Silence Between Words

Originally posted on The Written Word Remains...:

Delete Key In Blue To Erase Trash

In music, the hardest thing to play are the rests. Likewise, the hardest things to write are those which must remain unwritten.

A large portion of a novel, and an even greater part of a short story, should remain unwritten by the author. An author may perform a great deal of research in order to craft a believable world or plot, or to learn about their characters’ professions. However, the majority of that information will not be needed by the reader. The same is true of a character’s backstory, most of which remains unexpressed or hinted at throughout a novel.

But there are additional elements of a novel that are best left unwritten, some of which I have outlined below.

What Should Remain Unwritten?


As I stated above, a character’s backstory should be one of those elements that remains mostly unexplored upon the pages of the novel.

Backstory is the character’s past–whatever happened

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Interview, Alexandra Fuller

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“Only when you’re truly made aware of your essential aloneness on the planet will you have the courage to do the work you were sent to do.” Alexandra Fuller

Originally posted on Julie Hakim Azzam, PhD:

I have admired Alexandra Fuller’s work ever since she published the memoir, Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight. There is a kind of brutal honesty about her work, and her unflinching look at her family’s history that I find refreshing. At the time of this interview, Fuller was in Zambia, and away from phone service, but agreed to “talk” by email. We spoke about her newest memoir, Leaving before the Rains Come, which is about her divorce after two decades of marriage. This profile was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 12, 2015. You can read it here. 

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Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Originally posted on 2readbook:



An intense, dark and cruel account of young Ruby Bell life. Once you start reading one cannot put his book down. Flipping page after page, engrossed in the intensity of it. The author Cynthia Bond eloquently told her story so passionately through the words the author penned in this story. Adult reading because of the graphic violation Ruby endured at a very young age which lead through her adulthood. Emphram Jennings played an important part in her life, instant connection. Time and situation crossed their paths but it was not meant to be or was it? Emphram held the memory of Ruby, their first encounter by the river and meeting Ma Tante. Now Ma Tante is no stranger in Liberty, she lives in the woods with a yard filled with mirrors, shining brightly, next to open jars. Twigs, moss, mud, cloth and bits of hair had been mixed…

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Roger Ebert’s Widow Chaz To Direct Emmett Till Biopic

Originally posted on Black America Web:

Chaz Ebert Source: Timothy Hiatt / Stringer / Getty
Roger Ebert?s widow Chaz Ebert will bring Emmett Till?s story to the big screen in the film-adaptation of Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, a book penned by his mother Mamie Till-Mobley and journalist Christopher Benson.

Till was lynched in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a White woman. His death galvanized the Civil Rights movement.

“The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given all that is happening on American streets today and Shatterglass Films are the people to tell it,” Ebert said.

Filming is slated to begin next year in Illinois and Mississippi.


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Why I Fall In Love With a Manuscript: Conflict

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Originally posted on William Reid:

Read other writing advice blogs on my writing page!

Why I Fall In Love With a Manuscript 4: Conflict 

You have conflict. Lots and lots of conflict.

unnamed (3)Conflict is drama. If your story has conflict, it adds the spice that any love affair needs.

Stories don’t have to start with fist fights or space battles. Conflict can be as big as finding love in a civil war or as small as choosing the right ring to propose with. It can be as fast as a car crash or as slow as the new valet showing up with a limp.

But those are really situations, not conflict. The most important element of conflict is that it involves characters. Even in a pitched space battle, I care about R2-D2 and C-3PO. Conflict is personal, and conflict involves characters I care about. If you lose the characters I root for, the conflict loses its power…

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Afraid by Sharon McGovern

Originally posted on just a girl, living, reading, watching, and writing:

AfraidFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: 2008
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Memoir
Pages: 240
Read: 3/28/2015
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡

The abuse started when she was four, Sharon’s stepfather was helping her learn to ‘wash’ herself. It continued for years. At age 10 it went from touching and rubbing to rape. The only one Sharon told was her best friend. He kept her quiet by threatening her mother and also by making her look like a liar. He did such a good job of it that even after he was gone, her own mother didn’t believe her when she told her she had saved a family from drowning.

