Tag Archives: Tananarive Due

Reading Room and Gallery 46

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

VISUAL ART

I requested and received images from top (and consistently so over her decades spanning career) Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram‘s December 2022 show, held for a second year at the Henre Designs Studio in Belmont. If you missed the 2022 show, this is a selection capturing signature Doram – Colour, Caribbean, Culture, Nature, Life Vignettes, Ever Evolving, Women, and in particular Black women, and if we want to get to the nitty gritty Black Caribbean women whose every expression is a whole story.

Heather has been featured in several installments of my (author and Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse’s) art and culture column CREATIVE SPACE:

CREATIVE SPACE #4 OF 2020 – ART, MORE ESSENTIAL THAN EVER

CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2020 – MORE ESSENTIAL THAN EVER 2 (THE PANDEMIC SERIES)

CREATIVE SPACE #9 OF 2021 – #ARTISTCHALLENGE, WHAT CAUGHT MY EYE

Art, More Essential than Ever (CREATIVE SPACE Coda)

CREATIVE SPACE #6 OF 2022: THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (A WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE)

View the slides, read the articles and discover Heather Doram art.

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Lost, a short film by Tananarive Due, African-American horror writer.

POETRY

“I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

mallet and a proem in my hands.

they seek destruction and prelude:

what way to acknowledge those we lost to this.

what sobbing tragedy.” – from “Chaos Theory” by Nnadi Samuel in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“ask the men who have feasted on me

          if they ever had to dislodge

     my bone from their throats” – from “Fish” by Topher Allen in Speak Out! 2 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“Now, all across this archipelago
are those no longer daunted
by the world, no longer fearful
of dismantling one history
for another. Ancestral guardians
everywhere open the gates of memory
of origins we recognize at last as ours” (from “Archipelago”)

“We watch him reading silently. She, eyeing him
all the while, waits with the rarest patience.
Perhaps this book will teach him how to answer
all the “Whys?” she’s heaping up
or prompt him to another round of games.” (from “Meeting-Point”)

“I searched for calmer spaces.
Somewhere inside these tangled forests
there must be a tract where sunlight falls,
soft rain nurtures green shoots, and the sound
of the wind as it rises is the call of a heart – ” (from “You Another Country”)

From Leaving Atlantis (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2015) by Barbadian poet and poet laureate Esther Phillips, editor of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century

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“years later, Buju entrapped in Babylon, and you, telling me how you nearly forgot, but your voice broke into a gravelly chant when the bassline dropped” – from “After Buju’s Love Sponge since I was Never One” by Soyini Forde in ANMLY

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“We always would let her sing, then build the track in around her vocal” – Jimmy Jam on producing Janet Jackson

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“Combining the styles from old Hollywood movies – Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and we’re throwing it all in this wild setting.” – Amy Wright, choreographer of the fantasy dance sequence in the series The Boys.

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“Sometimes nature can mimic our deep need to belong to the world and that is what this scene is about.” – Denis Villeneuve, director, Dune

STORIES

“Atiya planned on delivering her baby in the privacy of her home, in water, guided by the spirits of her mothers.” – from “Atiya Firewood” by Lisa Latouche in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“‘Don’t worry jareIt is just a scare tactic.’ Dubem appeared unbothered, and so, I was unbothered.” – from “Dubem” by Priscilla Keshira in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“Jared thought to himself: Is you who could a shoot me. De man dem a drive away and is you fire after them. I was near the car.” – from “Things must Change” by Lloyd D’Aguilar in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“‘Close your eyes, and imagine you were riding a bus.’ I closed my eyes, and a flutter of ecstasy rose from my chest to my throat.

‘Imagine you were riding a bus, but remove the constant bumps and potholes.’” – from “A Matter of Time” by Kabubu Mutua in Speak Out! 2 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“I picked up the hallway handset as Adada was screaming, ‘Doctors write, Lusubilo! Don’t doctors write? Doctors write useful things. Like prescriptions and medical books! What is this foolishness about wanting to be a writer? Better stop with this fucking nonsense!’ ” – from “A Doctor, A Lawyer, An Engineer or A Shame to the Family” by Mubanga Kalimamukwento in Speak Out! 3 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“Opened up my eyes in Ward C one mornin’, and a broad-shouldered lady in hair curlers was grinnin’ down at me.” – from “Annabeth” by Rolli in Speak Out! 3 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“We had a clear view of the horizon in any season.”

