Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thoughts On This And That




By the enchantment of Merlin, Gwyneth, daughter of King Arthur, slept five hundred years, woke up and went on as if she’d only slept eight hours (I guess), but she didn’t need to reacquaint herself with her environment, because, back then, not much changed in the course of a few centuries. It sure isn’t that way today. I’m still using the word, whore. A man called some women a hoe, and an acquaintance figured he was saying the women were sharp, because she thought a hoe was something with which you cut grass.
One of my neighbors tripped into church wearing a purple suit the skirt of which stopped about an inch above her knock-knees. Miss Lena was really proud of that suit. “It pays to buy quality,” she bragged. “I’ve had it for at least thirty years, and it’s still in style. True, the suit was clearly the work of a very good designer, and yes, the garment was still stylish. The problem lay in the fact that, while time stood still for the Dior suit, it had galloped like hell for the seventy-year-old Lena.
Time changes a lot of things, and usually when we aren’t paying attention. I tell myself to start making every minute of my life count for something. But how can I? I was never one to ignore a serendipitous event, happening or moment, for those are the occasions that give life special meaning, that make it wonderful. But if, on the other hand, I live strictly by my weekly appointment book, plan my day hour by hour and never depart from it, at least not voluntarily, I would probably become so insufferably dull that I couldn’t stand my own company.
A comedian on The Comedy Hour has his audience in stitches with the expression, Get ‘er done, which I believe he coined. I think the audience finds the expression funny because they’re a bunch of procrastinators. And why not? Wouldn’t we all postpone manual labor, the dentist and death? Usually, time won’t allow it, because doing the laundry can’t be avoided; pain will eventually send us to the dentist, and…well, you know the rest.
Five years ago Arabesque Books flourished as the foremost line of African American Romances. Seeing an opportunity to make a bundle, Harlequin bought Arabesque from Viacom (which had purchased BET Books from Robert Johnson). Today, the Arabesque line is practically dead. Who would have dreamed it? Time can be vicious in its march.
On January 2, 1994 when I wrote the first line on my first novel, it didn’t imagine, didn’t even wish that in May 2007, thirteen years later, I would have thirty-three published fiction titles to my credit, and all of them released by commercial publishing houses. But in the meantime, I practically forgot how to play the piano, no longer know how to thread my sewing machine, and am years behind in the books I want to read. Moreover, I have hundreds of long playing records that I want to record on CDs, and I have the necessary equipment—thanks to my husband--but when will I do it? Time is not waiting, and each day there is less of it left.
If we slept for twenty years – as Washington Irving wrote of Rip van Winkle--not to mention five hundred as was the case with Gwyneth, we would have to adjust to a new world of technology, fashion, manners and conventions. The Blackberry would be démodé, some other fuel would replace gas in cars; children would be growing at the same rate as growth-hormone-inoculated calves; about a fifth of the damage New Orleans sustained during hurricane Katrina would have been repaired, and the president of the United States would be doing what he is supposed to do, preside.
If you slept for five hundred years, the cure of some terrifying diseases would have been found, and victims of Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, coronary disease, kidney disease, diabetes and a lot of others would only have to take a pill to be disease free. Moreover, there would be health care for every person in this rich country. And, last but not least, if you were looking for some of your old buddies and couldn’t find them, you’d have to check out the moon, but you’d need a street map.
On the sad side, as I would have been long departed, all of my books would be out of print, even my current title, WHEN YOU DANCE WITH THE DEVIL. But if it’s true that, once in cyber space, always in cyber space, then you’d find at least descriptions of my books at http://www.gwynneforster.com.
Gwynne Forster

2 Comments:

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

Hi Gwynne! If you writing such thought provoking posts all the time, I'll be a regular.

What are your thoughts on what's going on with Arabesque?
1 -- I posted a question to the Kimani Press blog yesterday to try to understand the difference between the Arabesque and Romance lines. From what I see published, I'm not sure there is much difference, which could be part of the problem.

2 -- When I enter stores like Borders, where there is a separate section for Series Romance but all of the Kimani imprints are noticeably absent, stuffed away in the AA author section where they are much harder to find, I can imagine sales are not what they could be.

3 -- I wonder to what extent Kimani readers sign up for the monthly automatic shipments compared to the volume of automatic sales for other Harlequin imprints.

4 -- I hate saying this but I see more editorial mistakes in the Kimani imprints than the other Harlequins that I read. Big turn off, and I wonder whether our authors are being shortchanged in the process somewhere.

5 -- Finally, I'd like to see more diversity of the stories along sub-genre lines. I see there is supposedly an Arabesque Inspirational line but I don't see where anything has been published under that imprint. Sweet or tender romance and Arabseque is an oxymoron. (Makes me think about how sexualized Black images are and have always been but that's another subject.) Paranormal? (I don't read 'em but there seems to be a big market.) Romantic suspense? Some, like Maureen Smith's books, but not enough.

Just my thoughts.

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger franceonisland said...

Hi Gwynne,
Thank you for the reminder -- time does not stand still. I am a recovering procrastinator and a reality check like your blog entry moves me to "life health." The enemies of an active life -- worry, fear, hesitation, obsession, perfectionism -- are always knocking on my door. If I would look to the great Scripture verse, Philippians 4:6 "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God." -- I could conquer the world!
Take care,
Francine

 

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