Monday, August 3, 2015

Links 8/3/2015

I suppose if these links have a theme, it is how words, narratives, and rhetoric can affect how you do and don't define your voice and express yourself.

To Be Black and Woman and Alive

Video of a spoken word poem by Crystal Valentine and Aaliyah Jihad. The language is evocative, painful, and their performance is moving. I mean, what are words even? They fail. I only had thoughts after watching this, thoughts of all the black women in the news recently, degraded, devalued, dehumanized and deceased for varying reasons that all echoed in this poem. And that's what powerful poetry can do.

Chosen Ones, Specialness and the Narrative of the One

Thoughts from Aliette de Bodard on these tropes. I find I agree with de Bodard frequently when it comes to this push and pull, this tension we writers have with established modes of storytelling and our own personal inclinations. It can get to be an unending negotiation of examination and reaffirmation of who we are, what we are writing, and why. Are you honing your voice or stifling it in favor of familiarity? I'd also recommend her article about pushing against received narratives, because sometimes you just have to find your core and stake your claim.

Which This Margin is Too Small to Contain

Thoughts from Vajra Chandrasekera on diversity in SFF and the term "person of color". It does read as thinking on paper and I appreciate the thought process behind "strategic essentialism" as a "high-risk high-reward rhetorical move". Rhetoric can be a slippery thing to grasp and master and wield, and it is only as useful as its effectiveness. It stops being so when, as the title implies, it becomes too small to contain the idea, the complexity and depth of the definition of you. H/t to Fields for sending this one my way.


  1. The poetry by Valentine and Jihad was raw and moving. Notorious AdeB and Chandrasekera made a lot of sense.

    (I also watched more pieces by Valentine and found them just as moving and thought provoking.)

    Thanks for the link roundup!

    1. Notorious AdeB, lol. Nice. Thanks for your comments, Henry. Yes, Valentine is mad-talented


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