Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
Photo: © Regine Romain
Notes From the Trenches
Salaam’s “Notes from the Trenches” series explores the nitty, gritty of what it takes to sustain a writing career, taking an inside look at everything from the psychology of being a writer to the logistics of sustaining a writing practice to the business of writing. In this volume–On the Push to Produce Work–Salaam dissects the barriers to producing work–whether they be… »
short fiction (paperback)
Winner of the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, “Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam’s… »
In an interview, someone recently asked what was the best advice I received about being a writer. They also asked what advice I had to give to authors starting out. In the season of giving, I will share that advice with you. Though I give you fair warning—it does not feel like a gift. These truths, when they came to… »
It’s hard not to be meta in this time period when we have so much information flowing at us, but I have noticed that there’s a weird sort of detachment that comes with maturing as an artist. Case in point: Even as I put all this sweat into my novel manuscript, I know that it isn’t the end-all be-all of… »
Hunger was quite a theme this weekend. I had lunch with an author. We were both famished by the time we got to the restaurant. She talked to me about her upcoming tour and her latest successes. When I told her I was almost done with my draft and was planning to send it out soon–she said, when are you… »
1 On deep purple-black nights, when the whole house has pushed itself into slumber, WaLiLa’s energy flits around her room like a moth. It leaps up to do jumping jacks & turns cartwheels, then clings to the ceiling. It bounces off the walls & jiggles its knees impatiently. WaLiLa is a jitterbugging ball of need about to pop. Her energy… »
“the most powerful seductions are executed against the silence of few words” Sometimes, I feel shoulder shrug like a motherless child. cheek rub against shoulder Sometimes, I feel like a motherless child. body slump At twilight, when the earth is settling down for rest, MalKai is turning over inside. The colors of dusk pierce him like a rusty pin breaking… »
1. Musicians, practicing an age-old tradition, scatter syncopated rhythms across the night sky. Through rapid hand movements and homemade instruments, they pay homage to fierce gods. The music tattoos the sky’s surface with patterns of prayer, patterns that transform themselves into welcome mats for beings in realms the musicians have no knowledge of. One such welcome mat beckons to WaLiLa’s… »
Race: A discussion in 10 parts plus a few moments of unsubstantiated theory and one inarguable fact…
1. Race is bullshit. A meaningless line drawn in sand by men bent on world domination and oppression. It was introduced as a fixed notion, an unchangeable, undeniable fact of world order. Yet from the moment of race’s conception, the amazing diversity of body types, cultures, and traditions on the African continent alone complicated race’s claim on classification. In New Orleans,… »
It happens in silence. A man—young, tall, hooded—sits in a waiting room. All the chairs are taken except the one diagonally across from him. A woman comes in carrying a child. She sits in the only seat available and busies herself removing the child’s coat and hat. The man’s eyes cut to the corner checking out mother and daughter. The… »
When I first returned home from studying abroad, everyone wanted to know, “How was the Dominican Republic?” I was reluctant to respond. Masking the truth behind “fine’s” and “good’s,” I skirted my real feelings. “Did you like it?” is such a loaded question that it can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” For a long time, I refused… »
I have somehow managed to squeeze in another podcast–stealing time. Or as my mother used to say it: Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
The word of the week–legerdemain–is fun to say and a wonderful word for me to have learned. Now, what does sleight of hand have to do with writing?
Take a listen.
Be well. Be love[d].
Kiini Ibura Salaam
I am fascinated with all the background machinations required for a person to commit to a creative life. This week’s podcast focuses on the absolute necessity of confidence. The word of the week is: cocksure. What I know to be true, is that if as an artist you don’t walk around with your own confidence in your pocket you can get turned around, halted, and annihilated.
Listen to my thoughts on the importance of being cocksure with your artistry.
The blog post about mental reference that I reference in the podcast is here: http://kiiniibura.com/2013/07/13/vol-96-writing-requires-mental-fitness/
Wow, sometimes life just swoops in and steals all your extra brain cells and all you can do is run after tasks so you can get them out into the ether and off your brain!
Now that I’ve taken a breath, I can go back to the podcast I recorded about a month ago, but never edited.
The word for this episode? Diffraction.
Get into it and find out what that word has to do with writing and characters!
Be well. Be love[d].
Kiini Ibura Salaam