AlmaMia Cienfuegos, Lolita, Molly Bolt, Hannibal Lecter, Witch Child…

I was disillusioned (and a bit disgusted) by the attitude a friend I love very much, but whose behavior I can’t understand at the moment. Ignorance and Bigotry on Steroids, a post I wrote in 2010, tells you more about the person who nearly made my head explode about a week ago. In that post, I shared details about how the people my friend works for wanted her to ban And Tango Makes Three on the grounds that the picture book “went against good Christian family values, promoted homosexuality, and opened children’s mind to evil thoughts.” She didn’t do it, and was actually outraged by the suggestion.

Last week, my dear friend asked me to back her up during a book discussion. I was very excited about the idea, until she explained what she wanted of me. My friend believes that Molly Bolt, the protagonist of Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle, “is too indecent and too foul-mouthed to be a real lesbian”, and she wanted my help coming up with evidence to support her claims. The former was not what pissed me off, for we all have opinions and they should be respected; what made me want to strangle her a little—yes, I know I can’t strangle a person just a little, but you get my point. What inspired me to shake her was when she said, “I don’t even know why I asked you; the woman who spends weeks reading about serial killers, and writing stories about girl-kids who solve everything through violence.”

Girl-kids? Who says girl-kids? Seriously; we should discuss that in a different post, right now, I want to share with you, what I couldn’t share with her then. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth to explain why I chose to read certain things and write certain stories, I would forget why I opened it in the first place, and probably bite my friend’s face off.

My main motive is not difficult to understand. I “spend weeks” of my time digesting literary works like Lolita, Rubyfruit Jungle, Hannibal Rising and “Witch Child” for the same reason I study the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Holocaust, Columbus’ rape of America, the Rwandan Genocide, the Bible, the Haitian Revolution, Niños Héroes, the lives of people like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Cacique Hatuey, and in a way, for a purpose similar to the one that encourages me to write about AlmaMia Cienfuegos and share my witchy life at Pagan Culture: I believe selective ignorance lies at the root of a lot of the ugliness that takes place in our society.

I also think that ignorance is a sword that can be wielded by the ones missing information and sharpened by those keeping the information from others. I’m almost sure that many lesbians can identify with Molly Bolt’s spunk. I give some reasons why in “Molly Bolt Isn’t Nasty.” And when it comes to AlmaMia Cienfuegos, the numerous emails I’ve received from girls (young ones and some who are now grown women) are all the proof I need to corroborate the fact that certain evils cannot be fought with smiles and speeches. It is a terrible circumstance about life and the human condition, but like in the case of little AlmaMia, there are instances when we need to wipe our tears, grab a rock and bare our teeth in the face of the human-monsters.
This is “Daisy” by SunshineShelle.  She was inspired by the main character in “AlmaMia Cienfuegos.” I’ve found myself looking into those deep dark eyes more than thrice, and feeling that Shelle saw into the soul of the wild girl in my tale. 

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43 comments:

  1. Girl-kids? Where did that come from?
    Does she mean young women who can take care of themselves and are not afraid to get involved?
    Women who are exciting and intelligent??
    And I would say they are more women-child. Young at heart but mature and wise beyond their years!
    Sheesh!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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    1. I think I will be an eternal woman-child. I hope not to freak out too many people, and if I do, I hope to always find the event funny ;-)

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  2. ditto!! SueAnn took the words right out of my mouth!
    you write...research...create.
    you don't need to explain...or defend.
    now i go take a look at Bigotry on Steroids...

    OH and the AlmaMia inspired 'Daisy'...awesome...those eyes...oooooooh!

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    1. I like the idea of writing, researching and creating. I chose to share the first draft of some of my work because I like knowing how people feel about it (and trust me, it is really scary to share one's art in its roughest form). However, I don't write just for myself. For me writing is something interactive. There are some things I write just for me, but those tales and thoughts don't see the light of day. For the rest, I like to create many different kinds of people, I like adding features and traits of individuals I've met, I like to make them psychological "possible," too. And in a world of billions of personalities, that gives just as many possibilities. When I'm reading, I don't care how ruthless, or wimpy or whatever a character is, what counts in my eyes is that the actions and language of that character match the person (character) saying the words.

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    2. well...you do great work...i love to read you!

      hey...just wanted to mention...i watched the Tin Man...3 part series, rented from netflix. finished it last night...and i LOVEDLOVED it!! wild! what an imaginative updated...scifi take on the original Oz. i'm really glad i heard about it here! (and tin man himself...ooooooooh!!!!)

