Writing Prompt: Interrupted by a chapter of loathing
Her mirror once reflected a distorted truth Skin too dark Hair too coarse Nose too big Distortion born of comparisons Fed by erroneous standards Created by inferior minds Her beautiful book of Life Interrupted by a chapter of loathing
Small Island by Andrea Levy and I’m now on a mission to read every single one of her books. Very seldom am I drawn to a book after seeing the movie adaptation but when Small Island aired on PBS (yes, I’m a public television junkie-PBS Kids, Masterpiece Classics, Independent Lens, American Experience…I love it all… but I digress) I missed the first hour of the four hour miniseries and was then put off by the ending. Not put off in a bad way but just left wanting more, thinking “I must have missed something.” The novel details the lives of Hortense, Gilbert, Queenie and Bernard. We follow Hortense and Gilbert from their homeland of Jamaica to 1940’s England where there lives intersect with Queenie and Bernard. I loved the way in which each chapter was a character’s point of view and I was amazed at Levy’s ability to give authentic voice to four vastly different characters. I think it’s the mark of a gifted writer to be able to capture the voice of a character totally unlike themselves (ie. a black woman writing as a white man, etc.) in a way that is not stereotypical or contrived. Andrea Levy is truly gifted. I loved this book and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and anyone interested in learning about the black experience abroad.
Write in the voice of someone of the opposite sex.
Dude, when she told me I just freaked out. I didn’t know what to do! She was crying and all upset, and all I could think about was my scholarship and my parents. They are going to kill me, man! She’s asking me “What are we going to do?” and I’m like “What are we going to do? You’re going to take care of it! I’ll give you money.” I know, man. I can’t believe I said it either but I was just so scared. I love her but I’m not ready for this. A baby, what are we going to do with a baby!
Ever had a conversation with someone who went on and on and on? Your eyes sort of glaze over and you begin to hear the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher “Wha, wha, wha.” Well I don’t want the same to happen when someone reads my work. Brevity is key. Keep it simple and direct. I’ve read that newspaper articles are often written at an 8th grade level to ensure appeal to a wide audience. I’m not sure the same can be applied to creative writing, unless your writing for youth, but I think the overall sentiment may be the same. Don’t say in 500 words what can be sufficiently said in 50. I came across this tidbit I wrote down from the writing workshop last month and wanted to share: Eliminate ego, it will ruin you every time. Write from your heart, your true “you.”
Today’s prompt: Write about your name.
Lasagna, Shalonda, Shalona, Michelle- at some point I’ve answered to them all. Somehow ashamed that someone else could not pronounce my name. Apologetic as if my parents had committed some naming faux pas. It’s seven letters, with a capital “S,” please resist the urge to insert a “d.” It’s LaShona with a long “o” and a “La” for french flair. Lovingly bestowed and completely me.