“Let it become the thing that leads you through your days for years on end—just allowing that problem to live in front of you and to guide you.”
Even the most successful authors—like Phillis Wheatley and W. E. B. Du Bois—fail to publish all they’d like. What can that reveal about literature?
There has long been a fear that media only makes room for one Black writer at a time. But that’s always been difficult to prove—until now.
“It’s why science fiction matters so much to me: I’m trying to dislocate our sense of the normal.”
“Somehow, we are so present, and yet not even there. That surreal juxtaposition really pissed me off and fascinated me.”
“We didn’t think of ourselves as hippies, we thought of ourselves as serious people with politics.”
“I always thought that the challenge of writing my grandmother’s story was capturing her singular voice. Rereading her emails, I remember why.”
“She wanted people to be curious and take action in their lives. Not be sheep. To find the ways we can work together in crisis.”
“What does it mean to self-narrate? What does self-insight look like?”
“It feels insensitive or dishonest to not acknowledge the ways in which our work is a part of a greater narrative.”
“The novel loves things. It loves money. It loves disappointment.”
“I didn’t pay much attention to what was being put in the archives… there are letters that, if I had been paying attention, wouldn’t be there.”
“You fall short and then you wonder, 'what could I do differently next time that gets us a little bit closer?' I love that process.”
“The first thing he said is, ‘Don't call me Mr. Baldwin. My name is Jimmy.’ I thought, this is ridiculous, at the very least he's James.”
“One way to think about the act of annotating is that you are that meddlesome party gossip, telling the reader how to draw connections between the different parts of the text.”
In May 1381, rebels burned documents at Cambridge, then scattered the ashes to the wind. But why were universities targeted by the rebels?
“We don't have a party. That doesn't mean we need one big organization. We may need a few big organizations. But we need organizations!”
“There is nothing supreme about being white.”
“I am supposed to be writing this essay, ostensibly on technology, but not for the first time, I believe I am unable to write; and not writing, doubt that I will I ever write again.”
“I have been building some shanties of houses …,” wrote Melville to Hawthorne, “and likewise some shanties of chapters and essays.”