Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On Writing Hardscrabble Times

My book is quickly progressing. Today's chapter centered on the family getting in their crop of cotton just in time to sell it on the market while the price was still high which was crucial to surviving the upcoming winter. Sally Lou's (the protagonist) hands were broken and bleeding from picking cotton for weeks and so were all the other eight children of Papa. The hired hands, L and Bear, helped as well almost being surrogate sons to Papa, Sally Lou's father, despite being two young orphaned black men – their mother having been killed in a tornado at the turn of the century. In an era were black men were treated as second class citizens, Papa treated Bear and L as men of equal stature and was chastised by the local white men in town for doing so.

"It ain't right to have niggers eating at your table and using your tableware," One man told Papa in town in this chapter.

Papa was a big, burly man hardened from years of sharecropping a farm and told the white man to watch his words. The man cowered and went about his way mumbling under his breath.

I think I have done a pretty good job in capturing the flavor of the south during the depression. My grandmother always told me times were hard then, but they had such an extremely close knit family that tempered the harshness of their poor reality. I hope to catch the essence of her early life in my attempts at writing this book. My father is going to love it. I have only let him read one chapter, the first, and he keeps asking me for more and has been invaluable in helping me flesh out my main characters. Well, let me get back to writing. Chapter ten awaits.


Eric Valentine said...

Things sound like you are progresing nicely Andrew, well done. The story sure sounds interesting and one I would like to read when it's finished.


Lilsoutherngirl said...

Sounds like a great story.. Hope you'll post more of it.

KYRIE said...

Great work. How many more chapters to go?
It saddens me tht such blatant racial discrimination which existed in those days of the old south still exists in many other parts of the world today.

Gina said...

Great writing! Very descript. I was feeling the humidity of the deep south just reading that little peice there.

YOur honesty and openness is refreshing.