Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Word Truly Defines You?

                             Compunction, exuberant, chaos, and optimism. What word truly defines you? Could it be a single word, or could it be a colorful array of words? "Defined by Others", by M.C.V. Egan takes you on a spiritual journey on what it truly means to define a moment, creating secrets, and what those secrets could cost you. 

                                Anne, is a newly divorced woman, who just found out her husband is coming out of the closet(in a closet). With her new divorce, she heads to her hometown to attend an old friend's funeral. There she is given some "inheritance", which includes a very twisted and witty social mind game they like to call The Catfish Project. With the help of her friend Callie the two go down a road neither of the them thought they would end up, and they find out just who they really are meant to become. 
                            "Defined by Others" is a beautiful, witty, heartfelt story of two women finding themselves in a world that once made sense, and is now turned upside down. If you are curious to know more about this game, then make sure to grab yourself a copy of this amazing tale.

As much as I loved this fascinating story, I also had the pleasure of interviewing the author. So, feel free to join me in my conversation with M.C.V. Egan. 

Everyone has their defining moment. Yet Society believes they deserve the credit most times. What is your opinion about that? How would Anne feel?
1. I think that at different stages of life there are defining moments and some are very personal, even intimate. Falling in love, achieving a personal goal and others are very public, running a marathon, getting married. 

I see public ones as linked to society in different ways but the personal ones, are often important to one individual or a small close group. 

Anne in Defined by Others is lost and confused. She uses a word to define a moment ( every moment) so she can grasp how it relates to her. 

She is struggling between being the individual she hopes to be and fitting into a society she reluctantly belongs to. 

In today's society, more and more people accepting gays and lesbians alike. Both Anne's and Connie's husbands turned out to be gay, and they seemed to accept it. What is your view on the subject? Has it always been the same?
2. I am very embarrassed to admit that my view has not always been as open-minded and aware. I was raised in a strict religious society, in which it was inherently taught that homosexuality was wrong.

I am also of a generation where people were careful and forced to hide it. However, in the 1970s people I knew started to come out of the closet, and I felt comfortable with accepting that we do not all need to be the same.

In life I have had help and friendships with people of different sexual orientations who have always treated me with respect and respected my heterosexual way of life.

I am universally open-minded and tolerant, I do not see where it is my place to judge.

In the 1990s like so many the film Philadelphia through Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Antonio Banderas, made me aware of the social limitations imposed on people who have a different lifestyle.

I hope that globally gay rights include all rights that I and other heterosexuals take for granted

That being said; I am horrified by ANY act of forced sex, sexual abuse or trafficking and there I hope perpetrators get punished to the full extent of the law. Most especially the abuse of children.
    Anne and Connie resume playing 'Amanda's Game' after her death. Have you ever had an Amanda in your life?
3. I have experienced, bullying, betrayal, been the victim of gossip in my life. I have also experienced great friendships, love and support.
Amanda is strictly fictional, but I did base her characteristics on people I have observed manipulating situations or other people; and getting away with it.
I can honestly say that I have from a very young age been very good at keeping away from gossip and even diffusing it. One of my favorite ways is saying; “Wow I wonder what you say about me when I am not around”.
That seems to keep gossipers away from me.

Society at times tends to have a hand in defining ones moment. How do you feel it has changed form when you grew up, to today? Has it changed at all?
4. In my case it has been huge and it has changed. I was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959 and girls had a strict code of behaviour, especially Catholic school uniform wearing girls!
I fell in love with the soon as we moved to D.C., I loved the sense that I could be ANYTHING regardless of gender.
In the five decades plus that I have lived, and in the various countries where I have lived, society has changed a lot; although in many circles today it seems like a pendulum is swinging towards less rights for women at times.
I am in awe at the amazing young women I meet when I travel to Mexico, I think as the world has become more global society is being forced to do so as well.

Throughout the story, Anne has an array of words to define moments. Have you ever caught yourself defining a moment with one word in your life, or for others around you?
5. I do now! I wrote Defined by Others in November 2013 as part of NaNoWriMo and succeeded on the 50K plus goal in 30 days. I worked on the editing but put it down for at least 6 months.
My good friend Birgitte; who is also one of my Beta Readers, and I took an amazing trip to Prague last Fall, and she started “defining with a word” so that made me dust off the manuscript do final edits and publish.
After the trip last October, I do, I have fun seeking THE one word that defines a moment.

Have you ever been in a situation like Anne and Connie where you have a secret and once it has built up you are unsure of how to stop it?
6. Not really, but to produce that emotion I tapped into my memories of divorce in 1986. I was the one who chose to end the marriage, and for a while it did feel like I was trying to figure out how to change or stop things.

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