occasionally updated blog

  • NiProWriMo 13/30: Characteristics OR How You’ll Know It’s Me

    Let’s return to that perennial question: who am I?

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    Take a second to think about you: race, gender, biological sex, religion, mental health status, physical health status, etc. Got some thoughts about who you are in your head? Good.

    So I need you to read {this} or, you know, at least skim through it. I mean, if you don’t, you’ll get the gist of it as I explain the prompt, but it’s Hurston so I suggest reading it.

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    So, Zora Neale Hurston wrote “Characteristics of Negro Expression” in which she describes, as sees and understands it, Negro expression. What makes a Black person’s way of expressing themselves Black? Here’s my disclaimer, that text is almost a century old so I’m not asking you to agree with it, just to see what it’s doing and how it does it.

    Here are my suggestions for what you can do with this text:

    1) Write a [insert one of the layers of your identity here] text.

    2) Write a piece outlining the characteristics of [you fill in the blank] expression.

    3) Find a poem you like/hate and evaluate whether or not it is a [again, you decide] expression. Note: this may result in a written piece or in a kind of anti-erasure, an annotated text. If so, please take a picture!

    For less than a cup of coffee, art.