A Cultural Glimpse at America
Over the last day or two, I’ve been reading a new book from Nancy French, A Red State of Mind, How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle. The writing is excellent and entertaining about her personal experiences of living in different places in the United States. One of the areas where Nancy and her husband lived for a while was in Manhattan—New York City. Ironically as I’m reading this book, it’s where I am for a few days of meetings.
As I walked the city streets last night, I could feel the energy—and the differences. The jostling crowd in Times Square is a far contrast from my normal home in the desert. A Red State of Mind celebrates some of these differences and I thought I’d give you a taste of what Nancy has in this interesting book. Nancy grew up in the south and continues to live in this part of the world. Here’s a short paragraph example of her writing:
“Something about the Southern culture—perhaps the way we’re taught to look people in the eye and offer a firm handshake—makes people more congenial, more aware of each other’s presence. For example, the simple tradition of opening doors for ladies causes people to be more cognizant of each other. women move out of the way slightly, men quickly position themselves to open it unobtrusively, and women say a simple thank you as they pass through the portal—be it the door to the 7–Eleven or the entrance to the church. Because it’s a delicate dance of etiquette that requires the participation of both genders, Southern gentlemen sometimes look awkward in the North—falling all over themselves trying to open doors for urban women who don’t expect the gesture.” (p. 139)
This book in the memoir category shows the diversity that we can have with our writing. One day I can work on a magazine article and the next day a full length book proposal. Then another day I can be making progress on my current book project. It’s our lives as writers and editors. I’m off to a series of meetings in New York City with great anticipation at what I will learn.