Coffee Rhetoric: Writers
Showing posts with label Writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writers. Show all posts

May 28, 2014

Thank You, Dr. Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou: one of the most prolific poets, activists, authors and orators of all time. She lived a full and varied life and it’d probably be impractical to say that passing at 86 is ‘gone too soon’; but as a black-American woman writer, I’d be remiss if I didn't express how thrown off guard I was, when I read that Maya Angelou had died. No one is ever really prepared to read about the passing of a literary heroine who’s had the profound impact on the lives of black women and just… the world, Maya Angelou had.

January 31, 2014

Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the 2014 GIFF

On January 26th, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — noted for work like: the critically acclaimed books Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah, this awesome presentation  about gender roles… which was (surprisingly) featured as part of the backtrack to this song, and for this TED talk about the danger of telling a single story — appeared at Sweden’s annual Göteborg International Film Festival in collaboration with Internationell Författarscen Göteborg and Göteborg & Co. in conversation with Swedish film critic and festival jury member, Jannike Åhlund, to discuss her work, colonialism past and present, and the film adaptation of Half Of a Yellow Sun.

At about the 12:42 mark, Chimamanda gives Åhlund a lesson on the different ranges of color Black people encompass, after Åhlund qualifies British actress Thandie Newton’s blackness and questions whether she was a good choice to cast in Half of a Yellow Sun. Thandie, who is biracial, plays Black-American actress, Anika Noni-Rose’s twin sister in the film. 

The entire conversation is about an hour, but well worth the watch. Chimamanda always gives good dialogue and insight into her work and about the African diaspora.

April 19, 2013

Taking the FREE out of Freelance

I've wanted to write this post for a while. I didn't know quite how to go about broaching it, and anyone who follows me on my personal Facebook account or Twitter, knows that I've made my feelings clear about how freelancers—writers, artists, musicians, or  whichever other discipline—are treated by those seeking their services.
Since I’m navigating life as a struggling writer, I’m only offering the perspective of one.  

Despite what you've seen on Sex and The City, life as a freelance writer isn't replete with luxury shoe shopping, cosmopolitan cocktails (hate those, but there is copious red wine swilling though), or afternoons spent typing away in a spacious NYC apartment, clothed in boho chic designer duds. I'm sad to report that Carrie Bradshaw has led some of you hopefuls astray

Unless a writer pens the type of controversial work that guarantees site hits and causes popular digital (or print) magazine editors to produce créme de la leche in their undies, and (thanks to a trust fund) has the luxury of writing about fumbling through a well orchestrated hot-mess life of privilege, sex, drugs, narcissism, rock & roll, and manages to reap the rewards of a lucrative book deal advance from a well-known publisher, it’s not easy.  

May 31, 2012

Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Discussing Race

Caribbean-Canadian writer and novelist, Nalo Hopkinson discusses the mechanics and importance of having an honest and open discourse about race, with people who've decided that doing so is somehow racist.

In this clip, Hopkinson speaks on how ineffective silence is when trying to address race, and recalls a discussion between another Black writer and a woman who insisted that she "didn't see race" or make it a problem in her life; to which the other writer replied, "If you can't see something that threatens my life daily, you can't be my ally." 

Hopkinson also stresses the importance of learning to address matters of race, while still acknowledging that none of us are a monolith and won't respond the same when interacting in similar scenarios; in other words, we need to learn how to acknowledge that people are different, and learn to respect those differences without resorting to oppressive silencing. We need to learn how to discuss race, deal with the myriad of emotions those discussions will provoke, and learn how listen when someone’s sharing their lived experience, without growing defensive. 

April 23, 2012

Building Blocks

Last night's Tastemakers Soul Hartford was an awesome and productive fete. I met some great people, gleaned and exchanged some insightful ideas.

I'm admittedly averse to "networking" in the most commonly known sense of the word and act and many such ‘schmoozy’ events. In fact I'm anti-networking. To quote noted New York City party planner and social media maven, Bevy Smith ...
 "A word about NETWORKING, a word I detest, an idea I abhor! Folks in a room targeting who they should be talking to based on position ... YUCK!"

