Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your World and World Building: Social Justice

Some of you may know that I'm starting a Social Work program next week. Yesterday, we had orientation. My head is swimming with the concepts of advocacy, compassion, empowerment and equity.

Guess who gets to benefit from that?

If you guessed YOU, you would be right! How did you know??




Let's talk about the world you live in. Whether your culture plays directly into the conflicts that you face, or just serves as a background, it's still a major part of your story.

Characters: what type of world are you in? Are there people who are not given full rights? Are you one of those people? Or are you someone who takes rights from other people (that's okay, we don't discriminate against evil oppressors here. We take equal opportunity to places equal opportunity has never dreamed of. Go for it.)

Authors: What type of world are you building and/or describing? How does social justice play a role in your story? Does it affect your characters and the story arc?

So, let us know. Are there wrongs in your world that must be righted? Or, if you're an evil oppressor: are there rights in your world that must be wronged? It's all good - let us know about the world you're in!

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Social justice and equality for all!

Gabby said...

I killed my mother. True. But did anyone care why I did it? I hit her over the head with a chair. Did I really think of that as a murder weapon? It's not easy living with a drunken whore who kicks you out to roam the streets and screams at you when you are home.

Sure, this is a great experimental reformatory they sent me to! The guards do what they like. No schooling for us forty or so kids. They said the isolation of the place would keep us out of trouble. We're incorrigible, they say-Just 'cause they say it, does that mean its true? Don't they realize that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, just to survive? I'd probably be dead now if i hadn't done all the things I done. It doesn't mean I'm bad - it means I'm a survivor!
Walk in my shoes, down my back alleys. Have welfare workers, and finally, judges tell you what you should have done. I'm just a kid but I know you gotta be tougher, scarier - and smarter to survive or you're done for. Even now.

Devi Marconi said...

Okay, that's creepy... my word verification is "commun" and that's just what I was planning to discuss... the commune that I live in.

As some of you know, I live in a secret, underground village known as Ruby Hollow. It's called that because of its founder, one Ruby Fitzgerald Fenwick, who escaped from her father's plantation in 1857 when she was just 17, with three slave children and her best friend in tow. En route to Canada, the little crew stopped in a cave to evade a storm... and Ruby eventually decided to stay, establishing a community whose soul purpose is to protect and nurture those who can't find such compassion, empowerment, and equity on the surface.

Today, Ruby Hollow has near 500 souls - many of the families have been here for generations. Although it has its problems, they are few and far between because we are a community first and foremost, where everyone has equal rights, and everyone works for the common good.

I truly love it here - though I have no doubt Lord Synedd would hate it. As would Bo - philanderers are not tolerated for long.

Aidan said...

I'm in your world, I mean, I live with all of you. All the time. Your time and stuff.

Um.

Social Justice? This is more Kaelin's forte, I guess. He was thinking about going into Law before.

Lazaro said...

Is justice that thing where I'm not supposed to eat people unless they deserve to die?

I hate it. Dumb human rule. The people who deserve to die are usually the stupid ones and they don't taste as good.

Ricky said...

I appreciate it that you try anyway, Lazaro. Really.

Kaelin said...

Sentinel isn't a democracy. Aidan doesn't think about it much because he's at the top of the pile since he's at Council.

First is our Lord Prince. Then, well, basically, Aidan. Then the rest of the Council. Then the Patrons of our family Legacies, generally the oldest.

Age plays a direct role in the amount of respect a ranger gets. When you're dealing with people who are hundreds of years old and you're 25, it makes a big difference.

This all plays in directly to our nature. As demons we're pretty volatile and untrustworthy, so strict discipline is important. Also unpleasant, having been on the recieving end.

We also structure formal alliances and maintain extensive Archives because we're by nature so secretive. But of course rangers find a way around that.

Devi Marconi said...

We have a council, too, as well as archives... but we're still an egalitarian society. And I'm sorry, Lazaro, but eating Hollowites is simply not allowed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mira!
I wonder if you might share which program and where you attend? I am very interested. I have been fluctuating between a MSW and a MS in psychology and think an MSW is probably a more stable and progressive choice and offers more fluent employment choices and less variances in licensing requirements from place to place.
Anyway, you sound like you too are going back to graduate school.
I would love to hear more!

Mira said...

