By Arturo R. García
By Guest Contributor Alton Pitre, cross posted from Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
Exhilaration jolted through my body when I stepped back onto the grounds of Central Juvenile Hall for the first time since my release. I finally knew what it felt like to come back as a free man and not as a detained juvenile. I cherished how different it felt. Now, I was wearing my own clothes and not the dull gray uniform of the hall. My arms dangled freely as I walked without anyone telling me to walk in a line with my hands behind my back. I even had a chance to chat with some of the juvenile hall’s probation officers, who were surprised to see me. The last time they had I was sitting in my cell.
My first day of freedom after 18 long months of captivity was Oct. 8, 2010. That was when reality quickly settled in. I was sitting at a table with my father and a few friends at a Denny’s restaurant, eating some bacon. My chest was poked out and my shoulders were buffed up. Noticing this, one of my friends jokingly said “Al, you out. You can relax and quit acting hard now.” I found that really funny because I was not trying to look tough. After being in jail for so long I had picked up the habit of trying to look like a thug while sitting at the dinner table. I was institutionalized. I did not even remember the proper way to use a knife and fork to cut my pancakes.
By Kendra James
I had the pleasure of joining Arturo in his home town this weekend to help in expanding coverage for San Diego Comic Con. It was my first time, but despite being slightly overwhelmed I sat in on a few panels, conducted a few interviews, pimped the site out in more than one podcast interview, and managed to get us some great video footage (which will likely debut sometime next week). I’ll have my full TV news roundup later this week, but for now my SDCC Storify panel reaps, and a selection of adorable kids enjoying their con time under the cut.
I focused on the instructional panels– talks that offered advice in how to get ahead in writing and marketing yourself in the entertainment world as an indie media maker. We’ll talk more about this in depth next week, but for now the recaps from two writing panels.
The full SDCC was rather intense, so for a (very, very) abbreviated peek with a slightly glitchy Storify, I tried to collect some of the tweeted observations from Art and I:
And lastly, I spent a lot of time with cosplayers this week, and they’re all under the cut:
By Guest Contributor Ellen Oh, cross-posted from Hello Ello
When I do my diversity presentation for high schools, I open with this chart:
It’s an immediate attention grabber. Why? Because this highlights the gap in diversity of caucasian and POC authors. This is an informal survey taken by author Roxanne Gay that breaks out authors reviewed by the NYT in 2011 by race. Nearly 90% are caucasian. This by no means shows a complete breakdown of publishing. But I would venture to say that a more accurate number of published books might even further compound the gap between caucasian authors and POC authors.
By Guest Contributor Kristina K. Robinson
In the few years preceding my acceptance into a Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing, I had been a Katrina refugee, had a baby, grieved the death of his father and more. I had a thick skin and a lot to say. I couldn’t think of a better time to dedicate myself to my writing. I felt prepared to be critiqued. I was self-aware and detached from taking criticism of my work personally. I had done this as an undergraduate; it was all constructive; I was ready.
A friend of mine from college, already waist-deep in an MFA program in New York, warned me …
“I was fine, till the day this guy said my work was didactic and particularly concerned with victimhood. I cried afterwards. They are going to get you,” she said.
We laughed and I waited for my turn.
It came. A rare poem of mine that features dialect, received the royal treatment from a professor. She decided to take command of the workshop by asking if anyone would like to discuss the dialect. I was aware of the consequences of writing a poem filled with dialect for a majority-white audience. I was prepared for all the most critical things I thought I would hear.
I was ready to listen to people debate whether or not it is acceptable to write something that is hard for white people to understand. I was ready to hear that a person who spoke that way wasn’t someone they imagined would have high-brow ideas or spend time meditating the on the meaning of life. I was even prepared to hear someone say that dialect didn’t belong in poetry.
I was not prepared to hear this:
“I’m going to go out on a limb,” the professor began, “and say that I found the dialect phony, and therefore I didn’t believe the rest of the poem. The dialect isn’t even consistent, sometimes this speaker says gon’, sometimes she says gonna’…didn’t buy it.”
By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet
Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), Mixology (Penguin USA, 2009), and The Big Smoke (Penguin USA, forthcoming in 2013).
BCP: Why poetry?
AM: I first tried to write poetry in a lame attempt to impress a girl, but my appreciation for language came before that. I wanted to be an emcee when I was younger. Fortunately, for everyone, I figured out pretty quickly that I couldn’t spit rhymes and moved on to the next thing.
A few years after I gave up the mic, I discovered some poets who value sound and percussiveness the same way emcees do. First, Langston Hughes and Etheridge Knight. Then later, Gil Scott-Heron and Yusef Komunyakaa. Through these incredible poets, it became clear that poetry is an art that allows both music and communication. Once I figured that out, I never wanted to do anything else.
by Latoya Peterson
Blog Insider is a short series designed to illuminate the challenges and opportunities around working in new and legacy media. It’s open reading to all, but will be particularly useful for those trying to make a living in the media world. – LDP
Short answer: They don’t.
Often, when I am traveling or speaking, I get asked a lot of questions about Racialicious. The most common is, “so the blog’s your full time job?” (Answer: nope, not even close.)
The second most common is, “How much money do you make from ads?” (Answer: zero – no ads on site.)
That’s when people tend to get a bit confused. How do these people that I see with big bylines, or published, or featured places, still complain about being so broke? Continue reading