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Novels with a subplot that addresses an important environmental issue
Four short stories and a novella depict coming of age in East Vancouver during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s
One of the reasons I write is to explore contemporary issues through different perspectives. For example, in Book 3 of the Mattie Saunders Series (yet untitled), I’m researching the #MeToo movement and the issue of sexual harassment through the eyes of Mattie, my protagonist.
This investigation that included watching Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and hearing the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford made me reflect on my own behaviour. Did I ever cross the line, that line being the use of force or intimidation to have sex with a woman?
The answer is an emphatic no. Why am I so convinced? To understand, you need some context.
Between the ages of fourteen and nineteen, I tried to have sex with every woman I dated. It was just what you did, and, it seemed the girls I dated expected me to, not that they were all cooperative.
It was a game we played in the backseats of cars and in dark rec rooms.
The necking would start, and hands would search out clasps to undo, pants to slide down or dresses to slip up. There were three inevitable outcomes. The girl would get up and go home, the girl would break off go to the washroom, come back and re-engage only to break off, etc., the girl would go all the way.
Despite the outcome, I didn’t feel different about the girl, though the ones who walked out never dated me again.
I don’t think I was too different, or indifferent than most guys my age at that time, except for me when it came to sex it wasn’t so much the destination, but rather the journey.
Women had to want to have sex with me, that was whole the point. It was all about being cool, attractive and desirable. If I got turned down, and I did, a lot, I told myself it was their loss. I may not have been a nice guy, but I wasn’t a misogynist.
The idea of using anything but charm, appearance and style combined with a confident, cavalier attitude was unimaginable. In fact, intimidation, coercion or force were the antipathies to what was trying to be achieved.
The times have changed dramatically in fifty years, I’ve matured, and my attitude regarding many things has undergone a paradigm shift. What hasn’t changed is my view that using force to achieve your goals is the way of idiots and cowards, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish.
Not surprisingly, Mattie feels the same way.
Mattie Saunders Book 3
My #MeToo Moment
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Rod Raglin AUTHOR, WRITING COACH, JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHER
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East Vancouver has become gentrified and at the same time romanticized. It was neither when I was growing up on East 4th Avenue in ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Indeed, it was the neighbourhood you hoped to get out of rather than move in to.
A low-income, blue collar community, adults spent their evenings and weekends in the Legion while their kids were raised on the street. They left home in the morning, showed up for dinner, and were gone again until “the gun” sounded at 9 p.m. I was one of them.
During the time away adventures were undertaken, friendships were forged, and character was created. East Van Rules was not only meant as a challenge, but also a code to live by.
These four short stories and novella highlight coming of age events during that era; a ten year old playing for the elementary school softball championship, a teenage tough strutting his stuff at the local dance, a hippie youth hitchhiking across Canada during the Summer of Love.
Watershed moments told from a perspective that explains why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you'll never take East Van out of the boy.
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"Writing - the experience" at http://rodraglin.wordpress.com/
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