The Burden Of Writing (And Reading) While Black » VSB

Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

The Burden Of Writing (And Reading) While Black

James Baldwin (Townsend/Getty Images)

 

“I don’t burden myself with the impossible task of writing the “Black Woman’s” experience; to be honest, I think categorically-Black writing loses a lot of nuance and is generally lazy. I just tell my own stories and hope somebody feels me.”

This was a small part of a longer exchange I had with a VSB reader last week following my post about street harassment. From what I can tell, we both walked away feeling heard, and perhaps even understood. Despite being sensitive about my shit, I like interacting with people about my writing. It’s important to have your point of view challenged, especially if you share your point of view for a living. Still, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve said. As a writer, I’ve received a lot of questions about my approach to blank pages. I’ve never tried to write the Black Woman’s Experience, and to do so would be a disservice to myself and my readers.

In mixed company, Black folks hate representing the race, but we relish an opportunity to do so in our art, which makes sense in its own way. But it has its price. From a writing perspective, it’s rendered a lot of stale copy. Many of us —self included— hold on so firm to the proud legacy of Black authorship that we follow an unwritten Blackprint about what our words are supposed to say and how they’re supposed to resonate with audiences. Proud. Strong. Valiant. Tenacious in the face of adversity and oppression. Resilient. A bit of respectability politicking up and down the galleys and the gutters, pages telling us what we most want to believe about a people who have come so far.

But in the same way that trying to be a “strong Black woman” exhausts me, there are some days that I sit down at my desk and I feel none of these things. I started taking note of how often I used the words “Black” or “Black woman” in the essays I’d write. I started wondering how much I needed those qualifiers and if they had become signifiers. An easy button of sorts. Did I need to write about my experience as a “Black Woman,” or could I just write about my womanhood and let my Blackness inform it as it does anything else? Yes, there is “Black girl pain,” but there is just regular folk pain, too. And most days I’m not pained at all. After all, we are the freest Blacks in the history of free Blackness, not everything has to be, or should be a story about overcoming some shit. Yes, I’m a Carefree Black Girl, but I’m also a girl who just ain’t got no worries. And that’s a story worth telling, too.

Has the adoration of the greats paralyzed our imaginations? Do we know how to go beyond the scope of “Black writing” to write about life in a fuller way? Have we reserved the right to have protagonists that are just fucked up or as gleeful as any others? Can Black writers and editors move farther beyond race-driven news, and deeper into topical arenas like technology, lifestyle, sports, money, or news? I hope so.

With all this in mind, I have a challenge I’d like to pose to my fellow so-called “Black writers” (and readership!) Instead of being “Black writers,” I want us to be writers who are Black. Though it seems like a case of semantics, the way we’ve come to understand what qualifies as “Black writing” is has dictated the way we exist on the page. I challenge us to explore all parts of our Blackness, not just the parts we’re “supposed to.”

Maya Francis

Maya K. Francis is a culture writer and communications strategy consultant. When not holding down the Black Girl Beat for VSB, she is a weekly columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's "The Philly Post" and contributes to other digital publications including xoJane, Esquire, and EBONY.com. Sometimes TV and radio producers are crazy enough to let her talk on-air, and she helped write a book once. She cites her mother and Whitley Gilbert as inspirations.

  • LadyIbaka

    I seek out articles that are blackened (black here to include the diaspora as well as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus) the phakk up, sometimes OTHERED (there is this Indian girl that can write her nyash off!) AND why the phakk not?

    Of course, we know how to go beyond the scope of black writing. In any case, who said black writing only encompasses race (not that you did oo!). We are not a monolithic people to mean that we also write life in a fuller way! I have tons of links that I can provide to show this fullness. Some of them are pre-qualified, but yet still remain full and hearty.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    There’s going to come a day where this skin color loses its significance because we will be down in the trenches with every other race, and no one will be able to point fingers as to why we don’t matter just based on the color of the wrapping around our skeletons.

    One day, we will stop being afraid of how the race is being represented while believing what we do are individual choices and has nothing to do with our race.

    One day, saying the words “I am a Black woman” will follow with the words “so what?”..not because people feel the need to patronize anyone who makes that distinction, but rather because no woman of any other group will have an upper hand, rather they will all be on the same page as The Black Woman.

