On the Lammys, writing, and faith

I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet more publishers and writers. So I take every opportunity I can to reconnect or read about other’s who were there.

Courtney Gillette

Lambda-Medal

[NB: Scroll down for a list of this year’s winners, and links to purchase those books from an indie bookstore!]

A while ago, I threw my hat into the ring for a grant that I didn’t get, but one of the judges for that grant had kind things to say, notably that there were so many strong applications, so not being chosen did not necessarily mean my work was without merit. I always paused in the cynicism of my heart when hearing this condolence. Could it be true?

Last night I attended the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards, and had the pleasure this year of serving as a judge. This experience has taught me that it is true — it is so true. There is more talent in the queer literary world than there are awards. Serving as a judge introduced me to scores of poets and writers I hadn’t heard…

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POWER MOVES: Angie Martinez Joins Hot 97’s Rival Station Power 105 (DETAILS)

I wish Angie Martinez the best. Life is change.

Global Grind

We can’t call her “the voice of New York” anymore. She’s now the “voice of New York and Miami.” It’s just been announced that legendary radio broadcaster Angie Martinez will officially join Power 105, Hot 97’s chief rival in New York City. Not only that, but Angie will be joining 103.5 The Beat in Miami. This comes just a day after Angie resigned from Hot 97, her home for 25 years.

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Bossip first reported that the move was coming, but it was Power 105’s morning show, The Breakfast Club, that officially announced the news:

Angela Yee, one-third of The Breakfast Club, posted the official press release on her Instagram: As for Hot 97, personalities from the station seem to be taking the high road. Ex-program director and current star…

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The Art of Blogosphere Conversation: Responding to Readers

The Daily Post

All of a sudden, your growing blog is attracting likes, comments, and pingbacks, and the party is bubbling at your (blogging) house.

You think: People? Comments? Likes? Oh no, now what? How do I respond? I’m not much of a conversationalist.

There’s no need to wilt under social pressure. We’ve got some tips on how to keep the conversation real and flowing.

The Old Porch (CC BY-SA 2.0)The Old Porch (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let’s take things one step at a time.

Note: this piece focuses on how you might handle constructive responses to your posts. Got trolls? Here’s some great advice on how to deal with them.

Likes

Likes are a nice way to show support for another’s post. How might you respond to a like? A reciprocal visit shows you care. Clicking on a liker’s Gravatar takes you to their Gravatar profile, where you can find their site (if they list one). Visit…

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On Maya Angelou

OBIT_ANGELOU_8

May 28, 2014

I didn’t open my eyes when I woke up. I am contemplating all the things that need to happen in the next few days.  There is a pending trip to New York, a bit more packing and getting ready for work.

My girlfriend is up on Facebook as always first thing in the morning.  As soon as I sit up she asks, “How do you feel about Maya Angelou?”

“Did she pass?” I ask.

“Yes,” she confirms, still scrolling her time line and checking her phone.

I think it’s weird to give someone that kind of news without ever looking at them.  Maybe because Maya Angelou is someone neither of us have ever met she can’t imagine any attachment.  Maybe she is reading all of the dedications I won’t find to later.

Maya Angelou’s, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sing,” was the first book I read by a black person in school, and a woman.  I remember how reading her words made me feel visible in a curriculum that all but ignored black writers, black children and our experiences.  I remember reading her account of abuse and being anchored in my own.

I’ve read all of Maya Angelou’s books.  I consider all the different lives she’s lived.  I consider reading something of hers to feel closer.  As soon as I heard the news I was sad for Oprah, before I was sad for us all.  We lost one of our great voices.  The news is too new, to make it small by celebrating that there are books left behind.  I don’t want to talk about it.  I just want to be quiet with my thoughts.

At work I’m surprised when someone finds me, the only black woman there, who everyone knows is a writer and says, “A famous black female writer died today.  I can’t remember her name right now.  Have you heard of her?”

“Maya Angelou,” I inform her seeing how people can be worlds apart.  I wonder how anyone can’t remember Maya Angelou’s name but then remember there are probably people important to her I don’t know either.  Then I’m grateful she thought enough to ask.

