My first book releases March 31st. This isn’t the post I thought I’d write about such an occasion, but then– this isn’t the book I thought I’d write, either.
My latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine:
What all the “Increase-Your-Creativity-By-Getting-Back-to-Your-‘Childlike-Wonder’!!” advice gets wrong–about creativity AND children.
“Great writers create like adults who choose to shape new ideas in the midst of suffering, who play as a means of confronting reality. Great writers are those who wonder because of what they know, not in spite of it.”
In which my friend Cora tells the truth: embodying heresy.
In the best way.
“For ten years I stayed silent…” So glad she’s speaking now:
“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time,” (Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak).
*SEXUAL VIOLENCE TRIGGER WARNING*
Maya Angelou taught the world that silence was crippling. That mutism was a drug. That there was power in voice, in speaking, in telling one’s story. Laurie Halse Anderson first introduced me to Dr. Angelou through her book Speak when I was fifteen. I didn’t recognize all of Ms. Anderson’s references to the Caged Bird at the time, but eight years later, I listened to Maya telling her own story of keeping silent for six years because she feared that her voice would kill people. She knew that her voice had power, but she believed that her power was something to fear. (Watch a video of Maya Angelou on finding her voice here.)
It is hard to imagine being seven years old and so terrified to speak that…
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Dear God. If in the End
we had no internet
no hot water in the kettle
no books riddled with notes
or bedclothes yellowed by the lamplight
If in the end you were as close to me as I am
to knowing every star,
marking each with naked eye,
reciting cinematic names and vectors
If in the end I’d hauled the wood
you burned for every prostitute
or preacher, every wandering soul
a minstrel in our bed
If in the end my body spelled
the only name that mattered,
and you wouldn’t read it, would not see
your sign in limbs and skin
If in the end our days fell impotent
and soft, no clam’ring mess
in back of us, only a sliding –
only a mouth open, a swallow
I’d curl myself around you
my chin between your shoulder blades,
a pressing: navel, buttocks
thigh to thigh and arm to arm,
a smell of static disavowal
soaking through my robe like ink
and I would say, I love you, love you
washed out, paling into pink.
Ellen Page, the actress known for her work in Juno, Inception and X-Men came out during a speech at HRCF’s Time to Thrive conference on Valentine’s Day (watch the speech here). During her eight minute speech, she spoke passionately to those who work for safety and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, and then snuck in her own story, to monstrous applause. “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain. I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to…
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