nonfiction

Write from a perspective of a character as they walk through the woods. Develop the story based on what’s happening in the character’s mind, instead of what’s physically happening around them.

"Fortunately, getting hold of people’s garbage was a cinch. Indian detectives were much luckier than their counterparts in, say, America, who were forever rooting around in people’s dustbins down dark, seedy alleyways. In India, one could simply purchase an individual’s trash on the open market. All you had to do was befriend the right rag picker. Tens of thousands of untouchables of all ages still worked as unofficial dustmen and women across the country. Every morning, they came pushing their barrows, calling, ‘Kooray Wallah!’ and took away all the household rubbish. In the colony’s open rubbish dump, surrounded by cows, goats, dogs and crows, they would sift through piles of stinking muck by hand, separating biodegradable waste from the plastic wrappers, aluminium foil, tin cans and glass bottles."

—from The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall

She’s got him. He has her. I have you, but you’re not here, so tonight I have the MacBook, a 17-inch heating pad on my lap, angled so they can see. I miss you so much.

The lights are off so they can’t see my heart aching out of my chest. I pretend not to notice their fingers curling around one another, but they’re not hiding it. Earlier I joked that he would be the third wheel if he joined she and I tonight—the joke’s on me.

Before they came over, I had to lie under a blanket for half an hour to remember I knew how to breathe on my own. I resisted the urge to call you just to ask what you’d say if I told you I need you. Then I called anyway, relieved when you didn’t answer.

We are fifteen minutes into the movie when you call to say goodnight. When we hang up, I am blushing and unable to hide it. The ninety minutes passes without the weight of loneliness in my chest. I am grateful for this, and for you.

—  Third Wheel
Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

Edited by Komozi Woodard, Jeanne Theoharis, and Dayo F. Gore

The story of the black freedom struggle in America has been overwhelmingly male-centric, starring leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Huey Newton. With few exceptions, black women have been perceived as supporting actresses; as behind-the-scenes or peripheral activists, or rank and file party members. But what about Vicki Garvin, a Brooklyn-born activist who became a leader of the National Negro Labor Council and guide to Malcolm X on his travels through Africa? What about Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman?

From Rosa Parks and Esther Cooper Jackson, to Shirley Graham DuBois and Assata Shakur, a host of women demonstrated a lifelong commitment to radical change, embracing multiple roles to sustain the movement, founding numerous groups and mentoring younger activists. Helping to create the groundwork and continuity for the movement by operating as local organizers, international mobilizers, and charismatic leaders, the stories of the women profiled in Want to Start a Revolution? help shatter the pervasive and imbalanced image of women on the sidelines of the black freedom struggle.

Contributors: Margo Natalie Crawford, Prudence Cumberbatch, Johanna Fernández, Diane C. Fujino, Dayo F. Gore, Joshua Guild, Gerald Horne, Ericka Huggins, Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest, Joy James, Erik McDuffie, Premilla Nadasen, Sherie M. Randolph, James Smethurst, Margaret Stevens, and Jeanne Theoharis.

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Daily Procrastination Haul/Industry News
January 27, 2015

Blizzard causes NY publishers to close offices.

What to read when a blizzard traps you inside.

What fiction writers can learn from comedy: On reading Poking a Dead Frog.

14 things only people who have spent countless hours working in a bookstore understand.

Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear comes to HBO.

READ THIS: “Message in a Bottle/a Religious Alternative” by Sarah Francoise.

Gleeful mobs of women murdering men in Western art history.

A conversation with Steve Himmer, author of Fram.

Joffrey Baratheon, First of His Name, Most Hateful 12 Year-Old in Literature.

Happy Reading!

Image via The Atlantic

-David Schuller

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Femme to Femme is a literary non-fiction, varied anthology seeking to explore femme* identity in the 21st century through various mediums: poetry, essays, stories and narratives, illustration, art and photography.  It was inspired by conversation with young femme* folks of color and Joseph Beam’s 1991 collection of writings edited by Essex Hemphill: Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men

Call For Submissions: From Femme* Self-Identified Folks [of Color]

We’re looking for submissions from femme* self-identified folks—including gay/queer, straight, bi, asexual, pansexual, trans*, gender fluid, and others along the gender and sexual orientation spectrums.

We’re specifically seeking stories, letters, narratives, critical analyses and essays, illustrations, and photography capturing the essence and nuanced expressions of black and brown femme* personhood across gendered and embodied difference and lived experiences; How you interpret these is up to you. We welcome first-person narratives (of your experiences, relation to other femme folks [mom, sister, grandma, auntie, girlfriend, partner, etc], photos essays, remembrances, reviews of significant literature or films, anything that you’d like to add to the conversation of what femmeness means to you, what it looks like in the 21st century, and how definitions and expectations of it is changing…or not.

Send your questions, ideas, pitches, or completed work to femmetofemmeproject@gmail.com

We look forward to adding your voice, your life, your narrative, your brilliance, your beauty, your resilience, your everything to this project. Submissions are being accepted from November 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015. 

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Lotta books coming out in paperback this week. In fiction we’ve got …

And in nonfiction …

— Nicole

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“‘Why should I laugh?’ asked the old man. ‘Madness in youth is true wisdom. Go, young man, follow your dream, and if you do not find the happiness that you seek, at any rate you will have had the happiness of seeking it.’”

—from Fairy Tales from Around the World by Andrew Lang

But my work feels most resonant to me when I am writing about something beyond my own deep well of fears. And I’ve always been drawn to the supernatural—not as a belief system but as a metaphor for all we can’t comprehend about our lives…The fear that your child might be taken from you—every parent’s nightmare, I guess—flowed smoothly (in my mind anyway) into the fear that your child might be beguiled into another world, like the children led by the Pied Piper into the mountain. I started picking at that idea, as one does with a scab.
—  Changeling by Stephen Policoff

You remember it all.
The way the wind battled with your hair,
The sky that seemed so empty,
The feeling of your hands on the cold metal of the driving wheel.
You can still picture the angle her mouth curved at when she knew she was making a mistake and smiled.
You can never forget her thigh brushing against yours as she shouted out into the darkness, telling the stars that she wasn’t afraid of them.

Sometimes, when your heart aches, you pretend that she is still by your side, and everything feels okay.
She is running her fingers through your hair while singing you a slightly off-key lullaby.
She is holding you in her arms, and there is nothing that exists other than you and her.
You are still in that car with her heart in your possession and your name on her lips.
You are still searching for the darkness that will hide all the wounds.
You are on a road that you don’t know anymore.

—  Memories of a path you can’t find the way to
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After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test. Our education blogger Anya Kamenetz reports that this week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.

Kamenetz has written a new book on standardized testing: The Test, and she sat down with Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep to talk about it. You can see their conversation (and more of Kamenetz’s coverage) here.

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Rebroadcasting today: Elizabeth Kolbert author of The Sixth Extinction 

In The World’s ‘Sixth Extinction,’ Are Humans The Asteroid?