History Repeats Itself

Jun 13, 2022 by Rose O'Keefe

The Trumpeter of Krakow was riveting historical fiction full of secrets, betrayals, old-time lore and descriptions of country and city life. It won the Newbery Award in 1930. Who was author and journalist Eric P Kelly (1884 – 1960) and how did he come to tell that story? Another rabbit hole for sure.

Making my way through Roxane Gay’s essay, “The Smooth Surfaces of Idyll,” in Bad Feminist (2014) at first felt like a chore. Her language didn’t go down as easily as The Trumpeter. But, the topic of dealing with trauma through art hit the mark when she related it to her own experience. She advocated a well-crafted blend of joy and sorrow to counter the happy-ever-after fairy tales of idealized places. Well said.

Her essay, “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence” was on target about an incident in which 18 males ranging from middle schoolers to age 27, raped an 11 year-old girl in a small town. News reports focused on the devasting impact it would have on the community’s and the males’ reputation and showed no concern for the girl. Gay wrote about living in strange and terrible times in which TV, soap operas, and movies perpetuated the lie of women falling in love with their abuser. Yup.

In “Soapbox” in PW (May 30) author Brandy Colbert spoke with author Eliot Schrefer about having their most recent books censored. Both were invited to speak at events but were told  ahead of time their books would not be available for sale. Hers was on the topic of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, and his on queer ducks and other unconventional animal sexuality. Ouch! They withdrew.

blog post. https://rokeefehistory.com/blog #amreading; #RochesterNY; #NewberyAward; #EricPKelly; #RoxaneGay; #BadFeminist; #BrandyColbert; #EliotSchrefer; #censorhip;