Black Women Writers at Work: Review of an older but very persistently worthwhile book

I am so glad I happened to see this book Black Women Writers at WorkBlack Women Writers at Work by Claudia Tate
at the public library.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, at Audre Lorde’s comment that “it’s scary because we’ve been through that before. It was called the fifties.” Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): “My responsibility is to speak the truth… with as much precision and beauty as possible. … We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
And we must not remain silent while the blood of our sisters/brothers/neighbors/communities/fellow human beings is shed.

Sherley Anne Williams reiterates this responsibility of a writer to write as well as one can and to “say as much of the truth as I can see at any given time.”

Although this book is dated, and does not include my favorite author (Octavia Butler), I am so glad that I read this book in spite of my initial misgivings. From Bambara’s hope that “We care too much … to negotiate a bogus peace,” to DeVeaux’s “responsibility to see,” I find my own compulsion to write validated by the responsibility of a writer to render individual expression into a universal expression, and to give voice to the voiceless/unseen/erased. To show the unspoken and to “empathize with the general human condition.”

Society needs all perspectives because without those perspectives, we are missing vast parts of what our society actually looks like, which leads to deep problems. Writing, as was pointed out, must transcend individual experience, but it also comes from and is filtered through individual experience, so we desperately, as leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Octavia Butler have pointed out, need every point of view.

Last note (not in my GR review): I think that this book has helped me to see that my intended audience has two possibly conflicting sections –
I. those who have endured traumas in early childhood or also in adulthood, particularly due to structural racism, and
II: those who can change that situation.

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Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

Persist: review of a good but difficult book

Stronger Than You KnowStronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This first person #YAlit novela (a bit short for a novel, I imagine) was both very hard-hitting in its accuracy, and very hope-giving, if a bit too much so, perhaps, in the ending. I find myself agreeing with another reviewer about the timeline being too short for certain things, but I can understand or imagine that the author wanted to give hope and encouragement, and teenagers have very short attention-spans and time-line perspectives, in general.

For me, this was a difficult read emotionally because it had me reliving events from my own early childhood and teenage years, and the earliest were the worst, as the ending of the book brought the external and internal conflicts together in ways that confirmed my own experiences very uncomfortably. But this is a very important work, and it is crucial to persist.

View all my reviews

Review of a book worth reading

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, #TheFemaleOfTheSpecies, written in first person and present tense for all three PoV characters, is a book which is both difficult to read, and also cathartic. There are also some really good zingers, funny lines and situations, believe it or not, and some really spot-on descriptions of the humanity of one of the main characters from whom you’d not expect human warmth. I can only hope that I can make such a contribution one day, but if I manage to publish a book half as good as this crucial work by @MindyMcGinnis, I will feel my writing career to have been worthwhile.

I noticed that this was not her debut novel, and that the author seems to have had a bit of a time getting her agent to push for this work, which spent 15 years in a drawer. That tells me that these types of books are either coming into their time, now, after the ME TOO movement, or that I’d best better start with more light and fluffy novels until I get established as a fiction author. Either way, I am grateful and glad that McGinnis kept this work, and got it to see the light of day after all those years in the dark. In publishing this book, she has also helped many of us to believe that we can come out of the dark, as well, if not entirely whole.

(Reminds me of the female MC of Purgatoire des innocents English review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… )

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Why work and walk, when being who you were born still hurts

This is an off-the-cuff post, as I need to get this off my chest in order to concentrate on the book (A-Train…) I am reviewing and the one I am writing, but this cuts into both like a hot rusty knife. The jagged edges left from the taunts of the kids in kindergarten and 1st grade of how I must be white because my mother is dating a White man, and my skin is so light, I look like a little wild indian.
Of dark-skinned girls saying how I had “that good hair” while not letting my play double dutch with them, and of feeling grateful to the one girl who “took up for me” in school for a short while.

And for another short while there was my mother’s Jewish roommate Susanna, the 18 year old who took me everywhere, while my mother was out with her White boyfriend every weekend, and often weekdays as well. The one adult who never said “stop asking so many questions!” Yet the one adult who really showed the fear I lived with: a NY police officer pulled us over and she looked at me

-don’t say anything smart alecy, because this cop is going to think you are my daughter, so he is going to think I’m dating a Black guy.

