First go read this article about Ntzoge Shange.
This bit resonated with me on a deep level as I am editing some stuff:
“Spell-check ruins my work,” she said. “It fixes all my slang and dialect into standard English. So I’m caught in a tangle of technology that feels very foreign to me. My characters don’t talk necessarily in a normal American way of talking. They talk a little different. So I’m having a struggle with the grammar.”
A couple of the stories I’m in final edits on have non standard English. The battle with spell checkers feels epic. Especially in the dialogue.
At times I worry that some editors won’t recognize AAVE when I use it or other English variances for what they are and I am getting rejected for that reason. I don’t worry about it often or at least try not to.
Then of course there are the bits of other languages that I don’t always translate.
That naturally puts me in mind of that Junot Diaz quote I love so much.
“Motherfuckers will read a book that’s one third elvish, but put two sentences in spanish and they [white people] think we’re taking over.”
It amazes me how often those words in particular are rattling around my skull. Especially on occasion when reading book reviews. I’ve actually given up on reviews in general. Too often people complain about shit I don’t understand. Why if you don’t like seemingly ego centric people would you read a memoir or autobiography of any kind? Why would you expect that to be something more journalism than anything? Seems dumb to me.
I have had some good feed back and some stupid feedback from my piece in Literary Orphans. I’ll talk about it another day. Right now I’m just so spent. Dayjob stuff has been hectic and I’m only managing about a quarter of my usual output. Not to mention not having the energy to fix/update my website or even start my femme self care guide. That level of frustration is what brought you my previous post.
Months like this all I want in the world is just some more energy. Some more time. Fuck the energy give me time. A young writer I talk to over on tumblr on occasion asked me recently how do I do all these things and the only answer I had was because I have to. I have to write, I have to submit, I have to grind or nothing happens. Shit health or no I will do what I have to do.
Um, not much else is happening. I’m reading three really great books right now.
I’m reading 2666 by Roberto Bolano on audiobook right now and it’s so strange and beautiful. It actually had a violent scene that made me uncomfortable and that is something I treasure. I listened to it twice and wow. This is my first Bolano book and I’ll probably devour the rest of his catalogue whole.
The other thing that this book has made me think about is what do I want to contribute to literary fiction?
I have my personal mini notches. But I rarely think about that big picture where I’m looking back from the old age home or whatever. I will probably write about that soon because it feels important and necessary. I think prior to this I wouldn’t think about it because it feels like a big deal thing to think about. Fame or no, I do have thoughts about what I want to leave behind and the impact however small I want to have.
I’m also thinking about (because I’m reading a paperback about the mafia killer Richard Kuklinski. I have been fascinated by his life for a while. What’s interesting to me is that the documentaries and shit I’ve seen don’t even come close. Also it’s making for really good research for an idea I have.
I have a few other thinky process posts in the works. I’m still percolating.
And that’s all. Dayjob beckons and I should eat so I can actually finish reformatting a submission.
To quote Erykah Badu- They sleep. We Grind.