    One day, this ish that I’m typing right now won’t be a fairy tale. It will just be reality. But today? Oh all you mofos can start today. You don’t even have a real reason not to, especially if you’re on this website. So write away, my little Black writers, children of the world. Write away.

    • Sahel

      Do we use being black as a crutch ?? It’s almost like we we all do things so that the other races understand us. It puzzles me

  • blackphilo

    “Can Black writers and editors move farther beyond race-driven news, and deeper into topical arenas like technology, lifestyle, sports, money, or news? I hope so.”

    What do you mean by “can”? As in, will Black writers be given legitimately equal opportunities in White-controlled venues…or do Black writers have the ability? It sounds as if you have in mind the latter, since you’re focusing on Black agency. Why wouldn’t Black writers/thinkers have the ability? Why the skeptical “hope” that they do–which sounds almost Jeffersonian?

    In any case, what’s wrong with Black writers/thinkers who happen to be particularly interested in “race-driven” subjects? If Blacks aren’t covering those subjects, who do you imagine will do so or is more likely to do so well?

    “[T]he way we’ve come to understand what qualifies as ‘Black writing’ is has dictated the way we exist on the page….”

    Really, circa 2014? I don’t even understand what, in this era, the “Black writing” you’re referring to is supposed to consist in? For example, I think and write what motivates me to think and write–some of which includes “race-driven” issues. I assume that many writers/thinkers who are Black operate much the same way in our time. Where’s the problem from within?

    • “Can Black writers and editors move farther beyond race-driven news, and
      deeper into topical arenas like technology, lifestyle, sports, money,
      or news? I hope so.”

      Lol, they already do.

  • Val

    Just thinking…

    I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with being a Black writer. There always seems to be a debate about how we own our Blackness. Why is that? What is being a writer who happens to be Black? Are we being fooled into thinking White writers don’t own their Whiteness? They do. They have just fooled themselves and many of us into thinking White is the default human. So, in that light, their writing seems to be lacking a White point of view. But, is it?

    When we become writers who happen to be Black are we not allowed to see the world through our own Black eyes? Why is our writing diminished if it’s through a prism of Blackness?

    And, how do we move beyond “race driven news”? When someone writes about some going on in Europe aren’t they writing about race driven news? Or does it only seem that way if we’re writing about Africa?

    It seems to me that we are constantly being encouraged to move beyond Blackness. I wonder what’s wrong with embracing our many unique views. Can’t we write about tech as a Black writer? Sports, lifestyle, money? If we write just like White writers then aren’t we buying into White being the default point of view?

    I think we can write about any subject under the sun as Black writers and have our writing be just as valid as any others. There is no default point of view. Why do we need to act as though there is.

    • Sahel

      Val’s thoughts have me feeling a type of way

    • *starts slow clap*

    • Rachmo

      *Considers copying this comment, waiting a few hours, and pasting it up thread to try to pass it off as my own*

    • It seems to me that we are constantly being encouraged to move beyond
      Blackness. I wonder what’s wrong with embracing our many unique views.

      I see where you’re coming from, but something about it doesn’t sit well with me. In my experience, Black writing seems to be about distilling the Black experience to its essence. This isn’t a Bad Thing, but it is limiting. There’s a reason Black writing and respectability politics dovetail so much. A lot of what I read in Black literature is essentialist bordering on Romantic (in the literary sense). It’s a turn-off because it feels like a club where I’ll never be welcomed with my diverse experiences. Can’t a Black man go off and do something different, then come on back home? According to much of Black writing, the answer is no.

      • Wild Cougar

        I agree here. I resent the posts that are basically different versions of “All Black People Do, Believe, Experience, Like, Love X”. They are oppressive in their attempt to force any non-conformers or more insidiously, lower classes, or those who have not been deemed “resepectable” silent. Black women who use relaxers, eat pork, love God and Tyler Perry sit down, we will only allow you to keep your Black card as long and you don’t try to be heard.

        • I get where you coming from. Then again, I was raised by a West Indian dad who was into all sorts of oddball spirituality and whose start in IT roughly coincided with LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act. Does that sound conventional to you? :)

          • Wild Cougar

            Don’t start with the IT business, please. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the STEM posturing and, to be honest, bullying. STEM boosters have gotten beyond obnoxious with their “specialness”. Now it’s I’m better than you cuz I learned a computer language, everyone bow to me. Even among engineers, each one think’s he or she (mostly he) is a particularly special genius when the truth is anybody can learn that ish. Let me repeat. Any fuggin body can learn to code.

