Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Keeping it Real or "Caution: This Might Offend Someone"

Hey all,

I know I've gotten a bit off track with this blog lately, and part of that is due to being busy right now. Here's the truth. And this might offend some people, because everyone is offended by something these days (and that just may be the problem) :

Over the passed couple weeks I've gone into a bit of a funk and I could not exactly pinpoint what it was. Part of it had to do with the fact that writing the beginnings of The Birthrite Series has been a huge emotional rollercoaster. Writing this series did require me to revisit some old demons and there were days in which I did have to stop in order to recharge and continue. Each of the characters - while each his or her own person - does have an imprint of me somewhere. Some more than others, but it is there.
While such an emotional journey is often part of the creating process, it also must be dealt with in a delicate fashion. Otherwise it can consume you.
So while I've been able to handle this part of the process (as it can also be quite therapeutic), something else had been bugging me, and it finally came to a head last night.
As those who read my blog and follow my YouTube Channel know, The Birthrite Series does take place throughout certain parts of history, therefore requiring me to do research. And you know what I found in doing so? It is amazing how much misunderstandings there are with history. How we're only told certain things and if - heaven forbid - those of us with brains choose to look beyond that and really get our facts straight, we're seen as 'the bad guy.' Because how dare we want all the facts, right?
So like I said, this all came to a head last night when I was on a holistic blog I read on occasion. This particular post discussed possibilities of why our grandparents had fewer food allergies than we do today. While I'm not implying the post/article was flawless, I was floored by how many completely took it out of context (as it happens on such blogs). Add to that, I was also disgusted at what little knowledge people have of history, and while I would never fault not knowing - because we are all ignorant to a degree (and by ignorant, I mean 'the state of not knowing') - not WANTING to know is what disgusts me. And people really do not want to know, yet they call themselves enlightened. Go figure on that one.

Now, what does all that have to do with The Birthrite Series? Well like I said, in doing historical research for the story, events in history were brought to light that are often misunderstood or brushed over. I started wondering: 'Why is no one talking about this? Why is this not taught?' And why are people so resistant to being told things other than what is pushed by our media?
Here is an example:
The issue of interracial marriage during the 1800s.
Of course, we are told of the nationwide lift that made it legal throughout the country in 1967, but how many knew that from the beginning of America's founding, there were states that never had a law against such marriage in the first place? States like New York, Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire along with a couple others never even passed anti miscegenation laws. Ever.  And Pennsylvania had lifted theirs in the late 1700s with other states following throughout the 1800s.
By the mid 1940s, about half of the then 48 states declared interracial marriage as legal. And while that isn't the same as it being legal throughout the entire country, again, why isn't this discussed more? Why are we only encouraged to see one part of it? In doing so, we are stealing the history from those who lived it.
I did have to look up anti miscegenation laws in regards to the relationship between Jonathan and Kimimela Blake (an Irish and Native American union) so that I may match their marriage with the time and place in which they marry (during the 1840s) in the story. Because otherwise, I would have had to alter their story. In fact, Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2) does focus on the story of Dorothy's cousin, Cletus. Dorothy and Cletus are both descendents of Jonathan and Kimimela Blake and are young adults of the 1930s. Their fathers, Ronald (Cletus) and Matthew (Dorothy) are a quarter Native American. While Dorothy's family lives in New York, I originally had Cletus's family living in Tennessee. But then I looked into the laws of Tennessee at the time and ended up changing the living location of Cletus, his parents, and brothers to Ohio.

By the way, all this is very easy to look up, as is Romani (Gypsy) Slavery and Persecution, NINA (No Irish Need Apply), women's suffrage, women in the workplace, and other issues touched on in the series. That is, if one actually bothers to do it and is open to it.

I'll write more later as I do need to get editing (and if I'm wrong anywhere, do feel free to correct me). But, feel free to check out the following related articles/blogposts:

Author, Alys B. Cohen on Our Culture of "I'm Offended"

Same-sex Marriage of the 19th Century (a pretty cool article)

Also, my good friend, William Max Miller will be bringing you a NIGHT TERRORS guest post this week. :)


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My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
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"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
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