Monday, March 26, 2007

Bloor Line, under a protective gaze.

Asian girl, eleven years old or so, wearing a black parka and brown boots, with mother along for the ride.

The Breadwinner, Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books)

About page 107:

A few minutes later, Parvana unearthed a skull. "Hey, look at this!" She used the board to loosen the ground around it, then dug the rest of it up with her fingers so she wouldn't break it. She held it up to Shauzia as though it were a trophy.

"It's grinning."

"Of course it's grinning. He's glad to be out in the sunshine after being in the dark ground for so long. Aren't you glad, Mr. Skull?" She made the skull nod. "See? I told you."

Her grandmother told her that there was no point in worrying. The doctors would give her something so she'd sleep through the surgery, waking up on the other side. She matter of factly concluded, "Besides, if something does go wrong, you'll be none the wiser." It gave her strange comfort and when she was wheeled into the operating room she didn't need anyone to hold her hand. Such a brave young girl, they'd said. From that moment on, whether crossing a busy street or walking down a long alley, regardless if the subway came to a stop inside a tunnel or her mother overcompensated the wheel on an icy road, she became fearless. But reading this story she began to wonder if living a life of horrendous certainty was dramatically different for the children in Afghanistan, burdened to stand fearless while their fate rushed their tiny faces day in, day out. She wondered if living in her world, not seeing the enemy, not knowing the enemy, her land of none the wiser, had, in fact, become a privilege.


Verna said...

This one made me say, "Wow!" at the end. I'm having a good time reading your pieces, Julie. I love the glimpse of the reader, the glimpse into the book, and your rif afterward. I enjoy your writing very much.

I'm going to forward your link to my writing group for a hit of inspiration and some ideas for exercises. Thank you so much.

Julie Wilson said...

Thanks so much, Verna. I appreciate this kind of feedback. Always makes my day. I went to speak at a high school and they were charged with the task of having to complete a "Seen Reading" of their own, complete with transit ride, visit to the book store, etc. I find it a great exercise for liberating yourself from having to feel that your work must be "important" before you can put it to the page. Doing this daily reaffirms what I've always known, if you're a story teller, then tell ALL stories. Don't hold back!!!

Best of luck with your writing. ENJOY!