Friday, July 31, 2009

Writers On Writing: Octavia Butler

I love this video because there's Octavia Butler at a panel where ALL of the other panelists are white and male. And she is not giggly, or girly, or deferring to them in any way. She is outspoken, opinionated, funny, and engaging. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Writers On Writing: Ntozake Shange

Here's Ntozake Shange, author of FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENOUGH. I love when she says, "The challenge was not to be surprised by the vitriol that accompanied [my work]..." (emphasis mine).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Writers On Writing: Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz talks about writing culture, sci-fi/fantasy as a genre, hyper-masculinity, violence against women, intra-nerd hostility and representing Dominican culture. "What matters to me as an artist is to look at the things that culture doesn't want to talk about," and I love when he says that even though he is committed to writing the Dominican diasporic experience, his is "one tiny voice among ten million voices."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Writers On Writing: Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez

Here is part one of a candid conversation with Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez where they talk about poetry, activism, politics, art and community. It's slightly dated (Tupac was still alive at the time of its taping), but still worth watching. They are interesting, have a lot of combined wisdom and experience between them, and just plain fun...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spotlighting Megan Frazer's SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY

I love spotlighting debuting Debs books in the midst of posts of writers I've always admired. Today, I get to spotlight Megan Frazer's debut, SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY. I was lucky to get my hands on the arc of this one and I'm so excited to share her interview today.

First, a little about SECRETS: When Dara Cohen was little, she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

As for Megan, she studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband and baby in Maine, where she is a high school librarian. She loves cheese and cooking, and both of these make their way into Secrets of Truth & Beauty. She was not, however, ever in a beauty pageant.

And here are Megan's answers to the Thorough Three:

NM: What is the age of your protagonist/s?

MF: 17

NM: What is the single, most important bit of advice you'd give to the You that was the same age as your protagonist/s?

MF: Ease up.

NM: Complete the following sentences:

Everyone should definitely, for sure _____________.

You should NEVER, EVER ___________. But if you absolutely must, make sure to ____________.

MF: Everyone should definitely, for sure leave home, at least for a little while.

You should NEVER, EVER do anything just to make other people happy. But if you absolutely must, make sure to try to find your own little joy in it.

Thanks, Megan!

To order a copy of SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY, go here; and to find out more about Megan Frazer, visit her site.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writers On Writing: Naomi Shihab Nye

Here's Naomi Shihab Nye on creating a "habit" of writing and making writing a friend...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Writers On Writing: Suheir Hammad

Suheir Hammad defines terrorism as "the killing of dreams" and talks about her experience, as a Palestinian Muslim living in Brooklyn, of September 11th, 2001. The interview is ten minutes, after that there is a lot of "donate now" for the organization hosting the interview. My putting the video up here is not an endorsement of anyone or anything. I just put up words that are interesting -- words from writers who have meaningful things to say. It's up to you to turn off when you're done watching.

But do watch a bit of Suheir. I saw her read her poetry at the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn more than ten years ago, and she rocked me to my core with the passion of her words.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Writers On Writing: Sandra Cisneros

Today, I'm featuring Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street. I taught this novel to undergraduate art students and their eyes would light up with Cisneros' imagery. I particularly love her story about painting her house a "periwinkle purple."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Writers On Writing: Dorothy Allison

I love Dorothy Allison's brutally honest writing. This clip is Dorothy Allison talking about writing Bastard Out of Carolina. I love it, especially, because she talks about the universality of writing in specifics.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Writers On Writing: Toni Morrison

I often have to remind myself that I come from a long tradition of writers who are also activists and incorporate social, economic, and political themes into their work. So, to keep these authors alive and fresh and in the forefront of my thoughts as I continue my work, I am going to start a little video series.

I have an undergraduate degree in Film/Media and one of my favorite forms of learning is audio-visual (next to voracious reading, of course). So, I will feature writers who've inspired me--writers of color, lgbtq writers, working class writers, women writers and other "other" writers, and their thoughts on writing, creativity, art, activism, politics, feminism, and whatever.

I'm kicking it off with the very grand Toni Morrison sharing her thoughts on being Black, being female, the importance of feelings, the importance of feeling beautiful, and how all these relate to her writing...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Color Online is doing their Summer Madness Giveaway and you can enter to win one of several amazing summer reads just by leaving a comment!

Here is a list of the titles they're giving away:

SHINE, COCONUT MOON, Neesha Meminger
DOWN TO THE BONE, Mayra Lazara Dole
FIRST DAUGHTER, Mitali Perkins

So, what are you waiting for? Get your name in there!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I've avoided posting about Michael's passing because I've had mixed feelings. As someone who understands all too well the damage childhood sexual abuse can leave behind, reports of his alleged sexual abuse of young boys were extremely painful to take in. And these were all the more difficult to process, given his numerous medical treatments to alter his blackness and the shunning of that blackness in his life; a life that was so complex and full of extremes in all directions.

But I can't help the tremendous sadness I've felt at the loss of the innocent creative spirit in a little boy whose memory will live on, well beyond our time.

In this video, his haunting acapella solo echoes with sadness and loneliness. It makes me want to tear into the people who exploited and abused a gift so vulnerable and so precious, while shaking (at the least) the man Michael became -- a man who further destroyed that little boy he used to be, possibly in ways he, himself, had been destroyed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Love these words on discussing race from Nalo Hopkinson...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ahh, the lazy, hazy daze of summer is finally here. We, in NYC, have had a wet Spring and are glad to see some sun at last. We're getting some use out of pool again and tank tops, flip flops and sundresses are the required uniform at this soiree.

Everything slows down dramatically in the publishing world during these months, and life in the Meminger household is no different. I am hard at work on my next novel, so that takes priority, but otherwise, I am lolling by the pool, reading, or both.

I will pop in every now and then with news and interesting tidbits, but for the most part I hope you all are doing your own lolling wherever you find yourselves this summer.

Have a great day, everyone!