Sara Zarr Was Here

Author. Person. Restless Christian humanist skeptic. Recovering codependent perfectionist. Manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts. Also making a long-running appearance at sarazarr.com.
Recent Tweets @sarazarr
Noted

gnumblr:

lotsalipstick:

best ever

#Unbreakable

Yeah this is one of my favorite episodes ever.

(via amywhipple)

coffee-and-rainsticks:

I wanted to be like omg I love Rob Lowe but then I was like omg I love Chris Pratt but OMG I LOVE NICK OFFERMAN how do I CHOOSE 

(via amywhipple)

By shifting our practice of friendship to a more committed, honored form of love, we can witness—above all—to a kingdom in which the ties between spiritual siblings are the strongest ties of all. Marriage, Jesus tells us, will be entirely transformed in the future, barely recognizable to those who know it in its present form (Matt. 22:30). Bonds of biology, likewise, are relativized in Jesus’ world (Mark 3:31-35). But the loves that unite Christians to each other across marital, racial, and familial lines are loves that will last. More than that, they are loves that witness that Christ’s love is available to all. Not everyone can be a parent or a spouse, but anyone and everyone can be a friend.

Wesley Hill in current Christianity Today piece on friendship.

(This is one of the theological differences between me and my Mormon friends here in Utah. As I understand it, they believe that marriage and family are forever—that the family unit as it is on earth more or less continues in the afterlife. New Testament seems clear on idea that these bonds have a finite life span and a societal purpose in this life, but not beyond. I’d be interested in discussing this over a non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverage sometime with any LDS friends reading this!)

weneeddiversebooks:

Read This: Gene Luen Yang’s rousing comics speech at the 2014 National Book Festival gala

From the Washington Post, article here.

GENE LUEN YANG, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building:

Good evening. Thank you, Library of Congress and National Book Festival, for inviting me to share the stage with such esteemed authors, and to speak with all of you. I am deeply grateful for this honor.

I’m a comic-book guy, so tonight I’d like to talk about another comic book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African-Americans working in American comics. Dwayne worked primarily within the superhero genre. He got his start at Marvel Comics but eventually worked for almost every comic book publisher out there. He even branched out into television and wrote for popular cartoon series like “Justice League” and “Ben 10.”

Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, unfortunately. He passed away in 2011, at the age of 49. But within comics, his influence is still deeply felt.

I was lucky enough to have met him once. About a year before his death, we were on a panel together at Comic-Con. I had the opportunity to shake his hand and tell him how much his work meant to me.

In a column Dwayne wrote in 1999, he talked about his love of the Black Panther, a Marvel Comics character. The Black Panther’s secret alias is T’Challa, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He has super senses, super strength, and super agility. He’s an Avenger, though he hasn’t yet made it into the movies.

The Black Panther wasn’t created by African American cartoonists. He was created in July of 1966 by two Jewish Americans, Stan Lee (who was born Stanley Lieber) and Jack Kirby (who was born Jacob Kurtzberg).

By modern standards, the Black Panther is not a flawless example of a black superhero. In their first draft of the character, Lee and Kirby called him “the Coal Tiger” and gave him a goofy yellow and black costume. Even in his final form, his superhero alias includes the word “Black.” This is true of many early African and African American superheroes, as if what makes them remarkable is neither their superpowers nor their heroism, but their ethnicity. Most problematic, though, was that Marvel made their most prominent black superhero the star of a series called Jungle Action.

All of these flaws were lost on Dwayne McDuffie when he first encountered the Black Panther in 1973, at the age of 11. What struck him was the character’s commanding sense of dignity. The Black Panther wasn’t anyone’s sidekick. He wasn’t an angry thug. He wasn’t a victim. He was his own hero, his own man. As Dwayne describes it, “In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.”

Dwayne’s love of the Black Panther eventually blossomed into a love of comics in general. Dwayne was a smart guy with a lot of options in life. He’d earned a master’s degree in physics. But he chose to write comics as his career. I would argue that without the Black Panther, this flawed black character created by a writer and an artist who were not black, there would be no Dwayne McDuffie the comic book writer.

Dwayne wasn’t just a writer — he was also a businessman. In the early ’90s, he teamed with a group of writers and artists to found Milestone Media, the most prominent minority-owned comic book company that has ever existed. The Milestone universe have since been folded into DC Comics, so these days characters like Static Shock and Icon – characters Dwayne co-created – fight crime alongside Superman and Batman.

In the early ’90s, I was finishing up my adolescence. I visited my local comic-book store on a weekly basis, and one week I found a book on the stands called Xombi, published by Milestone Media. Xombi is a scientist who became a superhero after he was injected with nanotechnology. He allied himself with a secret order of superpowered nuns. One sister was known as Nun of the Above, another Nun the Less. Together, they protected the world from all kinds of supernatural threats.

Xombi was inventive and fun, but he stood out to me because he was an Asian American male carrying in his own monthly title. And even more notable – he didn’t know Kung Fu. Xombi wasn’t created by Asian Americans – his writer was white and his artist black – but he did make Asian Americans a little less invisible.

We in the book community are in the middle of a sustained conversation about diversity. We talk about our need for diverse books with diverse characters written by diverse writers. I wholeheartedly agree.

