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Jewelle Gomez's Blog

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Pratibha Parmar’s new documentary about Alice Walker opens with visuals from the rural, poor South of her birth.  The tattered shacks, frayed and proud people are not what we (non-Southerners) associate with the 20th century.  The film and those images show us that Walker is one of the...
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I've done literary readings just about everywhere imaginable...the Duchess, a NYC lesbian bar, in a tent at Greenham Common's peace incampment, standing on a pool table (properly protected) for San Francisco's Litquake.  So I didn't hesitate to accept an invitation to the Hobart...
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I recently left my ‘day job’ to write full time.  After 30 years at a desk doing work for others (work I actually enjoyed) I was finally sitting down at my own desk in my own world.  Surprisingly it takes a while to make that transition; it was as if my mind didn’t quite recognize me....
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Writer's lives are filled with characters.  Not just people but people who shape our landscape, our plot, our narrative in ways that intertwine the personal, the political and the professional in a very particular way.  When I think about the characters I put on the page, they are as real...
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When I first met author, Jewell Parker Rhodes, I got stuck on the fact that we have almost the same first name.  It's not something that happens to me often.  Growing up I was smart enough to know that if I could survive the teasing ('Jewelle the fool' was one chant) my name was going to...
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When she heard that Adrienne Rich had passed away in Santa Cruz, my friend, poet Cheryl Clarke, called me from Jersey City at about 5:45 in the morning because she needed to talk to someone else who knew Adrienne as she did. She needed to talk to a writer on the West Coast, the place from which...
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writer Granville Hicks
In his 1956 New York Times review of Baldwin's novel, Giovanni's Room, Granville Hicks wrote:       "Mr. Baldwin writes of these matters with an unusual degree of candor and yet with such dignity and intensity that he is saved from sensationalism." The 'matters' he was...
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Barbara Grier passed away November 10 at the age of 79...young from my perspective, but obviously an elder in the world of lesbians and of publishing.  Her history will be written in essays and PhD theses still to come, but a glimpse reveals: she was one of the editors of the newsletter The...
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I’d go, without hesitation to Le Comte de Saint-Germain, the hero of a magnificent series of adult horror/history fiction by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. I'd already seen Frank Langella's hypnotic protrayal of Dracula on Broadway...three times, so I was ready for a story that reflected the complexity...
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Playwright, Lorraine Hansberry
I didn’t start out to write a play with Lorraine Hansberry in it, let alone Hansberry in a tight sweater and Capri pants!  My friend Harry, from my old theatre days in NYC asked me to write something about James Baldwin. Five years later we’re about to open ‘Waiting For Giovanni’ a two act play (...
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Which, of course, includes thorns.  But what good icon doesn’t have thorns? The current exhibition at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum “Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories” is a stunning evocation of the lesbian writer, art collector (a companion exhibition of her family’s collection is...
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When I was a little girl, we sometimes found ourselves one person short when we tried to jump rope. One of us had to swing the end of the rope and the other was meant to jump -- but who was to swing the other end? Sometimes we'd make do by tying the rope onto a fence. Black feminists are like that...
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Somewhere among my papers which are archived at the San Francisco Public Library is a postcard that I treasured for 20 years. When one of the first chapters of what became my novel, The Gilda Stories, appeared in print Joanna Russ wrote me to say she liked it.  For years I kept the card over my...
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On my way to work today I heard the 1971 recording of the Jackson Five singing “Never Can Say Goodbye” on the radio.  A million feelings surfaced inside me and I had to think for a while to figure out what I felt so affected by the treacle of a song from my youth.     I remember hearing it my...
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Gracias Archelina Sportsman Morandus, my great-grandmother, was the reason I wrote a vampire novel. Born in 1883 to an Ioway Indian horse trainer and an African-American New Englander, Gracias, moved with her mother back east after her father died. There, still a child, Gracias was married off to a...
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