St. Lucian writer McDonald Dixon reading from his novel A Scream in the Shadows

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“So, you’ve tasted the fisherman, but you’re not satisfied. You are his secret. He tiptoes to your backdoor after dark. He only kisses you with the curtains closed. He makes love to you with the lights off. He leaves your bed to sleep in hers. You want more. You want to keep him all to yourself.” – The Fix by Alexia Tolas, 2022 winner-BCLF Elizabeth Nunez for Writers in the Caribbean

INTERVIEWS, CONVERSATIONS

“We, the artists, we need to be partnered with organizations who have the resources that can fund the work we do because creating the work is one thing, getting it out is another…the theatre production that we’d done, bits of it were taken like to schools… bits of it were done like in a rum shop…bits of it were done like at community meetings…more of that needs to happen but that takes funding, that takes money, we need to partner with who can help.” – Kendel Hippolyte, award winning St. Lucian poet and dramatist, during a panel entitled “Art and Climate Justice: Reimagining the Future” chaired by Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, Commonwealth Foundation

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 “Now, for instance, my showrunner Jenn Flanz…I’ll say to her, ‘hey, watch out for my blind spots. I’m not a woman, so let me know if I’m missing anything.’” – Trevor Noah in conversation with Alex Wagner about creating comedy

***

“At 72, I guess I also am more aware of aging, death of friends and my own time of departure, whenever that comes.” – St Lucian poet John Robert Lee with Jacqueline Bishop an article in her series in the Jamaica Observer.

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“The captain had been to West Africa: the captain knew Barbados – that’s where he found Samboo and picked him out as a gift for his wife. There were things that he and the captain shared. You read it as an unnatural attachment, but I had to fiture out what else did this nine- or ten- year old have. He’s overwhelmed with fear and panic, and he wants to be out of it, he wants to lie down and not wake up. But I couldn’t leave him there, so I gave an alternative, imagined ending of the return. Perhaps his last dream, a vision, perhaps his spirit travels home; I’d like to think it did.” – Dorothea Smartt in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop:

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“My reaction sent me on a journey of further reading and thinking that led me to reevaluate a lot of my beliefs and realize the incompleteness, partiality, and, in some cases, dishonesty of many of the narratives that prevail around British colonialism in the UK. In addition to broadening my horizons, my reading quest remade my understanding of myself and my world. Although the journey wasn’t always easy and required me to shed some assumptions along the way, it taught me to see much further than I’d been able to do before. Even books that seem to have been written that have quite different views from us can deliver such epiphanies.” – Audio essay. Ann Morgan on BBC: Four Thought – Reading Outside Your Comfort Zone.

***

Marita Golden, co-editor of Gumbo, revisits the making of the seminal anthology with some of its 70 contributors, all successful writers in their own right. They also discuss writing and publishing then and now. See also the Gumbo review in this site’s first Blogger on Books.

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Image: “Seba’s Ecstasy” by Delvin Lugo. Credit A. McKenzie (from Delvin Lugo – Caribbean-American Artist Depicts ‘Chosen Family’ | Inter Press Service (ipsnews.net))

IPS interview (“Caribbean-American Artist depicts Chosen Family“) with Dominican-American Delvin Lugo about his first solo show in New York. ‘The exhibition, titled “Caribbean Summer”, pulled visitors in with its vivid colours and animated characters and also exemplified the success of alternative art events. The gallery space was provided by non-profit arts group Chashama, which describes itself as helping to “create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate”.’

