A couple of weeks ago I started the Concrete Rose By: Angie Thomas. I love this book so far, and Thomas does a really nice job of bringing you back through time. Sometimes when I read a book set in the past, or watch a movie, if it’s not handled well, it takes me out of the story. Thomas also creatively goes back in time through a character. When we get introduced to Maverick in The Hate U Give, we see him as a grown man, one who’s been to prison, gotten out of a gang, and raised a family. We also see a man who’s running a successful business and on the brink of pivotal changes in his life. He’s deciding whether or not to move his family out of their tradtional neighborhood and into a more up-scale place. We finally get to see how much Garden Heights means to him and the distinct life choices he made to get to where he is in The Hate U Give. This young Maverick gives new dimension to the character, one that’s mirrored in Starr and Seven. You can really see the influence he has on them, and the influence his mom has on him. The generational journey is inspiring. I have more to read, so I’ll have another post up soon.
Lately I have been writing fiction pieces, but I just got a new book and I’m excited to review it. I have read two of Angie Thomas’ books so far, On the Come Up and The Hate U Give. I loved each of them, and now I get a chance to read another one, Concrete Rose. The book is set 17 years before The Hate U Give, and is from the perspective of Starr’s dad Maverick. I want to know how Angie Thomas gives this male character a voice and how she goes back in time to connect the stories of related characters in her other books. I’m also excited to be transported back into Garden Height’s and see it from a different perspective. It’s going to be an interesting journey and I can’t wait to take it.
My Aunt Shannon is my rock, she’s the closest thing to a mother I’ve ever had, but we’ve had our ups and downs. I got lucky with Bob, my late husband was a sweet guy. Shannon however didn’t get so lucky with Dave, her ex husband. I figured out quickly the reason Shannon said she couldn’t pay my college tuition was because Dave manipulated her. Dave came off nice at first, but underneath he wasn’t. I never got to know him first hand, because as soon as he married Shannon he drove us apart. He made it seem like Shannon’s decision, but I knew Dave was pulling the strings. They’re divorced now, and I don’t bring this up to Shannon because when I do she gets upset and removed. She doesn’t like talking about that time in her life. Dave wasn’t obviously abusive or anything, but he crossed a line my senior year. The week before my graduation my supportive, kind, sweet Aunt Shannon told me she wouldn’t cover my college expenses. I’ve never been so naive I couldn’t see that was him talking, not her. I reconnected with her after the divorce, and we worked hard to heal our relationship.
I still can’t believe I used to live like that. I would get at most 3 hours of sleep a night, go to my classes all day, somehow get in work, and also take care of a 3 year old Chelsea. Just thinking about it gets me stressed out, I mean I am not the kind of person who puts herself in crazy situations like that. Yet, there I was, a 17 year old girl, taking care of my meth head sister’s baby, starting my first year of college, and working shifts at the school cafeteria. I never really had those close friends from college, like that dumb posse group clique thing, with the inside jokes, and the obvious tension from drama unresolved. I never really felt like I needed that type of group though, because Chelsea was my college friend. I can’t believe that I didn’t make that sweet little connection until 40 years after I graduated college.
This semester I took a class at Kutztown University, with Dr. Patricia Kelleher on Women in History. It was interesting to learn how women have lived throughout history, especially because the perspective and experiences of women hasn’t been the focus of my other history courses. This course also influenced some of my writing, so I could understand where my female characters were coming from, and where they were going, and helped develop their voices. I loved learning about the feminist movement, the suffragette movement, how women have fought over time for equality, and are in some ways still fighting today. When I started the blog I was trying to understand the stories of women in history, and related social and political justice issues. Thanks in part to Dr. Kelleher and the class, I now know so much more.
This post is about connecting the original ideas that I based my blog on, history and social justice issues from the perspective of a young woman, and the current direction of the blog. Recently I have posted my fiction pieces about various characters and their worlds. These characters are all female, and they struggle with sexist and misogynistic barriers in modern day society. For example, the young woman at the car dealership has to work hard to be taken seriously, and is often worried about that. She is concerned about not getting respect at her job, because of how young she is, her limited experience, and not being taken seriously especially by her male boss. She puts up a front of being cynical and tough and tries to appear more mature, thinking these traits and this image will make people take her seriously. She puts up this front to counteract the stereotype of the naive young girl, dismissed by her peers, family, and especially in the workplace. When I started the blog, back in 2017, I wrote about women in history dealing with issues of political and social injustice and inequality. Then I moved on to writing reviews for books, focused mainly on young women dealing with some of these same issues. Now I am using creative writing to develop my own female characters, their voices, and how they face injustice and inequality in a modern context. I’ve learned a lot with this journey, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
God I hate this job, but the pay is good, better than a stupid professional tennis player. How many people actually make it in that career? That’s what my mom wants me to be. I would but I don’t wanna end up selling old tennis gear out of some dumb beat up Chrysler. I might end up doing that if this damn Chelsea woman doesn’t show up though. This is a car dealership, and yet we’re still taking in that hunk of trash she drives. She should be grateful, and early. Did Henry literally just tell me I should stand outside for her? We live in Florida and it’s May, you idiot! I’ll get a heat stroke as soon as I walk out and then I’ll die because he won’t call 911, being the idiot boss he is. She’s finally here, an hour and a half late! Our next client is in another half hour! I can’t give another client to someone else! I’m 19 years old, Henry’s 42, that smug old man would love to see me fail. I may be 19, but I look 12, and this huge dumb pink blazer doesn’t help. At least I picked all the rhinestones off it, god, those stupid beauty pagaents I did never prepared me for the real world. My mother was ridiculous to enter me in them! I wish I could just go home, this lady looks like a mess, she probably doesn’t even know the right paperwork, Jesus my life sucks!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away 2 weeks ago, and I thought I would use the blog to write about what she meant to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the supreme court for 27 years, and during her time on the bench and her career before that she did a considerable amount to improve this nation. She was a popular icon for women’s rights, as well as one of the greatest legal minds of her time. I think that most people know the impact of her work, but I’m going to write about what she meant to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was to me a powerful legal advocate for equality, and her voice inspired me. She’s well known for writing dissenting opinions when she was on the Supreme Court and to me that inspired a generation of people to follow in her lead. I know that personally I am less afraid to voice my opinion and disagree with the status quo thanks to her. I think that if more and more people can do that, we can fill the void left in her absence.
Aug. 2nd, 2019
I have one goal in my life. I will never let my kids down. To me that means no violence, no drinking, and absolutely no drugs. Honestly, it’s less of a goal and more of a barrier. As a parent you have to put up barriers and set up rules for yourself and your children. Truthfully, there were times I crossed that barrier. This doesn’t mean I did drugs, or that I hurt my kids in any way. I emotionally crossed the barrier. I didn’t know I had an emotional barrier I could cross, but once I crossed it I knew. We went through some difficult times last year, and I dealt with it by isolating myself from my children. I have no idea where this behavior came from, or necessarily why I thought it was a good idea. However, I did it anyway, and my kids were abandoned ( again, emotionally, not physically ) in their time of need. I now know what I need to do in order to not disassociate myself like that again. I’m grateful to be so close emotionally and physically with my children, and I need to always honor that.
I had a wonderful time at the Lighthouse Teen Writing Studio and I have some exciting new pieces from the workshop that I can’t wait to share. I dabbled in poetry, prose, and worked on techniques including character development. Chelsea, my favorite character, has found her voice. I will be writing more about her and from her perspective. I also will be writing from the perspectives of other people in her world. I have other characters to introduce as well, with their own interesting lives and stories!