Opportunity Alert, but the Deadline is TIGHT

I just got this notice, so the deadline is TODAY, but I think it’s worth posting. If you get some coffee in you, you can meet the deadline to apply for The Millay Colony for the arts.
All of you know that I love to go artists colonies and I recommend them to anyone who needs to get away and concentrate on work. The Millay Colony is special because they don’t want a list of your accomplishments, or letters of reference. All they want is your work. This is an excellent opportunity for writers (and other artists) who are concerned that thier non-traditional backgrounds would put them at a disadvantage. The Millay Colony doesn’t care who you know, what you’ve published, or where you’ve been. Just send your work.
Application and details, here.

Posted in The Writing Life | Comments Off

If You Keep A Journal, Let Me Know




2007 Journal: front

Originally uploaded by Traci Bunkers

I am going to start keeping a journal. I used to journal from the time I was in my early teens until I was about twenty-nine, but then I stopped. Why? Because I started publishing.

One day, I should post about all the bad habits that come about as a result of publishing. (Would that be too negative?)

I think that my journal was a casualty of the “Published Author” mentality that every word I put down must be for public consumption. Who had time to scribble privately in a spiral notebook when there were novel to work on, essays to outline, blog entries to compose, etc.? I had forgotten the free-writing pleasure of working my random thoughts out of the page. Journaling, for me, went out the window along with pointless travel and reading just for the hell of it. (Post on this last thing will be coming soon.)

Do you journal? What do you journal in? When I was in high school, I used an ordinary spiral notebook so that no one would be interested in it. (I have since revisited those pages. For such a pleasant looking child, I was filled with rage. Go figure.) In college I moved up to cloth-covered blank books that I bought at the bookstore with the money my parents put on account for my textbooks. (Fancy. $7 each!) Now I am not sure what to use. Do I want to be easy breezy with the $2 Staples special? I don’t want to be pretentious with leather bound, acid free– like I am writing with one-eye toward preservation in the Schomburg!

I want this journal to feel like a sweet, comfortable room.

Your thoughts? Your suggestions? I found the journal pictured here on flickr. Apparently, the owner made it for herself. That seems like a special idea, but I have no idea where to start…

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Monday Morning Links

  • Three Black Men are on the NYT list. That’s the headline. But we should also note that two of the books are advising black women how to catch a man, which suggests that the real headline is that Sisters Put Brothers on the NYT List. (Sisters are probably responsible for the third book one, but I’m not claiming it. The first two were hard enough.)
  • Anne’s three year old daughter is changing the English language.
  • This is the harshest “inside publishing” piece I have ever read.
  • MFA Students, Erika wants to know what you want.
  • Tracy K is in The New Yorker!
  • Letter writing for hire.
  • So this guy thinks that bookstores should group books based on where they have been reviewed, publisher, etc. I think this idea would take the existing prejudices in publishing and put them on crack.
  • You have to be a true nerd to appreciate this. (I am not a true nerd, so I only appreciated the entry on Gremlins because I had always wondered about the effect of Daylight Savings Time on the little critters.)
  • Funny article on writers in the workplace. Just imagine my job where EVERYONE is a writer.
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    Six Degrees of Denene Milner

    This is a little bit of randomness, but here goes: I was watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta yesterday. (Consider it research; after all, my book are all set in the A.) Anyway, if you follow the show you will know that Nene has written a book with the help of a ghost writer, Denene Milner. (My favorite moment in the last episode was when Nene’s friends consoled her by saying “Don’t worry about them, girl. You’re writing a book!”)
    Ms. Milner, it seems, is the hardest working woman in the business! I first heard her name years ago when she along with her husband, Nick Chiles, wrote a book called What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex. And then remember when her husband wrote that famous anti-street-lit article, “Their Eyes Were Reading Smut.”
    And what about The Sistah’s Rules– it was supposed to be that black woman’s guide to catching a man. I didn’t read it but if I recall the message was that playing hard-to-get was a luxury sisters cannot afford. (Remember that drama surrounding that?)
    She also wrote the book based on the movie, “Dreamgirls”? It’s tricky, but Milner’s book is not to be confused with Mary Wilson’s book Dreamgirl (no ‘s’) on which the Broadway show was based.
    And here is her biggest title: the Steve Harvey mega-hit Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
    It seems that Denene Milner is the writing equivalent of a character actor. You may not remember her name, but you have seen her work.
    (Look at all the listings she has on amazon.)

    Posted in Travels & Rambles | 2 Comments

    Jet Lag Links

    Barcelona Street Art

  • Get your morning cute on: Roz’s precocious kindergartener talking about he’s a writer. (And you can hear he’s such a little New Yorker.)

  • Remember Khadijah Williams, the homeless girl who made it to Harvard? There is a fund set up to help her out while she is in school.
  • You have about ten seconds to get your application together, but wouldn’t it be fantastic to be a TED fellow?
  • Food I miss from Barcelona.
  • The Europeans don’t shy away from NSFW book covers.
  • Let’s get meta with a link-dump within a link dump. Good stuff on this page– people acting out rejection letters, folks suing their biographers, reports from the Gitmo Library…
  • Our beloved Dwayne Betts on PBS. (video)
  • Bronx Princess, a documentary about a Ghanain girl from the Bronx.
  • “I been locked up all my life”: Heartbreaking last words of Texas death row inmates.
  • Wowza. Jill Scott to star in the movie adaptation of Carleen Brice’s novel, Orange Mint and Honey. (Interview with Carleen.)
  • On the right is a little Barcelona street art, spray paint, I think.
  • Posted in Links | Comments Off

    Back Home!

