In my personal life, there are times when I feel stretched between boiling over with gratitude and quoting my grandmother, who once said in the 80’s, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket,” after watching an episode of Phil Donahue about racism.
Lately, what compels me to keep writing are the following reasons:
1. I must write for the writers and poets to come.
I look to my writing ancestors who worked diligently and magically and I know it’s my turn.
2. I live in a world where being a published poet or writer is a radical act of activism.
3. When the world around me makes me feel like the absolute bottom of a marginalized slush pile, I remember words are so much bigger than my body.
Once we writers say a thing, no matter the matter, it cannot be erased or silenced or walled up.
I keep writing for you, dear reader (too).
Now more than ever, we must write. Novels, stories, essays, and poems show us our humanity, deepen our empathy, and enrich our lives. Lately, we’ve seen our community of writers and readers grow beleaguered, angry, confused, and paralyzed. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing advice and words of encouragement from Hugo House writers and instructors on what keeps them returning to their work. We hope these words inspire you, too, to keep writing.
Anastacia-Renee Tolbert is a queer super-shero of color moonlighting as a writer, performance artist, and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has received awards and fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Jack Straw, Ragdale and Artist Trust, and is currently a Hugo House writer-in-residence. Her Chapbook 26, published by Dancing Girl Press, is an abbreviated alphabet expression of the lower and uppercase lives of women and girls. Her poetry and fiction have been published in Literary Orphans, Bitterzoet, Radius Poetry, Seattle Review, Duende, Bone Bouquet, Dressing Room Poetry, Gramma Poetry, and many more.