21 12 / 2012
"In the beginning, people would say, ‘Do you regard yourself as a black writer, or as a writer?’ and they also used the word woman with it - woman writer. So at first I was glib and said I’m a black woman writer, because I understood that they were trying to suggest that I was ‘bigger’ than that, or better than that. I simply refused to accept their view of bigger and better. I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. I really do. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger."
21 12 / 2012
Black feminist thought is not simply an interest group advocating for powerful Black women, it is about seeing the world with a vision of liberation. At least it should be…
And, Toni Morrison is everything. She announces to the world that the very best, the most profound, the most beautiful and the deepest cutting words emerge from the embodied lives of Black women. What better license to write could there be?"
26 11 / 2012
If you want to write for a living, you will lose friends and lovers. The chance you will be rich and famous is miniscule. It is hard work and it feels like you are always splaying your innards out for the world to see. Write anyway.
You can write the story, you can not write the story - people will have a problem either way. They will say, “You don’t write for the right people” or “You can/should do better” or “You don’t write enough” or “You write too much.” Remember: The people doing all that talking? They’re not writing. Writers write. Talkers talk. You should let them.
Take what is useful and leave the rest. Always. Most writers I know and admire say they try to take both praise and criticism as the ephemeral feedback they can be.
The most effective, enduring tool in your writer’s toolbox is discipline.
Writers who don’t like to read are typically bad writers. Reading gives you a wealth of life and experience that you don’t have time to experience firsthand, and it both deepens and expands your work at the same time.
Call yourself whatever you want: journalist, writer, blogger, content creator. Labels are really only useful for food. What really matters: Courage, humility and endurance.
People who procrastinate believe they have time. The wise among us know that we are always working against the clock.
Procrastination is a good mask for things we’d rather not admit to ourselves. But excuses, delays, refusal to submit to journals, to apply for grants, residencies or scholarships - these are self-sabotage. I read somewhere that professional writers should view submission as a business. This is why, at any given time, I have three calendars in rotation to keep track of deadlines.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. (Wayne Gretzky)
Do what you need to do to get your work out there if you really want to be published. No one is coming to do it for you. There are a ton of people who are threatened by the combination of hard work, talent and good timing.
When you don’t put your work into the world, they win.
Do or do not, the Jedi Master says. There is no try.
I need this. All of it.
01 11 / 2012
"My mother had warned that if I dated a British girl, I might eventually marry one. A British woman wouldn’t know how to comb our young daughter’s hair. My mum would raise her eyes subtly to point out the half-British/half-West Indian girls in the supermarket with knots in their heads. My father said my half-British sons might not respect me. It was hard enough to get sons to look up to their fathers, he said. How much harder if the son had the colonizer’s blood in him?"