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getting further behind

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.  

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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.images-1

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. 


From 2008 Report to the Media

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  • genny

    I so jealous! I’d love to take to experience the VI tour. What an incredible adventure.

    My brother works with someone that lives near Barack’s home. She said she’s never felt safer.

    I wasn’t really aware of the gender gap in the movies. I wonder if the study considered all types of movies, regardless of the lead. There are probably more movies made with men in the leading role and that would account for some of it. Maybe it’s the type of movies I tend to watch, with strong female leads–like “Steel Magnolia’s”.

  • ab

    That talking time gap is everywhere, from daycare to school to working places to dinner parties. Progressive daycare center carers are surprised when they are timed and discover that they, too, allow the boys to talk for longer time than the girls – although they believe they do not.

  • corkhead

    In movies and tv, apart from the obvious female romantic lead, females are usually victims and often, for story purposes, expendable. The same can be said for newspapers where, if you count the numbers of times women appear, an awful lot of them are victims of crime – ie.rape or murder.

  • Hi Sara,
    I’m working my way through the books you recommended to Barack a few months back, so while I *AM* reading some very interesting books… you have already read them. I finished Red Harvest. Hammett is still not as dear to me as Chandler, but I thought that the corruption of the main character was done very well. Women characters pretty horrible, but that’s just a fact of the genre I guess!

    On the other hand, I am now reading Grey is the Color of Hope. Really excellent look at human nature and the nature of power and authority. The fact that she was able to utilize tips from the works of Solzhenitsyn. Thank you so much for the recommendation

  • I’d give my left arm to join you on that tour but out of state I won’t be back home until the middle of April…Rats! Could you maybe post some pictures??

  • Hi, Sara!

    You have just been given the Sisterhood Award for blogging.

    http://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/sisterhood-award/

  • Patty Hans

    A friend and I will be on your VI’s Chicago tour on Saturday and are looking forward to it so much!

    Great book – “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

  • Patty, I’ll look forward to meeting you & your friend. It looks as though the weather will be truly disgusting, but we will have fun, anyway!

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