Hi Anon - I'm happy to talk about this, but do you want to e-mail me? I'm not sure everyone wants to hear all that, and it's kind of off topic.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, though, I'll answer here - but I'll wait until Friday, when the thread has passed.

My e-mail is on my profile and the sidebar of the site.

And yes, I chose MSW because I think it's more marketable and more flexible. But there is something else to think about - platform. For some books, a psych degree might be better.

Anonymous said...

Great! Thanks Mira! Didn't see your e-mail address before. Will send.

Buddy Harper said...

Arf-arf! What's with the off-topic stuff? Arf-arf! (Uh-oh, better go. Olivia's coming back to the computer, and she doesn't know I can type.) See you cats later! Arf-arf!

Laura Martone said...

Sorry, Mira. Buddy's a beagle with a mind of his own. I'll have a chat with Olivia...

Mira said...

No, Buddy's bark is on the nose.

Har!

Nice to meet you Buddy. Arf!

Laura Martone said...

Oh, hi, Mira. I'll tell Buddy you said hello.

Olivia found drool on her keyboard, so he's been relegated to the beachside deck for a while.

P.S. Hope grad school isn't running you too ragged!

Malia Sutton said...

Hi Mira,

I decided to stop by and check out your blog. I like it. I'm going to link to it.

Nevin said...

I'm a big believer in social justice. I support a number of very important causes, including equal rights for all humans and other species, and the preservation of rain forests and endangered animals. Vic and Lazaro laugh at me, but I don't care. If we destroy our world, nothing else will matter, will it?

Olivia Harper said...

I couldn't agree more, Nevin. The world is an incredible place - and must be preserved.

Too bad Vic and Lazaro can't see that. Without the world, they wouldn't survive either.

Kalila said...

I've seen human societies come and go and none of them are much better than any other. They're all unjust to some degree.

Demons aren't much better, but most of us have, as you humans would say, a thicker skin. We don't expect the world to be just, and we aren't disappointed.

Ricky said...

But don't you think we should aspire to something more than just the absence of disappointment, Kalila?

Kalila said...

Oh, Ricky. *sigh* I met Siddhartha once. You may know him as the Buddha. He explained many things to me. Absence of desire or expectation is the correct goal, not constant aspiration toward something better.

Ricky said...

And that's why you want to be a rock star...?

Kalila said...

Are you suggesting there's a flaw in my logic?

Ricky said...

Not at all, Kalila. Of course not.

Vic said...

What he's saying, djinna, is that you're a hypocrite.

It's real simple, folks. The world is unfair and always has been. Always will be. Take what you can get and enjoy it.

The Ghost of Ruby Fenwick said...

How very cynical of you, Vic.

And how very, uh, contradictory of you, Kalila.

Christine H said...

The society I have created is basically a very fair and balanced one. When everyone plays their role, things hum along. At least, they only have to deal with problems in the natural world, not with each other.

But when someone decides to upset the balance, everything goes haywire. In some ways, they are naive about treachery. It's hard for them to believe that anyone could really have bad intentions. Some learn too late that the bad guys aren't just misunderstood. They're downright evil.

Marc said...

See, and we're the opposite, all being demons. We're all pretty selfish and evil.

It's just some of us have a better sense of humor about it than others.

Jason said...

Why do I feel like that's aimed at me?

Marc said...

Cuz you're the smart brother, I reckon, and I'm the brother who got all the good looks.

Amy Thompson said...

My world today is much less complicated than it started out. A victim of one alcoholic or addicts abuses from birth, I struggled through the world in search of a man who wouldn't hurt me. The trouble is, the search was always in the party crowd.

Who else would love a messed up, scared freak like me. And if I could change just one man, make him give up everything - drugs, alcohol, violence, gangs or God - for my love and committment, then I'd be an ok person, and free of the nightmares from my childhood.

The journey was a long one, full of tragedy and loss, hope and despair. But in the end, I won through on my own, and discovered I can be in charge of my life, my feelings.

And the prize: a good man who doesn't need me to give up any part of myself in order for him to love me. So, scary.

Donna Hole said...

So true, Amy. You have come a long way in your journey towards self discovery. I filled your world full of emotional - and yes, physical - trauma to help you grow.

Exposing the roller coaster culture of substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault needed exposure, and not just the extreme cases, where social injustice is easy to spot, but in an every day world, where it could be someone's friend, lover, family members or church community that suffers silently.

