Monday, June 22, 2015

And then you suddenly dig... this could be the start of something big!

Stacy Danielle Stephens is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she majored in Secondary Education Language Arts.  Her first novel, Daybreak in Alabama, was momentarily considered by a small press known for publishing That Sort of Thing.  Her second novel, But Soon It Will Be Night, was considered by another small press which asked too much for too little.  Her three collections of stories, The Bohemian Girl and other stories, TheNothing That Is and other stories, and When So Much Is Left Undone and otherstories, are highly regarded by the disappointingly small number of people who have actually purchased them.

Those among you who know me will recall that I am not a proponent of the big idea, no offense to those who are.  I’m a big fan of Eric Berne’s “Away From a Theory” theory, in which he said that psychologists were always publishing papers titled “Toward a Theory of” one thing or another, but airline pilots never fly “toward” Montreal.  He felt that psychiatrists should get away from theories, or at least step back from their theories a little, if only to get a better look at them.
     In my first draft of this article, I had mentioned the character John Savage, of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and now I’m putting him back in because I can see where I was going with that after all.  He’d studied Shakespeare all his life, and had plenty of time for it, too.  Brother, did he have big ideas.  But he ended up hanging himself, because he could not effectively present those big ideas to either of the societies in which he had lived.
     Now, at last, we can consider Rachel Dolezal, strictly as a literary consideration, without discussing white privilege or inherent racist gobble-dee-guk.  What we want to look at is her big idea, and we don’t have to say she lied about her identity, we can call it a gift for fiction.  Frequent perms and a lot Tanfastic, and she’s everything she says she is, right?  Well, no, apparently she isn’t. 
     What went wrong?
     Her hair and makeup were impeccable, so we have to ask if, perhaps, her idea just wasn’t big enough.  Shall we suppose it would have worked better if she had claimed to be an extraterrestrial?

     It’s funny how you stare at the simulated sheet of blank paper on your flatscreen monitor and start tapping out the purest poppycock simply because it finds its way to your fingertips, and suddenly you realize why almost everyone says you’re a genius.  Rachel Dolezal’s failure is in being a real person, rather than a fictional character.

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