Archive for the ‘Women’s Fantasy’ Category

Living in Translation

Friday, August 19th, 2016

My darling daughter-in-law called me yesterday on my birthday and followed the Haynes tradition of singing the happy birthday song. She has a lovely voice but is self conscious about her pronunciation. English is not her first language, but a fine second. You know the voices you hear in your head? Probably speaking English, right? She hears Korean and translates to English. Everyone and everything around her speaks English, even my son’s Airedale. However, her Westie, who came with her from Seoul and whose first language is Korean, has rapidly become bilingual. My daughter-in-law speaks beautiful English. I often think of her not just coping here in a foreign language but thriving!

MelindaI was a Spanish literature major. While in university and when I was teaching, I spoke fluent Spanish. When I traveled to Mexico I would even begin thinking in Spanish. But ten years later when I lived in Brasil where they speak Portuguese, I often struggled to communicate in a sort of Portanole–Spanish Portuguese mix. I could stand right next to an Argentinian speaking Spanish to a Brazilian and try to speak Spanish to him as well but he would not understand me. My Spanish was correct, if university level with a bit of a Mexican accent. Hers was Argentinian Spanish. The Brazilian and she communicated. He and I did not. If I had to speak on the phone where I could not see a speaker’s mouth, I had great difficulty understanding what was said. Once, the concierge of our service flat called to tell me something about the phone system in the building. I could not understand him. Next thing I knew he was pounding on the door. I opened it and he roared into the room, picked up the phone, yelling and gesturing about how I should use the phone. I saw his lips. Heard his inflection and got context clues from his gestures. We communicated. I also understood that he thought if I didn’t understand I must be deaf, so he yelled and spoke slowly with big, broad gestures, because I apparently was not only deaf but a bit developmentally delayed.

I get what my daughter-in-law is dealing with in this adventure in foreign living. I understand her concern, her constant vigilance in translating and communicating, being understood and not embarrassing herself or her new family. I’m dedicated to praising the fabulous job she’s doing so that she will be as proud of herself as we are proud of her. Oooooo , if only I could speak Spanish with the fluency that she does English, I would be not only simpatica (Spanish speakers and Brazilians always called me that as I was kind and friendly) I might be writing delicious magic realism like Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Isabel Allende. Ah, now there’s a dream worth pursuing. 

A Short Fable by Suzanne Gunn

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

She had three cats and a dog and a lame vegan tiger named Spritz.

Spritz had been donated by a circus that could no longer afford the liability insurance.

At first the cats and dog were terrified of the great beast but over a period of weeks they grew to be a family. The biggest cat, Papa Grey, couldn’t understand why the new cat wouldn’t hunt and started to bring Spritz nice freshly caught mice. Finally Spritz ate one and immediately craved another. It had been warm and soft and rich to the palate. So much better than oatmeal and soy gruel. In his heart and mind ‘something’ clicked into a new position and he began to change inexorably into a very real tiger.

Two cats and the dog were missing when she realized that Spritz was somehow different and scary. She went outside to call Animal Control and watched through the window as the tiger sprayed his scent on her recliner. Ah, she thought, Spritz was more than a name.

The Animal Control officer was kindly. He called for assistance from the zoo and, after the tiger was gone, helped her remove the damaged furniture, wrote her a ticket for harboring a wild animal and asked her out to dinner.

“All in all,” she mused over a perfectly chilled martini, “a rather nice ending.”

NEW FICTION GENRE: WOMEN’S FANTASY

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

bitten_200When I entered the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2015 Literary Contest, I wasn’t sure which genre category my novel, BITTEN, fit. I settled on Romance/Women’s Fiction as my heroine is reunited with a long lost lover and she’s an older woman trying to regain her power after being betrayed by her husband. The Paranormal/Fantasy category would have worked as BITTEN is actually a very DIFFERENT and funny vampire story.

I shared with my fellow authors in our Editing Coop that I thought Women’s Fantasy would be a good genre descriptor for my story about a menopausal vampire who becomes more powerful than her maker. It was suggested that the word fantasy might have racier connotations than I intended. And wasn’t the word fantasy sometimes pejoratively used to describe women’s stories, issues and interests?

When I think of fantasy, I remember the old fairytales of Cinderella, Rapunzel and Scheherazade that entertained and encouraged me as a little girl growing up in a tiny town in northwestern Arizona. Nowadays, modern Disney movies such as Brave and Frozen are inspiring little girls and much older ones like me to be the stars of our own fairytales despite age, illness, or circumstance. I want Women’s Fantasy genre and my book, BITTEN, to suggest positive, even outrageous, potentials that inspire readers to live, laugh, love and dream.

But that’s just mmmmmmmmmmme.