Saturday, August 13, 2011
A LESSON IN PERSERVERANCE
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.
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...