When Sharon told a social worker what she wanted most in the world was to “go to sleep and never wake up” because “my dad keeps having sex with me and I can’t do it no more.'” The social worker’s reply was…

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Narcissism in Cynthia Bond’s RUBY

RUBY, Cynthia Bond’s debut novel, published by Hogarth, a trademark of Random House, is a love story between Ruby and Ephraim, a story about racism and abuse, and a story of survival, redemption and hope. After reading the first few pages, I knew this was a story that I would experience and not just read. Bond wrote the story in three books–Part One – Wishbone, Part Two – Two Bits and Part Three – Revelations and it’s 330 pages, but I read it in one weekend. Some aspects of the novel, Bond explains, are from her own life–“Some of my first memories are of listening to my mother tell stories about her childhood home, a small all-black East Texas town.”

Bond must know that wherever there is abuse and innocence intertwined, narcissism is also present. It is not until almost half way through the story that we learn the true nature of one Bond’s characters, Reverend Jennings, Ephraim’s father. On the one hand, Reverend Jennings is a (traveling) preacher, married with two children; and on the other hand, he is the kingpin of bedevilment and debauchery, depending on whose company he’s in. Since he is a preacher, above respectability especially during those times–the Jim Crow Era, no one questioned him or his motives, least not Ruby’s grandmother when he offered to drive six-year-old Ruby to Miss Barbara in Neches where she has made arrangements for Ruby to live-in and help out for which Miss Barbara would send her to school–since he was going that way to preach. Miss Barbara ran a bridal boutique, among other things…

A young Reverend Jennings, on one of his traveling preaching engagements, met the lovely (but naïve) Otha Daniels, who had just graduated from high school and was on her way to Fisk University, a prestigious all-black university, a bequeath of her deceased father, not to mention the fact that she was twelve years younger than he. However, within a matter of days, Reverend Jennings had managed to convince Otha to “rip out the seams of her own dreams and patch them into his.” They secretly married within the same amount of days, much to the dismay of Otha’s mother, but there was nothing that her mother could do about it. Otha’s fate had been sealed.

Although the honeymoon lasted a month, less than a week after their marriage, Reverend Jennings started complaining about everything Otha did, began coaching her on how she should dress and act when he was preaching, resented Otha’s “education,” and shamed her “in front of the congregation by speaking about Northern women who thought the rib was bigger than Adam,” when the guest congregation wasn’t responding the way he wanted. Of course, if Otha had really felt that way, she would not have thrown her dreams away for his.

By the time they arrived in Liberty, the small all-black East Texas town where Reverend Jennings lived, a few weeks later, his “face was a sullen stone that only cracked at night between white sheets.” When Otha’s mother became sick about a year later, Reverend Jennings refused to give Otha the money to go see her mother. However, he relinquished the money for the funeral a month later.

Only two of their nine children survived to birth, a girl, who at twelve had learned to despise her mother, as she poured coffee for her father each morning because her mother “was to slow about it,”  believing that God had singled out her father “to do his work, to rattle the Devil’s cage.” I suspect that Otha, by then, knew different. Once the Reverend beat his son Ephraim and “busted his lip, cracked two ribs and sent his last two baby teeth, the right upper canine and the molar beside it, down his gullet.” According to Otha, Reverend Jennings “hated the boy with a deep, unruly passion.”

Otha knew that there were other women. She could tell “by the way their eyes leapt and danced when the Reverend placed a hand on their arm or shoulders, by the sly cut of their smiles when they greeted her each Sunday.” When Otha suspected something even more sinister, that was the final straw as far as Reverend Jennings was concerned, and Otha found herself losing her grip on reality.

They all kinds of crazy. Some folks drink theyselves to stupid. Others so empty, gluttony take they belly hostage. And some get so full up with hate, it like to crack they soul. Hell, ain’t nothing strange when Colored go crazy. Strange is when we don’t.

Yes. There are all kinds of crazy. Like so many victims of narcissism, Otha couldn’t fight what she didn’t understand. She ended up losing her mind.

