Latifah’s Had It Up To Here

I have no doubt I’ve used that title before. There’s just no universe in which I haven’t.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter you don’t really know me you may have missed yesterday’s big, exciting, fantasmic cover reveal! And its sadly relevant timing.

(So this post is gonna be heavy on the Twitter screenshots, frenz. Because it’s easier than just repeating myself, eh.)

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.00.30

There is no hilarious intro for this. “Four 12-year-old girls, who are Black, were questioned and strip-searched by the school nurse and assistant principal because they seemed giddy during their lunch hour and were suspected of possessing drugs.”

Imagine your middle school sisterhood joviality abruptly ending with two adults ordering you out of your clothing. Imagining it will break something inside of you, if you’re still anywhere near a whole and functional person, but imagine it anyway because it happens to children much younger and more at risk than you.

Imagine if we were what they say we are. The penalty for this treatment….whew.

But I cannot just sit all day, imagining the vengeance and destruction that has been earned. Because there are children who feel frightened, not furious; confused, not confident. And I would rather give them my attention. I need to.

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.01.03

And so the anthology I’ve been editing and writing for since this whole nightmare administration began. TAKE THE MIC: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance has poems by Jason Reynolds, Samira Ahmed, and Keah Brown; art by Connie Sun; stories by myself, Darcie Little Badger, Yamile Saied Mendez, Sofia Quintero, Laura Silverman, L.D. Lewis, and Ray Stoeve. It reps for Black kids, Muslim kids, Queer kids, Latinx kids, Jewish kids, Indigenous kids, disabled kids, because no we’re not tryna make somebody wait. 

This cover reveal, and knowing this anthology is soon come, is literally what stopped my chest hurting and my rage crying yesterday. It’s how I can be of some use. How I can funnel all the anger and hurt and refusal to let this stand into something that – I hope and pray – is salve for somebody else’s wounds. Is a shot of adrenaline or encouragement or fuel for someone who thought they couldn’t do it again, not today.

I cannot wait to release this collection. Wheeeeew, Lord. 

takethemic

Click the image or this sentence to add it to your Goodreads TBR!

And it didn’t really stop there. Because I’m currently in the process of drafting. And I could tell you more (cryptically) but again, why repeat when I can just retweet.

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.07.24

Because homegirl is unapologetically upset. And we know that’s not allowed, not even after all these think pieces about The Power Of Being Pissed Off, it never quite extends to Black Women. The policing never seems to end. So yes, let’s challenge who gets to be angry, and whether even the most conscious reader who is intentionally trying to unpack their prejudices can really stave off the automatic dislike. Because I am giving no freebies, no cracks in her self-confident facade that allows the reader to see the weakness they must witness to offer any sort of grace. Not today. And that news story up top? It gave her something to say.

And the church said?

latifah

My 1st Twitter Chat: #WO2016 Edition

Oh. Things.

Life post-book deal (PBD) has definitely been exciting and interesting, friends. I often wondered how I was going to fill my time after I signed with an agent, when I didn’t need to keep up with agent research and requests and forums on which one commiserates with other writers in the query trench. Alongside subbing my short stories and revising and writing new projects, it made up quite a large part of my job. So what could possibly fill that?

Everything. Everything else. Since announcing LLoA’s sale, I’ve joined a couple of communities – which.are.awesome – and recently took part in my first PBD twitter chat. (Despite having that morning suffered a major screen tragedy.)

#WO2016 had our first Twitter party and it was so much fun! And also, for those of you on FB who only saw one side of the conversation, possibly really annoying! My apologies! So today, I wanted to put it in context for you so you can see what the heck I was talking about. And fingers crossed, you’ll come to the next one.

So! First things first, bien sur – Q1: We introduced ourselves and our books.

Intro. - Mozilla Firefox 822015 62434 PM.bmp

LLoA.bmp

This was so awesome because despite being on forums and groups with these authors, I felt like I got *such* a clearer impression not just of their stories but of their worlds. Love.

This was also interesting because on this journey, I’ve done a number of elevator pitches, loglines, twitter contests, pitch workshops, etc – and still I just wing it. (Winged? Wung?) And when you’re talking to other authors, bloggers, readers, etc, the constant wonder: am I telling the most interesting aspects or have I forgotten? Of course, there’s not a lot of time to ponder this since the timeline is racing by!

The second question (Q2) was: What book have you stayed up way past your bedtime reading?

I may have gotten very excited at my tweep’s response to this answer. A little.

What is better than sharing our love of a book? Sharing our love of a character.

Q3: If you could spend a day with any character from a book, who would it be and why? 

A3Yes, I failed to answer the second half that question but. I feel like it’s self-evident. Come on. I may have zoned out, just ruminating on Ender and Valentine for a moment or seven.

The time slot was racing by – amidst a lot of other side-convos and fun exchanges – but we did squeeze in one more question.

Q4: Why do you write?

A4.co8ho6gdb22w - Mozilla Firefox 822015 45420 PM.bmpA4.2.bmpFirst of all, how much do we love typos that get retweeted and favorited? Not at all. Of course I meant “a” not “an” but LET’S NOT OBSESS OVER THAT. Or “have written” but that’s more Twitter’s fault blah blah blah LET’S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, BWAM = Black woman, Asian male. There are criminally few romantic Asian male leads in entertainment, period, and no, it’s not cool. So. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Relatedly, though, an interesting little factoid came up during the chat when authors were talking about characters taking on a life of their own and forcing changes to the plot:

Minor Characters.bmpAnd finally, a snippet of the conversation that was very, very important to me. Part of discussing why we write, I think, and though it wasn’t related to LLoA, it is near and dear to me.

Therapy. =This refers to my novel, THIS IS NOT HEAVEN, which is written in a nontraditional format and for which I am looking for the perfect home. It’s sci-fi, academic, short and intense and the most cathartic thing I’ve written to date. Because this past few years have been difficult in a way that otherwise defies translation. And if you want to know what social commentary and race and trauma have to do with aliens and immortality… well, I hope to one day soon be able to tell you.

And of course, “the” should be “this” – as it is on-going – but again LET’S NOT OBSESS OVER THAT, BETHANY.

And that, my friends, is a glimpse at the first #WO2016 twitter chat! So much fun! I’ll be hosting one toward the end of the year but you can find me taking part in them about twice a month. Hope to see you at the next one!