I recently started following http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/ on tumblr, and there is discussion about how white people often have trouble “relating” to characters of color in fiction.
And it got me thinking.
‘Cause okay, I – probably no surprise here – grew up reading a lot.
And Trixie Belden & Nancy Drew lived in worlds as foreign to me as Smash Ogre and Tansy. The Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitter’s Club were as strange to me as Bilbo. Kids written in 50’s romance books (I really did read everything) lived in a place as hard to related to as did Shea Ohmsford.. Little House on the Prairie? Oversoul Seven?
I’m a 3rd-generation-German-immigrant/Daughter of The American Revolution child of hippies* who were themselves the 1st/second generation off the farm; I grew up in a log cabin on my grandparents’ 100 acres of farmland, an only child, a child of an alcoholic honor’s kid with social anxiety & depression. I have a hard time relating to anyone.
…but Herald Talia made me feel at home. Dude, for me, fiction has never been about reading about myself; it’s been about taking me somewhere else.
And this would be a lovely piece on its own, but I feel compelled to point out, also – I have a very hard time visualizing people. It really doesn’t happen. So when I’m reading, it’s very first-person-shooter for me; I’m not picturing the protagonist, I’m in their skin.
* And hippies. Okay. When you read me saying “hippies” in relation to personal experience, you have to get stereotypes like this guy out of your head. My mom was for civil rights and against the war, for vegetarianism & growing your own food and, ah, growing your own marijuana. But, despite living in New York State, my parents didn’t go to Woodstock, and the media depictions of hippies have never matched my childhood.
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