Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The Help was turned down by 60 agents before one took pity on Kathryn Stockett, a very determined author with a powerful passion for her story. Bless Kathryn's stubborn heart; she never gave up.

This is a timely reminder for me as I wait for word on two projects--a short story, Waiting on a Dream, written specifically for a submisisons call, and a novel, Mona Lisa's Room, a romantic suspense set in France.

These two elements--rejections and waiting--are part and parcel of a writer's life.

A writer friend of mine recieved word from a large publisher on June 2nd that they loved her book and were moving forward with it to the next committee. She hasn't heard a word since. Nor has her agent after repeated attemps to find out. So, this delightful lady waits-- lurking in the land of publishing limbo.

Before The Help was published, work was already underway for the movie. Yes, the publishing world does move at a snail's pace.

Have you seen the movie yet? Please do. Calvin and I saw it the day it opened here in Lynchbug. For him, it was a visit back to his childhood. For me, it was an education. By the applause that erupted at movie's end, for others in the theater, it was a delight.

Over the years, Calvin and I have shared memories of our childhood. He grew up in the segregated south and I was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania. Early in the mornings, he'd see black men and women, dressed in various uniforms, walking down the streets headed for the bus stop. My early morning activities were herding the cows into the barn for milking and filling their feed troughs with grain. Our formative lives were vastly different.

Yet, one ominous, dark thread of a nasty element in society was woven through both of our lives.

As a black boy he could not lay money into the hand of a white cashier. That white person would not welcome nor accept the touch of black skin against his or hers. As a black teen, working in a white owned store, he could not drink from the employees' water fountain nor use the employees' restroom. This resulted in many a mad dash for home over his lunch break or at day's end.

For me, it was the confusion of being jerked across the street by my good Christian mother before she'd lower herself to walk past a black man. Or watching her participate in fund drives to help "poor little African children" when she wouldn't tip the black woman who cleaned the public restrooms along Main Street in our town. I grappled with the inconsistencies.

I grappled with the same inconsistencies in the movie. White women turned their babies over to black help to raise and bathe and kiss, but refused to allow these same black women to use their bathrooms. Heaven forbid they should have to place their lily-white bottoms on the same toilet seat once used by a black person. It was almost as if they valued their bottoms more than their babies. But such were the morals, the thinking of the time.

Calvin claims whites were as trapped by segregation and Jim Crow as blacks. It made for discord and prejudices all the way around. I hope we've moved beyond all that. I hope so. I truly do...


Beth Trissel said...

Very interesting post, Vonnie. No, I haven't seen the movie yet but have read about the tenacious author of the book. Thanks for sharing your and Calvin's POV.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks, Beth. If you see it, take some tissues. I feel it's a great movie for parents to take their teenagers that will open a great discussion.

Melinda said...


I love this post. It shows truly how sad it is. I have not seen the movie yet either but I plan on it.
This brings to mind the way the American Indian has been done. I had friends that are black and let me say they are the best friends in the world.
Prejudice has no boundaries when it comes to being an American Indian or Black. I feel they both have a connection in that aspect.

Tell Calvin that he is special and also Vonnie you are special. I love to see that there are people left in this world who view all the same

Thanks for sharing and always

Walk in harmony,

Margo Hoornstra said...


Beautiful post. I love your insights. We do plan to see the movie, it has been recommended by so many. It brings to mind another movie I saw when I was a young girl in Detroit. Imitation of Life. That one brought tears to my eyes too.

Take care,


Mona Risk said...

Vonnie, I heard the movie is really good and plan to see it soon. I am glad the racial discrimination is almost gone in the US. But around the world, there are many forms of discrimination that can hurt and destroy. Unfortunately it's not politically correct to expose them.

LaVerne Clark said...

I'd never heard of this movie - but boy, does it sound powerful. Thank you Vonnie - I'll be looking out for it when it reaches our shores.

My God - I find it hard to imagine friends of mine have been through such ignorant and painful times! I remember as a little girl hearing the word 'apartheid' during the evening news and asking my Mum what it meant. When she told me, I was horrified and confused. I did a lot of research on it to find out more and became even more horrified. I just couldn't understand why people were so awful to each other over something that makes no sense. It still makes no sense to me - but hopefully the world is a better place today and it only continues to get better through the generations.

Much love to you and Calvin xo

Vonnie Davis said...

Yes, Melinda, Calvin and I talk often about what the Indians/Native Americans have been through. Both of his grandmothers were Native American.

Vonnie Davis said...

Margo, thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment. You'll feel transported to another time...another country when you see the movie.

Vonnie Davis said...

You are so right, Mona. People seem to fear and hate those who are different--world wide. Makes me shudder.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi LaVerne, my Kiwi friend. I'm slowly learning more about your lovely country as I read things online. I knew nothing, I'm ashamed to say, about New Zealand until I met some kiwi's through TWRP. I'm doing my best to overcome that.

Lynne Marshall said...

Dear Vonnie - thank you for your insights about segregation in this era. Being raised in California, I had a very different view of everything. We didn't have the segregated areas, and we all went to the same schools and dances etc.

I saw The Help today and both my husband and I laughed and cried along with the characters. The human spirit is so wonderful, I feel hopeful about our future, considering our past.

Thanks for a very insightful blog. Sorry I'm way late, but I can't keep up with all this stuff!

Rachel Brooks said...

This book is on my TBR list. I won't let myself see the movie until I read it!

Also, I’m a new follower— wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)