March is an over-packed month for me, so I’m not keeping up either with my novel in progress (The Body Project) or my Alchemy story here. I’m lecturing on March 14 in Peoria, IL, on the Maltese Falcon, did another lecture last week for a conference on women and gender, and have a couple of short writing projects to finish.
On March 28, I’m running a tour of V I’s Chicago as a fundraiser for a literacy group on whose advisory board I sit. I drove the route on Monday. We hope to start in South Chicago, where V I grew up. She was left for dead in Dead Stick pond in Blood Shot, and almost killed in the city’s garbage landfill in Fire Sale.
However, we had massive rains in Chicago Sunday and Monday, and the roads were under water. The tour will visit other highlights of the girl detective’s life, and we’ll drive past Barack’s house. The secret service won’t let us stop but hopefully people can snap pictures quickly through the bus windows.
Meanwhile, I’ve agreed to read short stories for the 2010 Edgars, so I’m not even reading anything I really like these days, whine, whine whine. If you’ve read a wonderful gripping novel lately, let me know–I’m desperate for a rich story!
I’ll hope to get back to a better writing schedule in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, here’s an interesting factoid I picked up doing research for my gender studies talk: If you watch movies, you may not ever have noticed, but most of the speaking parts go to men. In fact, 72 percent of speaking parts go to men. Women can talk less than a third of the time on screen, but, in fact, this mirrors real-life social experience.
A variety of studies, most recently at the University of San Francisco, show that in mixed groups, whether at work or at play, women can speak about a third of the time. If we take up more time — more space — than that — we’re labeled as conversation hogs, as aggressive bitches, and social pressures are marshaled to silence us. Notice for yourself the next time you’re at a dinner party and a woman seems to dominate the conversation: a wall comes down between her and her neighbors. Women as well as men stop listening to her.