Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Kind of Hero

Another Round-Robin (#rndrbn214) topic.

Until I started writing this post, I thought I knew what I liked in heroes: strong, silent types, intelligent men who appreciate a woman and allow her the freedom to shine and be herself. Great lovers who kept their emotions tightly bound in public. Their faults usually consisted of being overly judgmental and frequently unforgiving because of disastrous prior love affairs. Circumstances the heroine must overcome and change or discover the inner-man through her own tribulations. Sometimes these heroes cannot respond to the heroine because of some secret they must keep, or some business they must complete. That seems to be the style of most male counterparts I write for my heroines because, quite frankly, most of my stories center on the female lead. So, do I need to like all aspects of my heroes?

After some thought, I decided my preferences seem to be very limited and perhaps gender-biased. Men don't have to be all valor and strength, enduring dire circumstances for the woman they believe they love self-sacrificing and honorable.

Most men do not fit that profile, not that they don't have the wherewithal to be so. They're human. They can be noisy, talkative, bragging jokers; irritating individuals who are sometimes thoughtless, rambunctious, attention-seeking, or manipulative finaglers. While these adjectives sound pejorative to my now sensitive ears, new insight says these characteristics might not define the character. They could show a very different type of hero, but a hero nevertheless. Something for me to think about: maybe I need to put more human frailty into my heroes.

Please go on to Fiona McGeir's blog on this topic. Listed below are other participating authors. If you miss a link while making the round, come back and try it again.

Geeta Kakade
Diane Bator
Marci Baun
Lynn Crain
Beverley Bateman
Ginger Simpson
Connie Vines
A.J. Maguire

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Saving the Great Lakes

I joined a large audience to hear Jerry Dennis, author of The Living Great Lakes, today at West Shore Community College's Main Stage Theater. He spoke on many of the threats to the Great Lakes. It was a long list including invasive species (170 other species, although Asian Carp still remains only a threat, not an actuality), pollution like molecular plastics, water shortages, Nestle and bottled water, general human apathy, and why change seems to take so long.

What I took away is that man is the greatest threat to the Great Lakes. Our uses of it, the economic realities, loopholes in regulations, slow-acting governments and agencies, irresponsible uses both in the past and the present. Mr. Dennis has strong hope for the lakes, their great strength, and resistance. Considering the ever-increasing human population consuming finite resources, I'm not sure.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Year of Water at WSCC

West Shore Community College, where I teach, has a cross-curriculum topic: The Year of Water. The website devoted to this topic features some outstanding photographs of Lake Michigan.
Note: since the date of this post the link to the photographs has been removed, but they were wonderful.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Man's Greatest Technology... The Beginning

Have you ever wondered when writing started, when man first began making marks on surfaces? If making marks was the beginning, then surely writing even in the guise of art is man's oldest, most valuable technology. More importantly, writing led to all of our other technologies.
About twenty thousand years ago, Paleolithic people began descending into an extensive complex of caverns in Southern France to carve and paint on the cave's walls depictions of animals, people, and symbols. What drove these men, and hopefully women, into what I imagine would be a very dark and scary place? How long had they practiced this ritual? As a former art teacher, I can tell you these are not ill-thought-out childish works, but wonderful and imaginative art.
A teenage boy found the caves in 1940. Opened after World War II, visitors flocked to see the caves, but France closed access only eighteen years later in 1963. For more information on the discovery of the caves and the attempt to preserve them click on  Finding Lascaux.

Have you ever visited a cave with Paleolithic paintings and symbols painted on the walls? In most instances, you cannot anymore. The caves are closed to the public, closed to most scientists and researchers too. You have to have special permission to visit. Otherwise, we would destroy these relics of our past, certainly by those trying to cart off a piece for their own, or by someone destroying a piece for the pleasure received, or by the fact visitors keep breathing. In the years the caves were open, the keepers found the carbon dioxide in our breath damaged the paintings, not to mention all the damage done by bacteria and fungus humans tracked in did.

Now, however, you can take a virtual tour. Go to Lascaux Caves and click on the 'visite de la grotto' (or upper in right corner choose EN for English) for a tour, click on the image when it comes up. It is utterly amazing. Does it make you wonder why? What drove these people? These are not small paintings as some are over thirty feet in length. These mark makers ignited or expressed something inherent in humans: the desire to leave information for others, evidence they lived and thought. Those privileged the art of leaving marks have been doing so ever since.

Reprinted from my 1/21/2014 post on Writer's Vineyard. Images from Wikipedia Commons and public domain.