Our Writerly Roundup blog series features a curated collection of articles on the craft of writing and the creative life that we don’t want you to miss.
Black Lives Matter. Black Mothers Matter. Black Writers Matter. In an effort to uplift our Black contributors, Literary Mama has been promoting writing from our archives on social media all month and will continue to do so. We at Literary Mama are in conversation about how to do better in promoting Black and POC mothers. We know that work needs to be done. More on this can be read in a note from our Editor-in-Chief, Amanda Jaros, here.
For this month’s Writerly Roundup, I’ve collected current writing and projects from Literary Mama’s Black contributors. Please enjoy, share, and uplift! If you have a current piece of writing you would like us to feature in our next Writerly Roundup, please send it our way to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday Speak Out!: My Heart Hurts, My Pen Heals, Jeanine DeHoney, WOW! Blog
Ten years ago, DeHoney wrote a beautiful reflection for Literary Mama called “Mothering My Writing” on how her mother inspires her creative process. She wrote,
Sometimes I hear my mother’s voice, urging me to let my characters break free. So through my characters, I now can let my mother have her say about gender issues, politics and culture, love and parenting, and even about something as simple as an absolutely scrumptious apple crumb pie.
This entire reflection can be read here.
This June, DeHoney wrote another reflection for WOW!’s blog on what it feels like to be Black and writing in June 2020. She writes about feeling stuck in a constant state of pain, but also about trusting her pen to lead her to healing. She writes,
My heart hurts. But I write. Sometimes just one word like “Justice” or three powerful words like, “Black Lives Matter”, not because other lives don’t matter, but it is black lives that are facing racial inequality in all segments of society, oppression, violence and death. It matters because they are mothers, fathers, husbands, sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters, and brothers, who were loved and whose lives were just as treasured, just as worthy, as other lives.
When DeHoney feels overwhelmed, certain phrases and words can be enough to keep hope alive. She continues,
My heart hurts. But I can’t stay knee deep in pain. Action. Advocacy. Voting. Encouraging. Uplifting. Acknowledging. And Writing. That is my purpose. That is what assists in my/our healing. That is what changes the world as we know it. Will you join me?
Friday Speak Out! is a weekly publication on WOW!’s blog. They are looking for short (500 words or less) pieces on women and writing. If you have an important reflection to share, this might be the space for it.
20 Questions for Organizations Beginning Anti-Racist Work, Hope Wabuke (@HopeWabuke), Personal Blog
A few years ago, Wabuke wrote a poem for Literary Mama called “The Chronicles (of a Violence Foretold).” The poem weaves through different time periods, simultaneously establishing history and predicting the future. Here is an excerpt:
the day Amin’s soldiers shoot up
my parent’s classroom
and they are spared.
in the afterwards. when
they shoot up my aunts, uncles.
when my mother and father get word
You are next.
the border crossing.
the American visa.
that precious thing
that rarest bird of all.
“The Chronicles (of a Violence Foretold)” can be read in its entirety here.
This month, on her personal blog, Wabuke crafted 20 questions for organizations to ask themselves. Here is a powerful sampling:
1. Are you centering the Black voices in your organization? Are you listening, rather than ignoring or speaking over these voices?
2. How are you personally and institutionally creating a space where the Black and people of color in your organization feel safe from harm from racism and microaggressions?
3. Are you expecting the Black and people of color in your organization to do all the diversity work alone? How are you supporting their efforts?
The questions don’t yield simple yes/no answers. They drive reflection, motivation, and action. Please share.
“Do Not Forget About Black Mothers And Our Voice”: Deesha Philyaw In Conversation with Denene Millner, Deesha Philyaw (@DeeshaPhilyaw), Raising Mothers
Philyaw has contributed to Literary Mama in many ways; most recently, she hosted a conversation with Nefertiti Austin. The entire conversation can be read here.
In this interview for Raising Mothers, Philyaw talks to Denene Millner, author of over 25 books and “publisher of the first children’s imprint that specializes in the stories of black children.” Millner shares her experience writing about Black children. She says,
These children, our children, have regular lives, they do regular, average things. They think regular, average thoughts that every human being thinks when they’re that age, so why not appeal to that? What’s wrong with talking to them about those things? About what it means to lose your tooth and put it under your pillow and be afraid of the tooth fairy? Why can’t they see stories about my first ride on the school bus? Or, what it’s like to start kindergarten? These are all our experiences and they deserve to be reflected in that way in the books that [black] parents are reading to their children.
Philyaw and Millner continue to discuss family, inspiration, balancing work with parenthood, and the difficulties of talking to children about racism.
Raising Mothers is a magazine dedicated to “femme identifying and NBPOC writers who parent.” The magazine was founded by Sherisa de Groot. Learn more about Raising Mothers in Literary Mama’s profile on de Groot from last year.
Have you read a compelling article about craft or the creative life that you think should appear in the next Writerly Roundup? Please send links to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com—we’d love to hear your input!