And Bevy Smith, who highly endorses building genuine business relationships organically, should know. Her intimate "Dinner with Bevy" gatherings boast an extraordinary list of marketing types/PR types paired with celebrity notables, who'd probably never consider socializing with one another over dinner, under any other circumstances if not brought together at an intimate venue, over a delectable spread, by Bevy. And on that note, having finally attended a Tastemakers Soul- Hartford event, I'd say it was definitely about genuine building than networking, as I've come to know and detest it. People in attendance were looking to connect and possibly cultivate some collaborative projects with one another. There was nary an ego or discriminating conversationalist in sight. And that's definitely something I endorse.

There was a Soul Purpose representative onsite, with delectable products on-hand; as well as writers, singers, editors, PR types, and poets. I shared the first panel discussion with some outstanding and talented folk and we all offered up food for thought on; starting and sustaining useful connections, protecting your personal brand and the importance of business nuance and awareness. I mostly spoke about utilizing social media productively as a writer, to increase awareness and build reputation.

There was second panel called DJ 101, which was a continuation to a previous Tastemaker DJ panel. Subsequent performances included those by spoken word performance poet, Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler and singer/songwriter/producer Howa.rd (who I’ll be interviewing for a Coffee Buzz feature in the coming days).

I definitely look forward to participating and/or attending future Tastemaker Soul Hartford or (similar other) events. Tastemakers Soul Hartford take place every month at Vibz Uptown. It's definitely a welcome and much needed affair, in the HartBeat.

June 27, 2011

Writer and Actor, Terrill Closs Tangles with THE BEAST

2014 Update: Within the 3 years since this interview Terrill has hosted child pageants and was featured on 'Toddlers & Tiaras' and relocated to Los Angeles, where he has acted as a visible extra on several popular TV series, including 'Scandal' and 'Glee'. He continues to edit his book about 'The Beast', and hopes to release it to the masses sometime this year. 

Every now and again, I meet someone’s acquaintance or am introduced to a dynamic character I either end up wishing would suck on the open end of an exhaust pipe or who I'm intrigued by and will chop it up with in 3D over drinks, email, or social networking. 
Recently, I did a feature on a talented and exquisite Avant-garde   unicorn by the name of Dani Arranka, after having attended his birthday where he premiered the music video to his single, Be Like Me. A few days later my sister pitched me another idea: “If you liked Dani, you’d totally love my friend Terrill! She exclaimed. He’s a writer too! I think you’d like some of his work. He lives in Atlanta now! I told him all about you… ” At this point in the conversation, I sort checked out, because sister was rambling a mile a minute and my attention span has waned with older age (not my fault). 
In any event, I suggested she tell him to email me and give me the skinny all about himself, on his own accord. Sister sent me an email with one of his short stories attached. During that time, I was swimming in emails and in the midst of working on blogging the behind-the-scenes action for HartBeat Ensemble’s play, Flipside; and so it slipped to the back burner

Shortly after the initial suggestion to check out her friend, I got a Facebook friend request from one Terrill Creative-Closs. I noted we had my sister in common and remembered that this was the friend I was supposed to know about, and gladly accepted. The rest is history. I started noticing the lamentations in his status updates... one in particular, suggesting he'd need to soak in a Hazmat-sanctioned bleach bath (not really), before having to immerse himself in seedy goings-on at his job, which he called THE BEAST: Another night at THE BEAST! 
Subsequent posts would follow along that same vein, the underlying subtext seeming to be that folks wish him luck and the mental stability to sustain him through the evening...
"@THE BEAST: Sum guy got mad at us, on his way out. So he screamed & threatened to tell the cops that we’re ‘running a prostitution ring."
 another recent Facebook status read. 

But Terrill would also post updates about the progress on the book he's working on, inspired by exploits at THE BEAST.  
“…typing up my book and luxuriating… knowing I’m free from the grasp of THE BEAST tonight and tmrw.”  
Needless to say, my interest was, once again, piqued by this book-in-progress. I was anxious to delve into how found himself toiling away at THE BEAST and how he ended up in Atlanta. I also wanted to get a sense of his writing voice. So I had the opportunity to build with Terrill via an email conversation. What he relayed to me would prove to be even more compelling than his status updates on Facebook. It was so interesting; I couldn't bring myself to condense any of it and so, am presenting it on here exactly as he presented it to me, in its entirety. It’d be in your best interests to read on… not to mention he's rather easy on the eyes. 
Details about 'The Beast' are graphic and, perhaps, NSFW.