Toni Morrison Honors Dr Maya Angelou

image

There are some literary legends. One of them who are still living vivaciously, still inspiring the next generation of writers is Dr Maya Angelou. She was honored at the National Book Awards by her friend author Toni Morrison. She received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Deserving this woman is who have changed the peoples’ view of writing and inspired so many, especially black writers who were hidden underneath fear, doubt and criticism. I don’t think she set out to do that, she just wanted to write and tell the truth but she did and we’re thankful that she became a writer. Toni said before her friend accepted the award, “Dr Maya Angelou you improve our world by drawing from us, forcing from us, our better selves.”

Once Dr Angelou accepted the award from her long time friend she responded with, “God put a rainbow in the clouds. You are rainbows in my clouds.” She finished by thanking the literary world whether she deserved it or not.

Hats off to you!

Peace and luv!

Posted from none other than your favorite writer’s favorite writer Ms Talia

Advertisements

The 10 Most Challenged Novels of 2013

There is a fine line between a challenged book and a banned book. A challenged book is where a group of unhappy people protesting against certain materials in a book. Banning is wanting the book completely removed, a group doesn’t have to be the one who request the removal of a certain book.

Now that we got the technicality part out the way lets see who made the list already for this year.

10. Beloved Toni Morrison – violence, religious viewpoints, sexual content

9. The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls – offensive language, sexually explicit

8. Scary Stories Alvin Schwartz – violence

7. Looking for Alaska John Green – offensive language, sexually explicit

6. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini – homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

5. And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell – homosexuality

4. 50 Shades of Grey (surprise, surprise) E. L. James – sexually explicit, offensive language

3. 13 Reasons Why Jay Asher – drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian Sherman Alexie – offensive language, racism, sexually explicit

1. Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey – offensive language

Surprised by any of them? Have you read any and if so do you agree with it being challenged? Can novels really be that influential on a culture similar to violent videogames?

Peace and luv!

Posted from none other than your favorite writer’s favorite writer Ms Talia

Toni Morrison’s digital booksigning today!

Do you have a Google+ account? I do come find me and we can connect. If you don’t have one today would be a great day to start that free account. At 3pm EST today Authoress Toni Morrison will headline a digital book signing.

The paperback version of her newest work Home is being released, Google employees will get signed copies of that and people who have purchased her book digitally will be able to have their copy signed by Toni Morrison, she will use a Wacom tablet to do that.

Watch this event either through Google+, Toni’s Google+ page or thru the Google Play YouTube channel. Get inspired!

Peace and luv from,

Talia

Posted from none other than your favorite writer’s favorite writer Ms Talia

No Memoir For Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, on jacket of her Pulitzer Prize...

Toni Morrison, on jacket of her Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are only a few literary greats around now. Everyone wants to write a book these days but no one ever wants to take the time and actually write something good. Standards have went down tremendously. Looking at the writing industry as a whole it’s kind of disappointing. Hardly anyone wants to learn the craft, or take time to understand what makes a novel literary worthy, or just take it seriously if anything. Writing has become just a side hustle instead of a passion. This lady…my bad, intelligent and creative sistah who breathes art into every word she blesses on paper is a genuine writer. Writing is her God-given talent. This is strictly my opinion but a great author has the ability to create art with words. Toni Morrison is blessed with that ability. She honestly makes writing seem effortless. I’ve always said ink is my blood; I think if you cut her open you will find the same thing there too. Many would love to know more about this intelligent sistah (including me) but to all who were impatiently waiting for Toni’s memoir uncross those fingers and exhale that breath you’ve been holding because it will not be written. Toni was so close to writing it she signed a deal with a publisher but backed out because she says, “My life is really not that interesting.” Come on, the first African American woman to win a Nobel prize and you’re not interesting?

I get it though. I can’t speak for Toni Morrison but as a writer of fiction I do know we are always in our own heads. We create such fascinating stories that readers think that we have this big adventurous life but that’s not always true. That’s probably why we create these outlandish stories. I come up with some mind boggling ish that have me trippin and questioning my own sanity. Put it this way my daughter has more of a social life than I do…for real she does and she’s only 13!

Another thing is not every celebrity love the limelight. Maybe she doesn’t want to share that aspect with anyone and I can totally respect that. For her fans though Ms. Morrison will have a new novel that I’m for sure will be on the bestseller’s list for a long time out in May. It will be called Home and it’s about a Korean War veteran who comes back to a racist America.

Recently Toni Morrison visited her hometown and spoke to some students. One of the advice she gave was,

People say to write about what you know. I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that cause you don’t know anything. So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared – ever.

Great advice. That’s the way of life, you’re not fully living if you’re stagnant.

Peace and luv!

What?! Toni Morrison Banned From High School?

Do any of you ever pay attention to your child’s literary book list that they hand out at the beginning of the school year? Have you came across a book you thought wasn’t suitable for his/her grade level? What did you do about it? And should schools update the reading lists to fit with the times?

Well somebody’s parents paid attention to the reading list. Parents of Salem High School students became outraged when they saw their kid reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved and now they want it banned from the school district asap!

In a public meeting 100 students and parents spoke on how they felt about the book. Ms. Barb Dame fixed her lips to say Beloved contained ‘gratuitous language, violence and sex acts’. Matt Dame (I’m assuming is her husband) added that ‘…in the first 2 chapters there are 5 references to sex with cows and other sex’. Wow!

The AP English teacher has taught this book for 10 years and he said not once has anyone complained until now. He admits that the novel meets the standards given in order for books to be considered on the reading list so what’s the problem again?

Oh, I forgot to mention one little thing – the students are specially selected to take this class and when the reading list are given at the beginning of the school year the student and parents meet with teacher to determine if the novels are age appropriate for their children so it wasn’t like they were not warned about what books were going to be studied. And if they didn’t like that their child was reading that they had the option of picking something else that is more appropriate.

