From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Friday, February 5, 2010

For Nikki G. (and me)

    I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a writer. I mean really be a writer. Especially during that period of perhaps infinite time beween when you declare you are a writer and the rest of the world concedes that it is true. There is a transitional period, a hazing of sorts, where one dabbles. Like a swimmer from the city. You've come to the lake, you like the scenery, you have on your suit, you want to go in, you've been planning to do this for a long time, you know inside of you somewhere is the instinctual skill to at least keep yourself from drowning if you were to dive in, and you even have the gumption to feel that, if the circumstances were just so, you could traverse these waters with the grace of the little minnows therein. But, for quite awhile you stand ashore. You dabble. Sticking your toes in. Checking out the effect of your little experimental ripples. Looking around to see if you can  enter the waters unobserved. That was me.
      I finally took the dive in just recently. Decided I didn't need to wait for the rest of the world. That led me to thinking about what kind of writer I want to be. What is the shape or form of a mature woman writer. One that I would care to be.
     Last night I got my answer. I went to see/ hear Nikki Giovanni speak at my alma mater, UNH as part of an annual celebration for Reverend King. No quiet, low key poetry reading of soft and soothing verse. Giovanni is a truth teller first and foremost. I have always been that. What I have lacked, and what Giovanni does not, is the kahunas to share her truth, to state it unequivocally, unashamedly, and without hesitation or back pedalling. When she slammed President Obama last night I was a bit stunned and saddened, but also impressed. It took courage. To be a real truth teller takes great courage.

     For Nikki G. (and me)
     Cowards crowd the shore,
     may even look tough
     kicking sand on each other
     flexing perfect forms,
     writers jump in
     sink or swim.

Here is a link to Goivanni's website, and a view of a reading similar to what I heard last night.

http://nikki-giovanni.com/trainridesqt.shtml
   

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My newspaper column;

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100203-LIFE-2030303

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ATribute from Paper Cuts

     I've read a lot of tributes to JD Salinger over the last few days. I think this is the one that I liked best. In part, because I have the feeling that he would have liked it.
www.papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/farewell-jd-salinger/

Monday, February 1, 2010

Book-end Bummers

     Could have written a fairly decent recap of a productive week. I really did get a lot of work done. But I guess I got a little side-lined by my two big fat (actually they were quite brief so I'm exaggerating for effect) rejection letters. They are a matched set. Identical. Form rejection notes. I've gotten plenty of these in the past, and usually they don't really bother me. But the one from Yankee that was about an adaptation of my research paper on Peyton Place was tough to take. I had written that article especially for that magazine, worked so very hard on it, and thought it had a decent chance of being accepted.    Bummer.
     I am going to send it on elsewhere though.
     And here we go again ...