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Creative Conversatin' Interview with Nordette Adams (Part 2 of 3)
Before poets can write poems that grab readers' attention they generally experience a life that first grabs their attention. --Aberjhani
New Orleans writer Nordette Adams

For part one of this interview please click here . Part two begins now:


Aberjhani: Through your various websites and profiles, such as Writing Junkie, BlogHer, Red Room, and of course now your Examiner column, different audiences know you in different ways. Some read you as a blogger, journalist, poet, fiction writer or all-around fantabulous (I made that word up: fantastic plus fabulous--get it? :-) Internet literary presence. Do you have a preference for a particular genre, and if so, why that particular one?

Nordette: My moment of confession. I prefer to write fiction and poetry. Over the years there's been a tug of war in my heart between fiction, in particular speculative fiction, and poetry. My practical side screams leave poetry alone because poetry doesn't pay. I always thought I would be a novelist one day, and I address some of my misgivings about the failure to finish a novel in two posts at BlogHer.com. I came on the web with a goal in 2003, to build an author platform and prove I was marketable to publishers, but facing a variety of life challenges I fell off track, became a little discouraged.

Aberjhani: What about now?

Nordette: I look up now and "experts" are [still] telling authors they need to build platforms. *sigh* However, I'm starting to feel the groove again, posting poetry every now and then, such as Reading You Again and "Like a Revelations Day," plus some others, but I'm trying to not fall into the trap of posting fiction or poetry online for instant reader feedback gratification. I'm working at sticking to a fiction writing schedule. As you know, it's easier to find work in nonfiction than fiction and so creative writers can get sucked into becoming a non-fiction producer rather than a creative artist.

Aberjhani: What would you describe as the primary differences between those bloggers who are not journalists per se but practice what has been described as "citizen journalism," and those professional journalists who have taken up blogging?

Nordette: Did you ask this question to get me into trouble? I think the difference is ethics training. Professional journalists, whether they honor it or not, have had courses in how to quote properly and not plagiarize or tamper with intent, how to report in an objective manner, how to do research and verify sources. Citizen journalists don't have the training, but they can learn and must learn if they want to avoid being sued. What I see with professional journalists, including myself, is the struggle with the use of "I." We've been taught that the reader doesn't care what we think, but new media journalism shows us that readers want our opinions. The trick is to not go overboard and become a diary writer, to share your opinion but still be fair and inclusive. Also, professional journalists have been taught that the story's the thing and now wonder why [just writing the story isn't good enough.] Social media draws us into a world where people don't read you simply because you're good. They read you because they feel a connection to you. Being a successful journalist online is about networking almost as much as it is about writing well, linking to others in your own work, and giving shouts out sometimes whenever possible. Not exactly the way of the traditional lone writer.

Aberjhani: I know that in recent years you have had to face some of the same challenges as me in terms of serving as a caregiver for aging parents. How has that affected you as a person and impacted upon you as a writer?

Nordette: I had more help than you did. My father was around to help with my mother and so were my children when my parents moved into my home, and so I was a little less isolated. I haven't yet fully processed how it's impacted me as a writer except that I'm aware of a need to have a more authentic voice with staying power, and I've been thinking more about self-mythology, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, how that translates into writing because at the end my mother, a woman of stories, did not know who I was or who she was either. I look at my father, whose memory is rather good, and see that I thought I knew him, but I really I do not. I keep contemplating what we do for love.


Next: Part Three, the Conclusion: on reading excellent authors

by Aberjhani

7 Comment count
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a word of clarification

Please note, the question regarding citizen journalists is not meant to be derogatory at all. I’m just exploring aspects of what I consider to be a very dynamic literary issue.

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Aberjhani,I enjoyed reading


I enjoyed reading part one and two of "Creative Conversatin' Interview with Nordette Adams."  As I read, I wondered what went through her mind when she replied to your questions such as about creative works vs. non-fiction. 

And her opinion of citizen reporters vs. professional journalists was educational.  I need to hear and learn more about that.  I read it several times, and then I saw your good additional comment.  That was a thoughtful thing to do, Aberjhani.  You probably read my mind.

I also appreciated to hear about her need of a more authentic voice with staying power, and about self-mythology.  I feel the same about my family and me. 

I look forward to seeing your next post.

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Glad you enjoyed this Keiko

I've actually noticed a few parallels between the themes presented in your writings here at Red Room and work that I've read by Ms. Adams over the past few years so I'm you got a chance to enjoy this interview.

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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When a writer wears several

When a writer wears several hats, it becomes interesting to tell one apart form the other and with your queries, Aberjhani, you have tried to seam together these apparently disparate interests.

Thanks for bringing this to us.

When Nordette Adamas says:

"Social media draws us into a world where people don't read you simply because you're good. They read you because they feel a connection to you", I immediately empathised. I believe strongly that writing, even journalistic writing, is about connecting. That is the reason I have to be thankful for the hate mail :)


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"Thankful for the hate mail"

I will have to remember that in a big way :-)

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Excuse my late entry! Great

Excuse my late entry! Great Interview! I liked your subtle questions Aber!! Thumbs up!
She can be personal and professional at the same time, great quality. I liked her self mythology, a lot. We often do it, talking to self, but did not recognize it. Citizen reporters, yes, they are unaware of the rules, they go trekking all by themselves, may land in trouble too.
A care giver like you? So you too Aber? Great!
Posting poetry online, I do it, When I am under an impulse to share, those tumbling down rhythm. She can't help it.
Connecting ..networking...Eureka!
Thanx Aber... Will move on to third now

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I Appreciate Your Appreciation Sumathi

It is a very great and useful quality to be able to combine the professional with the personal in a way that actually connects writers and readers. Being an old-school author who absorbed many lessons on "objective reporting," the balance described by Ms. Adams is one I have had to work at pretty hard but I'm finding it worth the effort.

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)