Good news!

Hey guys, guess what? We reached our $20 goal on Patreon. Which means we get poetry!!!

I’m so excited about this, so I wanted to share the graphics I’ve made for the poems Patrons will get this month. If you want to read the full poem and get future information, you’ll have to subscribe. Images are from Pexels and edited with Canva.

Anyway, enjoy! I’m back to the word mines!

If you If only you (1)cold fall day (1)How does one come to kill_ (1)River green, rocks black, blood red (1)

Ghosts, editing, and bookmarks!

Hello again! It’s your weekly blogpost!

This week I want to chat about what I’m working on currently, including my Patreon project.

Patreon4

I’ve had two goals for the past few months that I’ve been working on. One is to be on submission. This takes a lot more work than you probably think it does, and requires dusting up all the stories I’ve finished in the past few months, researching markets, and sending them out into the world. I have, tentatively, four or five short stories that I would like to find homes and have been finished in the past six months, which is a lot for me. I blame my new proclivity on a recent fascination with the form. Short stories are easier to read when I need a quick break during a busy day than novels, so I’ve been reading a lot more of them. I still don’t know if I’m a great short story writer, but I like to think that I’ve become a lot better in the past year if for no other reason than because my love for short stories has grown.

So anyway, that means I’ve spent a lot of time grooming stories, which can take several passes, and sending missives out into the metaphorical ether.

The other thing I’ve been doing, of course, is writing. Specifically, I’ve been working on the Patreon horror story I’ve wanted to do for some time now under the Black Roses header.

Patreon Bookmark

(Did I mention I made bookmarks? Possibly jumping the gun a bit but I love them so much I don’t care.)

For those unfamiliar, Patreon is a subscription service whereby you can support your favorite creators for as little as $1/month. You can even set up your payments through Paypal. At the moment, my Patreon is sort of fledgling and operates primarily to support my blog posts. I also post excerpts from things I’ve been working on, including the aforementioned short stories, with some explanation of what the story is about or why I particularly liked the excerpt in question. I’ve promised everyone dark poems at $20/month but we’re not quite there yet. If you’re interested, we’ve only got $8 to go to get there. You could be the lucky soul that unlocks this joy! (For a sample poem, click here.)

Anyway, the thing I’ve been writing the most on recently has been a draft of a serial horror story about a woman, her ghosts, and the man she thinks to bury them in. A writer I admire said to write ahead so I’ve been working on doing just that, but I can’t wait to share this story. We have to get to $30/month first, but as I get further in the draft I plan to post some fun bits to sweeten the pot. More on those to come!

I hope that you’ll forgive this shameless self-plugging and consider supporting this blog if it’s something that gives you joy. Thank you in advance if you choose to do so! Tune in next week for more Avatar discussions and a soccer reference.


 

 

 

New York, Lorca, and Movies

There are whole essays written on Federico Garcia Lorca, whose work has appeared on this blog before and who continues to be an important part of my literary education, mostly because all of my literary education of note has occurred in Spanish and El Ogro, soul of my soul, professor of the highest order, may he rest in peace, taught me most of it. I doubt this will be the last time I talk about Lorca. He influenced  Neruda, and was influenced in turn by Whitman, two of my favorite poets. He was a powerhouse, and he died far too young, victim of a fascist regime that targeted him for his words and his sexuality.

One of his most studied collections is Poeta en Nueva York, or Poet in New York, which chronicles the poetry that he wrote in and about New York City in 1929 and 1930. New York is an old city, and profoundly important historically. Yet I rarely feel the depth and vivacity of it in film. This was no less true on Thanksgiving when I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I have critiqued thoroughly here, and critique of which brought me to reread some of Lorca to find his depictions of New York.

Lorca visited New York in 1929, as the United States was falling into the Great Depression. It was the end of the Jazz Age, which is relevant to the aforementioned Fantastic Beasts in that this movie was based in the Jazz Age. Other writers will better speak of the history and context of the body of work that he produced there, including the loss of the original manuscript in which it was compiled. I’m not your girl for that, and that’s probably not what you’re here for. I’m a science fiction and fantasy buff who also really happens to like Spanish, seeing as I got a degree in it, and reads a deal of poetry from time to time. And I’m also a person that, as mentioned, was really unsettled to see the total lack of believable, historically accurate setting in a movie meant to appeal to a wide audience of predominately young people and young adults who might not know better than to take at face value that New York was a bastion of whiteness.

There is a poem in Poeta en Nueva York called “El rey de Harlem,” “The King of Harlem.” It is not about whiteness. It is about los negros, the black people to whom Lorca writes one of the longest and most vivid odes within this work. There is, indeed, a whole section of this collection entitled “Los negros,” dedicated to the black people who lived in New York City. It is telling that a Spanish poet who visited during this time found that black life and existence within New York was so impressing, so large a portion of the fabric of American life, that he dedicated three poems specifically to them. The refrain of “The King of Harlem,”or my rough translation of it, is particularly poignant in this context, as black Americans were ubiquitous as service members in many parts of the city.

“Oh Harlem, Oh Harlem, Oh Harlem!

There is no anguish which compares to your oppressed eyes

To your blood strewn within this dark eclipse

To your pomegranate violence, deaf and dumb in the shadows,

To your great king, prisoner, within the jacket of a doorman.”

Lorca’s depictions of black residents of New York were certainly not without their problems. But he did depict them, he did not shy away from the diversity of the city – perhaps because he himself often ventured into Harlem for the more selfish reason of trysting with lovers and other such activities. This was the time of Prohibition, after all, when much happened behind closed doors. It was a messy, chaotic time that birthed “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot, The Great Gatsby, and other such classics. It was also the time of the Harlem Renaissance, a fact conveniently glossed over in many depictions of 1920s New York, including that of Fantastic Beasts.

I am not a scholar of this time. There is no way in this brief blogpost that I can effectively encompass and illustrate all of the complexity of New York in the 1920s, and I know that I have missed things a more thorough student of such things would know. But I can leave you with the words of Langston Hughes, whose New York should have shaped the setting and plot of this movie, and hope that Hollywood might remember them the next time it seeks to whitewash the seat of black urban culture. And if you’re fed up with this lazy storytelling, I recommend “The Ballad of Black Tom” or watching some Luke Cage to get the taste out of your mouth. Let’s all hope for more depictions of our history that seek to include instead of erase.

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