Tag: writing

“I’m black. I’m solitary. I’ve always been an outsider.” This is how Octavia Butler described herself, the first self-possessed Black woman writer introvert, I had the honor of writing about for publication. Actually interviewing her was one of the great honors of my life, two years before her death in 2006. I wonder what she […]

Last Friday evening, I was first in line at the Harry Belafonte Library in Harlem to listen to the first in a series of talks co-presented by the National Book Foundation and the New York Public Library called Notes from the Reading Life featuring two Black women I admire: Thelma Golden and Kaitlyn Greenidge. Golden […]

Transitioning back into writing full-time has also meant getting used to learning how to manage my time — or, I guess, reclaiming it (thank you, Auntie Maxine) — but it also means that as my friend Jennifer has remarked, you realize that “Linear time is a trip.” Anyway, I worked on this piece for the […]

Winter is one of my favorite seasons, and I really want to like Christmas, but it’s complicated by the fact that my mother died during this season five years ago. Even before she fell ill with terminal cervical cancer, the holidays have always been challenging, and I’ve never been particularly good at knowing how to […]

It is easy to be smitten with Zadie Smith, as I think I am. She has freckles and I love freckles. She can sing. She has a lovely accent. She is witty. She writes well. Actually, she’s brilliant. I’m a fan of her nonfiction, and I was smitten more with Changing My Mind, her book […]

Until recently, my relationship to rejection has always been extreme. The first time I received a long, thoughtful rejection letter from an agent, I stopped writing anything creative for years. I have always been good at giving over the power of affirmation to other people, which is certainly not the kind of thing you want […]

When I was 16 or 17, I sometimes had the great privilege of riding with some of my high school classmates to author lectures at SUNY Albany. One of my favorite hobbies back then was attending readings, book signings and lectures. It was one thing to be obsessed with reading and writing, to escape in […]

I love the hibernation of winter and the renewal of spring. The only thing I really enjoy about summer is that fall is what follows – a season of harvest and brilliant color. So it seems fitting to consider that I’m moving into another season in my life that seems parallel to the promises of […]

A friend and I were discussing the heroics of Bree Newsome this weekend when I ran out of things to say. Driving in the rain, attending to the life chores that are demanded of us, I was at a loss for how to describe the light that filled me when I saw the video of her climbing that […]