On My New Book

I am always writing.

I always have new book ideas.

Right now I have three in outline form that I have been working on since 2013 and 2014 respectively.

However, and one will be a mainstream hit BECAUSE of the problem it solves. But something has been nagging at me.

Because I am TEACHING Black history now as a Black feminist, because people are USED to buying digital books and because I reminded myself that Zane sold 108K copies at 22K a piece, and because of my LOVE of fancy bathroom back splashes and a desire to move my father closer to me, I have been thinking what can I write that:

  • 1. Feels authentic, because you know I ain’t gonna lie Craig.
  • 2. Stacks my chips, because, I want my Dad closer, OR I need to be able to see him regularly without it being  a financial burden.
  • 3. I need to grow bigger than the LOVELY, BEAUTIFUL audience that I have built.
  • 4. I work hard, and hard work is dignifying. But you know what gina, I am not put her to grind my Black ass to dust working. I am not. Other people may have that voice in their spirit that says that. But I don’t.
  • I need to be able to demonstrate to myself that I can stack my coins, write what feels authentic to me, center Black people, acknowledge and mark White people who have access to economic and cultural institutional levers,  be ready to receive mainstream media attention, and not lose my fucking mind.

 

I mean, look at this shit:

I need to be able to demonstrate to myself that I can stack my coins, write what feels authentic to me, center Black people, acknowledge and mark White people who have access to economic and cultural institutional levers,  be ready to receive mainstream media attention, and not lose my fucking mind.

How Sway, how?

So, today I woke up and the idea hit me. And holy shit is it a doozy. It allows me to have contemporary conversations, it allows me bring in some essays that I am writing for another project, and it allows me to assert my voice into contemporary conversations about race, social justice, Black women, #BlackGirlDeath etc. And because I am mastering academic media marketing and distribution I am going to be writing it with an eye toward broadening my purchasing community to include, OFF THE BACK, Black book clubs, and colleges, universities and libraries. But doing so in a way that feels authentic to me.

I am a Black feminist who Loves to stack my chips. Why?

Life has shown me over and over again, that my willingness to do so means that I can manage my life and my life’s emergencies better AND I can be there for my family and their lives too. And if I don’t help for emergencies…I can do things that are like sugar on top.

I can see the cover of the book ya’ll and it will be a force in national converstion’s on race in 2016.

God would not have put it on my heart if I wasn’t ready. And honestly I may not need to get ready. I may just need to know that God will help me no matter what happens.

 

Girl.

Are you writing anything?

If you were reading a book about being black right now in 2015, what would you want it to address in order for it to feel whole to you?

I.

LOVE.

Ya’ll. Without you, I wouldn’t believe that any of this is possible.

~ R

 

 

The Job of Black Writers

Me + Baldwin @ a beach in Long Island, Summer ’08.

I Love Baldwin and it seems that every summer I return to his collection of essays published by the Library of America.

What is the job of Black writers? The work?

Baldwin addresses this in the essay “Notes for a Hypothetical Novel.”

I like this quote because it gets at how writing is profoundly rewarding and often a Sisyphean task as well.

The importance of a writer is continuous;?? I think it’s socially debatable and usually socially not terribly, but that’s not the point; his importance, I think, is that he is here to describe things which other people are too busy to describe. It is a function, let’s face it, it is a special function. There is no democracy on this level. It’s a very difficult thing to do, its a very special thing to do and people who do it cannot by that token do many other things. But their importance is, and the importance of writers in this country now this is, that this country is yet to be discovered in any real sense…

Baldwin doesn’t say that this is the job of Black writers, but in reading this it certainly made me think of it in these terms.

Black people are richer than ever before, financially. More Black men and women are in jail than ever before. We also have a Black president.

As media, and the rest of our lives moves online, I am mindful that most of the popular Black websites are concerned with the lives, affairs and misery of the Black famous rather than using the space to cultivate what Dayna Cunningham calls Black voice.

Black people have continually forced the United States to live up to being the democracy that it claims to be.

What happens when Black people who are media savvy are not primarily concerned with cultivating Black voice during a time of great change?

If everything that is digital is free, and as books become digitized, what will happen to Black writers ability to sustain themselves and how will this impact Black people?