NON-FICTION/ESSAYS/CREATIVE NON-FICTION

“Another thing my daughter taught me: surveillance is never neutral (Foucault).” – “Lettre a Simone” by Sonya Moor in Speak Out! 2 on Adda published by Commonwealth Writers

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“So when Babylon, like a raging bulldozer, tramples over your daughter’s rights to wear her hair as she pleases, when it wields shears like a weapon and turns her scalp into a scarred hill, woman, don’t let the oppressors see you cry.” – “Hair/Her Emancipation” by Nadine Tomlinson in Speak Out! 3 on Adda published by Commonwealth Writers

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CREATIVE SPACE is an Antigusn and Barbudan/Caribbean art and culture column by Joanne C Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator. It runs every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer and online. This Reading Room and Gallery (likely the last of 2022) seems a good time to recap the most popular CREATIVE SPACE of 2022:

it “is a tradition and skill I’m very passionate about,” Celene Senhouse in CREATIVE SPACE #19 OF 2022: THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE (10), “It was an exciting time then…dealing with children who wanted to play the pan,” Barbara Mason in CREATIVE SPACE #7 OF 2022: THE PAN PROGRAMME AT CULTURE: WHAT HAPPENED…? (9), “gentle rising ground…open to the sweet and gentle breeze of the bay” is the location of the historical site discussed in CREATIVE SPACE #11 OF 2022: MINING NUGGETS OF HISTORICAL GOLD (8), “the epitome of glamour, structure, and sophistication” is how model and budding designer Nicoya Henry describes her new direction in CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2022: CUT AND CONTRIVE (7), “whatchu gonna do, whatchu gonna do, when time, time, time, finally run out on you,” Short Shirt wonders in this track from the album featured in CREATIVE SPACE #5 OF 2022 – IS PRESS ON SHORT SHIRT’S GREATEST ALBUM? – A CASE COULD BE MADE (6), “But these are just memories, and everyone’s Carnival memories will be different,” I acknowledge in CREATIVE SPACE #15 OF 2022: THAT CARNIVAL FEELING (5), “a form of self-care…a fun, creative outlet” is how St. Lucian sister Catherine-Esther Cowie described collaging in CREATIVE SPACE #22 OF 2022: ART PLAY – MAKING ‘USELESS’ STUFF AS A FORM OF SELF-CARE (4), “de song an’ dem so sweet…I does forget they send me out,” my mother said recalling town crier Quarkoo in CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2022: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? (3), “To the best of my knowledge, no legislation exists that mandates women must not enter sleeveless into government buildings. It is actually a policy held over from the colonial period,” said lawyer Beverly George in CREATIVE SPACE #2 OF 2022: THE CII™ OF PUBLIC SECTOR DRESS CODES (2), and “Heather Doram, a former Culture director and the designer of our national dress” is one of the women featured in CREATIVE SPACE #6 OF 2022: THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (A WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE) (1).

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“All this made me wonder the extent to which the diaspora represents an untapped market for St. Lucian literature, where the challenge is one of reaching readers.” – from “St. Lucians don’t read: Fact or Myth?” by Anderson Reynolds

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“In talking to someone recently about the new set of plates I had completed, The Market Woman’s Story, in which I traced the figure of the huckster, higgler, vendor from the period of slavery until today while enveloping her in fruits and flowers, he pointed out that my first collection of poems, Fauna from Peepal Tree Press, had a section that did a similar thing, for in it I was using local Caribbean flowers to tell Jamaican women’s stories. I suddenly realised that I had a long history of using floral imagery to represent female concerns.” – “The Market Woman’s Story” by Jacqueline Bishop in the Jamaica Observer

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“In an introduction to Steppenwolf (which I’ve not finished reading after all these years of trying, as much as I love Siddhartha), Hesse complained that his poetic writing was often misunderstood. But he nonetheless conceded it was up to the reader to interpret his work, declaring, “I neither can nor intend to tell my readers how they ought to understand my tale. May everyone find in it what strikes a chord in him and is of some use to him!” Who knows if Hesse would approve of my wayward ways. He would certainly not deny me my right to remember the version of the book I first found as a young, single student in London one balmy autumn day in 2004.” – “My Hundred-Year-Old Boyfriend: On Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha” by Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo in LitHub

