A few words about Alternative Truths

I’ve been in my fair share of anthologies, but none of them compare to my experience in Alternative Truths. I’ve worked with good editors and great editors. I’ve been in the company of writers better than me. However, I have not previously had the pleasure of working with a group as engaged and enthusiastic as the Alternative Truth team.

Every time I log onto Facebook and see a new notification, I hope it is for this anthology’s Facebook page. I love knowing that even in the face of a political disaster, people are still writing, and using that as a way to resist.

The writers and editors are committed to this book. They do so much more than share it on social media. They brainstorm places that might review it, they help write press releases and go out in the world and do readings.

Because of the timing, I haven’t been as involved as some of the others, but I have tried to read and participate in comment threads between students and share it on social media when I can.

I haven’t even read the whole anthology yet. I haven’t read much that wasn’t written by students in a few weeks, but I’m trying to sneak stories from this anthology in whenever I can.

The first story is absolutely brilliant. I can’t wait to read the rest!

The groups’ enthusiasm, dedication, talent, and love for the work has made this a success. Please support us by buying a copy and leaving a review.

I’m honored to have my story surrounded by the words of these amazing people!

Publication and Politics

For the past few years, I had been living under a metaphorical rock. Things like the news, current, events, and politics gave me panic attacks. Last year, I had a wake up call and realized that ignoring  the news wasn’t making it any less scary.

I used to show my students a documentary called “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” shortly before having them write an essay about marketing and advertising. Donald Trump is briefly interviewed in that movie about the profitability of co-promotion. The first few times I showed, no one really even noticed him, but in Fall 2015, that changed. The second he appeared on screen, my students booed him.

At this time, I knew Trump was running for president, but I didn’t take him seriously. I had heard he was racist, and that he was ignorant, but I knew very little about him.

As the semester went on, I heard the students talking more and more about him, his racism, his anti-immigration policies, and his wall. Soon enough, I found my self slowly getting pulled back into the world of current events. I had to know if this guy for real, and if he had any chance of winning.

I started by reading articles that my more educated friends had shared of Facebook. As I reinvented my twitter account to network with other writers and publishers, I followed politicians and news organizations. Eventually, I was looking at their tweets and reading articles on a daily basis.

I came out of my cave. I became informed about the elections, about the environmental issues that were keeping me up at night, and about the human rights / labor rights violations taking place around the world.

Then some beautiful happened. I realized I didn’t need to go out and campaign or donate money to foster change. The bits and pieces of news I consumed were starting to seep their way into my writing. Whether I was imaging an America where health care was sold like a phone or vacation package, an earth without bee’s, or steampunk America where woman never won the right to vote, I could take my fears, my nightmares of a world gone wrong, and share them with everyone.

The first of these stories was published today in an anthology titled “Its All Trumped Up.” This is a collection of stories from writers all around the world that uses fiction to explore nine different ways a Trump presidency could affect the world. Please support us by read and sharing!

No matter what your political views are, please, please, please exercise your right to vote this November! And if your not American, you can still read, and you can use the social media to make your voice heard. We live in a globalized society. This election will have implications far beyond American borders.

 

Thoughts on Cursed Child and a Lesson or Two on Character

In spite of all the hype about Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to read it. Was this going to be one of those instances where the author just couldn’t let go and ruined the series? Was the format going to give me a headache? Was it going even come close to the magic of the original series?

All these questions were shuffling through my mind while I walked the quarter mile back from my mailbox to my house. Even when I got home, I was hesitant to open it even though I was dying to know was inside. I went outside, picked some zucchini, then gave into curiosity and opened the package. After running my hands over the cover and smelling the pages, I started reading.

I had to work hard to keep up with the first few chapters as they quickly moved through time. Then, as the prologue-ish section ended and the action took off, I was once again under J. K. Rowling’s spell. The next five hours flew by, and I reached the inevitable words “The End.”

After months of anticipation, it was over in five hours. At first, it seemed a bit anticlimactic for the story to pass so quickly. However, I was left thinking about the piece long after I read the last page.

In the end, the book was more than a fast ride through a twisty time traveling plot. It was a lesson about character.

Too often, I read YA books and middle grade books in which the characters undergo rather terrifying adventures that would leave a real person traumatized. By the end of the book, the adventure is over and the character is changed but whole. A little epilogue shows the reader that things are going to be okay. Even the Divergent series, whose ending left one of the main characters grieving, had an optimistic, hopeful ending.

Now, there is nothing wrong with these endings. The make me, as a reader, feel satisfied. However, I always get the gut feeling that there is more to the story.

At the end of Deathly Hallows, when there was that scene with everyone grown up sending their first child off to Hogwarts, it felt a little too neat and tidy, like they survived a traumatic battle just to go on and have perfect lives. It was too much of a happily ever after ending for a series that got so dark before it ended.

It was a relief, then, to see that in Cursed Child, Harry was still struggling with what happened in his youth. He wasn’t a perfect dad or perfect wizard. He was flawed, human, and still haunted by the terrors of his childhood.

Cursed Child made Harry and his gang more real for me. It reminded me that the best characters are the ones who are flawed and who make human mistakes. They do stupid things that make me cringe, and because of it, both the characters and I learn something profound.

The lines were blurred, not as black and white as the earlier books. Dark Magic didn’t go away just because Voldermot was dead. It reminded me that I don’t have to write perfect endings or perfect characters. My protagonist doesn’t have to be likely or do the right thing. The more fuzzy and gray I can make things, the more interesting it gets.

Remember, if you feel like your stuck, or need to improve, the books on your shelf can be the best teachers. Read and re-read your favorites, noticing the moves they make as they describe the setting, move you through the plot, develop characters and bring you to the end. Read to learn just as much as you read for fun.

DSC_0093.jpg

©Sara Codair