            Trying to run a tech startup and not having a STEM degree is not difficult. You hire the coders, but you can’t tell that to #teamstem. You need to be annointed by the STEM god who only gives his special STEM holy water to the most gifted. GTFOHWTBS

            rant……

            • Huh? I mean…I know I’m a bit of a STEM booster, but this ain’t really what I was trying to say…

              Sigh…

              • Wild Cougar

                I know. It was a rant. Not aimed at you particularly, but you hinted at the “specialness” of your dad cuz he’s (not regular black) and (did IT before it was cool). No shade, but it kinda set me off.

            • Lea Thrace

              whoa. deep breaths there madam.

              • Wild Cougar

                You would rant, too, if you prepared an IT product, excellent pitch, had a well researched business plan, model, numbers and all of that, and all the panel wants to know is why you don’t have an IT degree. People pull you aside and hint that you “can’t” run a tech startup without one, so you should get a partner. Boils the blood, especially considering how easy it is to come up with an idea and figure out generally how to put it into code, discuss with coders, adjust, and get the thing built.

                • Lea Thrace

                  I hear the frustration and anger all the way over here. I have no platitudes or witty repartee to impart. That just plain sucks massive donkey testes.

                  Can I just offer hugs and a mug of chamomile (read: glass of liquor of your choice)?

                  • Wild Cougar

                    Yes, please and thank you. *takes mug* *sips chamomile*

      • “Can’t a Black man go off and do something different, then come on back home? According to much of Black writing, the answer is no.”

        Space to operate is the key. Diverse points of views from black folks who write will only enrich the environment. (I think so anyway.) I’m glad a picture of Baldwin was used because sometimes it seems that black folks and a lot of white folks (In my messed up head I picture a literary agent telling his boss “This guy is young and hip…He could be the next Baldwin.”) always expect younger black writers to encompass Baldwin and all of his dopeness. His shadow looms large, it’s something to possibly aspire too, but it ties younger folks with pens down.

        • Exactly my dude. I think people are so afraid of writing something that can be used as a weapon against Black people that our fears become our writing, if that makes sense. I think Champ did something about a year or so back about how the Black experience in entertainment is limited, and I think it bleeds over into literature as well.

          As a result, you’re either the next coon or the next Baldwin with no space in the middle. And that is a bad thing.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        This may be one of the reasons why even though i enjoy PJ’s writings a bit more, i relate more to Champ’s posts on race and find myself nodding my head.

      • Val

        You want to disagree with me so badly that you quote me and then argue for the same point I’ve made.

        I said, “I wonder what’s wrong with embracing our many unique views.”

        You say, “Can’t a Black man go off and do something different, then come on back
        home? According to much of Black writing, the answer is no.”

        We are essentially saying the same thing. But, somehow you disagree.

        • I read your point differently, and understood it as encapsulating a bunch of different views under one umbrella. I thought you were trying to flatten differences. If I misunderstood, I apologize.

    • NomadaNare

      I think much of the same thing and ask many similar questions, but I think Maya Francis also asks those questions of herself and her writing. I don’t presume to speak for her, but the way I interpreted what she wrote is that we can write about the black experience without purposefully making it central to any and every piece at hand either explicitly or implicitly. I understand this to mean that just like in answer to rhetorical questions you ask above, we can switch our own internal defaults such that our writing communicates relevant concepts about blackness (and sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, etc.) organically, instead of retreading old and limited concepts in an effort to be a “credit to the race”. To an extent I agree with that line of thinking, and I am excited that we are beginning to challenge our internal biases on a fundamental level, but I’m also weary of these sorts of conversations, because it seems that if we are still discussing the normalcy and naturalness of our blackness with respect to our art, we may not quite be in the proper mental space to practically carry out organic expressions of it.

      • Val

        I think living in this America and this world makes us self-conscious with regard to our individual and collective Blackness. In this sort of environment we both question how we present our Blackness and find it hard to be natural in our Blackness. Which leads us to these conversations.

        But, I don’t think we should let this constant pressure force us into retreating from our unique points of view. The larger society embraces it’s point of view and works to make that the norm. We too must embrace our point of view and fight against any particular POV being considered the norm. All, points of view together make the norm. That should be the goal.

