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 26th one which means there are 25 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
“When the blackness of winter descends, small signs of ordinary life are especially pleasing. People use the decorative rituals of Christmas as if to wave at their neighbors and call out, “We are still here!” The human race resists obliteration; our spirits are not so easily destroyed.” – Leslie Kendall Dye
“So he argues that it was natural for Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was farsighted, to create poems that themselves capture a wide scope, with their far-off vistas, mountain ranges, and expansive landscapes. Nearsighted Keats, on the other hand, favored images that are self-limiting, close-up, and auditory rather than visual. The sense of hearing, Trevor-Roper suggests, is intensified in Keats’s work for neurological reasons: when the sense of sight is damaged or limited, the other senses develop greater sensitivity in order to compensate for the loss.” – Myopic Keats by Ann Townsend
WRITERS ON CRAFT
“Some of my fiction is set in Southeast Asia. You’ve probably heard the writing advice: Write what you know. I know this region. But stories don’t just arise from the known. They come from things that make you stop and go: “Whoa. WTF?” Stories grow from questions.” – Location and Writing: A Guest Post by Elka Ray, Author of Saigon Dark
“The place where someone grows up molds a person. So does an era. Fiction is no different; setting is deeply embedded in the history of a character, and therefore integral to the story’s development and the character’s journey.” – Lorena Hughes
“Caesar’s double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.” – The Fall of Rome by W. H. Auden
“After Gilbert, father brought a woman to survey my face.
She pressed my broad nose against his, dark skin against skin,
told him a fi yuh damage dis—this damage is yours.” – Damage by Juleus Ghunta
“my father’s eyes
he smiled” – Reading Three Newspapers a Day by Leonard Durso
“the balloons needed blowing,
and so in the evening
we sat together to blow
balloons and tell jokes” – from Coffee Break by Kwame Dawes
– “I ain’t one of you all peers/I’m the sum of all fears” – Black Thought of The Roots, planting his boot in the Greatest Of All Time debate #topfive
– Black Thought, “who is he?”
“They don’t see creative industries as serious. We dissuade young people from pursuing the arts as careers. We dissuade them from studying literature, we dissuade them from studying film, or art. We shepherd them in to industries that we think are more conducive to the two main revenue streams that we see in our budget – financial services and tourism…they don’t see the economic value to the country; what do we benefit by having theatre, books…” – Richards Georges’ TEDx in the BVI
“If it’s that serious . . . ,” said the younger woman. She paused a moment. “Then you’ll have to make some concessions.” – from The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi, translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright.
“The child she was carrying seemed to grow twice as heavy, and the sky, whose clear blue had been such a welcome contrast to the gray clouds of the past few days, began to stir with an unseasonal southerly wind. As they turned out of the alley where the clothes shop was situated, the contrast could not have been greater: from a lonely place where gusts of wind pursued fallen leaves and scraps of plastic lay idle in the gutter, to the vast expanse of the central road.
There, where the mass celebrations would soon be taking place, the street looked like some fierce wild beast, shaking its mane and roaring. Bristling with posters and placards, strong sharp lines of red writing that made the eye wince to look at them; lined on both sides with innumerable flags, their fabric snapping taut in the wind; pierced by shrill whistles, underlining each new announcement or command; rent down the middle by a dark blue broadcast car, blaring slogans through its loudspeaker, again and again so that the whole street rang with them. Punctuated every so often by a plane looming low in the city’s skies, rising from takeoff or coming onto land; even their engines seemed to explode into an unprecedented roar, agitating the figures who moved below, causing them unconsciously to quicken their step.” – A short story smuggled out of
North Korea. From Bandi’s (aka ‘Firefly’) Newly Translated Collection of Fiction.
“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
‘People think they are interested in women who don’t play by society’s rules, but when they see it in action, it is too disturbing. A question I kept getting was why is she “like that”? My question was “like what?” After all, in my view, Celestial is a person who wants the same things that anyone wants—to live her life in a way that fulfills her. This emotional limbo of being married but not really, of having one foot in her life as an artist and one foot emotionally serving the needs of her husband—it was too much.’ – Tayari Jones
“I wanted to include self-published works because it can be hard for those authors to get readers to discover their work. A lot of authors who are self-published have reached out to me in hopes that We Read Too can be a place for them to get more reader discovery for their work. I know that for authors of color it can be hard to get into the publishing world, so I want to support those who haven’t gone through the traditional routes. I want all authors of color to have their work highlighted in We Read Too, regardless of how they got their work out there.” – We Read Books Too app founder Kaya Thomas
‘I have a beanbag chair in my office, and there are days when I am sitting in it, looking from my window overlooking Central Park from the 36th floor of the Hearst Building and thinking, “They’re paying me to read?”’ – Leigh Haber
“CaribbeanReads …How did that day dreaming influence your illustrations, Danielle.
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné …Dolphin’s daydreaminess really helps define him, I think. It was the first thing that struck me when I started doing concept sketches of each of the characters. It set him apart from his friends…. aside from his nose of course. In the illustrations, I wanted his eyes to always be wide and filled with wonder.” – conversation between Danielle Boodoo Fortune, Caribbean Reads Publishing, and Joanne C. Hillhouse about collaborative project, children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure
“Always close to home, it has been a delight seeing a private student, a little girl of eight whom I tutor, experiencing the antics of Anansi for the first time through Philip M. Sherlock’s Anansi the Spider Man. She had never before read or been read the stories. An essential primer, the book can be enjoyed either way. I was told by Ayesha Gibson-Gill, the National Cultural Foundation’s literary arts officer, that the Bajan book stall at Carifesta XI in Suriname couldn’t stock enough Anansi titles by our authors: everyone was after the trickster. One of the other books I have on Anansi is actually a Dutch title purchased in 2003 at Carifesta VIII, also in Suriname.” – Robert Edison Sandiford on Carifesta Xlll
“The IndyList, as we like to call it, is a selection of 12 Barbadian books to make friends with over the coming year.” Check them out.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. If you enjoyed it, check out my 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.