This is one of those “I don’t know what to do for a post today, so here’s hoping I can pull something out of my butt today” posts, which I don’t have often, but which do come every so often.
And then it hit me: why not talk about what happened yesterday–
What did happen yesterday? Glad you asked. See, I’m a busy person: I’ve got this novel going on, and I do TV recaps–of which I need to do two this weekend–and I’m ten scenes into this mermaid story that I’m about a day behind on, so I need to catch up on that. Needless to say, I’ve got a lot going on in my life even though I bitch a lot about nothing going on.
Now, Reny–my long time reader who reads just about everything–had some confusing questions for me. See, I have a Penny in my Foundations novels–Penny Rigman, who lives in England–and Penny the 9 year old mermaid in my mermaid story, and Reny was maybe a little confused that both girls were the same. I had to point out that, no, they aren’t, it’s different universes, and the kicker of them all, Albuquerque Penny–the mermaid–is nine and white, while Salem Penny is a teenager and black.
What was her response? “I didn’t know Salem Penny was black.”
I had to think about that for a minute, because I was certain when I introduced Alex and her in Berlin I’d mentioned she was black. And I did–in a roundabout way. When I first introduced Penny I mentioned that both her parents were from Barbados, which has a population that’s about 95% black. I checked a few other places and nope, it seems like I never bring up her ethnicity again. Because why? It’s really not that big of a deal considering at school the majority of the kids are people of color.
And then… I remembered Hermione.
You remember Hermione? The witch from Harry Potter who everyone thought was white but ended up being played by a black woman in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which then led to J. K. Rowling more or less saying, “Well, I never said Hermione was white, did I?” and causing a large segment of that fandom to lose it hard as the arguments over her ethnicity started.
The way I saw it, I was setting up the same problem–
Figuring I didn’t need that to happen again, I got into the B Level novel, went to the “Welcome to Berlin” section of the story, and changed Penny’s introduction to say, without a doubt, that her family’s from Barbados and, oh yeah, she’s black. I also changed something about Alex as well, because once you put about three hundred thousand words between sections you sometimes forget things. And I didn’t want to do that, either.
That was me last night, fixing stuff in my novels and making certain I get it all right as much as possible. Because what’s the point if you don’t? Michael Cimino said something like that while filming Heaven’s Gate, though I’m unsure if he was referring to the movie or all the blow everyone was doing.
I know I’m not doing blow, so getting it all right must have something to do with my writing.