May 31-  In New York, I am excited to be visiting the city for the first time.  Still in between travelling I’m reading dedications and discussions about Maya Angelou.  We are all mourning in our own way.  Many friends are posting favorite poems.  I share tons of Maya Angelou quotes I rely on when faced with challenges.  There is no word on her funeral.  Westboro Church has threatened to protest.  I am also sad about people so lost they protest funerals.

I am looking forward to seeing the famous Schomburg museum.  When I get there, I am beside myself to hear from the front desk that there is a Maya Angelou display.  As we walk in, people behind us brag about driving hours to see this dedication that has been nationally advertised.  Then the woman sharing information, almost apologizes when she says that they put the display together at the last minute on hearing Angelou passed.

On display, are three pieces of paper behind a glass.  There is a black and white picture of Maya Angelou on regular paper that looks like they’d printed it off of a website.  There is “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” from the library system with all the stickers, and markings of being processed and checked out… There is no more information than I could have Googled.

I marvel at her handwriting on yellow legal paper.  Before, getting pissed off at the Schomburg for doing such a small display and advertising it as if they’d done Maya Angelou’s life and work justice.  Not to mention, the Schomburg became like the Wizard of Oz. It had been so widely praised for it’s preservation and display of black culture, it was more than disappointing to find only two poor displays.  Then there was nothing on the Harlem Renaissance, which was unimaginable considering it was once the poetry spot for people like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.  The Maya Angelou display was one more strike against it.

A jewel had left us and they’d thrown together her farewell honor.  I felt she deserved more, but then again, could any presentation capture and reflect her? Could any presentation soothe or even touch the absence of her walking among us? Now that I am reflecting on the words in those letters between Angelou and Malcolm X or her and James Baldwin… I am grateful for those three pieces of paper…  Maybe nothing would have been enough and in accepting that I can appreciate what was, what is…  I have reflected on those letters and words so often since reading them, for me, maybe they were enough.

I needed to hear one of the greatest writers of our time say she was struggling to create.  So that I could reflect on her perspective then and what she finally accomplished.  It was inspiration to say the least.  I am still meditating on those letters and her life.

Praying Over Poems

I’m compiling my first poetry book, or so I thought. I’m all over the place.  I can’t decide if I want to publish a book of poems written over the years, or write and release all new poems, from where I’ve arrived as an artist and poet.  So I’ve been praying over the idea of releasing a poetry book.  I’m praying that this is the right time and these are the right words.  I am praying over it’s purpose and my purpose. I am praying I hear my spirit clearly.  I am also praying for the time, space and patience to write what I feel or hear…

I am frustrated. I am frustrated that I’m tired so often.  It seems there are a million little survival things required of me…washing dishes, cleaning, eating, working and I should be working out too. Writing seems to be a luxury.  Even this blog, I’m writing with a headache and nausea… I miss Linny, Coley, 1914 and sitting in the silence of my thoughts weaving a story.  

Every day I’ve been telling myself, “Tomorrow.”  But then tomorrow comes and there are other things that need to be done.  Writing doesn’t need me the way my job, girlfriend and friends do.  Writing doesn’t call or text me at all times of the day asking me to give it something or to do something… It’s just, like a nagging guilt, and I have so much guilt over other things it’s often drowned.

I’m praying for an opportunity to be still… and project my light.

“Nathan Burgoine’s First Lammy’s – his blog post about attending the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards

It’s interesting to read other writers feelings. I attended my first Lammy award this year as well.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

‘Nathan Burgoine was previously featured on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, just a week ago on May 30, 2014. I discovered after posting this that his first novel, Light, had been nominated for a LAMBDA Award and he would be attending the awards ceremony in New Youk City held this past Monday evening. ‘Nathan has written a blog post of his own about this experience, and what he says about the sense of community and belonging to a group really hit a chord with me.

From ‘Nathan’s blog:

@NathanBurgoine: Because the majority of the time we’re not born to LGBT families,
and often have to go find our own. Stories can be maps. #OutWriters

When I arrived in New York for my first ever Lambda Literary Awards, I was nervous. I was actually a little surprised I was nervous, but there it was. After so many years of…

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