        • NomadaNare

          I agree living in Western society has given us problems with how we interact with our blackness but I don’t think Maya Francis is saying that we should retreat from our blackness either. I think your second paragraph is exactly what I would want to do, but the way we do that is by approaching blackness in our art from a position such that it is fundamentally embedded in our POV in an organic sense. By always sticking to certain tropes, topics, and modes of expression or approaching certain subjects from a particular angle in an effort to make black people look better as a whole, we ultimately limit our humanity.

      • That’s what I thought as well. I think the tell in her writing was when she mentioned “respectability politics”. Every writer writes from their limited perspective, but it’s something else to explicitly put your perspective in front of anything else you want to write about.

        • NomadaNare

          This is a much more compact way of writing what I’m trying to say.

    • ED

      I agree with NomadaNare. I don’t think this should be seen as encouragement to move beyond blackness. When we make our blackness explicitly central to any piece we write, it comes of as being “by blacks, for blacks”, and that keeps the black perspective from being part of the norm.

      • Val

        I think though that when we purposefully exclude our Blackness that we buy into the majority’s perspective being the default perspective. And, the more that we do that the more it’s going to seem that when we include our Blackness in some way that it’s by Blacks, for Blacks. You can’t normalize a POV by excluding it.

        When a White person makes reference to something that is linked to White culture everyone accepts that as not being for Whites, by Whites because it’s the norm. White writers do that all the time.

        No one should have to exclude parts of who they are to be accepted.

        • ED

          I wouldn’t say we need to exclude our Blackness. I think we can present our perspectives without saying “this is the Black perspective” and still not adopt the majority’s perspective as the default perspective. If that leads to a few topics being presented as by Blacks, for Blacks, I’m fine with that. Certain issues should be discussed in that manner, at least to an extent.

        • Shay-d-Lady

          right. Friends wasn’t seen as “for whites by whites” but Martin was… meanwhile only because Cosby specifically DIDNT address any “black issues” and presented what was basically a suburban white aesthetic in color was it accepted. While I love Cosby and what it did to widen the perception of what we were capable of producing, creating etc.. there are some issues and discussions to be had around how and why it was successful and the slight stench of “respectability politics” around it that is often avoided because of the pedestal upon which it was set. Which is a whole other topic..

          • Val

            Good point about how TV pigeonholes Black shows while normalizing White ones. That’s even when a show like Martin covered normal situations that anyone might experience.

          • I see your point about respectability politics, but I’m not sure Cosby could have come out any other way at the time it was out. It was the right show for that point in time.

            • Shay-d-Lady

              I don’t deny that. im just stating that discussions concerning the show never discuss the points that I mention, which were critical to how and why the show was allowed to exist in the first place

              • afronica

                Certain Cosby episodes slid some blackness up in there (the one about buying the piece of art, the one where the family lip synchs to “Night Time Is the Right Time”), but they did it *ever so carefully.* The tip toeing made me chuckle. They knew their ratings free fall if they did too much of that or actually started talking out loud about Black Art or Black Music.

                But (just because this is the way my brain works) how do you keep the blackness out? Maya’s thinking about some interesting questions, but if you’re really writing from the core of you and you’re black, how do you even fence that off and keep it from happening on the page?

      • afronica

        “When we make our blackness explicitly central to any piece we write, it comes of as being “by blacks, for blacks”, and that keeps the black perspective from being part of the norm.”

        I have to disagree in that, as both Val and Shay-d-Lady have said, that seems to only happen to blacks. Lots of all kinds of people have read David Sedaris’s work and My Name Is Asher Lev. Sedaris’s first big break (Santaland Diaries) told me her was gay in an inescapable way. It also told me I might die from laughing at his stuff. Lev showed me some aspects of Hasidism *and* what it means to lean artistic when art seems to contravene your religion.

        It seems like only blacks’ (and maybe women’s) voices can *only* be of interest to people just like them.

    • Shay-d-Lady

      YES!! and YAaaaaaaSS.. girl * bro franklins, tambourine stamp claps, sprints around the church yelling hallelujah* Jesus be a cashmere sweater that swaddles me in the overwhelming warmth of truth in this here message.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Are we being fooled into thinking White writers don’t own their Whiteness? They do. They have just fooled themselves and many of us into thinking White is the default human. So, in that light, their writing seems to be lacking a White point of view. But, is it?
      —————————————
      And this is why I love me sum Val…. ; )

  • I’ll always be a black writer and reader. My life experiences are informed by my blackness. The totality of my existence isn’t simply being black however.

