Love-story with… races of the world


OK, so I spent what I still consider the best years of my life (1973-1978, yeah, a century ago! 😦 ) in a most international city, Geneva – Switzerland, next to the UN palace… not really, but I went there sometimes for shopping (don’t ask me what advantages we had there, I was too young to care). Anyway, it’s a very international town with people from all over the world, so I was used to see children of all colors and races (and that’s probably why I still feel “international” today).

I wished to have a black boy in my classroom, but it never happened (although I had a couple of  “metisse” girls – a la Will Smith, not Don Cheadle – during the last 2 years). But I had a couple of almond-eyed girls during the first 3 years, one from Japan (who at 10/11-year-old could already draw like an adult, they’re gifted, no wonder they have manga for all ages! ;-)) and the other from Laos. My sister had African classmates, but not me, sniff. 😦

Then I came back to Rome and an all “white” world… and it showed in my writing! I never wished to be blonde like my sister (who used to draw herself with long blond tresses when mum forced us to keep our hair short – and we were both brunettes), but everybody around me and on TV was “white,” so my “casting” were quite obvious.

My first Asian Character was based on Hiroyuki Sanada’s Ayato, and it’s a(n awful) sci-fi story of the early 80s. Then I started traveling on my own and watching world movies, and in the 90s I put Gong Li in the Chronicles of the Moren Empire (to be rewritten completely in a couple of years). I had my 30+ pen-palz all over the world and some were Asian (Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan). When I started my (failed) attempt of conquering Hollywood and went to screenwriting events I finally met the first Afro-Americans/British than I now call friends, but it took me over thirty years to see my childhood dream come true! 😉

In the new millennium I decided that the “Black Empire” mentioned in the Chronicles of the Varian Empire (hopefully out next year) was called so because of the inhabitants’ skin color (so it’s not a fantasy cliche for “evil kingdom” but a fantasy version of Africa). And then I added the Islands Empire, very loosely based on China AND Japan (I haven’t done much research yet, but I don’t have a story set there, only characters coming from there and traveling around, haha :D) and in the “past” the southern kingdoms are based on India and Persia (after the fall of the Varian Empire it’s loosely North Africa/Arabia, as there’s a brand new Sahara-like desert down there).

So I love them all. Long before Angelina Jolie started the trend (and when I still wanted children) I dreamed of having one white (I hadn’t considered the father could be of another color), then adopt four more, one Caucasian, one Asian, one African and one from the First Nations (white, yellow, black and red, right?). Now I don’t want children, but I wouldn’t mind a man of another skin color – provided he’s at least as tall as myself  (which, unfortunately, probably rules out most Asians, sigh). 😉

We’re all humans after all, aren’t we?

Love and peace!

2 Comments

  1. I love how real life and art keep crossing over in your stories, Barb! Hope your wish comes true, and you’ll have a Bollywood gala wedding :). (Btw, Indians can be loosely termed as Asians, too, and I’m sure you can find one taller than you among men of Indian descent ;-).)

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    • Indian wedding with the red sari is enough, I don’t want a gala! 😉
      (I know, Hema, it’s the almond-eyed that are probably too short – and some are soo yummy, sigh! :-D)

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