What I’m Reading
I finished Yoko Kawashima Watkins’s My Brother, My Sister, and I, about the struggles she and her siblings went through in the early postwar years in Japan, after they got out of Korea. It’s the sequel to So Far from the Bamboo Grove. They didn’t have much, but they had one another, and they always found a way to get food, money, and shelter. In both books, I loved the secondary character Mr. Naido, who worked in the furnace room of Yoko’s school and gave her all the usable paper from the trash. He was her only friend and advocate at school, while all the other girls treated her horribly for not being as moneyed as they were.
What I’m Writing
Up to Chapter 88 of my WIP, 669,500 words. I’d actually started what I thought was Chapter 88, which opens with the citizenship ceremony of Inessa’s family on 11 August 1945. But then I realised I’d totally skipped over the kind of really important historical events of a few days earlier! So I changed Chapter 88 to 89 and put it on hold, then started the real Chapter 88, “A Happy Ending…or Not?”
For many years now, it’s been my firm belief that we should never have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not only because it was unethical and immoral, but also because Japan was well on its way to surrendering anyway. Even General Eisenhower didn’t agree with it and thought it was cruel and pointless. Obviously, radical Katrin is going to have quite a lot to say about the bombs. She’s been writing for numerous left-wing newspapers, in at least 10 languages, ever since she came to America in 1921. I actually just thought of a great storyline for my fourth Russian novel (1948-52), Katrin falling under suspicion during the McCarthyist witch hunts due to her loud, proud Socialist convictions.
What Inspires Me
It’s International Left-Handedness Awareness Day! It’s so so special how we’ve got our own holiday now, after how brutally lefties were treated for so much of human history. Sadly, many cultures still shame and bully little lefties out of their natural inclination, and have an almost fetishistic worship of the right side of the body. It makes me so sad to read about how so many teachers and parents used to smack children’s hands, tie their hands down with rope or weights, tie their hands behind their backs, removed utensils and pens from the left hand and shoved them into the right hand, gave lefties failing marks in handwriting because of their ignorance of proper left-handed writing methods, beat them, the list goes on and on.
When you’re left-handed, you have left-dar and immediately notice other lefties, whereas right-handed folks don’t pay attention to what hand someone writes or eats with. Some right-handed people even express surprise when finding out a friend is a lefty, like they never noticed that pretty important detail in so much time.
I love being a positive ambassador for sinistrality, and finding little lefties. I got such a thrill when I discovered some of my campers over the last three years were lefties, particularly two in the nursery bunk. I was in the closet about the true extent of my left-handedness till three years ago, and now I’m out and proud. Handedness, like sexual orientation, exists along a continuum. Very few people are 100% one or the other. I see myself as having the best of best worlds, since I’m still able to eat and write right-handed after so many years of doing it. I just do most of my eating and writing with my left hand now.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I finally got a new computer, though I’ve still got the old one around to transfer files and for backup. It’s so nice to not have to run a fan right behind my computer and hear that painful, scary death rattle from the left fan. I’ve got a lot of readjusting to do, since I was using a 2007 computer. Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to open my old Power PC applications on the new machine. Right now, it’s refusing to open Word 2004 and Ideal Solitaire. In the meantime, Pages is easy enough to navigate, though I miss some of the features Word had.
I also finally had two feet of hair taken off after Tisha B’Av. It’s so nice to have short hair again! I think it even helped the pain from the chickenpox scars under my hair. They were hurting me a lot in recent months, but now there’s so much less hair weighing them down. (I missed the vaccine by just one year, and I never found out who gave them to me at age fourteen.)