  • I see where you’re getting at. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. There is no Black Way ™ to go get a Bacon Clubhouse Burger extra value meal at Mickey Dees. I am a Black person, and that does inform my experience on a day-to-day basis. What I have a problem with is that there is a Black Perspective that informs every single thing I do. Like you mentioned, it drifts suspiciously close to respectability politics and serves as a gilded cage within which to channel the Black experience.

    Maybe it’s the fact that I spend so much time dealing with so many different groups of people as well as Black people that I want to project Blackness into the world, instead of having it in one comfortable corner. While Black culture is its own thing, it’s also part and parcel of American culture as a whole. This means Blackness being part of the story, not the entire story.

    I get where Black writing comes from. This museum didn’t exactly struggle to find items for its collection when it opened. I understand why respectability politics had to develop. That said, I think we need to grow beyond that mindset. This doesn’t mean no one should ever write (or read) as a Black person. I just want Blackness to grow to other things. There’s a lot more to this planet than being Black. Why not share ourselves with the world and see what happens?

    • This is one of the reasons why I’ve never acknowledged being a writer or truly ever wanted to be one. I don’t really have a desire to inspire anyone lol. I kind of get uncomfortable by all the Anthony Robbins and Iyanla quotes or phrases I see on facebook statuses and instagram memes on the regular; I always have to practice self-restraint not to come off as a troll and tease such people. I do enjoy the trading of ideas, the occasional philosophical argument here and there that ends with a new insight into human nature, and even a history lesson here or there, but outside of that I have no inspiration to write whatsoever, which is why I don’t have a blog. I respect those who do, which is why I try never to disrespect other people’s blogs.

      From what I understand about good writing, and just arts in general, I think people who suffer from some sort of oppression, whether societal or mental tend to write better, create better music and just better art. I’ve always felt that most of my problems in life are either due to my ignorance and/or procrastination. In general, I feel if I can understand a system, be educated in it and find it’s weaknesses where I can get a trojan horse in, then I can get in and excel (which is why philosophy and history are hobbies of mine since they are the foundations of any system), whereas knowing isn’t the same as doing and procrastination is my Achilles heel. But that’s my fault. I know oppression does exist, I just expect it; I don’t expect people with power to willingly give it up, no matter how sweet their words may be or how altruistic and empathetic they appear, or how teary eyed they get when they see African babies with flies on their cheeks crying due to starvation.

  • Freebird

    I get this and I think I understand. A VSS a while back questioned whether if given a choice would black men choose their gender or their race. That question whooped my a ss…. I never considered such a thing before reading it here, and it made me reconsider myself (black, male, heterosexual) and the world I live in. Everything that is good in my life is in some way connected to my blackness. That is blackness beyond my skin and goes to the root of how I love and who I am loved by. How I see the world and the potential of the people in it….that includes non black people. My cultural connection to what I know as Black Culture – globally, not just in my country – is my connection to my humanity. And it gives me the courage I need to consider the humanity in others. My blackness is my freedom.

    • Rachmo

      If I had the choice knowing what I know…yeah I’d still choose Black

      • Hmm

        So,you prefer black. Noted

        • Val

          Sahel?

          • Lea Thrace

            I thought the same thing. LOL

          • ED

            lmao that’s the first thing I thought

            • Sahel

              I thought it was P.A

              • Val

                Who are you?

      • menajeanmaehightower

        Me too which makes me think i may be a bit of a narcissist.

  • Tentpole

    “Do we know how to go beyond the scope of “Black writing” to write about life in a fuller way?” You do this by telling the story and let the context of you words paint the canvas in the minds of others.

  • TeachingClass

    I think that the perspective on this (and many other topics involving race) will always be filtered through our experiences. No one will ever agree because our differing “experiences while black” will make this a “HELL NAW” or a “hmm… I see why you could say that” or a “I JUST said this the other day!” Unlike other minority groups who have been oppressed, the sheer myriad of styles of oppression makes it impossible to have ONE black experience. We have a general starter black experience that branches off depending on circumstances and choices. It would seem that being a girl from South Louisiana, I should’ve experienced racism far before college, but I didn’t. I knew of it, but hadn’t experienced it. I knew it to be true, like you know cancer to be true before you knew anyone who had it personally. Imagine how you see it differently before someone who had it or encountered it in a real way as a child.

