Monday, October 19, 2009

How are You Celebrating the National Day on Writing?

October 20th is National Day on Writing. I'm celebrating the day by sharing a book that I have just begun to read as I research my young adult historical novel.

Notes of a White Black Woman (Pennsylvania State University Press: 1995) was written by lawyer Judy Scales-Trent. it is a collection of autobiographical essays about her experience as a light-skinned African American woman. It not only gives me insight into the issues she struggled with growing up, it also causes me to evaluate my own preconceived notions about race and color.

This segment is from her observations of generations of photographs in a family album:

"When you look at the photograph of my mother and her sisters, you see that two of the women have white skin. So did my uncle, Big Buddy. But then, when you turn the page to look at the photograph of the grandchildren, it almost takes your breath away, for these are all brown-skinned children. Their skin color ranges from light brown to dark brown, but it is clear that these are not white children....

I am just now realizing that I was so anxious about how they [the dark-skinned men Scales-Trent dated] viewed my color that I did not consider the value I attached to theirs. For it is very likely that without any instruction, without conscious plan, without even thinking about it, I--and perhaps others in my family--thought seriously about skin color when I thought about who would be the father of my children. For this is a country where it is dangerous to be too dark, and where it is wrong to be too light." (p. 48-9)

As a writer, I am indebted to other writers, such as Scales-Trent, who have shared their research and/or life experiences. My work will be richer as a result of their work and honest self-exploration. And that is definitely a reason to celebrate good writers and the writing craft.

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2 comments:

carol said...

Thanks Carol, I'll check it out. I'm always looking for a good read. Acutally, I'm always looking for a great read!

carol said...

Carol..I'm teaching a class and while the students were taking a test I play search the blog. (I know I'm strange but it's more fun than games.) I feel like a voyuer if I don't leave a note. I don't know how I stumbled on yours. Maybe a link to a link to a link. I like to read so I must have checked out yours because it said you were a reader.