On January 7, You Too? a YA anthology of #MeToo stories will publish. It is available on Audible, as well. It’s a powerful and necessary book. Statistically speaking, it is much needed. RAINN helps survivors of sexual assault.
You Too? has essays by 25 authors writing about one of their #MeToo moments. It’s a powerful read. As alone as we can feel in trauma, we aren’t really. May you and your loved ones never need this book. May the people who need it find it.
This is an update to a previous post. My friend, Rebecca Roanhorse recently reminded people to post about what works were eligible for awards, saying, “Don’t self reject!” Award eligible work by Rebecca Roanhorse I had to write and ask her what it meant, what to do. I joined Worldcon in time to nominate the work of others for a Hugo. I’m keeping a running list of those. Cat Rambo keeps up with much in her blog.
In this spirit I am sharing the two pieces I had published last year. Kweli Journal is the fabulous online presence of Laura Pegram’s hard work and love. It’s a good place to be. They published Man Made Monsters in early November. Kweli nominated this story for a Pushcart.
“Man Made Monsters” is the Frankenstein baby I thought about for two years before I sat down one night and gave it life in the wee hours. When I was done, it was exactly what I wanted. A month later it wasn’t. Tommy Orange read it and loved it. But he saw the same lack I saw. He gave me permission to kill and resurrect it. Laura Pegram saw the places where I was afraid, poked them, and encouraged me to do to my creation what needed doing. Limbs were chopped off and replaced. The proper eye colors were set and named.
I’m happy with it again. It’s set in Cherokee Nation in 1856.
Another piece published in 2018 is “Me & My Monster.” It’s the story of a girl and a goatboy and summer love. It exists next to a lot of great work, including creative work by Tommy Orange, Heid Erdrich, and Tiffany Midge. Transmotion is a great academic publication centered on the work of Vine Deloria, but exploring contemporary Indigenous literature. They do great work over there. Thanks, Dr. Theo Van Alst.
Additionally, I’m a contributor to an anthology titled You Too?, a nonfiction collection of #MeToo essays for teens edited by YA author Janet Gurtler. “The anthology shines a light on real-life experiences with sexual harassment and assault, and features contributions from the following authors: Patty Blount, Jennifer Brown, Jess Capelle, Kenna Clifford, Eva Darrows, Daa L. Davis, Ronni Davis, Natasha Deen, Nicolas DiDomizio, Jenn Glass, Janet Gurtler, Teri Hall, Ellen hopkins, Mackenzi Lee, Saundra Mitchell, Ali Novak, Eve Porinchak, Cheryl Rainfield, Beth Revis, Andrea L. Rogers, Lulabel Seitz, Mischa Thrace, Amy Zhang.
Publication is planned for January 2020. You can pre-order here: You Too?
I try to reinvent as few wheels as possible. So, when I started to create a submission tracker this morning, because I can not remember what story I sent to a certain press in August, I hit the internet.
I found this link that took me to the webpage of writer Matt Bell. He created a tracker on Google docs. I downloaded it and had trouble with the function that automatically tabulates how long ago you submitted a piece. Not sure what I did wrong, so I downloaded it again, opened it as a Microsoft Excel document, and voila. Never do math again! YES. (I did leave the two samples at the top of the list in case I ever needed to recopy the function.)
Recently, I listened to Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster, the first book in her Trickster Trilogy. It is wonderful and funny and dark and beautiful and interesting and moving. I have heard Eden Robinson read before. She is hilarious. We stood and line at lunch at IAIA and laughed, a lot. There are so many authors who I would much rather hear read their own books. Eden is one of them, though the reader for Son of a Trickster is fabulous. I just love listening to Eden.
So, it was with great joy I was able to almost immediately read the sequel to this book, doing so with the voice of Eden Robinson in my head.
Dr. Theo Van Alst is cool and smart and ready to fight if he has to. I like this about him and his writing. Sacred Smokes is confidently unapologetic. It smokes in the apartment. It doesn’t do the dishes. Native Lakota kid Theo survives in Chicago and Chicago survives in Dr. Van Alst. Theo has a distinctive voice and you can hear a bit of it in Theodore Van Alst – Reading Fall 2016 where he reads some of “Push It,” a story included towards the end of Sacred Smokes. What I enjoy is how different his work is from a lot of the work I read by native writers. Theo’s work is just Indians being Indians in the world.
My introduction to Theo’s work was in the Summer of 2016, a Fall craft talk in the Low Rez program at IAIA. Craft Talk–“No More Navajo Joes.”
Dr. Theo Van Alst is an Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University. Theo is of Lakota descent. He is an editor of Transmotion, a very cool online journal that is “inspired by the work of Gerald Vizenor. Transmotion will publish new scholarship focused on theoretical, experimental, postmodernist, and avant-garde writing produced by Native American and First Nations authors, as well as book reviews on relevant work in Indigenous Studies, and new creative work that seeks to push boundaries.” (Full disclosure, I have a short piece in the current issue.) Theo has done a whole lot of cool stuff. Sacred Smokes is a good start if you want to check out who Dr. Van Alst is…
I was able to first meet the writer Rebecca Roanhorse at KWELI-The Color of Children’s Literature in April. She was on at least one panel.
If you don’t know her writing here’s a sample: Welcome to Your Authentic Indigenous Experience This piece is soooo good. This is the kind of piece I read to people and forward like crazy. She’s off to the NEBULAS this weekend which is awesome. She’s going to be on some cool panels: Deconlonizing SFF, The Joys and Hazards of #Ownvoices, The Evolution of a Writer.
Rebecca is a supersmart woman with an interesting origin story. But that’s not mine to tell. Check out her work. Also, make sure to ask your local library system to order the work of the Indigenous writers you want to see on your shelves.
In early April I attended Kweli’s 3rd Annual Children’s Literature Conference. KWELI is the creation of Laura Pegram. Laura has suffered as an artist in isolation. This experience led her to create KWELI-an online community for those writers of color working alone. http://www.kwelijournal.org/
Laura has also made it part of her work to create an online community for Indigenous writers. She has created a platform that amplifies our voices and brings us together. Fifteen Native writers from the North American continent showed up. Traci Sorrell (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) and Rebecca Roanhorse (Ohkay Owingeh /African American) participated on panels, as well. Julie Flett (Cree/Metis) skyped in.
I am a student in the Low Residency program at The Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
The Low Rez program is amazing. I have had several kind and amazing writing teachers. I’ll go more into that in a later post.
My mentor this semester is Tommy Orange. His debut novel, There There, will come out form Alfred A. Knopf on June 5, 2018. You should pre-order it from your local independent bookstore now.
In our brief time working together, I have learned so much from Tommy. Lessons that are making my writing better.
One of his suggestions was to listen to a Podcast made by The New Yorker. I’ve listened to some great fiction on this podcast. I love being read to. Some of the most fun bits are when writers choose a story by another author, talk about it, and then you get to hear the story. The craft of writing is on the dissection table. But it’s fun.