I haven't excerpted from my diary in a long time. Here's an entry dated 12/20/85. I was twenty. Mom was 63.
"Mom doesn't go in for fiction. It seems she literally can't understand the distinctions and accept the conventions of fiction. She laments and curses 'serious' dramas for 'oh they wouldn't really act like that' or 'so-and-so isn't a very good actor.' I don't think she is very qualified to pass judgment on acting ability.
"I went to The Color Purple. It opened in Santa Rosa today. Mom dropped me off on the way to a [substitute teaching] job. I took the bus home. I made the mistake of telling her a little about it when she got home from square dancing. She was instantly on the attack. I mentioned, just commenting on an observation, that the word 'nigger' is not used once in the film. Mom frowned, 'But they would've.' Fuck, so what? So it's a little revisionist. It worked.
"All right. Maybe I've exorcised some of the anger. [I've deleted some cursing.] I keep forgetting that I can't discuss movies and novels, in fact most of the stuff I read and see, with Mom. Documentaries are generally okay. Cuz then she can watch 'em for herself, I guess. Anyway -- I really enjoyed The Color Purple. My only real complaint is that both book and movie are a little too manipulative. But with that reservation I am glad to say I shed tears about three times during the film. I cried at the end of the book, too.
"... It's so frustrating. I can't seem to make Mom understand what I mean when I talk about -- The Color Purple, f'rinstance. And she gets so defensive. She said when she sees a movie filled with black faces she assumes the movie is a chronicle about what black people are like. I said, I don't. I see them as people first. She got a sorta fierce expression on her face and didn't seem to consider her position at all silly."