Gholar has a provided missive for a new way to write about the creative life, art-making and (most specifically) Black women navigating those historically troubled waters for all talents.
Dear Readers: Rachel León interviewed me for Chicago Review of Books on my latest novel SPEAKING OF SUMMER, the writing life and working in Chicago. I’d forgotten how much we covered: the novel composition process, support (or the lack thereof) for mental health, inequities in approaches to men and women’s meditative literature, unsafety for women. Share, repost, comment, like and follow. Thank you!
Kalisha Buckhanon doesn’t have a smart phone. Her first advice to new writers is to get rid of it. She writes on an old desktop computer without internet for the same reason she likes being a writer in Chicago — it allows her to get work done.
And that’s lucky for us because her new novel, Speaking of Summer, is a dynamic and important story that will provoke needed conversations about the devastating effects of trauma and mental illness.
In the novel, Summer walks to the roof of the Harlem brownstone she shares with her twin sister and disappears into the cold winter night. The mysterious circumstances of her disappearance set up a compelling tale about safety and violence, mental health and trauma, and victim invisibility.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kalisha Buckhanon over the phone. An edited transcript of our conversation appears below.
Rachel León: I…
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After performing at countless New York City rite-of-passage venues and now with the band Cross Culture, she continues her fusion of soul, R & B and classic hip-hop with a new single: "Searching for Love." Yes- people still put on the music in backyards, pools, basements and garages to just dance. No occasion is necessary. But given we've arrived to Labor Day much faster than I realized one summer could pass, this weekend is a perfect one for "Searching for Love." Enjoy our conversation about this latest Nemiss song.
Gholar's display of glorious art and life-giving paintings, completed across five years, come with grown woman commentary about what it took to see each piece through. In wisdom, she snakes the darkest corners of life- grief, breakups, economic peril- in a chronology of change and chaos where blank canvas was the steadiest hold.
Bolivians of African descent introduced Jensen to Saya music, an old artform which was a universal language in the Spanish-speaking land of their political and labor oppressors. Jensen’s film documents Saya music of today.
Mrs. DuBois is a young master of its form, with characters I appreciate and respect within mere paragraphs of her writings of them, and full-circled or open-ended tales I can explore my own life and relationships through. The depth and variety of her public introductory work is profound. And, she is not stopping anytime soon…
Dr. Terri Francis will be in Chicago this Friday night April 1 at 7PM for a screening and conversation with Kevin Jerome Everson at Black Cinema House! For those unable to make it, please enjoy and share this Women's History Month Q & A with her on Josephine Baker, Black women in film, and "the burlesque."