There’s a big contrast between the main setting of my novel and the four-chapter flashback into the secondary protagonist’s backstory. In some ways, it’s the difference between a more diverse fiction where people in marginalized groups star in their own stories, and the older, more whitewashed and straightwashed world of the stories we grow up being told are everybody’s.
In other words, Rivka’s flashback, as related to Shulamit, takes place in a more traditional fairy-tale setting. And since the conceit is that she’s telling it to Shulamit–although it’s not written in the first-person, that’s what’s going on in the background–I want the audience to think about not only the story but also Shulamit’s reaction to it while she’s hearing it. This is a young, brown-skinned gay woman with health issues listening to the story of white, mostly able-bodied straight people. In fact, most of the food references in the flashback — even those that are only components of metaphor — are things that Shulamit herself cannot eat.
Click the link to read the whole essay, which is a guest post on Dr. Tof Eklund’s blog.
The Second Mango, by Shira Glassman
It’s hard to find a girlfriend when you don’t know any other lesbians, so the young, nerdy Queen Shulamit hires the legendary warrior Rivka to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other girls like her. But the simple quest quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.