Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last Minute Paradigm Shift

Excuse my lack of posts and randomness, but I am going through a lot of changes.  Everyone seems to love Fall, but I don't enjoy shorter days; it really throws my beauty rest off.

Since I haven't been able to post regularly, I have a lot to say, so excuse my stream of consciousness writing style.

For our Light Night fun fair yesterday I was supposed to be Princess Peach, BUT I wasn't feeling very princessey, I didn't feel like wearing a dress, and I was pressed for time and unsure of how I was going to turn a pink maternity dress and pink tulle into a princess dress.  I felt more comfortable with being the....King of Pop; we kind of look more alike, I was in a playful mood, and I knew I had to be on my feet all evening running the Cake Walk and cleaning up.


Here's me and TrentMan as M.J. and Toad!!!!!  I glued his vest together myself....as you can tell!

My wardrobe change leads me to a revelation about my future writing career.  Several months ago, my little cousin wrote a post on her blog asking if you have to be able to relate to characters that you read about in books and does your life need to mirror the lives of the characters.  For me, the answer is a resounding NO, because I love learning about things outside of my own realm and there are some human conditions that transcend gender, race, country of origin, and many other things.  Conditions like love, hunger, war, raising a family, and much more are so much bigger than being a black female who lives in the Midwest.  I believe that is a universal story.  This thought process leads me to the next situation.

My son has the distinct pleasure of attending a school that goes from Preschool to Highschool, all on the same campus.  About a month ago, it was Homecoming, which they allow the younger kids to participate in the week of dressing up and the Coronation Ceremony.  One of the dress up days was to dress up as a book character.  TrentMan and I pondered over at least a dozen characters: Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Horrible Harry, Flat Stanley, Nate the Great, and some others too.  He finally settled on Phineas from Phineas and Ferb, which is not really a book character, but he was close enough.  We just put an orange and white striped shirt on him and some jeans and he was good to go.  We were both happy, he was able to portray one of his favorite characters and I didn't have to work too hard to make it happen.  Then it hit me....out of all the characters we thought about, none of them were African American.

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TrentMan designed this character himself

Let me set the record straight; I am not one of those "power to the people" has to be all black or I'm not down kind of people.  We embrace pretty much embrace everything and everybody that is in line with our Christian values.  However, I thought/think it is shameful that there was not one black book character that we could choose from.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Phineas and Ferb, and we love watching the show together; those boys are too creative and it gets TrentMan to thinking and inventing all kinds of craziness.  However, I think it does our society a huge disservice not to show people of other races and cultures in the same/similar situations.  Think about all the big name children's books: Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Where the Wild Things Are, Jumanji, etc.  These books can have the same exact plot BUT with a main character that just happens to be African American or Latino or Asian American.  So this Ah-Ha moment led me to my next thought!

I should develop a book series that primarily appeals to young boys and has a main character who is an African American boy.  My thoughts haven't led me to what the series should be about, but I know I don't want it to be specific to African American culture; I just want a book about a family who just happens to be black.  I have to come up with the backstory, plot, and the thing that will draw people in.  I'll get to that part later though.

I know this post was all over the place, but hopefully you could keep up.  I am my mother's child; what can I say??!!??

So, what do you think...are we lacking every day stories with characters that just happen to be minorities or does it really matter?

10 comments:

  1. cute :) i thought you were charlie chaplin until I actually read it lol! hair is pretty.

    the thing is, there are stories where characters happen to be black and then they are relegated to the "black" section with the hood lit and old black books from the turn of last century....which means it generally only gets read by black folks and STILL doesn't become mainstream even though the story is universal. it's something that i'm struggling with on deciding for my book, if the main character should be black or not, so as not to get overlooked as a "black" read. sigh, stupid society!

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  2. LOL!!!! This other guy thought I was Charlie Chaplain too. It was the hat! It was the best I could come up with at the last minute. Do you think books with black characters get put in the "black" section based on how it's marketed or maybe the agent took it in that direction??

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  3. LOL - I seriously thought you where Charlie too.. lol.. CUTE costumes.. :)) I tink it'll have to be the agents as a book should be placed by fiction or whatever the actual storyline falls under and not by color.. It's sad that happens at times, my book stores are pretty well shelved and I can't complain but I HAVE seen that happen a lot..

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  4. Awe! Too cute!
    I totally agree with you. I always wish I will be able to find black characters for my oldest so that I can buy them early and get him used to seeing them, but no luck. :-( That may be your calling (jada pinkett smith and holly robinson peete did wrote children's books). My mom suggested I do that bc of my sketching but um no...not a storyteller, lol.

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  5. I never really saw myself writing a children's book until now. I do think there's room for growth in this area though.

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  6. Oh TiAnna...i love this idea and i think you should definitely go for it. i think it hasn't been done before because all those other writers were not African American..at least i think...so you should definitely dream big and just do it....i would totally buy it..it always freaks me out when i think about having a son because of all the negative images out there...so this would help me a ton:-)

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  7. Totally lacking! Go for it!!

    I'm working on a book right now with an ethnically Chinese protagonist who has a disability. We'll see how that goes.... :)

    Amy

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  8. I think you hit on something that is needed in our world: more books about children of color. Moody has an entire imprint for African Americans--not sure they do kids books, but I'll bet so!

    Go for it!

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  9. I think that would be a wonderful idea! You got me thinking and The Proud Family automatically popped in my head and so did Little Bill but these are characters on TV not necessarily books... As you know, i definitely have my "power to the people" moments and I always think that who better to create these things than US! Go for it!

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  10. Wow! I never would've thought I would get this kind of response on this subject! Thanks ladies!!! I used to love me some Proud Family. That's exactly what I'm thinking, but more mainstream, more detailed, and more in depth.

    @Amy- Your book sounds SUPER interesting. I can't wait to read it!!!

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