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Lauren Cerand interviews Hazel Rowley:
No, one is not born a writer. We can’t write when we are born. We can’t read. One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that unlike most professions, you often get better at it as you get older. Writers need maturity, experience, powers of observation, a kind of detachment. — Hazel Rowley
When I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago I ducked into an adorable Brooklyn boutique called COZBI. The small shop is filled with beautiful clothes for women, handmade dolls, and baby clothes so cute you just want to run out an reproduce! Presiding over the whole operation is Cozbi Cabrera– designer, entrepreneur, quilter, doll-maker, and illustrator of children’s books! (If this sounds familiar, maybe you saw her or her work featured on Oprah!) If you are ever in Brooklyn, stop by her store. She will alter and sew-to-fit– so ladies don’t feel you are too tall, too short, to voluptuous, etc. to wear beautiful clothes. Let Cozbi measure you and hook you up!
And here’s some good news: Ms. Cozbi Cabrera has agreed to do a Q&A here on the blog. I can’t wait to hear account of how she decided to leave her day job to follow her passions! Read her bio. I dare you not to be inspired!
I was fooling around with myspace. Don’t ask me why, but I feel like I don’t have enough myspace friends. Please add me! Anyway, while I
was clicking here and there, trying to make myself more interesting, I happened upon a link that promised to make a cartoon character that looks JUST LIKE ME! Umm.. not quite. I didn’t see anything for thirty-something fiction writers that are racing deadlines, teaching classes and trying to have something resembling a social life.
(for kicks, click on the cartoon-Tayari and then make your cartoon and post the code in the comments section.)
Check out this NPR commentary about ideas that we just can’t express in English. It was informative, funny, and really really well written. The last line is golden.
This is a bit of a labryinth, but bear with me. Otto Penzler is a columnist for the NY Post whom Ed makes fun of. Otto P. threatened to sue Ed for the jibes. I looked up Otto P to see what the big deal was and found one of the silliest, most entitled, ridiculous statements ever, which I will post here. Meanwhile, start saving your pennies in case we have to chip in for Ed’s legal defense. So with no further ado, here is Penzler reflecting on the “authenticity” of George Pelecanos.
…The majority of the characters in the new novel by Mr. Pelecanos, “The Night Gardener” (Little, Brown, 371 pages, $24.95), are black, and they seem pretty authentic to me. Now, I confess, I wouldn’t really know. I’m white, live in a white neighborhood, and work in the largely white profession of publishing. But I believe his characters, their dialogue, and their points of view.
and if you want to read the silly rest of the article.
New Yorkers are nice people and there are really good brothers out there. Imgaine a certain novelist struggling with a HUGE suitcase on the A-train. (I know Ladylee wants to know why I don’t take a taxi like the girls on Sex in the City.) Anyway, I couldn’t get up the stairs to the next platform. (Partically because the suitcase was heavy and partially because I sort of lost my mind on 8th Street in the SHOE district. It’s hard ballancing shoe-boxes AND major luggage.) So, I hear a voice behind me. “Do you need some help?” I thought I had died on gone to
heaven a chick-lit universe! The brother was baby-faced, yet manly and he hefted that mega-suitcase onto his broad shoulders and carried up the stairs to the main platform, through the turnstile, and up to street level. (Major dreaminess.) But, alas, life is not chick-lit. As he was helping me, and waiting with me for my ride, he told me two things: his name was Mike and he was NOT trying to hit on me. And he wasn’t. But it made me remember why I love NYC.
(And, a side note: I am not usually a heavy-packer. I usually take a small suitcase with clothes I can mix and match. The wordrobe on the move is because of my photo shoot with Marion Ettlinger. She wants 3-5 outfits, to udse her language “tip to toe”. This means foundational garments, it means SHOES. Need I say more?)
Here’s your chance to bounce off your query and first page off a real-live literary agent. It’s tricky though. There will be just a quick 12 hour window sometime this month that she will be accepting entries. This means you will have to keep checking back to find out when the gates will be open.
But here is the link and GOOD LUCK!
via the champ
My sister, Maxine, was here visiting! We had a great time. I promise to be back to my normal posting self on Monday morning!
Before I sign off, let me tell you a little bit about Maxine. She’s my best reader, and always my first reader. While she was here, I shyly printed off the seventy good pages of my new book and kind of shoved them in her direction. She was on the back patio reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, drinking coffee, and smoking Newports. (I tell you, if you could keep Maxine stocked with books, coffee, and cigs, she’d be set for life. Toss her a few oreos on Sundays, and she would never complain.)
Anyway, she looked up from the book she was so into.
“It’s my book,” I said.
“The new one, Sister?” (We call each other “sister.” We are so Nettie and Celie like that.)
She took the pages and read them. I had to go in the house because I couldn’t bear to watch. Finally, I came back outside and sat next to her.
And she proceded to fire off a barrage of questions. She told me which characters she liked, which she didn’t. She told me what she would do were she in the characters shoes. She ranted, raved, and otherwise emoted. Then she said, “Sister, you need to go upstairs and write. I need you to finish the book.”
I love that girl to pieces. Travel safely, Sister.
Those of you who subscribe to ESSENCE have probably gotten your September issue which features an article by Dr. Jelani Cobb called “Blame It On Rio,” about African American men travelling to Brazil to take part in the sex trade. Here is a link to an interview he gave Ed Gordon. And stay tuned. Dr. Cobb has agreed to to a Q&A here on the blog!