March 5th, 2011

neutral

Remembering Dossouye and Gbo

I've been talking on Dreamwidth with a friend who's posting Yoruban language lessons.  I happened to mention reading an African-themed story about a warrior woman, Dossouye, and her war-bull, Gbo.  In tracking down the reference, I discovered that the author has since written a novel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dossouye
http://www.reindeermotel.com/CHARLES/charles_dossouye.html

I read the original short stories long ago.  They stuck in my mind as iconic examples of ethnic fiction, stories in which the local color shapes the characterization and the plot, so evocatively done that it should be pinned to the bulletin board and labeled "Like This."  I have always loved stories that come out of a particular ethnic background, a specific environment and cultural system.  In college I managed to find classes on Native American Literature and Chicana Literature.  European history and folklore are cool too, and I use them -- but I like having other options.  I like being able to read about a totally different worldview and setting.  I like being able to write about characters whose virtues, vices, and cultural expectations may be utterly unlike those presented in European-flavored fantasy.

So if you like the local color in my writing, this is one of my inspirations.