Identity Crisis

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty Vendela Vida If you take inventory of what distinguishes you from the next guy, it’s really overwhelming. There’s the obvious stuff like your name, physical description, clothes and carried belongings; then there’s the esoteric: memories, experiences and people that populate them. In fact we seldom consider the identity fodder between…

Form Over Fiction

God Help the Child Toni Morrison Toni Morrison, an author that I gladly read twice, thrice, whatever it takes, that I study and annotate and emulate, came out with her highly anticipated novel, God Help the Child. Even with her illustrious presence as author, literary thought leader, Nobel, Pulitzer, et al., this, her eleventh novel,…

What’s in a Microaggression?

Queen Sugar Natalie Baszile You’ve no doubt been on the giving or receiving end of a comment that borders on “hey, wait-a-minute” and “maybe I should just let that one go.” Me too, and each is equally awkward to the well intentioned. So, what is microaggression and what does it have to do with the…

Beloved: A Biblical Excavation

Beloved Toni Morrison What more is there to say about Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Toni Morrison? It tackles the ghostly legacy of slavery. It uses both cultural and biblical mysticism in its narrative. Its prose is lyrical and literally shifts to poetry at some points, notably in part two when the three main…

Emotions vs. Economics

Still Alice Lisa Genova In Lisa Genova’s extraordinary New York Times bestselling novel, Alice Howland, an accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease learns that her worth is comprised of more than her ability to remember. Alice is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at…

Toxic Love

White Oleander Janet Fitch In creative writing workshops the first thing you learn is to “show instead of tell” your story.  This applies to character, setting, scene, etc., and author Janet Fitch’s novel, White Oleander, is my go-to book for examples in doing this.  She’s written a novel rich with sensory detail and prose so…

What is it to be…me?

The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan Most of you have probably read The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.  If you haven’t, then you’ve most likely seen the movie adaptation directed by Wayne Wang and produced by Oliver Stone.  This was my second time reading the book, and it was ironically prompted by my high…