Parts of this novel was difficult to read and it haunted me for about a week after I read it (I still think about the characters), but I have nothing but praise for Bond for helping to expose the underbelly of sexual abuse that can never be pushed under the rug again. I loved this book, despite the difficult parts! I give it 5***** stars.

Mommie Dearest Darkly: Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child

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Morrison’s latest book, God Help the Child, captivates me (even though I haven’t read it yet) because it deals with the subject of a not so great relationship between a mother and daughter, not to mention the fact that this was the title (except mine was God Bless the Child) that I had chosen for my upcoming memoir. Billy Holiday is saying a lot in her song.) The reviews, so far, are mixed, solidifying my belief that not everyone can relate to mothers who are not conventional–in a Hallmark kind of way, emotional abuse or the children, who eventually become adults, who bear the scars of unconventional parenting. Still, there are many who can. I chose this book as the selection for the month of June because this book, written by an well-known author, I believe can help people to understand the effect of emotional abuse on children, especially when it comes from a mother. The review below will give you a good feel for the book.

Originally posted on Something Eldritch:

Mommie Dearest tells the story of perhaps the most iconic inversion of what an ideal mother should be like: beautiful and successful on the surface, rotten on the inside. Yet perhaps other mothers damage more subtly, more terribly, even. At its essence, God Help the Child is about a woman’s reckoning with her childhood scars, and these scars ultimately stem from her mother’s rejection of her due to her dark black skin. Bride, the novel’s protagonist, is the beautiful, successful, materialistic executive of YOU, GIRL cosmetics. She only wears shades of white- creams, milks, and snows- to compliment her unforgettable blue-black skin. For someone who was never supposed to be gorgeous by her mother’s standards, Bride is stunning. And though her looks are admired by many, perhaps they’re most admired by herself. Like Joan Crawford, Bride’s mother, whom she is never allowed to call mother (instead she calls her Sweetness…

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F2 to my Memoir


Silence, secrets and shame are three threads that run through all types of abuse from emotional abuse to domestic violence.

Originally posted on Marie Abanga's Blog:


When I published F1 last Tuesday, I advised to buckle up for F2. I am honoured to know Nancy through the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Empowerement. She is one dynamic entrepreneur and author, one who has indeed made a remarkable victory over voilence and is now imapcting several other women including my modest self.

Domestic Violence and Codes of Silence,By Nancy Salamone (A Former Wallstreet Executive)

Domestic violence is a social disease that carries with it a “culture of silence”. In fact if you Google “culture of silence and domestic violence” you get over 1.7 million returns. Domestic violence is still one of the most under-reported crimes and it is the culture of silence that shames women (and yes even men), into enduring domestic violence.

I know firsthand about the insidious nature of a “culture of silence”. I was brought up in a Sicilian Roman Catholic family in New…

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Memoir Writing Can Elicit Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome


Post traumatic stress syndrome is when someone relives a painful event or trauma over and over and over and over again. They get stuck there and can’t move forward. I believe in memoir writing, whether for publication or not. Since memoir entails memory and emotions, memoir can help you to recall and process your emotions, with lots of room to explore your thoughts and feelings. For individuals like me who were brought up in the “children should be heard and not seen,” this is huge, but the propensity for eliciting PTSD is real and should not be taken lightly. Many people begin writing memoirs and many stop; I suspect because they get stuck. Counseling during memoir writing is encouraged. Writing memoir should be a healing process, not an especially traumatic event.

Originally posted on Carolyn's Online Magazine:

Carolyn’s Online Magazine



When you present harsh information on child abuse and domestic violence in groups, educational settings, or individually, there is a risk: the information can trigger emotions from the hearer’s past. Occasionally someone will have a melt-down. It comes with the territory. It is expected.

I was drawn to an online article, Post Traumatic Memoir Disorder, which brought back some intense training and counseling situations where the information presented did result in traumatic reactions.

Part of my experience working in the human service field was dealing with adults who were abused as children. This was particularly manifested in the 1992 Children’s Trust Fund Grant that I wrote, received, and administered during my sojourn in one community. The summary of that grant read The mission of the Family Support Program is to heal adults from the trauma of their childhood…

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