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  3. Some of us just spend more time trying to learn, feel and love the heart of something, while others would rather find a way to tear the heart apart.

    Sad.

    \IiiI

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    1. This doesn't happen to me very often, but I'm a little puzzled. Maybe I need coffee...

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  4. Oh dear...another sensible person worn down by the incessant do-goodie rhetoric :S It's a good job some of us are stronger. I'm guessing she thought she was sticking up for Lesbians, whilst in her mind she was stereo-typing them to what she considers an acceptable image. Not sure, but isn't Pink of the lesbian persuasion?....She does a pretty good line in indecent and foul mouthed when the mood takes her(as can we all!)I'm interested to know why your friend thought being a lesbian means you can't possess such life skills :)
    Daisy is FANTABULOUS!!!! I don't know how Shelle does it, but she has captured the fear and confusion in that little soul, whilst masking it with strength and determinatiion...brilliant :D XXX

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    1. And you know, the thing is that it doesn't matter who desire to get sexy with (Ooo, I like that lol) if the language and behavior matches the character's intellect, personality and his or her environment, then it is well written and pretty accurate to the tale.

      Marcia Colette in her novel Stripped, created a witch who was so evil that she scared me. I said to a Witch friend of mine that Marcia did an amazing job when creating the character. The motivation was there, the magic was believable as were the consequences. My witchy friend wasn't all that happy with the fact that I said that it was one of the most credible characters I had read in a long time. For some reason, she failed to recognized that it is not about how the character fits our society, but how it fits her/it/his actual world. I'm getting long winded, huh?

      Shelle's "Daisy" is a thing of beauties. Talking about things of beauty, your "Dark Love, Finale..." has been swimming in my mind...

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  5. Newsflash for your friend -- lesbians come in all shapes, sizes and styles. All lesbians are "real" lesbians. To suggest otherwise is bigotry. And yes, lots of us are "indecent and foul-mouthed." (Why does she say that like it's a bad thing, LOL?) If anything, Molly Bolt is kinda tame.

    I certainly didn't see AlmaMia as an unduly violent child. Who hasn't thrown a rock or two in their day? I know I certainly have and I turned out okay! Not in prison yet, anyway.

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    1. Debra, you are the best. And I love what you've said in this comment about designating some lesbians as more "real" than others is pure nonsense. No one lives in someone else's heart, and characters like people are too unique to put into a box of our convenience.

      Rocks! No wonder HRH is so wild and getting away with it lol

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  6. "too indecent and too foul-mouthed to be a real lesbian"... ... ...

    Seriously?

    Mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Sorry. I just couldn't help myself.

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  7. Your friend seems to being having a great deal of difficulty accepting people in all of their glorious diversity. Lesbians fit into neat little mental boxes as well as the rest of us. Then again, Powers' "A problem from Hell: America & the Age of Genocide" fits nicely on my bookshelves, so what do I know? ;)

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    1. I do hope you write a review of Powers' book. I started reading "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond" by Cheadle and Prendergast, and it is such a difficult read. Not the writing per se, but to see such atrocities in print and explained and see how little people care about each other. It breaks my heart every time. But just because it hurts (or because it might make a few uncomfortable) it doesn't mean that we shouldn't read it. But I read about serial killers, tyrants and genocide, what would I know?

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  8. The problem again comes back to the stereotypes people create for different groups of creatures; and I say creatures to allow for animals (fantasy or otherwise) to be included in this. The problem is that stereotypes are sometimes spacific to an individual, which means that just because one person has those stereotypes for a spacific group doesn't mean others will share their views. It also means that the task of character creation is difficult for writers, because there's always going to be a handful of people who see the character(s) you've created differently to how you see them, regardless of what you do to try and make the character's personality show through in the way you see it. Causing waves to try and change things will only cause problems; possibly ones that cause a change to be made, and possibly not. And if changes are made it will force a change on the story in many cases... Possibly ones that will completely ruin the story. It's impossible to please everyone, and a writer would exhaust themselves attempting to do so (and possibly never publish anything for fear someone out there may not be pleased, thus depriving the world of a possibly fantastic tale).

    And as for what you write... You write what you feel you need to; what you feel you need to share with the world. If that's not a good enough answer, then tough, because that's how it is for all writers, isn't it? People write because they feel they have something to say that the world needs or wants to hear.

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    1. I don't mind when people use archetypal characters if they support what they show. Like I said in my response to Gina, when the worldbuilding and characterization match the character, I'm usually blown away. If Molly was intelligent beyond her years for certain things, then too childish in other, conservative the nest minute, against the norm in the next page... and so on, they I would say the character didn't cut it. But Molly Bolt is just like her name: tight, strong and ready to do the job.

