Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
I was part of the Earth Day celebrations way back when. Today, 2013, I see the Earth in more trouble than it was 50 years ago. I just finished watching the independent film Bag it!, released in 2010. Watch it here, and weep for the U.S. public's inability to go up against the mega corporations--in this case, the plastics industry. Many other countries around the world have taken initiative and restricted/banned/taxed plastic bags. They want to protect their waterways and the oceans and animals who are being smothered by plastic. Very few of these efforts have occurred in the U.S.
Here's a site that interesting, what with a Nestlé’s CEO claiming that having water is not a human right...Water is a food...
The Bag it! film reminded me of another independent film Tapped; these two films are quite related, actually. Tapped looks at the bottled water industry--and what holds the bottled water?...plastic. Also, both films are award winners...But how many people have seen them? They are both available online. Don't pass them up.
I have made a concerted effort to reduce plastic. I'd 90% stopped using plastic bags more than a year ago; I recycle the ones I do bring home. I don't buy "plastic"-bottled water, I don't drink soda, I don't frequent take-out coffee places (those take-out cups have a sandwiched layer of plastic between the paperboard). Now, as much as I can, I've stopped buying items in plastic tubs, and again, what I bring home I recycle.
It's takes a bit of forethought and effort to live this way, but I'm human...I have a highly-sophisticated brain...and going the easy disposable way seems to deny this. Disposable grates at my sensibilities. I keep wondering where we'll be in another 50 years, when efforts to save/reclaim our only living source, Earth, are subverted by greed.
As we said in the 70s:
EARTH: LOVE IT OR LOSE IT!"
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I received a galley of Rosalie Turner's March with Me from her publicist who knew my interest in history.
March With Me
© 2013 Rosalie T. Turner
Cypress Creek Publishing
~ 215 pages
The story and timeframe of March with Me could be called near history. It starts in 1963, 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Fifty years ago in May 1963 the city of Birmingham, Alabama became a focal point in the ongoing Civil Rights Movement. The Movement hoped to implement what were merely words on legislative papers into realities for the hundreds of thousand United States citizens who were still without equal rights. This is near history, because many of the people who were involved in the events, so meaningfully described by Turner, are still living.
Yet in the U.S., most people younger than sixty years old, no matter their ethnicity, are sorely lacking in knowledge of this pivotal time. Blacks and whites less than thirty years old quite often take for granted the social structures of today (still flawed, but immensely improved over 1963) without an inkling of what it took to reach this state. Rosalie Turner's book March with Me is a fine attempt to open eyes and minds to the realities.
Through the thoughts and activities of two Birmingham residents, the story begins in that volatile May of '63 and extends into the 1970s to show the long-term emotional affects of the Civil Rights Movement. Turner's writing is fluid and the language well thought out to portray the vitality, despair and hope of the times. The main protagonist is Letitia, idealistic and naive, as she becomes involved in the historic Children's March. She and her older brother are eager for confrontation, while their parents and most adults are fearful of repercussions from any overt action against white authority. At this time, bombings of black facilities—particularly churches--and lynchings of black citizens were still facts of life in Alabama.
While Letitia gets battered by fire hosing and the Birmingham Police riot squad, Martha Ann, her white, privileged contemporary, hears the news and wonders what it is all about. Her family doesn't live in the city, her father is a bigot, her mother doesn't work and has hired help...Letitia's mother who does day work for this family several times each week.
The aftermath of the Children's March, compounded by the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing a few months later in which four girls were killed, garnered national and international support for the Movement. But author Turner doesn't delve the politics; she continues her focus on the emotional element of the events: how Letitia's attitude changes, how Martha Ann harbors questions, how families proceed with their lives. This is one of many strengths of the book.
I would have liked more reaction from Letitia regarding the lackadaisical (unprofessional) medical care provided for her grandmother and most blacks. It is mentioned, but not explored in Letitia's thoughts. In the '50s and through the '70s, I was incensed by this discrimination, and I expected it to have more impact in this story than it did. I also wanted a bit more about Letitia's college years at a black institution; it is only mentioned in passing toward the end of the book. Likewise, I wanted to know Martha Ann's reasoning in her employment decisions; after showing the volatile reactions of her father in other parts of the book, I felt a lack of detail at this phase that could have expanded Martha Ann's character. It almost seemed as if Turner were rushing past these events to get to her very powerful ending.
For me, this 1975 ending to March with Me encompasses everything Rosalie Turner hoped to convey with this book. Letitia and Martha Ann are face-to-face and talk about those years gone by. To tell how it happens would be a spoiler, so I won't. :-) Suffice it to say the circumstance is dramatic and the interaction is poignant.
Of twelve Discussion Questions at the end of the book, I was particularly drawn to two: How do our attitudes toward race develop? and What can an individual do toward racial and ethnic understanding an reconciliation? These seem to be the questions that shaped Turner's story. They are profound and will be answered differently by nearly every person who takes time to contemplate them. After reading March with Me people will contemplate, and through Turner's insightful presentation, they just might come up with positive answers.
Rosalie Turner has published five previous books.
Turner and her husband have homes in Birmingham, Alabama and Angle Fire, New Mexico. Learn more about Turner and this title at her web site and her blog.
Historical information can be found at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
"...Daughter of the Stone is a compelling tale that is sure to delight Sci-Fi fans. The author has imbued this story with descriptions and narratives that make the world come alive...."
Dwinn Somuron is reaching an age where she must be married and produce children, or she will be sent to the syndic’s brothels. In this feudal society, women are chattel, breeders, throw-aways. Dwinn doesn’t intend to live this life. She has already made plans to escape the strange land in which her people live: Get out and go to “beyond” a place of legend, but which she is certain will offer a better life.
But her plans are stymied after she is confronted by Lusaar Gursenni, the son of the head official of the land. His enemies want to dispose of him and his reformist parent ruler. Lusaar resists and becomes a hunted man; he has turned to Dwinn for assistance. Together, they battle mutual enemies and harsh environmental conditions while trying to reach their goals.
**If you read some reviews on line, they refer to the author as Arryn Heath; not to worry, that's me from the days when used a pseudonym. The first print edition of Daughter of the Stone came out under that name. BIG mistake.
Posted by Kae at 8:59 AM