Posts Tagged ‘Write in BK’
Posted on September 4, 2012 - by Fikriyyah George
Because everybody needs a support team.
Ok. Now you know you’re an awesome writer. Congrats! Now that you know you’re a hidden talent just waiting to break through, you need a crew (as small or big as you like) who’s going to support you. Maybe on a writing website (such as this one), in real life (supportive sibling or parent), or your Facebook friends. Whatever. Just get them already!
Ways to Get ‘Em
I would say the best kind of support comes from other writers. They know you’re woes and misery unlike, say you’re accountant friend. (Although I bet they know a thing or two about deadlines, April 15 anyone?) If you know don’t know any, find them, if you already have them, find some more!
The simplest way is to Goggle it. Your area and writer’s group. You can also find writing groups in your area by using Meetup.com. There are online social networking sites for creative types, such as Protagonize, and Writer’s Cafe strictly for the written word, and Red Bubble, with an emphasis on art and photography.
You can’t turn everything into a damn acronym, but the creative folks behind the National Novel Writing Month didn’t give a damn. And now across the writing blogosphere NaNoWriMo is a rites of passage for many. The gist? Write a novel in the month of November. Writing a full novel in just one month is not impossible, but spectacularly Herculean, and not everybody who undertakes it actually completes the novel. Instead, many writers use NaNoWriMo as a springboard to finish or start their novels. As I’ve witnessed its more about conditioning yourself to write every freaking day. As in taking your writing from a lofty wish to a serious goal. With deadlines. You know how writers need deadlines or I’d doubt we’d get anything done. (This post is a courtesy of a deadline.)
Heck, even renting a shared office space might be something worth looking into. Not to be confused with a virtual office. In a virtual office, the use of actual office space is less common. Cheaper than renting out your own office, shared office spaces started as a way for freelancers and other home based entrepreneurs to escape the loneliness of working from home.
The least expensive will set you back at least $200. They often have several levels of memberships so you can decide how much space and how much other perks you want to enjoy. They give you a place to dedicate to your writing. The best part about it is the commitment. Shelling out at least $200 bucks a month, you’d better have a plan, and get some writing done.
The best part about these places is the camaraderie. Odd and creative minds are abuzz at shared office spaces and collaboration is a natural byproduct. There are several in Brooklyn, including 3rd Ward, with free classes included in unlimited membership, the Brooklyn Creative League and Green Desk. I’ve even heard about Jelly. Not an office share but organized times when people of the entrepreneurial spirit get together.
If you’re not the typical writer, you might want to check out the NY Writers Coalition. Their mission is to give a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t normally have one such as the incarcerated, disabled, immigrants and homeless. Basically, the people you don’t expect to pick up a pen and paper and bust out “Leaves of Grass.”
Go where other writers congregate, bookstores, and readings. Bring a business card, talk to other writers. This might be a radical thing for the introverts, but you gotta mingle if you don’t want to be single. Single as in all alone in the writing process. I’ve met a few good people at readings of my favorite authors.
It’s worked for me. I don’t know what’s going to work for you, but you know what does work? Getting off your butt, stop watching that rerun of Lost and actually trying! So do the damn thang and Finish The Novel Already!
Originally posted 2010-04-24 15:48:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Posted on September 4, 2012 - by Fikriyyah George
I’m just coming off an excellent exercise at my monthly Write in BK meeting! Since we were in a bookstore, Brownstone Books to be exact, it was easy to do this exercise. We had to pick a book and write about why we picked it. I picked up Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal.
After we picked the book, we were then instructed to write a paragraph of what we thought the first sentence would sound like. Great, because I’m so Indian and I know exactly how to write as a young Indian boy.
Well, to hell with it! I did it anyway:
My name is Kiran Sharma.
Today is Sunday and I do not want to go to temple. There the boys are extra mean and so are the girls. I used to play the flue for the temple. But they said I took too long, and indulged in secular solos that took away from the spiritual essence of church.
But I love playing the flute. My solos weren’t long, they were dutiful. If I was Krishna I would love to hear a small child praise me with long flute solos praising my name. If I was God I would smote those who dare to shut up such a child.
We went so far just to find a temple in where Indian people are rare. We have to pile into the old Volkswagen and drive two hours just to get there. And then when we get there I can’t play my flute anymore.
“He was all showboating, shaking his butt, swishing his head side to side like he’s Stevie Wonder. This is temple, not the Night at the Apollo,” so I heard the HIgh Priest say.
Now is this accurate in any way? I have no idea. This was a 5 minute writing exercise, accuracy be damned.
