We need to talk.
We’ve reached an age when everyone can have a voice, but we tend to drown each other out. An age when many argue opinions without understanding or even listening to the other side. It leaves us with a cloud full of verbal garbage. But amid all the shouting, I must insist we at least understand the words we’re using. With the now annual Women’s March, #MeToo, and #TimesUp, we seem to be riding a new, more inclusive wave of feminism, but feminism is a wildly misinterpreted word. A feminist, by definition, is anyone who believes in equality between genders. That’s it. If that describes you, congratulations, you’re a reasonable human. …
If you missed the first of my Writing Check-Ups, you can start from the beginning here.
One of the biggest challenges in my effort to refocus on writing and sending out my own work has been juggling the time it takes with work and everything else in my life. I’m sure you can relate. In the interest of maximizing my writing time (and, let’s be honest, my relaxing time), I’ve been experimenting with some ways to make myself more focused and productive when I’m working — at my real job or on my own projects. …
With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I’ve been catching up on some of the movies I missed in the last year. While the movies that sold that most tickets tended to be fun escapism (and we have a need for that), 2017 was a great year for movies that challenge convention, tell interesting stories in interesting ways, and transport us in ways that turn our brains on, not off. These are some of my favorite movies of 2017 and a few things we have to learn from them as writers, artists, and creative humans.
1. Original fairy tales can capture adult imaginations
The Shape of Water and…
I’m a wanderer at heart, hungry for the world, and I allowed myself a little indulgence last summer. I saved up my vacation days, took nearly a month off work (which they graciously allowed), bought a pair of hiking boots, and jetted off to the other side of the world.
It started in New Zealand, where my sister Caroline was studying abroad. She’d been at school in Dunedin, on the South Island, but since in June it was winter in the southern hemisphere, we decided we’d be better off sticking to the North Island. …
Happy Black History/Present/Future Month! Rather than looking to the past, I want to celebrate five living black American writers by revisiting their work this month (just as soon as I finish this other book I need to read for work). These are writers who I’ve been lucky enough to hear speak, and who are not just fantastic writers but also have messages we need to hear. Of course there are many great novels to choose from, but I chose to focus on poetry and nonfiction, which tend to get less attention.
1. Sonata Mulattica, Rita Dove
our lot. Our staged creation:
whiteness billowing, fuzzed silence sliced
by a woman-one scream
only, quickly held back.
She is one of us, a peasant
mindful of the body’s purpose:
Be strong, survive.” …
“You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
I’ve never been very good at meditating, but it’s time to give setting intentions a try — to live purposefully and stay focused instead of going about life just trying to get through the day. I’m starting with three simple things that I think any writers and people looking to reconnect with their creative side can relate to, and I’m putting them down in writing in hopes that you — our community of writers, readers, thinkers, dreamers — can hold me accountable, and as an invitation to share your own intentions. …
It’s time to rededicate myself to writing. I’ve identified as a writer since I was just a kid with one of those diaries that pretends to lock. I even went far enough to get an MFA in poetry. But, over the last 6 years (and I’m embarrassed to admit it’s been that long) I’ve slowly fallen further and further away from my writer identity and gotten a bit lost — in work mostly, but also relationships, daily routines, and like any good American, watching too much TV.
I think more than ever, in these days of change and unease, it’s important to tell our stories and document our moment in time. Especially for women, it’s important that we not allow ourselves to be silenced. And then there’s the never-ending quest for happiness: I know I can’t feel fulfilled when I’m not writing. So, I’m making a change. For the next month (1/16–2/15) I’m committed to writing every day, and writing for work doesn’t count. It can be as small as a few lines of poetry, but I need to start somewhere by making a place for writing in my daily life. …