Also don’t forget to do your part and reblog and share the post across social media every now and again. Help me to help you.
If you would like to be interviewed on this blog, visit the original post here. All you have to do is choose questions from the list at the bottom of the post (choose at least 10) and email me your answers along with your author photo, book covers, buy links and social media links.
Before the week ends, I would like to inform you that my book review registry is open. I am looking for some good reading to do this summer. I have also slacked on book reviews for this blog. It’s time to get back into the swing of things. If you submitted a book that I have not yet reviewed, you may resubmit your book for consideration as a reminder to me. Also if you’ve emailed me at any time about reviewing your book, please use the form instead. I do not accept unsolicited requests for reviews. You MUST go through the form to be considered.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Alycee Lane. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.
Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.
Lol. What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.
Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?
I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.
Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).
Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?
Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.
Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?
I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.
What do you wish you knew more about?
Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.
In your own words, define racism.
Voting for Donald Trump.
LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.
Are you religious Alycee?
Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).
Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.
I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.
In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.
That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.
“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”
I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.
I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?
Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.
Lol. Answer the question Alycee!
I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).
So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.
Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.
With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.
Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.
What genre do you write in, why?
I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.
I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!
Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.
A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).
Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.
Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tehilayah Ysrayl, mother, wife, poet and our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest judge! Join me as we catch up.
Tehilayah, whose name means song of praise, is an aspiring author and poet who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended IPFW and Ivy Tech Community College and currently works for a life insurance company. Tehilayah has been happily married for six years, has four beautiful children, and a Jack Russell named Sevyn that is selective in who he deals with and has a “big dog” mentality.
This mother is not afraid of the stage, presenting her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.
Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.
Currently, this karate mom is working on her first book, a collection of poetry! “No Idle Word” is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.
Very interesting article here. We are all familiar by now with how important Book Reviews are for authors. We are also familiar with how damaging a bad review is. As a Book Reviewer, I can admit that I only read certain genres. My restrictions are not large, but there are a few books I will not read. I also have my specialty area (African American History / Literature), or the books I especially enjoy reading. What’s the connection between book reviews written by those who are not particularly fond of your books genre? Is that why the reviews are so negative? Is your book reviewer actually enjoying reading your book? Are you targeting the wrong audience by having someone who does not particularly like your books genre to review your book? This article is a must read!
(BTW, I can’t let you go without some shameless plug. COMPLETE THIS FORM to schedule a book review from me. My Genre preferences are listed).