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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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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Reading Room and Gallery 43

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

VIDEO ESSAYS

“When he left, Marley was despondent, feeling betrayed by the country he had given his life to…”

***

“It’s harder than you think it is…” – Lindsey Ellis

POETRY

“Hurricanes that stagger like a betrayed lover barreling through the islands until its rage is spent on the sands of our beaches/littered with masks and plastic bottles” – ‘Archipelagos‘ by Geoffrey Philp

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“I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” – from Langston Hughes’ ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers

FICTION

“When Kali fights Raktavera it seems impossible because every drop of his blood generates new demons. She figures out how to defeat him. She lifts him above the earth, slays him, and drinks his blood. Consuming Raktavera’s blood, Kali goes into a destructive trance. She can’t control herself. She kills.” – from ‘Journey to Ashes‘ by Joy Mahabir

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“In the beginning Leona thought the river was a horrible way to meet men. She thought Nell and I should meet them through normal channels, at church or a coffee shop, and not immediately after they’d tried to end their lives. Over the years, though, she’d accepted that my sister and I weren’t attracted to churchgoing, coffee-shop sorts, that we liked men who’d reached the ends of their ropes, guys who’d been gut-punched by life enough times to know they would be gut-punched several more.” – from ‘The Narrows by Janet Jodzio

REVIEWS

“…all in all I loved this book (both books), and find it consistent with the author’s oeuvre, which I’ve found to have strong, athletic and adventurous females, some element of fantasy, some mystery to be solved or problem to trouble shoot, within a Caribbean setting that just is. It’s very accessible for young readers and I can see it becoming a favourite of a young girl who is in to art, science, and sports, or perhaps just likes a bit of fantasy.” – from Blogger on Book (2021) – Quick Takes III. The Blogger on Books series used to run on this blog and has since moved to Jhohadli. This post is quick takes of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books Volume 12 Number 1 Summer 2019, and two Big Cat books How to be a Calypsonian and The Lost Sketchbook (the review of the latter excerpted here)

NON FICTION

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‘Writing forty to fifty short stories annually provided Louis with just enough money to live comfortably as long as he kept tight control over his budget. Maintaining his morale was also a reason for the high productivity: “My system was to have so many stories out that when one came back its failure was cushioned by the chances that were left,” he wrote to author and editor Ken Fowler, “and by the time they returned I had others out.”’ – from Louis L’Amour and the Legend of the West: Beau L’Amour remembers the Life and Work of His Famous Father in Crime Reads

VISUAL ART

Something I made…

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Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters in 2021 featured the photographic art of Nadia Huggins, a Trinidad-Tobago born, St. Vincent and the Grenadines raised artist and director. The series of images is part of her documentation of the La Soufriere eruption. See more images and read more about her work here.

READING

This was a promotional reading posted to her publisher’s YouTube by Turtle Beach author Barbara A. Arrindell. This book is part of the Caribbean line of Big Cat books and Arrindell is a Wadadli Pen team member.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

It’s crazy to me that this film didn’t get more awards love. Why? See my review of both the movie and the book from which it was adapted.

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“I could work on a song for an hour or two and then I want to jump off to the next one…working on one song I can get bored and fall out of love with it…he has no problem just sitting with one song.” – Anderson.Paak on working with Bruno Mars

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“We Often Have Dope Crew Jackets On My Joints. I Often See Them On Ebay For Big Money.” – ‘Remembering the Iconic Visuals and Creative Process of Spike Lee’s School Daze‘ by Spike Lee

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“Creative writing in an of itself is a form of journalism…if you’re speaking to an issue, you’re speaking to something that has a spine, you’re just altering the delivery method in which someone gets the information.” – Roy Wood Jr. in conversation with Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

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“We need to know what a particular form does for storytelling so we can make an informed decision about if we want to use it, when we want to use it, or if we want to dismiss it altogether.” – Tiphanie Yanique on Breaking the Rules of Form in LitHub

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“The entry point for me with this particular story though it’s an aquatic adventure set under the sea, the entry point for me was friendhsip.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse at Write the Vision’s Aspiring Authors and Writers Virtual Literary Event, speaking on ‘The Art of Writing Children’s Books?’, speaking at this point on writing Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure

CONVERSATIONS

“The problem with canons is how they squeeze people out, it’s not how they include people.”

