On Writers, Sensitivity, and the Supposed Threat to Free Speech

Last week, I wrote about sensitivity readers.

That is to say, about those who are subject matter experts on different forms of marginalization in society, who writers can recruit to help them bring verisimilitude to the portrayal of marginalized characters in fiction.

The use of sensitivity readers is a growing trend in fiction as more and more stories about marginalized characters are being published – particularly since more and more of these sorts of stories are being written by writers who themselves are not marginalized.

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On Writers, Sensitivity, and the Savvy of Modern Readers

Fiction writers have always employed the advice and experiences of subject-matter experts to help bring authenticity to their stories.

Sensitivity readers, as it happens, are subject-matter experts on experiences with different types of marginalization in mainstream society.

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My Cheating Writing Heart

good-and-evil-hearts

Usually, it’s writing that I cheat on other activities with.

Many years ago, in a fluke of proprioception I’m largely unable to reproduce with my moods and in other activities, I mastered the skill of daydreaming with a neutral expression on my face.

This revolutionized the way I move through the world, for it enabled me to almost always be working on my writing, even when I’m not literally writing.

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The Rest of the Story on Those Seven Honest Women (Medieval Mondays #5d redux)

They're not who you think they are

They’re not who you think they are

It remains to this day the most incredible piece of medieval research I’ve turned up, even if I’ve since learned it’s not completely true.

In previously Medieval Mondays posts, I’ve written at length about medieval marriage.  This in turn led me to write about medieval divorce.

Divorce (technically annulment of the marriage in its strictest sense) was a matter at the sole discretion of the Church, whose preference was almost always to keep marriages together.  As such, the Church generally only granted divorces for six specific reasons.

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Filing the Holes in Black History

african-roots

During my undergraduate degree in environmental studies, a particular course in the history department caught my eye.

This course was called History of Africa South of the Sahara.

I first I discovered this course during my first year while thumbing through the course catalogue planning for my upper years.

Ooh, this would be an interesting elective, I thought upon reading the course description:

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A-Hunting We Will Go in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #6c)

King John hunting deer

King John hunting deer

Hunting, in the medieval times, was a way of life.

This is the case in more ways than one.  On the one hand, hunting was an essential task for generating food for a noble household.  According to Joseph and Frances Gies, authors of Life in a Medieval Castle,

The deer and other quarry supplied a substantial share of the meat for the castle table, and the forest supplemented game with nuts, berries, mushrooms, and other edibles.  It also furnished the principal construction material and fuel for all classes. (p. 134)

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If You Can Dream It, You Still Have to Do It

dream-it-wish-it-do-it

The year 2016 knocked the wind out of a lot of people’s sails.

Politically, it showed considerable regression in the progress of equality and human rights.

A seemingly inordinate number of notable figures and celebrities passed away, many surprisingly young, which suggests we haven’t come as far in disease prevention, mental health treatment, and drug harm reduction as we may have thought.

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