A that moment, I knew. There really was no place for me in this world, and there never would be.

Through all of the moves to different projects and evictions, through sleeping in cars, begging to be let back into the school program I’d been in before … then even while staying in a Black professor’s apartment as she traveled to Africa, grateful to have a place to stay that week before my internship, I knew I had no place in this world. And I knew that it would always be that way: too light-skinned to be included by most of my fellow Black people, even within my own family (“you know M. only tolerated your mother because she was so light-skinned” -thanks, Uncle…), but always reminded by the white folks, like my first day of school in VA, that I am a “nigger,” and nothing will change that constant outsider-ness. Not even fleeing to another religion.

But I can try to help make this world a place where skin color and connections matter less. A world where no one ever sleeps on the street or fears for his or her safety, and thus a world where who you were born only means who your friends might (or might not) be, but doesn’t mean you are out on the street or fear for your safety.

So I work and I walk: I work for the Universal Basic Income that Dr. Martin Luther King called for, so that no child, black or white, ever has to fear the police just because of skin color, and no person ever has to sleep on the street for any reason, or go hungry, or come with hat in hand to ask anyone else for food, clothing, shelter or money for basic needs (and yes, a basic phone is also a basic need, as is free decent Public Transpo and Universal Health Care).

And I walk because a car (which I will admit to having fears of driving due to my PTSD, but I could usually keep that under control enough to pull over, back when I used to drive) also divides us economically, and any car takes money from public transportation. Yes, I am also lucky to be able to walk. And grateful. Ok, back to reading and writing…
Peace,
Destinie (Shira… ? really?)
yes: Shira

Back-posting this so it shows only to my Readers… Written on Monday, March 11th, 12019 HE…

Quand t’es amené au cour pour rien avoir fait… When you are brought to court for no crime…

Click here for English below…


“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Oh !
C’est pas la peine de me pousser !”

… ça s’appelle (aux états unis) un “Body Attachment” -ce qui permet de t’envoyer au tribunal sans avoir commis un délit. Et le problème avec ça c’est que il y à plein des procès contre le démunies mais pas contre les riches. Souvent, les jugements par défaut sont obtenus sur les dettes qui sont bien au-delà de leurs statuts de limitations, mais les accusés ne pouvaient pas se défendre par un manque de savoir ou un manque de capacité à se défendre, et donc perdu soit par défaut, malgré la poursuite étant techniquement illégal. En suite ça mène à encore plus des soucies d’argent et même en prison, sûr tout quand on à des diversions pour ce qui peuvent payer, mais des procès et aux prison pour ce qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer pour éviter les procès. Après ça, le système de justice criminel a son propre montage des dettes, encore pire.
Des solutions possibles: Qu’on fait pas amené au tribunal pour des dettes, qu’après un temps limite, il n’y aura pas des procès pour des dettes, et sûr tout pas de paiements pour éviter les procès légaux. Et comment se fait-t-on pour éviter tous ces maux ? On incite les gouvernements de donner un Revenu de Base a tout le monde, augmenté par des Monnaies Locales. Et ça, c’est fait par la coopération humain. Même la Reine ne le peut pas nier.


“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Hey!
You don’t need to push me!”

… that is called (in the United States) a “Body Attachment” -which lets you be taken into custody without having committed a crime. The problem with that is that there is a greatly disproportionate rate of civil justice system debt collection litigation against the poor, rather than against wealthier debtors. Often default judgments are obtained on debts which are well past their Statutes of Limitations, but defendants were unable, due to lack of knowledge or lack of ability (illness, fear, no time off from work, lack of transportation, etc…) to defend, and thus lost by default, despite the lawsuit being technically illegal to begin with. This can lead to further financial problems, and even to jail time for those who end up in the Criminal Justice system. Particularly unjust is Pre-Trial Diversion, also known as Pre-Trial Intervention. Those who can afford to pay for Pre-Trial Diversions get all charges dropped, while those who cannot afford to pay go to trial and even to prison. To make matters worse, the criminal justice system has its own structure of debts on top of civil debts.
Some possible solutions to this arbitrary abuse of our justice system are: abolishing “Body Attachment” in the case of civil debt judgments, prohibiting lawsuit filings on time-barred debts, and above all, eliminating payment for Pre-Trial Diversion/Intervention. But how can we potentially prevent all of these problems at their source? We could encourage governments to provide a universal Basic Income, even if only in a Local Currency, potentially backed by partial acceptance for payment of local taxes, as many municipalities have done. This provides a floor on poverty, a floor on desperation, and a chance at avoiding the civil debts that often presage criminal justice system involvement, in our uneven set of systems. Even the Queen could not deny that.
Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest
February 20th, 12018 HE