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 “But who I am is my father’s son…” – Sydney Poitier, Academy Class of 2014, Full Interview

His story about the slap back he insisted on in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and the story he tells about the role he turned down pre-fame (when things were so bad he had to take out a street loan against his furniture to pay for his daughter to be born in hospital) have in common his awareness of his responsibility to his character, characters, and community, and determination not to make money his only motivator.

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“Poetry and fiction publishing by Caribbean women has been on-going for decades. Readers should have had more multilingual anthologies available during the last twenty years. We have such a significant number of excellent writers coming from the region and the larger Caribbean world.” – Loretta Collins Klobah in interview (alongside Maria Grau Perejoan) with Plume

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“How come we are so visible, yet we are invisible.” – Edith Oladele of the African Slavery Memorial Society, discussing how she came to an awareness of her connection to slavery and to Africa.

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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, 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.

Leave a comment

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Reading Room and Gallery 28

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 28th one which means there are 27 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

ESSAYS/NON-FICTION

“I’ve referred to mas as some of my earliest exposures to theatre and storytelling. I especially enjoyed the huge King and Queen of the Band costumes which have largely disappeared from Antiguan mas but which, after showing off on the stage, would take up the whole of Market Street as the parade inched along. The younger ones lobbying for Carnival to be moved from the city to the wider, less cramped, safer spaces on its outskirts can’t imagine how intimate and joyful that feeling was. We would sing the calypso, dance to the soca, and as the costumes floated by, or were dragged or carried by revelers who, despite their size and presumed weightiness, seemed buoyed rather than burdened by them, our eyes would open wide at their grandeur. They were shiny and colourful, a moving canvas; big and bold, inventive and daring. The costumes designed by Heather Doram, still one of Antigua’s finest artists, and built by her husband Connie Doram, come to mind – this would have been later, I think, in my pre-teens, during the costume segment of the Queen Show. Time bends in memory. The when isn’t important, just that it was all mas, and that mas at its best was like visiting the L’ouvre in France or the Museum of Modern Art in New York; only it was our art, from arwe imagination, telling our stories, and it was beautiful, and powerful, and magical. Of course, I wasn’t thinking all of that back then, not at three or thirteen. Back then it was just a feeling that exploded in my body like fireworks. That’s what mas is at its purest, that feeling: pure joy.

I would capture that feeling from the inside for the first time the first time I played mas in 1989.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse, A Life in Mas in Moko: Caribbean Art and Letters

VISUAL ARTS

“This color scheme is quite challenging at the moment. It’s a weird variety of colors. I’m taking my time and I know I’m working slower than normal, but the final product matters more than just rushing every moment.” – Brandon Knoll at Chaotic Works discussing a work-in-progress

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Madonna– “In Jamaica, all archetypes of the Virgin are painted white. Referencing images of black madonnas in several European countries, I am going back to archetypes of ancient Egypt, the continent of Africa, archetypes like Isis, from whom it is believed the patriarchs modelled the Virgin Mary. Archetypes who expressed wrath, anger, and revenge – not the present day image found around the island churches, but one who when you call on her justice will be served.

I am using a common ‘Mary’ mold which I have painted as a black female archetype and have installed her at various locations in the corporate Kingston area. Some were removed or stolen and only one remains in Manor Park, Kingston where the men sell newspapers and cigarettes.

