Saturday, March 21, 2009

100% Honest Day

My friend, Rethabile at Poefrika asked me to participate so here we go, ask.
For Saturday, 21 March, place the Honesty badge in a post on your honest blog. By so doing, you will be inviting your honest readers to ask you an honest question each. And you swear by the skies of thunder that you will reply honestly...
The askee has two "passes" ("no comments" in bloglese).

Serving double duty. Check out Sunday Scribblings.


Rethabile said...

Did the chicken or the egg come first: does writing make you rage, or does raging make you write?

Amias said...

What do you think about the Sisterhood of all women?

susan said...

Amias, only someone who does not know me would ask me that (Know that I am smiling while I type this). Look at my virtual bookshelf here, look at the company I keep, the work I do and the themes of my writing, and it is clear that I wholeheartedly embrace all women. My life is woman-centered.

Because I am vocal, active promoter of women writers of colors does not mean I am exclusionary. I'm Quaker. You can't get any more inclusive.

We can break the rules, too, if you like. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. I'll warn you though; my friends will tell you that I am quite candid. Be sure you want the answer because I say what I think. lol

susan said...

Rethabile, I really don't care which cames first. And I've never understood why folks like to debate it.

Good literature and prose can provoke me, and that it is a good thing in my opinion. Writing isn't simply about entertaining or ruminating, it is about making us think and to compel us to act. I believe work worth reading is relevant when it speaks to who we are, and sometimes who we are is reason to rage.

Not all of my writing is meant to provoke, but I'd like to write more that does. I always want that whatever I write, it engages the reader; that it is clear the writing is an invitation for dialogue.

I write because I have something to say; something matters to me. There are times when what matters is some issue that pisses me off. And when I'm pissed off, I'm going to talk about why. (My girlfriend hates anyone to say 'pissed off' but it aptly describes what I'm trying to say).

susan said...

I'd really like an edit button for comments. I am forever leaving out articles, misspelling and committing other grammatical errors.

Claudia said...

Hey, isn't everyday 100% Honesty Day on this blog! LOL.

I'd love to hear more about how you got started with Alternatives for Girls. And also, so you're really a Quaker? Is this an identity that you inherited or are you a convert?

Color Online said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

Yes, I don't hold much back, do I, Claudia. lol

The short version on AFG. I met a young women in the 90s who was an AFG resident. Our relationship was brief but meaningful. Over the years, I volunteered with a few youth/community organizations. While working in publishing, I enjoyed great relationships with educators, and out of that experience grew my desire to create a literary program for girls. And I knew where I wanted to launch my program; it was never a question. I pitched my idea to AFG. They liked it and I've been there since September 2005. I've had some rough times, false starts, but my core supporters have been faithful, and there is always a young woman who inspires me to work this thing out.

My Quaker conversion is kinda of funny story but I'm losing steam here coming off my midnight shift. Let's just say my quest was a series of events, the least of which was an episode on "Six Feet Under" when the lead guy visited a Meeting. Shortly after watching that episode, I got online, found a local group and started attending. Felt at home and was very active for a too short time. I don't attend as often as I'd like (distance and my work schedule are real barriers now). I'm not well-versed so don't ask. My connection was and is organic. I knew that at this time, at this point on my path, I'm at the right place.

Amias said...

The thing about blogging is getting to know others, especially ones that are outside of one's personal and/or physical world.

I have met a lot of folks who said they were about "sisterhood", but they had discriminatory taste in who they accepted as sisters.

I am all about open and honest dialogue, and applaud those who serve it up, as it is my favorite dish of choice; diversity is my favorite dessert.

I have checked out your blog, and the ones you are associated with .. and find them all, yes, to be very interesting, indeed.

I am old, and I dare say love the spirit of our young women. Especially my daughters. They all amaze me, as they are more free then I ever was .. me coming from the cotton fields. I am indeed in awe!

Still, among women, doesn't matter the culture, there is always lines drawn when it comes to what some call the "AA" list, and the list that they consider is not a part of the "AA" list. As such, reading is not always what it seem, until you get to know a person .. via communication. Such as this ... under the umbrella of open and honest dialogue.

