Contrary to popular cultural belief, I agree with bell hooks when she says in Bone Black that “there is no one story of black girlhood.” In Odd Girl Out, Rachel Simmons points out, “To imagine a universal minority female experience would be to repeat exclusive patterns of research.” My essay collection is turning a multifaceted, often divergent, lens on black girlhood and young adulthood.
The pieces composed thus far breach genre barriers and snap the stylistic “rules” attending the orthodox essay. One selection may resemble a monograph, another a study, and yet another, a critique. In fact some audiences, having heard me read excerpts, bicker about the form (“It’s a poem.” “No, it’s not; it’s clearly flash fiction!” “I think it’s prose poetry.”) I don’t disabuse them. But these are, in fact, a collection of hybrid linked essays.
While At Headlands
My work plan for this second year is threefold:
- completing Jaywalking, my essay collection
- researching and writing Twisted, an extended essay about African Americans and natural hair geared for an academic audience; and
- selling Gelatin Prints, the fiction collection I completed during this past year at Headlands.