First off, since last week I took part in the Two Truths and a Lie blogfest Jamie Ayres held to celebrate the release of her second book, 18 Truths, it’s time to reveal my lie.
I’m allergic to cockroaches. This is actually true, though most people thought it was a made-up allergy. It’s more common than one might think, though I didn’t know about it till I was tested for environmental allergies a few years ago. Since it often develops among poor and urban children, I suspect I got it when I lived in Arbor Hill (Albany’s ghetto) as a toddler.
My estimated due date was one day after a tragic event in the history of my favourite band (The Who). Yup. I was supposed to be born 4 December 1979, though I had other ideas and showed up two weeks late. On the night of 3 December, 11 young people were crushed to death, and 23 more were injured, at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, due to the risky practice of festival seating. They falsely believed the concert was starting, and rushed the closed doors. When the news was broken to the band after the show, Roger burst into tears.
I know how to play the dulcian, a late Medieval/early Renaissance instrument that’s like a more melancholy bassoon. This is the lie, though I’d love to learn if I can find an affordable dulcian, either original or reproduction. I love Medieval music and the haunting sounds of the instruments. One of my characters, Eulalia Qiana Laurel (born 1987, one of Cinnimin’s grandkids), does play the dulcian and vielle, a long, five-stringed, violin-like instrument.
What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly hop/meme with four simple headings. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog.
What I’m Reading
I started David Laskin’s The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century, but I’m just not feeling it as much as I’d hoped. It reads more like a history textbook instead of a vibrant family memoir. “And then this happened. And then this person did that.” There are fascinating stories about these three branches of his family (including Ida Rosenthal, founder of Maidenform), but it’s just not coming to life for me.
What I’m Writing
I’m up to about 587,600 words in my WIP and just starting Chapter 76, “Ups and Downs of Rehabilitation,” which focuses on 12-year-old Violetta and her 5-year-old sister Flora in early 1943. Flora recovered from paralytic polio quicker than her sister, but she still uses crutches and a leather caliper around her lower right leg at school and in public. She’ll regain more mobility and confidence in the ballet troupe for young polio survivors. Violetta meanwhile is terrified to be completely weaned off her iron lung, which she insists on sleeping in and spending at least an hour a day in. The flesh is willing to walk, but the spirit is unable.
Chapter 75, “The Worst That Could Happen,” was set primarily in Drancy and Oswiecim, as Darya and Oliivia get in a lot more trouble than they bargained for when they attend an anti-Nazi protest. Even though the Shoah is one of my areas of historical expertise, I still had to do some research for this chapter. There’s a silver lining (for the moment) at chapter’s end, as the girls get a cake sorting job in Kanada, out of the brutal Polish winter, and have made friends with two other young political prisoners, Halina and Maja. They don’t yet realise their new friends are from the Zyuganov family, whom they’re well acquainted with.
What Inspires Me
I was in the produce section of Hannaford on Friday when a nearby African-American worker told me he liked the zippers on the bottoms of my jeans. He thought they were really convenient for changing between shoes, and liked their original look. Afterwards, I thought about what an awesome time in history I live in, when an African-American man can speak to a white woman and not have to fear turning up like Emmett Till. My whole life, particularly since I’ve lived most of my life in a city that’s about half African-American, it’s just been normal to me to be friendly with people of other races.
I still have the September 1994 special 50th anniversary issue of Seventeen magazine, and in the front, they reprinted a bunch of letters to the editor from over the decades. One of the Fifties letters says something like, “If God didn’t want us to mix, he wouldn’t have put us all on the same planet.”
Macintosh also just turned 30! It’s hard to believe so much time has passed already, and that I’ve been there from the beginning. I’m so thankful for having a computer-savvy father who bought us a computer even when we didn’t have a lot of money. It taught me what was really important, and gave me a big advantage for schoolwork, building brainpower, learning to type ahead of just about all of my classmates, a creative outlet, and computer savvy.
I’ve been with Mac since OS 1.0, and was using it years before most other people had computers. I’ll be with the Mac for life, through whatever future changes it goes through.
What Else I’m Up To
I made some awesome chocolate chip peanut butter cake and vegan cornbread on Sunday. Next on my adventures in learning new recipes, I’m going to make seitan with the vital wheat gluten I got recently. You’ll never catch me as one of those gluten-free fakers like my ex-roommate. If I had Celiac or a wheat allergy, I’d be pissed at how all these gluten-free fakers cause legit issues to be taken less seriously. I hate fad diets.
While I’m still eating limited dairy, I decided to try sheep cheese. It’s pretty good, soft like goat cheese, and tastes great with honey.