      And to keep oneself from publishing something just because it might upset someone that would be a personal choice, if the writer can live with it by all means. But I think the latter is more applicable to fiction. When it comes to nonfiction, I believe (and that's a personal opinion) that things are very different.

      You know, when it comes to writing (the things I share with all) I'm actually a bit democratic. Not in theme or topic, but I love to share bits of what I'm working on and I feel that most of the time, if I get hints that people might not like it, I still write it, but I keep it for my own enjoyment. I don't know why, but I have never been able to be one of the people who say "I write for myself." I really don't. I do write things for me alone, but what I share, I usually want others to enjoy it. It is the reason why I ask for criticism, I like the interaction to be pleasant (or at least 'real') for parties involved.

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  9. *sigh*.. the things you have to put up with just to be you.. Keep on being our darling Magaly, please. Just do what you do.. we love you for it!

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    1. I never thought of it that way, but you are right. I bet people who just go with the flow have a much easier time at existing, but I wonder how they do the living part and the sleeping at night and the smiling with happiness just because it is so freaking awesome to be oneself...

      I'm glad you like me like this, for I feel the same way. Also, I doubt I could change. I know I wouldn't want to ;-)

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  10. And whats wrong with reading about serial killers or horror books, thats the kind of things my youngest daughter reads. She's a wonderful girl! While we are not a christian family, we do have good values and more importantly we mind our own business and don't judge anyone. As for the foul mouth, my girlfriend and I call it "shop talk" because we picked it up at work, but it was always under our breath just between the two of us or when we are on the phone. Unfortunatly my African Grey Parrot had a foul mouth for some time, thanks to us!

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    1. Your daughter sounds like she would love my bookshelves. I am fascinated by horror and by the way the psychopathic mind works. I'm always wondering, what makes a person's mind so different that it makes them act in such terrible ways. The idea of living without feeling all the things that make life wonderful is terrifying, and studying through fiction and nonfiction is very interesting.

      Ha! We had a parrot (her name was Cuca) she had the most terrible mouth in the world. She would insult people as they walked by the house, and because she was always perched on a tree or out sight somehow, the people always thought it was one of the kids being rude. It was funny, until one of us got our ears pulled unfairly lol

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  11. I agree totally that certain evils cannot be fought with smiles and speeches. I don't need to encourage you to stand for your principles, dear Magaly, I rest assured that you will never back down!!

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    1. It helps to be surrounded by so many amazing minds. I'm telling you, we've never met, but when I'm gathering strength of ovaries *grin* yours is one of the names that comes to mind ;-)

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  12. Your friend just seems to have a problem with females being depicted in a way that doesn't conform to preapproved standards. Except for the lesbians. I personally don't know any feminine lesbians but I think searching for that is a bit like missing the point. That'd be like bemoaning the lack of masculine queers. They're rare for a reason. I don't know what it is but a foul mouthed and violent lesbian seems like a much more exciting hero than the "heroines" you see these days in big budget movies.

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    1. Now you must come to New York. I swear we have tons of lesbians and gays of all persuasion. Once or twice, I haven't figured out that a person is not heterosexual until she asks me out. Then again, my gay(dar) might be broken ;-(

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  13. Let me try to understand. This person believes that the character wasn't a true lesbian because she was foul mouthed? There are plenty of heterosexual women who are foul mouthed does that preclude them from being heterosexual? Some people regardless of gender or sexual preference use more expletives than others. Is that the only measure of their sexual orientation that your friend goes by? If so, she's lacking a bit of education in that department. I don't intend to be mean but... Perhaps, she's not as well read as you and all her information is obtained from scripted "reality" TV shows. Again, I don't mean to offend.

    Then, she picked on the genre you like to read. I wouldn't like it if someone picked on the genre I like to read which also is the genre that I like to write - my passion. I would take that very personally.

    And yes, I've thrown rocks (boys can be mean sometimes) and punched a boy or two who deserved it (they liked to hit girls and my mama taught me never to take that crap).

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    1. I think many of us react not as ourselves when we feel trapped and desperate. My friend is hurting right now (yes still). I don't think the pain comes from her beliefs about what lesbians should be like, but from the fact that the person who she believes to be one of the most understanding individuals she knows doesn't agree with something she holds true to her heart. I've been there, and it is not an easy place to be. The worse part is that no one can truly help her step out of that box if she doesn't want to. Or maybe I just don't know how to help her.

      I'm used to people acting funny or reacting wild-eyed around some of my behaviors. At one time in my life I had to do a lot of work at a morgue, and there were always forensics students coming to visit. One trip came during lunch time. I was eating outside one of the freezers. One of the students asked, "How can you eat in a place like this?" I just stared at her and continued chewing. My thoughts were "Sister, you won't make it in this profession if you don't realize that the hours will be long and at one point during the day people need to eat." I stopped taking a lot of things personally a long time ago. It's not worth the trouble.

      Hm, maybe we should make rock throwing into a sport lol

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  14. Ok, this is completely separate to your post here but I really have to congratulate you on spotting my female Tin Man with the big,pointy tin breasts in my Mad Tea Party post. Thank you, thank you! I'm glad someone saw that she was a girl.

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    1. Yay! I'm so happy you saw it that way. I should tell you that I spent many minutes thinking, "Should I say Tin Woman?" I love her hair, too. By the way, her pointed tin breasts reminded me of one of Madonna's outfits ;-)

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  15. I really love how your post Magaly generates so much thoughtful & intelligent conversation... I've been reading a while here (it's true) & love the insights of this bunch of truly awesome people (I couldn't skip any comments 'cause they are all so cool) so happy as comments here give hope that not everyone views (or wants to view) life like it's presented as a 2nd rate TV show with limited (and sanctioned) story-lines, one dimensional, vacuous BORING cliched characters that are as forgettable after, as annoying while reading/listening or viewing them.
    BTW can't work out if in your friends world lesbians are supposed to swear less or more than me LOL, Shit a brick, gotta love it when people view life like it's so freakin' easy & every one fits into boxes ;)

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    1. You know, I think one day I will take the task of describing the act of shitting a brick. I wonder what words I'll use...

      And I share your thoughts about the comments, the Pagan Culture circle is form of beautiful minds that hold the power of critical thinking. I LOVE it.

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  16. Magaly, I have read your post and all the comments! I love how your blog gets everyone talking! You speak from your heart and everyone knows that, and loves you for it! Ignorance is the right word! I love Shelle's paintings! I don't know how she does it, but she always captures such feelings in her paintings!

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    1. Ah Shelle's paintings and yours and Gina's... how I love your works. I need to take a picture of my writing space. So you can see where I've place you three ;-)

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  17. I'm almost through Rubyfruit Jungle, and when I read what your friend said, i got hot too. I see Molly as a very real character. You are right when you say that ignorance is at the rood of ugliness. Acting like bad stuff doesn't happen allows that bad stuff to keep going on. Who will stop it if we all act like it's not there. And what is so vulgar about Molly? I don't think she swears nearly enough for her circumstances. ;)

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    1. I'm right with you. I remember the first time I discussed Molly Bolt in a classroom and I say that most people would have been even angrier than her, perhaps more broken, too. She is tough and faces her circumstances head on. Not many of us can say that.

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  18. An abused child looses all innocence and has every right to fight back in any way fit...particularly with violence, because sometimes that is all a child has. I love and share your opinion on selective ignorance. Honey, it is so true.

    Shelle's painting is hauntingly "mark on". She is an amazing artist. Hugs sweetie.

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    1. "An abused child looses all innocence and has every right to fight back in any way fit...particularly with violence, because sometimes that is all a child has."

      Indeed.

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  19. Girl-kids, that's a new one... I don't read as much as I'd like to, but your reading list seems very powerful to me. To be an informed person is something to be of value. Why your friend would denigrate that makes no sense to me.

    I hadn't seen art by SunshineShelle before, but it is quite powerful.

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    1. Sometimes, I think people only see the things that don't hurt their heart. My friend is one of the nicest and most loving people I know, and she is very intelligent, too, so it is very difficult to understand her motives. I wish I really could, so that I can use the knowledge to explain to her why it makes no sense *sigh*

      Oh, you should stop by Shelle's blog or Etsy store, her work has soul in colors!

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  20. Oh, you can luv.....you *can* strangle someone just a little bit............

    ;)

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    1. Hm, I might have to try it. And stop right before their faces turn purple ;-)

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  21. You are Brave - and - I want to thank you for being the person willing to look/see the dark and make sense of it, put it in a perspective so - even I can understand and, maybe make a difference where I "serve," (Yeppers, you DEFINITELY "Serve" in the best possible way.) You have a gift i admire.

    AND - thank you for sharing about having a friend you love - that offers opportunities to practice restraint. . . (Comforting to know I'm not alone in this.)

    Thank you again & again,
    -g-

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    1. It is not so difficult to be brave when you have many much braver friends standing by you, and "willing to look/see the dark and make sense of it" together ;-)

      Thanks right back at you.

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