…I created another Madonna to replace the one that was damaged. When I went towards the same newspaper, cigarette men in the wee hours of the morning, they asked me what I wanted. I told them I have come to replace her (she was missing her head). They just replied ‘we love Mary’ and they helped me by taking the statue out of the car and placing her in what they felt was a safe spot. They believed a mad man had pushed the other black Madonna down causing her to lose her head, but they promised to keep watch over this one.” – Kristie Stephenson re her ‘Lady Justice’ sculptures, in Interviewing the Caribbean Spring 2017, p. 148-152

INTERVIEWS

“A lot of critics think A Brief History of Seven Killings is horrifying, but I don’t think so, and I don’t think the characters think they’re living in horror. The fact is that even the most terrible situation is normal for the person living in it. In a lot of ways, this is the funniest book that I’ve ever written. It has the most humor and the most ridiculousness—certainly, it’s the most experimental. I don’t know about horror, but there’s violence and brutality. It opens up with a dead guy, but then again, death and horror is a Western association. It’s certainly not that way in the East. It’s certainly not in non-Anglo storytelling. This character’s horror comes from something quite living, not from anything spiritual—it comes from the fact that he was murdered. The horror that exists in the book isn’t supernatural: it’s the basic cruelty that human beings commit against each other. That is the scary stuff. Anything might happen at any time, and that’s what’s unnerving. It’s real, upfront, everyday fear.” – Marlon James

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“Rumpus: Claire of the Sea Light is set in the fictional seaside town of Ville de Rose, a town shaped by its beauty—hence its namesake—but also the mountains above it, the sea at its border, the buzz of its single radio program, and the corruption of its civil servants. Talk to me about building this world. Specifically, I’m interested in how you break up and bring together social classes using topography.

(Edwidge) Danticat: When my first book, Breath, Eyes Memory, came out, I wrote about many real Haitian towns and a lot of people who were from those towns would say “you got this wrong” and “got that wrong,” so I decided to write about my own town by borrowing elements of different places. If you are inventing a town, you have all freedom. I added the lighthouse. Langston Hughes has a children’s book called Popo and Fafina, set in Haiti during the U.S. occupation because he used to travel to Haiti quite a bit. And I remembered that the story has a lighthouse in it, so I reread it and thought, I want a lighthouse, and the lighthouse went in. I could visually see the town and see myself walking around in it, but that takes many, many layers of writing. Sometimes in writing you have to live with things before you inhabit them, and that takes a very long time for it to stop feeling constructed and to start feeling like something real.” Read the full interview.

***

“Who do you write for?
Myself, who else? A great deal of stories that I ever write have been based on things I see in the news or people I hear about. Just the other day I sit down listening to my aunt and cousin talking about somebody who smoking out their whole house for ghosts.

There’s also another story that was in the news way back when in La Brea—where a whole family, granny and all, was taking care of this dead baby. The story fall out of the news a week later—we never get to know why any of this happen. Writing gives me the ability to imagine the bedlam of some of these situations. To figure out why.” – Kevin Jared Hosein interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage

***

‘What is most attractive and crucial about Kamau is that the world he creates erodes the invisible structures that govern how/why/what/from where we write. Walcott’s “White Magic” in The Arkansas Testament [1987], for instance, has always troubled me in the way it defends and argues for a world that, in tone and outlook, it is so distant from. The world of a spirituality that is quite real to me. Now, had the epistemic underpinnings of “White Magic” been different, we would’ve had a different poem. These underpinnings determine how we understand metaphor and what we can or do draw upon in creating figurative language. It decides what devices become the engines of our expression. Kamau gives me this, both through what he has done and what he gives me the courage to attempt.’ – Vladimir Lucien in conversation with John Robert Lee about the work of Kamau Brathwaite

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“Because nothing in Brief History started the way it ended up. The first page I ever wrote is now on page 458. I was writing a crime novel starring a hitman who was trying to kill this Jamaican drug lord. I remember writing that, and thinking in the back of my head, “He’s one of the guys who tried to kill Marley.” But that was just going to be this sort of “Gotcha!” at the end, and my brief 120-page novel would have been finished. I just couldn’t finish it. I got to a part where I just couldn’t go any further. And I just figured, well, let’s find another character. So I created this character, another hit man, called Bam Bam. Then it was the same thing: writing the character for maybe forty, fifty pages, until I ran into a dead end.” – Marlon James in interview with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

***

‘“Get Shorty” showrunner Davey Holmes asked Calderon Kellett if she feels an added pressure to get her show right, to which she replied: “For sure, especially when there aren’t a lot of Latinx shows right now on TV. Tanya and I know each other and we’ve done a million panels together. We’re like ‘the two.’”

