Know how to leave things alone, for if knowing how to refuse is one of life’s great lessons, an even greater one is knowing how to say no to yourself, to important people, and in business. There are non-essential activities, moths of precious time, and it’s worse to take an interest in irrelevant things than to do nothing at all.
In my workshop, I privilege reading in the context of the writer, and in the first four or five weeks, we don’t critique at all. We just say what we see. “I see trees repeating. I see line breaks in the tercets. I think this poem is trying to…” We start to collaborate and build this structure of recognition for ourselves, so that, when the critiques do come, they’re always in service of the idiosyncratic person. There are no rules that could just be forced upon the work.
"All archives are, to some extent, narratives: edited stories of the self or others. What I kept then was a story of myself that felt precious and still, at that point, untold. I wasn’t saving in the hopes of someone else discovering who I was. I think it was much more a case of ensuring my future self’s attention. The artifacts were the grammar that made the story readable."
"What if we could release ourselves from an internalized time clock and remember that slow is efficient, slow is effective, slow is beautiful?"
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
“For me, the relationship of black communities, black feminism, and the temporality of futurity must be thought about through the concept of grammar. How do we conjugate our relationship of being to the future?”
Tina M. Campt, Black Futurity in a Photographic Frame (2016)
Good writing is an illustion: what people call good writing is actually good thinking, and of course good thinkers are rare