Archive for the ‘The Art of Writing’ Category

  • How Dare We! Write FREE DESK COPIES

    Date: 2017.05.21 | Category: How Dare We! Write a multicultural creative writing discourse, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    WRITING INSTRUCTORS PLEASE NOTE:

     
    “If you are teaching a high school or undergrad or graduate Creative Writing course in 2017-2018, we are accepting requests for desk copies of “How Dare We! Write: a multicultural discourse.”

    Please email info@ModernHistoryPress.com from your faculty email address to request a copy and include the following:

     
    1. The course number, name and institution where you teach
    2. Your complete shipping address and whether you would like printed or eBook edition

     
    We can only guarantee that the first 50 instructors who reply will get a desk copy. You are encouraged to share
    this information with interested colleagues.

    (Review: https://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/…/on-how-dare-we-write-…/)

  • De-Canon: a visibility project

    Date: 2017.05.07 | Category: GIFTS OF RESISTANCE 2017: links, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    https://www.de-canon.com/blog/2017/5/5/writers-of-color-discussing-craft-an-invisible-archive

     

  • First Drafts, Broken Rules

    Date: 2017.03.19 | Category: Assignments, Imagining Love, Poetry, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    First Drafts, Broken Rules

    Someone said, and many have repeated it-where the rumor started, I don’t know-that a writer shouldn’t send first drafts out for the public eye.  But, I am a writer who makes up her own rules, does her own thing, ‘cause someone said, and many have repeated, a writer needs to take risks or she will just sound like the choir (although I do like the music of choirs, but the point is sometimes I need to sing alone).

    On another note, a writer I truly respect told me I revise the energy, the spirit, the meaning out of my poetry when I revise.  It’s true, revising for me is like shopping.  Once my cart is full, I throw out some things, others I put back and exchange them for another.  Sometimes I do this again and again.  This basket of strawberries.  No, this one, the similes are endless.  These tomatoes on the vine.  No, these are are full of contradiction.  Chocolate marshmallow fudge ice cream.  No, vanilla, subtle.  This bread.  Yes, give me all the nuts, the flax, the wheat-concrete images. Yet, sometimes I just say, be gone, be gone.

    Some say a writer must write every day, early in the morning in fact.  Early for me is 10 a.m., and by then I am already running late.  I write when I’m sitting in a class and the demand is to write following the guidelines of a particular writing exercise.  Surprisingly, I’ve gotten some good poems this way.  But, I don’t often sit in writing classes.  My norm is, when self-pity fills my lungs, when anxiety and fear punch my stomach, when country songs and chic flicks don’t soothe my troubled soul, I reach for my 3 x 5 or my 4 x6 index cards, my leaking roller ball pen, and I write.  I number the front, the back.  The stack rises. The purge releases words I don’t know.  There’s a rhythm too it.  A longing.  A stunning revelation.

    It’s been months, years, sometimes only weeks.  Yesterday’s sorrows became yesterday’s poems.  I read them over and over mouthing each sound, whispering, repeating, louder now, faster now.  Until, I’m inside out, exhausted.

    Awake now, today now, I risk giving these poems to anyone that wants them, anyone that might need them, anyone that wants to rip them apart and theorize them.  This is a selfish gift.  A gift nonetheless.  Someday I may want to return, to revise, to revision-to edit, and I’ll know where they are, and that they served me well.  And maybe you will not notice the blemishes, but the possibility.  And maybe your next poem might be about your great-grandmother or begin with “If truth be told” and maybe you will give it to the world pleased with its inception, free with its release.

    ©Sherry Quan Lee, March 19, 2017

     

    IF I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH

    If truth be told my friend is a born again Christian, my son is a redneck.

    If truth be told, loneliness is my demon and always has been.

    My sister does not talk to me my mood swings cause her stress; she’s

    done it before, stopped loving me when I loved a woman,

    and the woman, my mother, well my sister stopped talking to her, too.

    If truth be told, according to Mother, I am white, white, white, but I’m not

    and neither is she.

    If truth be told I’m not a writer, my advisor was right they didn’t teach

    me and somehow I knew it was my fault.

    If truth be told I don’t want to go to church, or book stores or plays where

    I know I either have to listen or perform;

    or comedy clubs.

    If truth be told I want to see my three-year-old granddaughter.  My nine year old grandsons.

    If truth be told the gig is up-shopping, gambling, even eating and though the smoke has

    already cleared I don’t need therapy or an excuse to hide my feelings.

    my heart is an old open book full of clichés, chocolate truffle smears, and tears.

    If truth be told I have been cloistered-it’s not my calling but my situation.

    If truth be told my car isn’t safe, my house isn’t breathing, I could in a wink of an eye be homeless.

    If truth be told I don’t want to fly I don’t want to wander; I haven’t missed anything in 70 years.

    If truth be told I’ve fallen before, but this time the fracture wasn’t worth mending.

    If truth be told I want to sing it is done, get over it, I am over it.

    If truth be told there is nothing beyond survival, I have nothing to give you, the world

    is wound too tight we can only untie knots, try not to slip on the laces.

    If I told you the truth I always wanted to be the clown the stand-up comedian the one no one

    would guess wasn’t me.

    If I told you the truth I wouldn’t tell you the truth but ease into your life.

    If truth be told being of a certain age is not what someone else says it is, not what you expect,

    and everyday is a question mark.

