And thusly, 2022 winds down?
It’s been a joy to reunite with a dear, long time friend, Angela Jackson who is the current Poet Laureate of our home state, Illinois.
Bravo, Angela Jackson!
I’ll always treasure the honor of having a poem dedicated to me in Jackson’s poetry collection: Dark Legs and Silk Kisses (NU Press.) It’s a beautiful book and if you have an interest in spiders, it’s an added bonus.
Last week I was privileged to read alongside her at St. Benedict’s African Parish in Chicago with four other Illinois poets. Behind me is the governor’s wife & to her left two assistants.
Parneshia (far right) and I go back a little bit, too. NU Press published the 10th annual ed. of my novel-in-verse, Watercolor Women, Opaque Men
Currently, poet Parneshia Jones is one of two African-American women directors of university presses in the United States. My hearty congrats to Paneshia Jones!
I end this year starting a new novel for HarperVia, Isabel 2121. No matter what anyone says or tries to facilitate in workshops or MFA programs or takes them or travels from residence to residency, writing is hard work. Writing well is harder and the debate of what that means is ongoing.
It’s always fun and exciting to be in my hometown with family, friends, present and former colleagues and those who follow my work–writing, social and political advocacy and my art.
The drawings series started again around 2016. In the midst of setting up a Dias de los Muertos altar, this happened, a private party acquired a Tree of Life, mixed media on paper. I’m very much blessed to see the art moving out there but even more so that coming in 2023, I’ll have gallery representation. (Details to come!) Representation for an artist and/or writer frees us up to continue working. For the record & for those who mis-read my message here, over the last near half century of my production, most of it was without representation and it never stopped me. Either you do it or you don’t.
While I work on Isabel 2121, I am excited to see my forthcoming title, Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home (HarperVia; May/June 2023 come to light. There are seven NEW, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED OR READ IN PUBLIC (!) stories.
Cuernavaca (The central question here might be , who drowned Gayle?)
Ada and Pablo
(In the 1990s a woman might leave her cheating husband after thirty years of more or less ignorant bliss or…?
In the 1990s, could a professional woman reverse the traditional role of having a career and allow her child to be raised by the other parent without criticism from society?
(Intermission with musical hint of inspiration for the story)
Late 90s, early 21st century, mother, daughter and granddaughter all grapple with traditional roles and politically designated as to what, when and how to be a mother, a daughter’s role and the struggles of each to be something more, something else. There’s always a price.
The Girl in the Green Dress
A woman marries out of tradition or love and again, motherhood is implied and, what happens if you reject it? You may be surprised. Don’t go in the coffee room alone.
Night at Nonna’s
Two high school besties in the 1970s begin their journey toward womanhood. Is it defined by society, cultural norms or that place deep inside that struggles to tell you what are your true desires? Find out what’s hidden in grandma’s Chicago basement.
Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home
In 1974 a newly minted h.s. grad is given the assignment of going to Mexico City to retrieve her run-away mother. Who and what does she discover about her own future possibilities?
The stories in this forthcoming collection take place in Chicago and Mexico.
The Spanish version of the collection will follow. My translators are based in Mexico City. And I can’t wait.
I’ll tell you a little more about this latest project after New Year’s Eve!