To the horror of her fellow panelists, Calderon Kellett recollected the story of how when the two showrunners previously worked together in a writers’ room in 2012, they were called “sp– and span.” The only show that the two have worked together on is “Devious Maids.”

As she described looking back on her career when the Me Too Movement broke out, “everyone did a self-audit. I went through mine and thought: ‘Oh, my God. I’m so broken.’”’ – from Variety’s A Night in the Writers’ Room with Michael Schur (The Good Place), Peter Farrelly (Loudermilk), Tanya Saracho (Vida), Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time), David Holmes (Get Shorty), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Judd Apatow (Crashing), Andrea Savage (I’m Sorry), Gemma Baker (Mom), Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin), Stephen Glover (Atlanta)

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“Arimah: I often don’t care what things are called, or what the right word for something is, as long as what is said is understood. Magical realism, speculative, fantasy, science fiction—these are all terms I (and others) have used to describe my work, and I’m fine with all those labels. I’m sure there are arguments for the appropriateness of one or the other, but I’m not heavily invested (unless someone is trying to disparage any one of those genres. Then I’ll likely come to its defense).” – Lesley Nneka Arimah

***

“(BRUCE) MILLER We had a very long discussion in our room about what it actually feels like to get your period and how can you tell or not when you start to bleed. And the room, all they did was disagree with each other.

(LENA) WAITHE Because everybody has a very different experience.

MILLER Right. And it’s funny because you think, “Oh, there’s a universal answer to this.” And really, I just need a line. (Laughter.) But it doesn’t help if you just have one person. It’s one person’s opinion and there is no one to challenge it.”  – Courtney Kemp (‘Power’), Peter Morgan (‘The Crown’), Bruce Miller (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’), David Shore (‘The Good Doctor’) and Lena Waithe (‘The Chi’) in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter

***

“NPR’s LYNN NEARY: Woodson says she’d love to get rid of labels like struggling reader or advanced reader and encourage young people to concentrate more on how a book makes them feel or think.

AUTHOR JACQUELINE WOODSON: Labeling is not the best way to get young people to deeply engage in reading. I mean, at the end of the day, you take the qualifier away and they’re a reader. Childhood, young adulthood is fluid. And it’s very easy to get labeled very young and have to carry something through your childhood and into your adulthood that is not necessarily who you are.” Read the full interview.

FICTION

“We are in a graveyard,” Dionne said. She traced the name of her ancestor while Trevor’s hand worked its way beneath her dress and along the smooth terrain of her upper thigh. She liked the way it felt when Trevor touched her, though she hadn’t decided yet what she’d let him do to her. She’d let Darren put his hands all the way up her skirt on the last day of school. But here, where girls her age still wore their hair in press and curls, she knew that sex was not to be given freely, but a commodity to ration, something to barter with.’ – Excerpt of The Star Side of Bird Hill, by Naomi Jackson

***

“As she can no longer see the shore, The Woman has decided it is time to bail ship, to jump into the water she cannot swim in, wearing her heaviest shoes and heart of great mass. She leaves on her red hat, hoping it will be her grave marker, should anyone wonder what happened to the boat and why it is floating out in the great lake.” – Zombie V. by Melanie S. Page 

***

“We all got married — Suzanne, and Virginia, and I — and it was all we ever wanted to be at the time. I fought with my parents to get married, and Suzanne ran away from home with her boyfriend to get married, and Virginia saved her money for a year and eight months, eating a bag lunch at work every day and walking up from the square to save the five cents for the transfer and making her own clothes and only seeing movies when they came to the drive-in — all to get married.” – We by Mary Grimm

***

“I like Markham, but I’d like to kill him. I dream of doing it in front of a huge pack of boys. Clinically.” – Stickfighting Days by Olufemi Terry