Quand t’es amené au cour pour rien avoir fait… When you are brought to court for no crime…

Click here for English…

“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Oh !
C’est pas la peine de me pousser !”

… ça s’appelle (aux états unis) un “Body Attachment” -ce qui permet de t’envoyer au tribunal sans avoir commis un délit. Et le problème avec ça c’est que il y à plein des procès contre le démunies mais pas contre les riches. Souvent, les jugements par défaut sont obtenus sur les dettes qui sont bien au-delà de leurs statuts de limitations, mais les accusés ne pouvaient pas se défendre par un manque de savoir ou un manque de capacité à se défendre, et donc perdu soit par défaut, malgré la poursuite étant techniquement illégal. En suite ça mène à encore plus des soucies d’argent et même en prison, sûr tout quand on à des diversions pour ce qui peuvent payer, mais des procès et aux prison pour ce qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer pour éviter les procès. Après ça, le système de justice criminel a son propre montage des dettes, encore pire.

Des solutions possibles: Qu’on fait pas amené au tribunal pour des dettes, qu’après un temps limite, il n’y aura pas des procès pour des dettes, et sûr tout pas de paiements pour éviter les procès légaux. Et comment se fait-t-on pour éviter tous ces maux ? On incite les gouvernements de donner un Revenu de Base a tout le monde, augmenté par des Monnaies Locales. Et ça, c’est fait par la coopération humain. Même la Reine ne le peut pas nier.


“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Hey!
You don’t need to push me!”

… that is called (in the United States) a “Body Attachment” -which lets you be taken into custody without having committed a crime. The problem with that is that there is a greatly disproportionate rate of civil justice system debt collection litigation against the poor, rather than against wealthier debtors. Often default judgments are obtained on debts which are well past their Statutes of Limitations, but defendants were unable, due to lack of knowledge or lack of ability (illness, fear, no time off from work, lack of transportation, etc…) to defend, and thus lost by default, despite the lawsuit being technically illegal to begin with. This can lead to further financial problems, and even to jail time for those who end up in the Criminal Justice system. Particularly unjust is Pre-Trial Diversion, also known as Pre-Trial Intervention. Those who can afford to pay for Pre-Trial Diversions get all charges dropped, while those who cannot afford to pay go to trial and even to prison. To make matters worse, the criminal justice system has its own structure of debts on top of civil debts.

Some possible solutions to this arbitrary abuse of our justice system are: abolishing “Body Attachment” in the case of civil debt judgments, prohibiting lawsuit filings on time-barred debts, and above all, eliminating payment for Pre-Trial Diversion/Intervention. But how can we potentially prevent all of these problems at their source? We could encourage governments to provide a universal Basic Income, even if only in a Local Currency, potentially backed by partial acceptance for payment of local taxes, as many municipalities have done. This provides a floor on poverty, a floor on desperation, and a chance at avoiding the civil debts that often presage criminal justice system involvement, in our uneven set of systems. Even the Queen could not deny that.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !

ShiraDest

February 20th, 12018 HE

Humanity’s Last Gasp? Let’s make it a good one for ALL of us: Local Currencies can help!

