Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Freer in Fiction?

The theme continues but not about generations or curses, but race. I observe attributes about race, yet to describe them without fiction, may appear I'm prejudiced. And in the culture I grew in, I feel I have to fight that, sounding prejudiced.
 Maybe each generation gets better, I pray. My grandfather had many hateful views and ideas against cultures and races different than his. My parents were loving to all, but their talk flavored by their times, often sounded ignorant. That is all I can say. It was an innocence that can't be afforded today. I felt a pride that my daughter didn't know a slang word about a certain race, that I had censored those words around her.
 Last night I rejoiced in the Cana's Corner Coffehouse as a woman evangelist sang so gloriously to the Lord. I entered worship as even in a Pentecostal church, I seldom do. Dare I say it? We are too conservative.
I thought of race. I thought of the homes I visited in Farrell and Youngstown and Warren. I thought of a dear saint in Park Vista when I first started with Senior Independence 10 years ago. She passed in the fall, I believe right after Labor Day. I entered her empty room, asked the staff where she was and they told me she died over the weekend. I loved that woman. Hugging her warm soft brown arms, white women don't have those kind of arms, I felt such comfort in them. I admired her knowledge of the Bible. I know she helped the nurse before me on her spiritual journey.
I knew these expositions could fly in fiction, but could the real me write about it? Would I appear mocking? Would my heart be revealed or would readers think I'm just some lily whitey writing derogatory prose?
I censor myself so as to not offend. But I think fiction is freer. A writer can hide behind the character. In my first story I dealt with the race issue from my grandparents era, a white upper middle class family as immigrants moved into town. Maybe I can do more with Martha, the woman. I know this isn't fair to talk about a story you haven't read. But even in that story, I censored myself.
Any thoughts? Is fiction a freer medium?
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