We then read the actual first paragraph of the novel we tried to copycat to some very funny results. I suggest you pick up a copy of Blue Boy and compare the two paragraphs yourself.
Holding unto the book all night, I found myself unable to put it back on its shelf. This was essentially my book. I bought the book at the end of the meeting. Now the fact that I haven’t even cracked it open, never mind that. In fact I’m unable to read any book because frankly, I don’t give a damn.
Now eventually I’m going to have to immerse myself in the publishing world, and learn about the works of others. But I’m in the stage of my work, where I don’t want to read anybody else’s story. The story I’m writing is the story I want to read.
I know these three women so intimately, I enjoy fleshing them out, I’m even surprised at what they do, even though I’m the one creating them.
That’s because I sought to create black female characters “we” all know. The sometimes bourgeoisie/ghetto/down-to-earth black women. You know the kind of women who can live in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Flatbush or Fort Greene. Got cornrows in their hair one week, a weave the next.
They went to college, but when they return home, they still hood. They can speak “proper” English at school and on the job, but when they get home I’am turns into Imma; as in Imma ‘bout to go the corner store, want something?
I see myself in these characters. And I hope when I finish this novel, a lot of other black women can see themselves too.
While many black people have experienced a life straight out of a Donald Goines novel. Not every black person has. And then on the other side of the spectrum, I didn’t live the Cosby lifestyle either. But my sister has a pond in her front house, a small boat, and a pool in the back.
There is a middle ground I’m trying to bridge that gap.
Also in Write in BK News!
We are to have our own shelf in Brownstone Books in which we can recommend whatever sort of literature we fancy. This just happens to coincide with the one year anniversary of the writing group. So to celebrate both things we’re going to have a little soiree at Brownstone Books to commemorate. Sat, Jun 19.
I’ll be reading, there’ll be wine, there’ll be music from 7-9pm. And later there will be wine AND food as we head over to Therapy Wine Bar down the block. I can hardly wait!
Originally posted 2010-06-10 00:19:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Posted on September 4, 2012 - by Fikriyyah George
Oh boy, this past week’s writing prompt, which I did not want to do at first (laziness), but couldn’t stop once I got going was a good one. The prompt was a conversation with the Devil. Muhahahaha.
Before I read it I gave my group a little heads up that its similar to my other stuff. “More erotica,” Captain Kirk opined. Yes, Captain Kirk, more sex stuff. And not only that I was nervous to curse in front of them. I’ll tell you what my fellow Brooklyn writers had to say after the jump. Don’t judge me! Or judge me all you want:
“You know what I need? I need her feet broken. Her lips ripped, her pussy to fall off, and her tongue to rot in her mouth.”
“I see, I see,” he said stroking the goatee on his chin.
“Can you do that for me?”
“Of course I can. The issue isn’t my competence, the issue is what are you willing to do for it?” He put his hands over hers.
I should have known the Devil was out for himself. He was the most handsome black man you’d ever seen. Skin of smoothest ebony, finely chiseled features and a body like a black Adonis. A body carved out of rock and lusciousness. In other words a spitting image of Hakeem. He was every ex she’d ever dated. Daniel’s brows, Jordan’s lips and Fela’s sneer sense of humour and sleaze. They were all staring at her eye.
She put her other hand on top of his. “Look into my heart and tell me what you see.”
A few moments later, “You’re a very bad girl Naan, a very bad girl.”
“Remember those words. You’ll be saying them long after I’m done with you,” because nobody takes anything from Naan.
I was so nervous that all my work is beginning to sound the same! My fellow writers laughed at the part when I said Hakeem, and generally enjoyed it the whole of it. Kirk said it was a style. Tiffany offered the sage advice that I’m still in novel writing mode, and its not easy to switch off. Whew! In the words of Sly and the Family Stone “THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE MYSELF AGAIN!”
This is Fiction; Sort of
Another fellow writer was apt to know just how much my writing was an extension of myself and a past experience. It has been apparent to me that my writing is reflective of a previous state of mind from a year ago. Although I have grown much since I’ve written many of the parts of the novel in this state of mind, my writing has not yet moved on. It’s still a reflection of the past. When will my writing reflect the more blissful, assured and driven me I cannot be sure. But one thing’s for sure, writing this novel is cathartic.
And with that, I’m off to finish this dangblasted yet wonderfully novel novel already.