But I have noticed an undercurrent of fear in many of our discussions. We’re afraid of writing characters different from ourselves because we’re afraid of getting it wrong. We’re afraid of what the Internet might say.

This fear can be a good thing if it drives us to do our homework, to be meticulous in our cultural research. But this fear crosses the line when we become so intimidated that we quietly make choices against stepping out of our own identities.
After all, our job as writers is to step out of ourselves, and to encourage our readers to do the same.

I told you the story of Dwayne McDuffie to encourage all of us to be generous with ourselves and with one another. The Black Panther, despite his flaws, was able to inspire a young African American reader to become a writer.

We have to allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes, including cultural mistakes, in our first drafts. I believe it’s okay to get cultural details wrong in your first draft. It’s okay if stereotypes emerge. It just means that your experience is limited, that you’re human.

Just make sure you iron them out before the final draft. Make sure you do your homework. Make sure your early readers include people who are a part of the culture you’re writing about. Make sure your editor has the insider knowledge to help you out. If they don’t, consider hiring a freelance editor who does.

Also, it’s okay if stereotypes emerge in the first drafts of your colleagues. Correct them – definitely correct them – but do so in a spirit of generosity. Remember how soul-wrenching the act of writing is, how much courage it took for that writer to put words down on a page.

And let’s say you do your best. You put in all the effort you can. But then when your book comes out, the Internet gets angry. You slowly realize that, for once, the Internet might be right. You made a cultural misstep. If this happens, take comfort in the fact that even flawed characters can inspire. Apologize if necessary, resolve do better, and move on.

Let your fear drive you to do your homework. But no matter what, don’t ever let your fear stop you.

I have long had a bit of a writer crush on Gene Yang, for he is awesome in so many ways.

(via nataliewhipple)

catagator:

Every month at Book Riot, we talk about our favorite read from the previous month. Check it out for an array of great reads spanning all genres and formats. 
My pick for August is Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us, coming March 2015 (I know, I know, but I could not NOT talk about it):
Imagine if you combined Orange is the New Black and Black Swan with the flavor of Shirley Jackson. That’s The Walls Around Us. Told from the point of view of Violet, a dancer who is on the brink of one of the biggest and most important performances of her life, as well as the point of view of Amber, who has been behind bars for years for a crime that she may or may not have committed, Suma’s novel comes together through the story of a third narrator whose voice you never hear: Orianna. This is a story about guilt and innocence, about secrets and how deep we let people into those places within us, and it’s a story about how the past can define our present, even if we try desperately to keep that past under wraps. This story about girls and how girls treat one another, how they can turn against and turn toward one another, is written in luscious and deliciously creepy prose not easy to forget. Put it on your radars now; this is an outstanding literary young adult novel more than worth the wait.

catagator:

Every month at Book Riot, we talk about our favorite read from the previous month. Check it out for an array of great reads spanning all genres and formats

My pick for August is Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us, coming March 2015 (I know, I know, but I could not NOT talk about it):

Imagine if you combined Orange is the New Black and Black Swan with the flavor of Shirley Jackson. That’s The Walls Around Us. Told from the point of view of Violet, a dancer who is on the brink of one of the biggest and most important performances of her life, as well as the point of view of Amber, who has been behind bars for years for a crime that she may or may not have committed, Suma’s novel comes together through the story of a third narrator whose voice you never hear: Orianna. This is a story about guilt and innocence, about secrets and how deep we let people into those places within us, and it’s a story about how the past can define our present, even if we try desperately to keep that past under wraps. This story about girls and how girls treat one another, how they can turn against and turn toward one another, is written in luscious and deliciously creepy prose not easy to forget. Put it on your radars now; this is an outstanding literary young adult novel more than worth the wait.

title2come:

but I really want to work on it…

image

(via elloellenoh)

sixpenceee:

Famous Failures

I stumbled upon this video a long time ago and it honestly made me feel a lot better.

"If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived."

I could not fit everyone mentioned in the video in this post so be sure to give the video a look.

WATCH IT HERE

(via yabooknerdlibrarian)

Just came across this in an adult children (of alcoholics/dysfunction) daily reader -

"We had no goals because we thought we didn’t deserve them. Helping others achieve their goals felt good, but it was not something that we could do on our own. We didn’t want that responsibility. It was safer to just stay small, not have any dreams or needs.

I sometimes wonder (a lot less than I used to, thankfully) what I would have accomplished by now if I had been raised with the idea that it was okay/good to have dreams and needs. I got a late start to my career (36) because of this issue, though somehow I was able to set a goal ten years prior to it and get there eventually. Not that I’m unhappy with my accomplishments. I just wonder sometimes how I did it—I think mostly out of my own will and desire and determination. Us ACOA’s can be scrappy that way. But I also know a lot of us really struggle with this and feel like late bloomers, or are still paralyzed, wondering when we will feel like our lives have started.

Lately I start off every email to my mom shooting down all the assumptions about me and my life contained in the previous email. So hard to be heard. I’m learning she needs frequent repetition and directness.

teralynnchilds:

Dangerously tasty or the perfect revision snack? #youdecide http://ift.tt/1thFivZ

What about option 3: AN ABOMINATION?