Monday, December 3 we discussed Octavia Butler’s Kindred in class. A time-travel story combined with a slave narrative. A black woman from 1976, Dana, travels back to 1815 (and onwards) to save her ancestor who is white and turns out to be a mean guy. Any time he needs help, Dana finds herself in the wrong time where her life is always in danger. With future knowledge, she can look at slavery with fresh eyes. She doesn’t stop to wonder how people could put up with this. However, in time she does the same just to survive. The story is rather bleak and I do understand why it would have to be like this. Slavery is not something fun. Still, the lack of heroes, the lack of kindness does annoy in the book. Rufus, the white guy who needs saving all the time is not thankful. He is just a bully. It could be the real world, in which people don’t change much, staying close to their habits. Well, the real world is occasionally depressing to read about.
All in all, it is interesting how Butler combines slave narrative with time travel. A person from the future can judge the events differently. It allows for a comparison between the past and the present (of the book). The conclusion, however, is that racism exists in the present as well, although in a different form.
1. Own and live in a house.
True house-life practice. My husband had left the day before, so I was all alone in Swansea, cleaning the house before the owners came back. If I learned only one thing, it was that things take time! The bigger the house, the more time you need.
2. Write AND publish a book.
A creative writing workshop in the evening. After we were done discussing Kindred, we took a look at the stories that we wrote. I had decided to submit my time travel piece as my final assignment so all the feedback was crucial. Oh, they liked it! But there are bits and pieces to work with. All in all gained lots of confidence about my writing.
3. Win a major race.
A rest day in the running world. Even took a bus to the university which I rarely do. Usually, I just walk/bike the 5 km from the centre to school and then later run down like crazy to catch my train/bus/whatever is taking me home. As I had luggage with me, I didn’t want to do it. This was the day when I travelled from Swansea to Cardiff and then late in the evening to Oxford.
Photo of the Day
First impressions of Oxford. Westgate Shopping Centre.