Monday, January 17, 2022

Death of Tuskegee Airman Brig. Gen. Charles McGee

I read today in the New York Daily News that one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen has died:

Brig. Gen. Charles McGee was 102 when he died in his sleep Sunday morning, with his right hand over his heart in a final patriotic gesture, his family said.

McGee battled fascism abroad and racism at home, both in the name of serving his country.

He was part of the group of Black aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps., a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Collectively they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War 2.

“Our task was to keep the air clear of German pilots,” McGee said in a 2020 Air Force video.

Their service earned them medals, and their performance paved the way for integration of the U.S. armed forces, according to History.com.

McGee was a cut above even that. He went on to fly for another 30 years as an Air Force pilot in the Korean and Vietnam wars, for a total of 409 aerial fighter missions — a record that still stands today.

Reading about Brig. Gen. McGee brought to mind a book I've blogged about before. I happened to find it by accident one day while browsing at the library.  It's a kid's book (6th grade and up), but a fascinating account for adults to enjoy, as well.

One of the things I liked most about the story was that the two friends featured in it are from Cincinnati. And not long after I read the book, I got to see both of them speak at my sons' school--which is the very same one they attended as young boys!

In John Fleischman's Black and White Airmen: Their True History, we learn about the true history of a friendship that almost didn't happen.

John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same third grade class. Although classmates, they weren't friends, because Herb was white and John was black.

John and Herb were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both participated in the high-altitude bomber war against Nazi Germany.  But because the army was segregated and black and white couldn't mix, they never met.

John and Herb returned home safely, but it took them another fifty years to meet and discover that their lives had almost taken the same path through times of war and peace. Now friends, Herb and John have made it a mission to tell young people why race once made a big difference and why it shouldn’t anymore.

Check out this video to learn more about John and Herb, and be sure to read John Fleischman's Black and White Airmen!

Monday, January 10, 2022

He Says, She Says

Men and women are different--especially where communication is concerned! Ever struggle with gender specific dialogue in your fiction writing? Hope these tips will help!


Men are more direct and brusque in tone. They use simpler vocabulary with fewer modifiers, and are likely to use one word responses and shorter sentences.  Instead of talking about people and feelings, they’d rather talk about things.  

Women, however, love talking about people and relationships.  Their language is softer, and they’re more likely to talk around a subject.  “I’m not too happy about this,” she might say, while he says, “I’m mad as hell!”  Women express themselves in complete sentences, and want to share their feelings.

Today, I thought I'd pass this article along from the website Your Tango, written by Richard Drobnick of The Mars and Venus Counseling Center. It provides some information to keep in mind when writing dialogue from the perspective of the opposite sex.

He believes communication should have a clear purpose. Behind every conversation is a problem that needs solving or a point that needs to be made.

She uses communication to discover how she is feeling and what it is she wants to say. She sees conversation as an act of sharing and an opportunity to increase intimacy with her partner.

He prioritizes productivity and efficiency in his daily life, and conversation is no exception. When he tells a story he has already sorted through the muck in his own head, and shares only those details that he deems essential to the point of the story. He might wonder, "Why do women need to talk as much as they do?" Often he will interrupt a woman once he has heard enough to offer a solution.

She uses communication to explore and organize her thoughts — to discover the point of the story. She may not know what information is necessary or excessive until the words come spilling out. But a woman isn't necessarily searching for a solution when she initiates a conversation. She's looking for someone to listen and understand what she's feeling.

Do you have any tips to make dialogue sound more feminine or masculine?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!  

Monday, January 3, 2022

Plastic Man


One of my sons took me to see the new Spider-Man movie, Spider-man: No Way Home , last week and it was phenomenal! I really enjoyed it because of all the nostalgia. That's all I'll say, otherwise I'll spoil everything.

Last year my kids were telling my 90-year-old mother all about their favorite superhero movies. Then one of them said, "We know you're not familiar with any of these characters," but she replied, "Yes I am. I remember Plastic Man."

My first thought was seriously? Then my youngest said, "He wouldn't be good for the environment."

Regardless, there really was a Plastic Man who appeared in 1941, when my mom would have been just ten years old. According to Wikipedia:

Plastic Man (real name Patrick "Eel" O'Brian) is a fictional superhero first appearing in Police Comics #1, originally published by Quality Comics and later acquired by DC Comics. Created by cartoonist Jack Cole, Plastic Man was one of the first superheroes to incorporate humor into mainstream action storytelling. This character has been published in several solo series and has interacted with other characters such as Batman and many others in the mainstream DC Universe as a member of the Justice League. He has additionally appeared in several television and video game adaptations, including a short-lived television show of his own named The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.


Surprisingly, there is a film in development. Just not sure it'll ever get off the ground. One of the latest articles about the project states that they are shifting to a female lead as Plastic Man, or rather Woman.

Plastic Man is a DC Comic's character and my kids prefer Marvel movies to DC movies. So if Plastic Man ever does hit the big screen, they won't be seeing it. What about you?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Happy New Year!

 


I'm off for New Year's but will be back next week! Have a blessed and very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Holiday Planner or Pantster?

"I stopped believing in Santa Clause when I was six. Mother took me to a department store to see him and he asked for my autograph." Shirley Temple

My kids haven't believed in Santa Clause for a long time, but they still wanted to bake cookies for him even years after they stopped believing he was real! And that was one more activity to plan. Speaking of which, are you a planner or a pantster when it comes to the holidays?  

When I write, I don't like to fly completely by the seat of my pants.  I prepare a skeleton outline and then go where my characters lead me. No detailed outline or spreadsheet for me--I think my head would explode if I tried to that.  So I fall somewhere in between. 

Same with holiday planning; I wouldn't dare try to do everything just days before Christmas (although I usually do wrap presents on  Christmas Eve). I try to mail my Christmas cards by the first or second week of December and I aim to finish my Christmas shopping by the third week.  I do my baking about a week ahead. So hopefully, by Christmas morning, everything I need to do will already be done!

I envy all the organized among us who buy their presents right after Thanksgiving and have their cards mailed by December 1.  

From what I've observed, having the ability to organize is genetic. My husband (whose parents are extraordinarily organized) is a very ordered person--I am not.  My dad had piles on his desk, and for some reason, so do I. And I know exactly what's in my piles and where to find what I need.  

I don't like clutter, but beware of my closet. If you go in, you may never come out! I'm also a procrastinator--that drives Mr. McKenzie nuts!  But somehow we manage to complement each other.  I suppose the old saying is true: opposites attract.

Time to put the writing aside and catch up on some more Christmas--dare I say the word--details!

Are you a holiday planner or pantster?  Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by!