Zora Would Want You To

On days like this, meaning a notable artist like Zora Neale Hurston's birthday, the custom is to suggest enjoying his or her work and to "support" others like them in their names. However, something tells me this is not what Zora would want. I think most writers take their birthdays off for things like cake, people, wine and gluttony over discipline. So today Zora wants us to party in her name. And for you to write your own novel, put elbow grease on your big dream and take her as example somebody somewhere will love your work someday.

“Black Woman Gossip” Update: More Essential Black Women’s Story Collections

"Black Woman Gossip" listed my favorite black women story collections, including Alice's IN LOVE AND TROUBLE: STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN. In particular I noted the transfer of African oral tradition to the printed word, with the necessity to shortcut African-American speech for varieties of oppressive reasons leading to virtues of expression and cadence, and, of course, secrets. Since then, today's publication of Deesha Philyaw's THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES (West Virginia University Press, 2020) pinched me like a church lady would, to tell me it's time for an update.

“I Came To Chicago To Work”

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!

Chicago Review of Books

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…

View original post 1,383 more words

Nemiss, “Searching for Love,” Summer Sounds…

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.

Tiffany Gholar Tells the Truth

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.