can run out of it. You can’t hold it but it can escape you. You can save it, but you can’t stop it. If you’re not paying attention, hours pass in the blink of an eye, but if you watch the clock, a minute can take forever.

img_4398Behind my desk, I have what I call a little “meditation garden” on a shelf. It’s just a little doll bench, a plate full of pebbles I collected on the beach and a terrarium. You can see part of it in the picture on the right. When I feel time slipping by too fast, I sit still for a minute looking at my meditation garden and breathing.

Today I plan to take a lot of breathing moments. I named my blog “Breathe” on purpose. It’s supposed to remind me to stop every now and then. It’s not always easy to do that in today’s world, but I think it’s all the more valuable. We get so caught up in everything the world demands of us, we forget we’re only human. And our time is limited.

If you’d like to take a short breathing moment today, check out the interview the nice folks at Boundless Minds did with me about Out of Time. You can find it here: Boundless Minds Interview. I’ll be checking in from time to time, so if you have any questions or comments, you can leave them over there or here.

Here’s a question I’d like to leave you with: What do you do when you feel time slipping by too fast?

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Grand Prize Winner Is…

Wow. What a day! I told someone earlier this is the most exhausted I’ve ever been from not moving much at all.

As promised, I’ve just done the Grand Prize Drawing and the winner is… (crinkling of envelope–okay, not really, just drawing out the suspense…) …Christin! Christin, I actually know where to find you, so I’ll get your Kindle Fire to you ASAP. If you didn’t win, don’t despair, and keep checking in because I’m thinking I might just have to do another giveaway soon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!to everyone who stopped by, who bought my book, who offered a word or two of encouragement today, whether it was here, somewhere on my tour stop or on social media. It means so much to me that so many took time out of what I know can be hectic days of summer to say hello and congratulations.

Now I’m going to sign off for a while… Love to you all, be good to each other!

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