    Hi Everybody! I am back home from my European vacation. I am still Leaning Tower of Pisatrying to get my thoughts together about the voyage. I can say this– a cruise ship would be a great place to set a novel. There is just so much going on. The workers on the boat are from all over the world and I couldn’t help but wonder what brought them to work on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Apparently, they are only allowed to go home after a ten-month stint on the boat. At the breakfast buffet, there is a man from the Philippines who greets everyone with “Happy! Happy!”. Before you touch any food, he sprays your hands with Purell: “Washy! Washy!” If I were to write a novel about a cruise ship, that guy would be the narrator. (I know he MUST get tired of that gig! He’s like Tattoo from Fantasy Island.)
    Then again, having just finished THE SILVER GIRL, I am eager to get started on a new project. It’s like being on the rebound after a romantic break-up. Everything I see looks like a potential new love.
    I’ll post photos, etc. soon. I’ve got to go now and get myself together. Pablo Medina and Hache Carillo are reading at Rutgers-Newark tonight. Although I am on leave this term, I am going to attend the event. It’s free and open to the public, in case you happen to be in the area.

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    Hitting the High Seas!

    You’ll see that I posted a lot of links below. This is because I am going on vacation today. No blogging, no tweeting, no nothing. It’s time for me to unplug and get in the moment. I’m going on a cruise to the Mediterranean- flying to Barcelona then boarding the boat to Rome, Florence, Naples, Malta, and Cannes. I’ll be away ten days.
    It’s a big deal for me. Although I travel a lot, I hardly ever vacation. I’m taking just a little carry-on suitcase– it’s time to give the fashion-diva aspect of my life a rest, too. ATT has made it easy to leave the blackberry behind– $2.49 a minute! So I will just be sort of free and floaty.
    I’ll meet you here when I get home.
    Love,
    Tayari

    Posted in Travels & Rambles | 1 Comment

    8 Years Later Links




    9-11-08 TOWERS OF LIGHT

    Originally uploaded by kevinh_photos
  • Writers remember 9-11.
  • How NOT to talk to an African. (video)
  • A one-book deal is nice. A two-book deal, cool. But a 17-book deal???
  • I love me some family-drama, as long as it’s not my family.
  • Not literary: Afrobella is not impressed with Tyra just because she took out her weave.
  • 50 things being killed by the internet.
  • Really bad movie accents.
  • A Boston book club for the homeless.
  • I am not the only one being driven crazy by self-promoting writers on facebook. I can only buy your book ONCE! So don’t send me 50 notices about it.
  • Watch out Cave Canem. Here comes the Kundiman book prize for Asian-American poets.
  • Drama, drama, drama. This is a murder-mystery looking for somewhere to happen.
  • Why I love Lauren: Because she posted this photo on her blog. i was freaking out yesterday over some little detail-y drama. She talked me write down off the ledge by saying, “Ask yourself, what would a man do.” The answer was
    “Ignore it.”

  • When you thought there was nothing to say about “Paris is Burning”. Enter Joy.
  • When you apply the Bechdel test to race.
  • Great interview and photos of Nigerian artist Aniekan Udofia.
  • How to write crime fiction.
  • Women Super-Heroes!
  • Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    Interesting Developments

    I’m not a Tyler Perry fan, but Shalema McGhee is. Shalema, who blogs at Truself, did some more digging on the For Colored Girls situation and found some interesting facts. Here’s what she discovered:

  • Nzingah Stewart is still attached to the project as a writer. In addition, she worked with Perry on his most recent play, The Marriage Counsellor.
  • For Colored Girls will not be produced under by Tyler Perry Studios, but under his 34th Street Films banner.

    I am not exactly sure of the significance of these details, but they are really interesting. I am glad to know that Nzingah Stewart hasn’t been totally hijacked. What I would really love is for someone who knows the ins and outs of film making to tell us exactly what is going on! (What I would really really love is an inside scoop from somebody working on this particular project…. know anybody?)

    And if Shalema’s name sounds familiar, it may be because she did a guest post on this blog a couple years ago. Check her out.

  • Posted in Current Events | 2 Comments

    Labor Day Links




    Birds Conversate Too!

    Originally uploaded by pattpoom
  • Conversate” has made it into the dictionary!
  • Stephen Elliot writes wherever he wants to.
  • Book publicity webinar with Lauren Cerand.
  • Haute Lit talks to Farai Chideya about Kiss The Sky. (If the LA Times updates this list, Farai should be on it.)
  • Congratulations to Jayne Anne Phillips!
  • South African lesbian novelist publishes controversial book to bring attention to hate crimes.
  • Five things that get on editors’ nerves.
  • An excellent explaination of the mechanics of drama in art AND in life!
  • Lalia Lalami on writing in her third language.
  • More tributes to Nikki.
  • When libraries throw books away, citizens rifle through the trash.
  • Sue William Silverman tells you how to be a fearless memoirist.
  • Bookkeeping basics for freelancers.
  • So that whole Roxanne Shante gets a PhD on Warner Music’s tab thing was a lie.
  • Slate says American Casino is a little dull, but still important.
  • Free workshop for artist-activists of color.
  • Posted in Links | Comments Off