If Stephen Hawking is right, and this is Humanity’s last century, then let us “make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance. ”
Let us feed, clothe, care for and help release the creative potential of every human being on this earth until such time as we are no more. When others look back on this time, they can say of us, either that we died foolishly, mired in our own inhumanity, or that we died well, making the best life that could be had for each and every one of our fellow human beings.
We have the means easily at hand to allow a Basic Income as called for by Dr. King, Participatory Budgeting, Universal Health Care and Local Currencies, starting with multiple Time Banks and scrip currencies at every level.
Every person should have the help needed to write his or her own story, unlike in Orwell’s 1984 where writing was banned, and the Star Wars films, where writing is neglected, to the delight of a dictator who has that many fewer journalists/poets/novelists to round up and shoot or make disappear.
All we lack is the will.
In Service to Humanity,
Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest
October 24th, 12017 HE

(caption: Image from Walter Swan and his ‘One Book Bookstore’ in Bisbee, AZ -fr. Wikimedia Commons)

Humanity’s Last Gasp? Let’s make it a good one for ALL of us: Local Currencies can help!

If Stephen Hawking is right, and this is Humanity’s last century, then let us “make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance. ”

Let us feed, clothe, care for and help release the creative potential of every human being on this earth until such time as we are no more. When others look back on this time, they can say of us, either that we died foolishly, mired in our own inhumanity, or that we died well, making the best life that could be had for each and every one of our fellow human beings.

We have the means easily at hand to allow a Basic Income as called for by Dr. King, Participatory Budgeting, Universal Health Care and Local Currencies, starting with multiple Time Banks and scrip currencies at every level.

Every person should have the help needed to write his or her own story, unlike in Orwell’s 1984 where writing was banned, and the Star Wars films, where writing is neglected, to the delight of a dictator who has that many fewer journalists/poets/novelists to round up and shoot or make disappear.

All we lack is the will.

In Service to Humanity,

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 24th, 12017 HE

(caption: Image from Walter Swan and his ‘One Book Bookstore’ in Bisbee, AZ -fr. Wikimedia Commons)

 

Resisting Unjust Laws Then and Now, Stayed on the Call of Freedom and Cooperation

(Image: ValuableGangOfYoungNegroes1840.jpeg from wikimedia commons…)

Many laws in our history have been resisted as unjust, from the Enclosure of the Commons, to the Cherokee Removal which was litigated successfully by the Cherokee nation, to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, to the recent Muslim ban.

In the 17th century, from whence this popular folk song comes, litigation was not an option for most people, so they resisted in rhyme:

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
Yet let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose

And then as now, community cooperation on a very wide scale was key to winning the freedoms promised in our foundational documents like the Magna Carta, the Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  So we continue to walk, rhyme, and support court and non-violent community-based actions to cooperate in making this a safer and kinder world for all of us, and to non-cooperate with injustice.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 22nd, 12017 HE

Black and Jewish Americans fight together for human dignity… in Spain…

As we discussed my all time favorite show, El Ministerio del Tiempo (sorry B5!!), a friend recently told me that one of her relatives had fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Lincoln Brigade which turned out to have been known officially as the Lincoln Batallion.

Looking into the history of the Lincoln Batallion, I found, among others, Oliver Law, a Black man who had to leave the USA to become the first African-American in US history to command a military unit (not counting NCOs during the US Civil War like Robert A. Pinn, who picked up the standard and command after the deaths of all of his officers), during the Spanish Civil War.

In total, one Black woman and 54 Black men volunteered from the United States, where they were treated with disdain, to fight racism and oppression on the other side of the Atlantic. They hoped to change things back home in the US, and they were following the calling of their consciences, to fight racism and oppression where they could: in Europe.  For Tom Page, it was the first time he was treated with human dignity, and for Salaria Kea, the only Black woman to volunteer, it was a dashing of hopes upon returning home.  But for all, it was honorable service to humanity.

Like Delmer Berg, the last surviving American to travel to Spain, 1/3 of the volunteers were Jewish. This was in keeping with a long but little-known tradition of cooperation between the Black and Jewish communities well before the 1960s.  In that sacred tradition, led by Dr. King, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Gandhi and many others, we must continue the cooperation between individuals, families, communities and states that so desperately needs to continue, to move us all forward as a united human race.

May all of their memories be a blessing to us all, and a reminder of Human Cooperation
Zichronam LiVrachah,
Shira Destinie Jones Landrac

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
March 16th, 12017 HE