Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Promise: the Armenian Genocide

I am not Armenian, though my husband is, and I would like to see a comprehensive movie or documentary that portrays the Armenian genocide accurately and fully. If we can see detailed documentaries and movies on the Nazi regime and the Jewish genocide practically any day of the week on cable TV, I think there ought to be room for the Armenian story. It's an important story.

Recently, I went to see The Promise about the 1915 genocide of Ottoman Empire's Armenian citizens. Like the Turkish version of this story, The Ottoman Lieutenant, it is saddled with a love triangle. Nevertheless, both films impart some understanding of this time in history. A family member told me The Promise should have been more violent because that would be more appealing to Americans and help them understand the Armenian story. I don't think more violence would have made any difference--perhaps a deeper dive into all the elements that brought about this sad chapter in history would be more useful.

In any event, The Promise was overall a satisfying film. The dialog was good, the scenery was beautiful, haunting. The story revolves around Mikael, an apothecary in a small Armenian village in the southeastern part of the Ottoman Empire. He longs to go to medical school to become a doctor. The way to do that is to promise himself to the daughter of a rich man and use the dowry to go to Constantinople to study at the Imperial Medical Academy.

In Constantinople he befriends Emre, the spoiled son of a high-level Turkish official. He also reconnects with the his uncle's family. It's at his uncle's lavish home that he encounters Ana, an Armenian woman raised in Paris who is involved with an American reporter, Chris Myers. Mickael and Ana fall in love. As international tensions mount and World War I breaks out, Mickael avoids conscription with the help of Emre but he is unable to save his uncle from imprisonment. He uses his dowry to try to get his uncle released but ends up in a prison camp.

Mickael escapes and returns to his village to marry the woman he is promised to. From this point on Mickael's life is complicated by the terror of being hunted down by Turkish authorities, his deepening relationship with Ana after the death of his wife and the struggle to survive. This is the experience that every Armenian carries around with them and, of course, the repeated denials by the Turkish government that genocide never occurred.

So I would say, go see this movie. It could have been a better movie, but you will learn something about Armenian history and the times that shaped the Twentieth century, which still affect us today. And you will get your melodramatic romance fix.

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