Expanding the Black Canon

“She got off the train, thinking that she never felt really human until she reached Harlem and thus got away from the hostility in the eyes of the white women who started at her on the downtown streets and in the subway. Escaped from the openly appraising looks of the white men whose eyes seemedContinue reading “Expanding the Black Canon”

Neighborhood Stories

“But the neighborhood’s changed. With our not-legals shuffling in, people who don’t have time for violence, people whose only reason for bouncing was to get away from the violence, we’ve mellowed out, found our rhythm. Slowed down. You can raise a kid in the complex. Start a garden or some shit.” -Bryan Washington, “Alief” IContinue reading “Neighborhood Stories”

The Science Fiction We All Should Read

“Maybe the Dutch smiled like that when they gave trinkets to people of the Carnarsee—a band of the Lenape—and laid sole claim to what all others had shared for millenia. Probably every ethnic group he meets thinks he’s one of theirs, at least partially. It’s a subtle, manipulative bit of magic, and Bronca resents theContinue reading “The Science Fiction We All Should Read”

The Art of the Short Story

“What’s your field?” I asked. “Daisies,” he said. “I happen to be in the field of daisies.” What an answer! How often does one meet, in this black place, a man, woman, or child who can think up a pastoral reply like that? Grace Paley, “Faith in a Tree” I’ve been working on short storiesContinue reading “The Art of the Short Story”

Postwar Classics

“They are stripping from me, she said subvocally — feeling like a fluttering curtain in a very high window, moving up then out over the abyss — they are stripping away, one by one, my men.” Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 Both Franny and Zooey and The Crying of Lot 49 have beenContinue reading “Postwar Classics”

Diary of a Fellow Writer

“I spend much of the night thinking over the whole question of running the house successfully, and tell myself–not by any means for the first time–that my abilities are very, very deficient in this direction.” -E.M. Delafield. Diary of A Provincial Lady I bought Diary of A Provincial Lady at a used bookshop in ScotlandContinue reading “Diary of a Fellow Writer”

Borrowed Books

“He knew that it was just that he was a man with bits of himself broken. That’s all it fucking was.” -Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way My goal for my time at home is to get through as many of the unread books in my room as possible. I decided to start with threeContinue reading “Borrowed Books”

Seeking Amnesty

“No Aussie saw this line, which followed Danny around the world; but anyone who grew up in Sri Lanka in the 1990s knows this black line, what it loudly commands of one, what it quietly permits.” -Aravind Adiga, Amnesty Amnesty by Aravind Adiga is the second (and last!) proof I snagged from the bookstore beforeContinue reading “Seeking Amnesty”

Escaping into Austen

I had to write a few drafts of this post before I liked it. It’s too hard to concentrate on writing right now; a week ago I had a job and I lived in London, and now I’m unemployed and I’m staying with my parents in America until all of this calms down. Regardless, I’veContinue reading “Escaping into Austen”

Struggling Marriages

“To her husband she was understanding, even affectionate, though they slept as if there were an agreement between them; not so much as a foot ever touched. There was an agreement, it was marriage.” -James Salter, Light Years I read Light Years by James Salter and Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue for my writingContinue reading “Struggling Marriages”