Indeed, I am what I write and more ... even my fantasies are my realities, at times. If you heard my voice, it's like reading what I write ... raw.

I applaud what you are doing, as I have not met many who is as stand-up as you are, and shows it via action.

That said, I had only one question and you answered it, especially to my satisfaction. Thank you.

Deb said...

What is the thing you do too much of?

susan said...

Amias, I have met women like you describe and let's be real- I have met African American women who discriminate and will draw a line between themselves and other women. Well, that makes as much sense to me as folks who reject me because I'm black. If you're going to reject me let it be because you don't like me, the person not the color of my skin. I don't like some folks either and shared color doesn't get you a pass.

susan said...

Deb, I beat up myself too much.

Rethabile said...

I don't care which came first, either. The question is to find out which came first for you, what makes you tick (clichés can come in handy sometimes).

The answer, then, is "I write when I'm pissed off." Anger? Anger is a good stimulant, and a healthy safety valve. When in that condition, I wonder, do you write better or worse than when not?

susan said...

R, the point wasn't totally lost on me. Forgive me. How I tick- I think questions and the examinations matter more than the answers but it I also think we need to ask if we're asking the right question, and the chicken/egg debate never struck me as the right question. I've always wondered, "Why does it matter which came first?"

I don't know if I write better when I'm angry (I certainly find it more interesting), but I do think writing honestly is the best writing. I think my best writing occurs when I feel connected to the subject matter. Often, I pass on writing prompts or my attempt comes off flat to me when the exercise doesn't stir any emotion or connection in me.

anthonynorth said...

Good idea. Did you expect to get searching questions?

Cloudscome said...

I was going to ask about your being Quaker but I see you already spoke to that. I have been teaching in Quaker schools for about 18 years, although I am (still) Episcopalian. I have great respect for the Friends and their testimonies. I enjoy Meeting For Worship in school on Wed. mornings. 300+ children and teachers sit in silence for 25 minutes, anyone standing to speak if they feel led. It is an amazing experience. The children are a pleasure to be with every time.

My question would be what is the most significant book you've read in the past six months? And how did it move you?

Amias said...

Susan you took the words right out of my thoughts ... as I agree with you completely.

Thank you for the open and hones dialogue -- it is indeed refreshing!

susan said...

Anthony, yes I did. I know the host and the company I keep. I would have been surprised if the questions weren't meaty.


It feels good hearing from someone who intimately knows the power of silent worship. It has the most calming, centering effect on me. I'm going to make a point to drive to Ann Arbor for service next week. It's time.

My first thought to your question was AWAM, but I thought folks would think that's because of the interview so I reviewed my book shelf for the last six months and my choice is still AWAM.I could name others I enjoyed but this is the most significant.

This novel is most significant because:

1)Zetta effectively connects history with our current times. The book starts out contemporary. By the time Genna is transported, the reader is so invested in the character there is no turning back.

2)I think young readers will actually connect with this piece of historical fiction, and that is no easy feat when so many readers in this age range are not big on historical fiction.

3)I think this book provides a kick butt platform for getting students to make connections and ask questions.

4)This is significant because of the format and storyline. It is no small thing that this book is speculative fiction with a 15-year-old black girl as the main character. This isn't a formula YA book.

5)For my teen daughter, there has to be action, drama, good pacing or she'll abandon a book and when I read this I knew my reluctant reader would enjoy it. And since I work primarily with reluctant readers, this really impresses me.

6)Even if readers don't pick up on all of the nuances of the read, I am convinced they are going to get something significant out of the novel.

7)Genna's voice and actions are so authentic. If characters don't come off believable, readers will dump a book. Some might not be interested in examining the issues or history, but Genna's story will hook you.

Claudia said...

Susan, I really enjoyed reading your response. I have great respect for spiritual and religious seekers of all kinds - so it is nice to hear you talk a bit about your journey.

My reason for asking about AFG is also a selfish one, since I would really like to start something similar in my town!

susan said...

Claudia, do it! Any agencies in mind or are you looking to create a program and take it on schools and organizations? So many nonprofits need help. Sharing your passion and expertise would be welcomed. Keep me posted.