So why the change of heart if they already knew?

When I read this on GalleyCat’s website it didn’t say what grade these students were in. I assumed it was like third graders or something then I dug deeper and found out it was high school students. After picking my lip up off the floor I thought to myself how I would have loved to been in that meeting just to ask those parents opposing this fictional book what do they think their precious little angels do when they are not around? What do they think the kids watch on tv or say at home behind closed doors or say over their friend’s house? Go check their phones and read some of the texts, hop on their Facebook pages and flip thru the photos. Not all high schoolers are bad or into something illegal but I bet what parents find on those FB pages or texts makes Beloved look like the Bible. Why would you complain about one book (which is a literary classic by the way) that is not even mandatory? They could have chosen another fiction novel to do the essay on. A gun was not put to their heads when it came down to deciding what book to read. It amazes me that a fictitious story stirs up controversy when each year schools teach about slavery and the degrading conditions blacks lived in and ish they went thru for an ounce of respect and freedom. Do they not feel that this subject matter is appropriate? I remember speaking on that in school and although that is apart of ‘our’ history the brutality these warriors, visionaries, inventors, educators, thinkers is 100 times worse than a little ol fiction story. I wonder how Toni Morrison feel about this anyway? I mean she has established a reputable amount of fans and continues to get more with the younger generation under me so she probably won’t think too much of it.

If these students cannot be challenged in schools in all subjects than why send your child to school? It is about critical thinking, expanding ones’ mind, getting the skills needed for real life but if parents cop a hissy fit at every little thing what will that teach their spoiled little brats once they graduate? I swear I wonder sometimes about these modern parents. Anyway a decision will be made early next week if Beloved will be banned from the school district or not.

What do you think about the possible banning? Have you been iffy about a book on your child’s reading list?

Peace and luv!

Cover of "Beloved"

Cover of Beloved

Can Universities Create Legendary Writers?

Banned Books Week Banner

Some people will disagree with me but I don’t care it’s my blog. Exit stage left if you don’t wanna read what I have to say. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to click to another page…

Ok now that they are gone let me get back down to business. Again I don’t think colleges or universitites can breed legendary writers. To me a person have to be born with the ability to make art/music on paper! Similar to a singer. A true singer always had a beautiful voice they just needed a voice coach to sharpen those skills. Universities have the same purpose. A potential writer will walk in as a beginner or unexperienced writer but that university will equip you with the tools needed to sharpen your God given talent.

In no way am I saying don’t go to school; anything that enhances your skill you should take advantage of it but don’t expect to walk up in a class thinking you will come out like another Maya Angelou or a Toni Morrison!

Look at the african american writers back when they were not allowed to attend schools. They managed to become legendary authors because they had that heart and soul of a writer. Their words bled through the pages of their novels and gave their readers goosebumps because of the realness in their work; similar to how people get goosebumps whenever Mary J sing.

OK boo, what’s your point?

My point is if you are an aspiring writer don’t get discouraged if you can’t afford to go to a college or universitiy. If you’re a natural it will happen if you grind enough because God only helps the ones that helps themselves. If you do want to go to school here are the top 5 schools that offer the creme de la creme of creative writing programs:

1.  University of Iowa

2.  University of Michigan

3.  University of Wisconsin

4.  Brown University

5.  (Tie) Cornell and Syracuse Universities

Need alternatives to going to an university? Try these:

1.  Start your own writing group

2.  Take online courses

3.  Join low residency creative writing program

4.  Enroll in community college writing courses

5.  Join online writing communities

Beware of writing communities though. Sometimes it is easy to depend on the community so much that you forget to realize that they are in the same boat as you, they are all trying to become successful bestsellers. Many may not be experts but just students in this game called writing. Make sure you know if they have good intentions when they are giving you advice and not trying to personally sabotage what you are trying to build.

What do you think? Is going to an university the answer to being a successful writer?

Peace & luv!

Who’s Real, who’s Fake?

No this is not going to be about Swizz Beatz and Jada but it was definitely a motivator that song was to the title to the post. What is considered real writing and what makes a fake azz story? It would appear that anyone that picks up a pen and paper would know the answer to this question but apparently quite a few missed that memo.

More writers, if you can call them that are falling by the wayside and remain stagnant which for whatever reason they are cool with that; maybe because they have checks coming who knows. One of the problems that I feel contributes to this is that writers are not writing from ‘that place’. That place is your soul (yes it sounds mushy but I’m being honest). I’m going to use Mary J. Blige as an example so you can feel what I’m talking about. From jump Mary J has been blessed with that knack and voice to pull her fans into her world, experience her pain and rejoice thru her journey. You knew that whatever she was singing about was real to her. She allowed a piece of her in every song she sang. Same concept when it comes to writing. You may not be writing about you or something that you have experienced in life but if you are passionate about writing and the project that you are working on then that passion will show throughout the story.

Say you are writing a thriller and your character has just experienced a murder on someone close to them, you may not have had to deal with that personally but you can easily go there and say ‘what would I feel like if such and such were murdered’; it’s called empathizing. There’s a fine line that is hard not to cross on this one. You sort of have to be an actor; that anger, guilt, and sadness you feel will fuel how intense your character will be.

A lot of writers currently suck and I really wonder how the hell they got a deal to begin with. Most of it had to do with how the story was written; it was lackluster, boring az hell. Look, a talented writer is able to weave pieces of themselves in every story they tell, flawlessly. That is the point to this post. Still don’t get it? Read a Toni Morrison novel or a Tananarive Due, hell even Zane, James Baldwin; these are real passionate writers. Go read them and then come holla at me!

Peace & Luv!