Reading Room and Gallery 25

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 25th one which means there are 24 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH

– re storytelling lessons from the screenplay.


“A lot has to happen from the time you finish your book until it is published. ” – from 10 Things I learned as a New Author by Phyllis Piano


“If I had been deterred or demoralized by the initial rejections, if I had given up then, the manuscript would still be sitting in some drawer.” – Leonard Chang


‘Thick Skin. I wish you the covering of the cascadura, since you must endure many disappointments and discouragements. Rejection slips are never welcome, and, unless you are very lucky, you will get many of these. Harder, though, may be the tossing-aside of people who dismiss your work, or folks, some of whom you may count as supporters or friends, who pigeonhole you. “A genre writer! Good at fantasy!” “Not bad at children’s stories.” “Good at travel writing — not much else.”’ – Pamela Mordecai


“Most poems begin for me with the very basic, almost physical need to write. Then comes the process of finding the right words, finding images that are both unexpected and easy to relate to. I write, then roll the words around in my mouth a bit, make sure that the texture is right. Read, edit, re-read and repeat!” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune. The post includes three of her poems.


“This was one of the things I learned about creativity. You have to let go of self-consciousness. When I started thinking about this book, I knew that if I felt self-conscious while writing, it would probably come out bit by bit and it would not be as honest.” – Amy Tan


“We were just in an atmosphere …that said it was okay to write…there was no separation for me from the West Indian street outside and the work that I was reading, sometimes even in French….I would say that it’s the duty of any parent to check out the talent of the child and to make sure that that talent is not smothered, that you don’t divert that child’s ambition, especially in terms of a writer; we would have more writers if we didn’t have a system that said you have to be a doctor or engineer.” – Derek Walcott in conversation with CBC Radio


“When you’re creating, it’s not always automatic. Many days in the studios were just days of talking and listening to music that had nothing to do with our music. Sometimes she’d say she wasn’t coming in. We treated it much more as a creative thing than an emotional process, but we knew there was a lot of emotion involved. Literally she’d sometimes say that she just was not coming in, so we’d create new tracks or tweak something or comp a vocal. We always had things to do even when she didn’t come in and we’d pick up where we left off.” – Jimmy Jam (producer) discusses the making of Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope


“Drop the hints. Don’t point out the clues.” – Janice Hardy on Telegraphing


“My advice to aspiring writers is the short story is a fantastic form to commit yourself to, but don’t to put all your eggs in the competition basket. Subscribe to your local literary journals, read them, submit your own stories: when accepted, add a line to your literary curriculum vitae; when rejected, take another look at the story and see if there’s anything you want to change before submitting it elsewhere.” – Confessions of a Prize Winner by New Zealand writer Craig Cliff, at Commonwealth Writers


“Foreshadowing can be a little confusing. It’s a single word used to describe a narrative technique that can be used for two different purposes. Probably there should be two different words—one for each purpose—but there isn’t. So to make this discussion a bit clearer, I’m going to borrow a word from film studies: planting (as in: planting and payoff).” – Don Allmon


“To me, structure always comes about as a result of trying to answer the issue of point of view.” – Christopher Nolan discussing Dunkirk


“I decide to dissect myself” – Sheena Rose


“What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?” – from Harlem by Langston Hughes


“I am the great mother boa
turning the soft egg of the world
beneath my ribs. I will tear myself in two
and heal before morning.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune


“I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with Allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to Europe
to cool my thirst.
My oldest daughter is Nefferttiti
the tears from my birth pains created the Nile
I am a beautiful woman” – Ego Trippin by Nikki Giovanni


“The night she tried to beat me, I slept on the veranda
of the shop in the square. At dawn, a man hauled
me home. She dragged me to school, whipped me
with the principal’s cane.” – Wounds by Juleus Ghunta


“Hyacinth Ike wanted to kill himself because he had lived a fulfilled, successful life and couldn’t think of anything else he was loitering in the world for.” – By Way of a Life Plot by Kelechi Njoku


-excerpt from The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden

“God thought of ways to punish the woman for what she had done, without immediately killing her.” – from The Day After by Stephen Greenblatt in The Paris Review


“I remember a Haitian radio show I was on years ago, after my first book was published. This woman called in to say, ‘That’s all fine and good, but you better get your nursing degree.’” – Edwidge Dandicat


‘It doesn’t matter what pisses you off, she says, as long as you pay attention to that feeling. “Writing against” is a good compass “until you know what you’re writing for,” she said.’ – Katherine Boo’s 15 Rules for Narrative Non Fiction


“Most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world.” – The Creative Process by James Baldwin


Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I a Woman speech is a powerful piece of speechmaking (note the use of tone and rhetoric in the words and in this Cicely Tyson interpretation of them).


“You stay because it’s your home, you have to stay and take care of it.” – Luis by Jo-Anne Mason

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

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