Originally posted 2010-07-15 04:05:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Posted on September 4, 2012 - by Fikriyyah George
Its that time again! For all of you who don’t know, Write in BK is a writing group for people of color of all writing experiences, from experienced to novices. We’ve meet in the past once a month, but now that we’ve decided to publish an anthology we decided it would behoove us to ramp it up and meet twice a month. So instead of Wednesday, we meet this last Tuesday. Same place, in our beloved Brownstone Books. (Have you checked out our shelf there? ‘Cause you really should. My addition was the last book I read that gave me that book high; Kindred by Octavia Butler.) This week’s prompt was to write a short blip from the point of view of either beer, toilet tissue, or a newspaper. Can you guess what I chose?
“I’ve been here since forever and who he thinks he is? Just rolling up in here with his Brooklyn swagger? He just got here. Special edition don’t mean special, it means limited. Just because he’s on a shelf higher than me don’t mean nothing. So what he’s more expensive, bigger than me? You don’t have to add me to nothing, I don’t need no chasers, I taste good straight up. I’ve been helping Mexicans, whites, blacks and all colors of people get fucked up doing dumb shit. I’m more Brooklyn than he is. Just because you say you Brooklyn, don’t mean you are. Red apple and ginger. Oh yeah, that just screams Brooklyn!”
“Can I get you a drink?”
Without even looking at me the man said, “A Corona please.”
The door opened, a blast of hot air rushed in as a hand picked me up by the neck. She sat me on the table, and popped opened my head. The dude’s hairy knuckles grabbed me by the neck with one hand and picked up his burrito with the other. He set me down on another table not too far away. Oh yes, now, now he’s about to drink me!
Before he even touched the burrito, he lifted me up to his parched lips and drank of me. “You taste so good on hot summer’s day,” he said. He sat me down and proceeded to take big hungry bites out of the burrito.
“Thank you hommes, thank you.” The water condensing on my surface congealed into two fat drops, but I’m not crying, I’m not crying.
Almost everybody else chose newspaper, I was beginning to feel like a real alcoholic choosing beer. I could feel myself writing the same damn thing again- being chosen over another, jealousy, anger. So I decided to go another direction by making the Corona grateful the customer chose him.
A Burning Question
A while ago, I filled out the application to work at Strands bookstore. On it was a mix and match of authors and titles. Unfortunately, the only answer I knew was Native Son and Richard Wright. Before that, a long time ago, I went to a talk by Zadie Smith and an audience member asked her about the Tower of Babel. What the hell is the Tower of Babel, I thought? What if that was me? What if one of my avid fans asked me about the Tower of Babel and some other literary reference I don’t know? So I wanted to read more books and become more well versed but I haven’t wanted to read in a long time. Why don’t I want to read? And how much literature should we know as writers?
For that last question, my fellow writers offered a lot of good solutions. Tiffany, the founder, once again suggested I’m still in novel writing mode, so reading other books is not necessarily a good thing, it will crowd my novel’s voice.
They suggested that I don’t need to know every novel, I just need to research my genre. It’ll help me out when I’m writing my book proposal to know who else writes like me. The anthology Dark Matter is a good place to start. And a Zhane anthology that had some supernatural elements to it.
Kirk asked me what my genre is. A good question because I haven’t really worried about typing my book, just writing it. He suggested black erotica supernatural speculative fiction. And as far as how much literature a writer should know, an anthology of classics would suffice.
Another writer suggested I listen to the radio show Brenda Green Writers on Writing. I don’t even own a radio. And a Google search isn’t showing that it’s readily available for online listening. Is it even still on broadcasting? If it is someone please tell me in the comments. Even though the last time I even listened to the radio show was when Wendy Williams was on air (I know!), I wouldn’t mind going outside my comfort zone for the sake of the craft.
A Favorite Moment as a Reader
One of my most profound moments while reading are the last chapters of a really good book. Its time to go to bed, so you read just a few chapters, and then another and then another. This chapter is going to be the last chapter and then you’ll go to sleep. Now, this chapter will be the last chapter before you go to sleep. Just one more, just one more. Okay, now THIS is the last chapter you read before you go to bed. You give up and just finish the book, and it was awesome. You take a moment to do nothing but take in that ending, what you just read, and your soul lifts just a little because it was so amazing. Forget looking at the clock, the sun is coming up.
The last book I read to give me that book high is Kindred. A writer suggested I was chasing that book high, and I’m not always going to find it. (Booo!) As for why don’t I want to read, not every book is going to give me that book high and I can’t stand that anymore. I only write because hopefully “The Eldest, The Wisest and The Wildest” will give many readers that book high.
This post is brought to you despite my latest distraction: Google Search Stories. Keep on creating.
Originally posted 2010-07-29 23:17:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter