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.)

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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Starts and Beginning

Really, February? It’s the third already? It’s a conspiracy against Black History Month, I’m sure. (Gets bored with theory and wanders off.)

Oh, how unexpected are the twists and turns. As you know, this is not my journal, so I won’t be outlining every aspect of …anything. But, for instance: I’m reading about the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) at length and looking for a literary agent who is able to sell both Christian and general market (literary) fiction. While it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m a Christian (otherwise, there’s something very wrong with my presentation of myself), this is a shocking turn of events even for me. Yes, I thought: one day, when I write a particular novel (a dark and spiritual story for which I woke up one day and wrote out the entire outline…which is also a strange development, meaning it’s not the way I operate), then I’ll worry about Christian publishing. But that’s sort of like when you say, I’m going to tour the bridges of Madison County. Real as the intention may be, it is anything but imminent. I was in the middle of working on a short for my collection On Privilege (and was lurving it, I might add), ready to hear word about the Bellwether so that I can take my next steps with Anagnorises (yes, yes, the title has changed but I can’t stop using my nickname for it) and was generally not preparing to return to the spiritual novel until way down the road. So, you see, I would have no use/need for a Christian literary agent. Which is to say, a literary agent working primarily with Christian publishers. There’s no reason s/he couldn’t be Christian and it have less to do with the marketing of her/his clientele.

Then that Unsinkable Molly Brown of a YA novel I wrote ten years ago – the book that has, for the record, been unintentionally deleted TWICE now – started morphing. Well, to be fair, first I had to revisit her. (This would be Callisto’s Charm, of which I’ve made more recent mention.) She was written for my sisters and sister-friends way back in the day and was the one novel I knew would never see the shelf of a stranger. I. Don’t write YA. Why would I go back in time and want to work on publishing old YA? Come now. Anyway, here comes Caitlin, thereby planted is the seed, sudden showering of attention (that’s me to Callisto, btw), delicious flow of progress and appreciation for how the process differs from my other work creating a new sheepish willingness to accept my abandoned firstborn (that imagery is disturbing even to me), sudden stagnation due to spiritual quagmire, here comes Jordan (to whom I wish I had a link but the girl is committed to her distance from the interwebz – suffice it to say, between she and Cait, I had something old, something new… and, wow, would Jordan hate that I just said that, as she’s less than six months older than me and feels she has one foot in the grave…where were we…) – right, here comes a question from Jordan (…a word spoken in due season, how good is it!), therein is the quagmire resolved and reborn is Callisto. To be honest, she is left primarily intact and her companion is born.

Taking a break to watch Marge Simpson write a horrid piece of claptrap whilst I nibble.

That is good on so many levels. (By the by, her first chapter name is the title of this entry.) Back to the story at hand. About whose purpose I’m beginning to wonder, so we’d better hurry it up. Anyway, the place we are now is that I am excited to share it with a particular agent – whose blog has proven an awesome resource for writing in general, which I’ve followed since before the night of the uncharacteristic outlining of aforementioned spiritual novel. When that arose, I thought: cool. Perhaps someday I will have a reason to query her. And twist of turns, here is that day – ahead of schedule and completely unrelated to the intentional writing of Christian fiction.

Except that she’s not fielding queries for YA. Which works out great since I don’t write it, right?

Whoops.