    To tell the truth today I looked out my window.  Satisfied.  Rocking. Back and

    forth, catonic-like, rocking.

    If I told you the truth the youth have the words, the works, the camaraderie, the meet and greets,

    the relationships.  Solidarity. Each other’s backs.

    If I told you the truth I’m not a bridge, never pretended to be one.   Every breath, every step difficult.

    If truth be told it’s too late for me to be anything, but

    righteous.  And, alone.  And, lonely.

    The truth is I’m tired.  It’s late.  I have [no] regrets.

    The truth is I don’t want to recycle.  Spin it anyway you want, but I won’t step outside

    my skin. The stretch is all mine.  Was mine.

    If truth be told the world sees no one, story becomes someone else’s theory, and you

    and I don’t meet online, or in a bar, in the future or the past.

    The truth is tomorrow, I might leave my house, walk to the mailbox, but today in this moment

    I’m in my pj’s, eating popcorn, watching Netflix.

     

    ©Sherry Quan Lee

    March 18, 2017

     

    Saint Patrick’s Day 2017 (1948-    )

     

    Dear red hair son of the Irish plantation owner do you know how complicated you’ve made my life?  You, so absent in your southern ways.  A prickle in history not so long gone, nameless, yet, ever present in my naming.  Did your father teach you not to fear consequences, did he tell you my great-grandmother was yours for the taking because he owned her.  Or did he say, hands off, son, she’s mine?  Money can’t buy everything, it certainly can’t buy complacency.  But, yes, Ms. Greer kept your house clean and the both of you, sons of southern hospitality, well fed.  And you, in return, paid her in lust, in rape, in pregnanc(ies).  Sure there were the rumors, you loved her, my great-great grandmother, her glistening, black skin and textured thick hair; strong legs, warm hands; but, it wasn’t a love story.  But grandmother was born anyways.  Beautiful, free, and independent.  It was her own doing she traveled North, married a man with his own black white history and the babies kept coming.  Mother denies she is born black, but if black was a lie, she would have nothing to lie about and I, her daughter, would have no truths to tell, secrets to uncover.  So many secrets that have filled books and heartache and joy- sometimes joy- knowing there once was a plantation and a red hair boy, but if she had only known she really needed only this, this one poem, this one little splash of green, a bit of humor, and a blind eye, if she only knew she didn’t have to give up her life to know who she is, if she had known.

     

    Sherry Quan Lee

    ©March 18, 2017

     

  • Sometimes the Easy Way Out is Not All That Easy or Why I (really) Chose to Edit an Anthology

    Date: 2016.12.30 | Category: Book in Progress 2016, The Art of Writing | Response: 0

    Sometimes the Easy Way Out is Not All That Easy or Why I (really) Chose to Edit an Anthology

     

    The truth is I have wanted a book by a writer or writers of color (WOC) about the craft of writing for my own personal use as a WOC, and as a teacher of creative writing.  I was slow to admit that “craft” wasn’t necessarily what I was searching for.  I wanted confirmation that my experiences as a WOC weren’t unique, that I learned more from preparing to teach than having been taught, that words I used such as “passing jones” were okay to use even if certain people didn’t know the meaning of the word or if I was redefining the word, that just because someone else thought writing about race wasn’t trendy my stories were valid and valuable, and the list goes on.  When my publisher said to write the book I so desired, I eventually said yes.  But then I didn’t.  I asked, can I edit an anthology?  Again, he said, yes.  It’s true, I knew writers whose stories would fulfill my idea of a book by writers of color that would break the boundaries of craft or at least broaden the definition of it.  But, it is also true I didn’t feel like I knew enough, and couldn’t write well enough to write the book that I wanted to read— perhaps, because I’ve always felt stupid.  And even though some of you may be sighing and saying I’m not stupid, there is a fine line between what I know to be true and what others believe to be true.

    Nevertheless, I have just printed a copy of How Dare We! Write for an overall read before I push send and deliver the manuscript to our copy editor.  As a literary editor, I have never before edited an anthology.  Even though I thought an anthology would be easier than authoring my own book about writing, it wasn’t all that easy; I had much to learn.

    It was easy (okay, somewhat easy) to invite writers to submit their stories; it wasn’t easy to set and keep deadlines.

    It was easy to suggest the main theme of the anthology; it wasn’t easy to organize the many sub themes the stories brilliantly provided.

    It was easy to look at each story individually; it wasn’t easy to view the book in its entirety.

    It was easy to correspond with the group as a whole; it wasn’t easy to keep track of the 100s of individual emails that began back in May of 2016.

    I may have chosen editing an anthology over writing my personal writing/teaching journey because of my insecurity, but also because I was tired of my small world, of writing about myself (and as baby boomer it seems my time may be limited); there were writers I knew that had stories that needed to be told—24 stories versus one just made sense.

    What keeps me moving forward, trying to maintain self-imposed goals for completion of How Dare We! Write-handing the complete manuscript to the publisher the first week in February- is the enthusiasm for the project by the publisher, the writers, and the copy editor.  Word-of-mouth, there are already writers wanting this book, as far away as Norway I am told.

     

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.

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SHERRY QUAN LEE

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HOW DARE WE! WRITE

LOVE IMAGINED

CHINESE BLACKBIRD

HOW TO WRITE A SUICIDE NOTE

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