    I literally had this thought yesterday while trying to get a pedicure. I came in about 3 minutes before a wore couple. Asked for my service, told them I had my polish with me, and was pointed to a chair (with no water). She took my polish and put it into a drawer (which bothered me. Unhand my stuff lady!) The couple asked for things, and as the lady was setting up, the guy and I in our pedicure chairs, the girl who looked like Edward Scissorhands to get her gel manicure removed, she leaned to me and said “One of the guys will be with you soon.” Okay. Cool. Maybe she only does manicures. But she stayed working on the man’s feet. What in the entire hell? As I processed it, I removed my feet from the water, dried them off, and began putting my shoes on. She immediately started yelling, “He be with you shortly. He coming right now!” I responded very calmly, “No, I’m going to leave. May I have my polish please?” She said, “he on his way!” My response, “my polish please ma’am?” And went on my merry way.

    Later the owner saw me outside and came out to explain, but it didn’t matter. I decided I didn’t want services from them. Through my black lens, there definitely could have been a bit of racism involved, but what I focused on was bad business practices. I don’t give my services to establishments with bad business practices if I can help it (financial aid departments at HBCUs don’t count. Can’t help it.) but I wonder how people with different scopes of experiences may have responded. And why. That catalyst is the same lens.

    (Sorry … I hardly ever comment so I had to get it all out)

    • Later the owner saw me outside and came out to explain, but it didn’t
      matter. I decided I didn’t want services from them. Through my black
      lens, there definitely could have been a bit of racism involved, but
      what I focused on was bad business practices. I don’t give my services
      to establishments with bad business practices if I can help it
      (financial aid departments at HBCUs don’t count. Can’t help it.) but I
      wonder how people with different scopes of experiences may have
      responded. And why. That catalyst is the same lens.

      First, BOL at financial aid departments at HBCUs. You see where I went, and I still know the scoop on how bad they are from my brother’s experience.

      There is a difference between a Black person and a non-Black person having a dispute and having a *racial* dispute. It’s one thing for a person to just be a jerk, like in your story. I’ve seen situations where business practices or personal behaviors just suck, and you would have gotten the same BS if all your ancestors came from Mayflower descendents. There are also situations where it’s obvious that it’s racial. Being smart is knowing that both exists and talking about it from your own perspective.

      • TeachingClass

        Lol … Man. I’m pretty sure there’s HBCU financial aid in hell.

        This is true. But I’m also interested in how black people can focus on the racial part of a dispute when there are other parts to focus on as well. I could assume she serviced me last because I was black. I was in Hilton Head after all (which I don’t think I mentioned). The conclusion I arrived at was, no matter the reason, it was wrong and she wouldn’t get my money. I’ve seen similar situations where the person pointed out the injustice (so to speak), received a discount, and still paid, albeit partially, for services.

        No. You don’t get that from the kid. Bad business practices was the lens I chose. I could’ve easily picked up the colored glasses. (… Hey. See what I did there? Lol)

  • Wild Cougar

    “Has the adoration of the greats paralyzed our imaginations?”

    Yes

    This is why I don’t call myself a writer. If I spend too much time trying to be a Writer, my writing becomes paralyzed, stiff, pretentious, airy, and full of itself. All of me is sucked out of it and I don’t recognize it and I don’t like it. I start to edit and edit and wait and think and craft and worry about how it will be received. Then I look in the mirror and ask what in the entire f*ck I was trying to do anyway.

    The respectability politics in being a Writer is bad enough. You need to represent the English language itself and show off all the words and schemes you know that other people don’t. Put Black respectability politics and representing the race on top of that and you have an unbearable burden, in my opinion. It’s not worth the title, at least not to me. My expression is so much more important to me than any title, respect, adoration or adulation. I am more important to me than the race, Black womanhood, respectability or the English language.

    Basically, f*ck that, f*ck the greats, f*ck all of them. Write what you feel.

    • *applause* Thank you.

    • NomadaNare

      “This is why I don’t call myself a writer. If I spend too much time trying to be a Writer, my writing becomes paralyzed, stiff, pretentious, airy, and full of itself. All of me is sucked out of it and I don’t recognize it and I don’t like it. I start to edit and edit and wait and think and craft and worry about how it will be received. Then I look in the mirror and ask what in the entire f*ck I was trying to do anyway.”

      You have won the internets today.

More Like This