Thanks for sticking with it, and winning yourself through to a brighter future.

.......dhole

Mira said...

Malia! How cool that you dropped by! Thanks for linking it - that's nice of you. Hope we see you around here sometimes. :)

Nice to see alot of new folk - Amy Thompson and Donna - nice to see you both also. :)

Christine H said...

Speaking of beagles, I've got one too.

I keep telling him, misquoting the Bible, "Thou art a stubborn and a stiff-necked beagle, and my spirit will not contend with yours forever!"

Steph Damore said...

Just wanted to drop in and say that I LOVE reading all the comments here - good stuff. Everyone's characters are so amazing.

Nevin said...

Ricky, is there a reason why you haven't offered any thoughts on this important topic?

Ricky said...

Uh, well...I'm all for justice. I mean, who isn't? It's just that, you know, I've been pretty busy chasing after you guys, paying the bills, and trying to get ahead in the world, and finding time for social activism isn't just...you know...

Nevin said...

I'm so disappointed in you.

Ricky said...

Will you stop it with the guilt trip? I book you guys at charity events, don't I?

Vic said...

And I wish you wouldn't, Ricky. How many endangered species and homeless pets are on this wretched planet, anyway?

Besides, it's not like you're really doing anything. You just get us the gig. We have to actually show up and perform.

bunnygirl said...

Nevin, Vic, is this Gang Up on Ricky Day or something?

Vic said...

Go away, Author. You created this problem in the first place.

Mira said...

Hi Steph!! I agree, the threads are fun to read. :)

You know, feel free to bring around a character or two of your own anytime. I have heard a rumor that you're a writer.......

:)

Marc said...

Ricky, I know just how you feel. Seriously, mate. We should go get a beer sometime and commiserate.

Aidan said...

COMMISERATE!?! You guys are the ones who won't leave me alone! I didn't ask for babysitters, you know.

Marc said...

We're a little irritable around the house today. We haven't been sleeping. We've been having nightmares.

Aidan said...

Nightmares about interfering cousins.

Marc said...

There is no justice when it comes to Aidan. It's pretty well his way or the highway, as you Americans like to say.

Aidan said...

Nice of you to notice I'm actually in charge.

Marc said...

Snort. Whatever you say, m'lord. All right, kidding, kidding! No need for violence in front of the nice people.

You're tired. You know you are. C'mon, love. I'll rock you to sleep.

With a big rock.

Olivia Harper said...

Boy, I tell you, no topic is safe on this site... somehow, it always degrades into name-calling - and more often by the non-humans, I'd like to add.

Laura Martone said...

Actually, that's not fair, Olivia. The humans are just as guilty at times. It's an equal-opportunity community, after all. :-)

Olivia Harper said...

You're so right, Author. Forgive my generalization.

Laura Martone said...

Well, it had to happen once in a while... I mean, my being right about something.

Goodness knows, I wasn't right when I wrote a 290,000-word novel... no matter how interesting Ruby Hollow seemed at the time.

Abbie said...

I don't usually appear here but I just had to tell my experience with "Social Justice". I'm very old now but when I was a child it was forced upon me to accept my position as a servant. "That's your station in life, that's what you are and never step over the boundries. We're here to serve those better than us," Drilled into me it was and, even when I had a chance, I could never escape it. Never felt worthy. Always that little voice pushing me down. The rules of society ruined my life.

Aidan said...

Aw Abbie...

Marc said...

I hope you didn't mean me with the name calling, Olivia. He actually is a my lord, Lord Seer, to be specific.

It's just, he's 60 years younger than me and when he throws his tantrums it's tough to m'lord him properly.

Aidan said...

You forgot to mention how I hate it, too, Marc.

I hope everyone's doing well. It's beautiful here, sunny, and we're going for an evening swim.

Marc said...

Right. This is your Lord Seer after a proper nap. Much more pleasant.

Olivia Harper said...

I don't remember naming names, Marc, but I see your point.

And, Abbie, welcome, welcome. I'm sorry for your lifelong experience with social injustice. That's very sad...

This might be a crazy community of oddballs, but you're certainly welcome to break free of your binds a bit here. Hope you'll return soon. :-)

Marc said...

No offence taken Olivia, and cheers!