***

“Two white boys sat on a bench outside the closed door while a white man in a billed cap kept watch over them. Walter thought maybe the Funhouse couldn’t be so bad, with white boys here too—until a crack of leather striking flesh came from inside, and a boy’s scream. Walter had never heard anyone scream that way except Mama, in her dying. His blood burned cold.” – The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

THE BUSINESS

“She (Kima Jones) reminds me that the first step in breaking out is actually taking the time to turn inward and look within.” – Poets & Writers in conversation with literary publicists Lauren Cerand, Kima Jones, and Michael Taekens

CREATIVES ON CREATING

‘When I taught writing, I told my students there was no reason to worry about punctuation until they had written something worth punctuating correctly. I was trying to show them that the important part of writing—the part their teachers didn’t teach them—was the revision process. The stopping and starting, the rethinking, the crossing out, the sharpening of a thought—that’s writing. It’s a verb, after all. Punctuation, which their teachers had “taught” them, was simply politeness, no different from covering your mouth when you sneeze.’ – Piano Lessons: Do Writers Need a Teacher or a Coach? by Jim Sollisch

***

‘TD: This was a very, very tough moment for me to write in the story. But it was always the moment I was writing up to, which is beyond the violence, trying to find some hope on the other side—how to process that violence. Why is there so much? There is even more violence than the excerpt I read that I cut out. This is the bogeyman, for the most part, this whipping shed. In real life it was called “The White House.” I call it “The Fun House” in my story. But this was the place where these boys very often lost their innocence and where their lives were in some ways damaged a great deal for the rest of their lives. Just the trauma of the violence. And there were also accusations of sexual abuse. But for the most part the accounts I read have been about the physical beatings. A man to my face, and this was a white man, talked about how he had the skin whipped off of his back. He could not see his parents on visiting day because of the damage to his skin and the doctor literally had to remove the fabric from his injuries. This is brutality, brutality against children. To me it would be a cheat not to express the full brutality of the experience. And it is difficult to do that to a twelve year old protagonist, or even have him witness it, or be afraid it would happen to him, frankly, when I think of my own son. But it would not be fair to the survivors of this school, and the survivors of the system overall, to gloss over the violence, because violence and sexual abuse mark so many experiences in the criminal justice system. Where you are removed from a home environment, where you have measures of safety and control, and put in an environment where you have no control, no name. There are statistics that show that the majority of sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers is not perpetrated by other prisoners, it is perpetrated by guards. Horror, typically, is violence by the monster, the daemon, the zombie.  In this story, the horror is human, and the ghosts are just survivors in their own way.’ – Tananarive Due on writing The Reformatory

***

‘Yeah, the president is just such a different joke world, because it’s a moving target that’s constantly evolving and it’s constantly changing. You could write 20 minutes about one thing and then he reverses his opinion. Well, now what are you going to do with that material? I could start writing my act today, but in five weeks when we go and tape, 20 different things would’ve happened by then. It’s not something I enjoy because it forces you to stay on topic with an issue. To report every week on what Trump did, you’re just saying he did this, here’s a joke about it, and here’s why you shouldn’t think that way. There’s got to be more. There’s got to be something bigger to that. To me the issue isn’t Trump, it’s the people in office who don’t stand up to him. That’s the bigger deep dive. Because if you look at all of the president’s antics since he’s been sworn in, the one consistent narrative is that nobody stands up to him. So to me, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about who are all these people who don’t go, “Hey, man, don’t fucking tweet today.”’ – Roy Wood Jr. on writing jokes

***

‘From the moment the idea for the story first came to me, I imagined it as a story in which the main character is falling and is considering the most important moments and people in his life. I think that framework gives some flexibility to the narrative, some elasticity, because that experience would be very different for each of us, depending on our personal and larger history, who we are, what we value most, and who or what we are most concerned about. Another news item that often catches my attention here in Miami is how many construction workers fall while working to build very expensive hotels or apartment buildings that they would not be able to afford to stay or live in—so that became one of the elements at play in “Without Inspection.”’ – Edwidge Dandicat

As with all content (words, images, other) 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,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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