You’ve taught at workshops, such as Clarion West. What value do you find you get from teaching? What do you enjoy (and not enjoy) about the experience of teaching?
Teaching uses a lot of my mental and creative energy. The more teaching I do, the less writing I find I can do. And the fact is, reading pages and pages of ineffective prose is unpleasant. It makes reading a chore. On the other hand, it can be extraordinarily rewarding work. I love the moment when the light goes on in a budding writer’s eyes about some aspect of craft that had been invisible to her before. I enjoy it when someone dares to push his writing beyond the expected. And when I try to describe something about how fiction works, it makes me think about how/whether it works in my own fiction, and that helps me to improve my craft. Students challenge me in that way all the time. Plus there’s the simple contact high of interacting with people who, like me, are excited by words and story.
By now the news about the failure of the campaign to
secure a presidential pardon for the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey has been
published in both print and social media and many individuals have begun
offering post-mortems. As someone who for the past decade has been actively
involved in the struggle to clear Garvey’s name, allow me to offer my
own critique. I can think of four reasons why the petition did not achieve
the desired goal: ·Lack of a digital strategy·The failure of the organizers to engage
grassroots organizations·Too much, too little, too late from the “big
name” celebrities to endorse the campaign·A zero sum strategy on the part of some
Garveyites. While the first three could have been avoided, it is the
fourth that I found the most disappointing. The Garveyites who pursued the all or nothing strategy
argued from a Manichean view of politics and Garvey’s legacy. According to them, Garvey would have had nothing to do
with any system that vilified him, or they brought up the “str…