Kweli Journal is a fabulous space. It’s the online presence of Laura Pegram’s hard work and love. It’s a good place to be. And they published a piece of mine in early November.
“Man Made Monsters” is the Frankenstein baby I thought about for two years before I sat down one night and gave it life into 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. For now. Here’s a link.
Man Made Monsters
Another piece I had published in 2018 is “Me & My Monster.” 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.
Here’s a link to that piece: Me & My Monster
Both stories are part of a collection I’m working on.
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.)
So, here’s the link. Submission Tracker by Matt Bell
I have to say Matt’s Reading Logs made me hyper jealous. And I’m curious about the book Wolf Parts because, uh, Fairy Tales and Wolves. So many books, so little time not at my day job.
Happy submitting! And may the Road to Acceptance rush to meet you.
And here’s some Public Art from the exhibit at Burnett Plaza in Fort Worth. Suits the premise of Matt’s book, Wolf Parts. Loop is only up until October 28, 2018. Loop
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.
Trickster Drift is such a great ride.
Books by Eden Robinson on Amazon
Rebecca Roanhorse and me catching up in Santa Fe.
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.
Tommy Orange’s polyphonic novel ties together the lives of several urban Indians as they gravitate towards The Big Oakland Pow Wow. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and funny and true and sad.
It comes out on June 5.
You should preorder it from your favorite indie bookstore. Nevertheless, here’s that super convenient non-indie bookstore link.
There There by Tommy Orange
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.
Rebecca’s book is available for pre-order here: Trail of Lightning
Traci’s book for pre-order here: We Are Grateful
Marcie’s book, out now, a great (Adult) mystery, here: Murder on the Red River
Art Coulson: The Creator’s Game
Julie Flett: Julie has several books so just do a search. This is one that lists her as an author. Several of her books are in Cree. Black Bear (Colors in Cree)
Back row: Brian Young, Art Coulson, Kevin Maillard, Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Roanhorse, Alia Jones Front row: Andrea Henry, Cheryl Savageau, Skyler Kuczaboski, Yvonne W Dennis, Marcie Rendon, Carole Lindstrom, Anna-Celestrya Carr, and Traci McClellan-Sorell Julie Flett was there via Skype to talk about her books. And Kim Rogers is there, too!
Me & Kim Rogers
I’m looking forward to going to KWELI in April 2019.
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.
Tommy was featured on the podcast recently. I have heard Tommy read before and he never disappoints. Tommy Orange reads “The State” from his forthcoming novel, There There.
Sadly, a certain amount of benign neglect makes for an interesting life. Feel stupid having bought my family this book when l went to school and left them alone for 9 days in a cabin in the woods. You know. On a mountain. With no phone. No electric.
It would have felt irresponsible to say, let them run wild and take a nap. But honestly, that’s why kids in the 70s had a great time, when they didn’t go missing…
So, all this is to say, go do stuff.
above/top: Cover of 4 Kids Walk into a Bank.
Directly above: quote adapted from Scorsese’s Mean Streets, ” You don’t make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it in the home. The rest is bullshit and you know it.”
4 Kids Walk into a Bank was unputdownable. My only complaint is the publisher should have included a Cracker Jack box with a magnifying glass prize so you can read one character’s word bubbles because they are font size 3 or something.
This book is pretty much what the cover says it is, “a torrid tale of child crime.” Think Scorsese directing 11 year olds foiling, then planning a Bank heist.
I can’t take credit for finding this on my own. Stephen Graham Jones over at http://www.demontheory.net/ is a writer who consumes a lot of cool things. And then he writes a lot of cool things. I don’t think he sleeps.
Order it at your favorite comic book store or book store or wherever you like to buy stuff.