Archive for December, 2013

18 December, 2013

Bourbon & (Mothers) Milk?

I am over at American Short Fiction today, talking about my favorite good/bad mothers in fiction alongside a group of excellent folk like Xhenet Aliu, Alexi Zentner, Eugene Cross, Shann Ray, and J. Capó Crucet You can read the whole piece here. Below, an excerpt (this one from Xhenet):

When I read Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl,” of course I find myself oppressed by the mother’s admonitions and lessons. Of course I want to pluck the broom from that poor girl’s hands. Of course I want to insist that sluttery isn’t in the swing of a hip but in the eyes of those who are terrified of sex and any form that reminds them of their own fear. Of course I resent the overbearing, unnamed but monstrously present mother—and yet I find myself wondering, secretly, if the mother believes she’s actually doing something right, and if that counts for anything. I wonder if the mother thinks that doling out a little bit of pain will spare her daughter from a well of it. Even if the mother is wrong—about how best to armor a daughter, about where the biggest hurts spring from—I can’t help but find a teeny sliver of tenderness in there, the kind of maternal hardness that’s like an autoimmune response: a natural defense in functional, small doses, and painful, even fatal, when unrelenting.

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15 December, 2013

Why Community Matters for Writers

I’m over at the Association of Writers and Writing Program blog (AWP Writer) writing about community. You can read the whole article here. Below, an excerpt:

Being among other writers, without any specific need for the approval or sign-off of any particular entity (agents, editors, professors, publishers), but rather the celebration of the written word and our love for it, has been the best inspiration for my work. The writers I met there grew exponentially as I placed myself not as a writer with a personal agenda of self-aggrandizement, but a writer among writers. Picture the rocks in a river and you will understand: we rocks (writers), of varying hue, girth, width and striation, tumble the waters (words) differently, but those waters live both upstream and down, they evaporate and come back to earth, they feed the soils and they make things grow and sometimes they come down hard and drown our harvests. The rocks, too, break down, splinter, are dislodged, pushed downstream, and eventually turn to sand and disappear. That river, that riverbed, remains, and there are other mountains that will supply the movement and disturbances required.

The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.


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