* A.L. Major *
I’ve been told by more than one writer friend that to write a novel you must every day chain yourself to your chair for as long as necessary. So that’s what I do. I sit. On average I might spend eight hours sitting—though four of those hours I’m probably checking Facebook. A few months ago a friend posted this article by Susan Orleans about the perils of sitting and how sitting can cause obesity, high blood sugar, blood pressure, excess body fat. While reading, my initial thought was, “Wow. This is proof! My job is killing me.” I became overwhelmed by a certain kind of panic that felt to me very American— only those who live in privileged countries, after all, have to the time to worry about how many hours they are sitting during the day.
* A.L. Major *
In sophomore year of college, I tell my writing mentor I don’t know if I can write stories from the Bahamian perspective. I tell him, “I don’t trust myself to get the voices right.” He asks me what a Bahamian voice sounds like? A black voice? Aren’t you Bahamian? “I am,” I stutter. “I am Bahamian.”
* A.L. Major *
In some ways, what I search for in literature, I search for in a game: a world that completely consumes, excites me and engages me intellectually. Truthfully, not very many videogames accomplish all three.
In April, the Atlantic Monthly published an article that was so ill-advised I hesitate to post a link to the article for fear of increasing its page count and further sensationalizing the author’s bogus argument. The article was about creative writing programs. An impassioned, somewhat jilted, author, Jon Reiner, makes a case for why instead of going to MFA schools, wanna-be published authors should go out and live—similar to arguments for why writers need to have “real-life jobs” before writing. Considering the sheer number of Creative Writing MFA programs in the U.S, there is a high likelihood that young, well-educated, straight-out-of-college aspiring writers are going to slip their way into those cherished programs, but of the many faults, Jon Reiner made, the gravest perhaps is how he grossly misjudges the lives of those “young” students. His stance that younger students have not lived comes from a ridiculously, narrow and American perspective; for he assumes MFA students grew up in American suburbs and were pampered by their middle to upper class families. But, believe me, I don’t want to write a post about his article article, especially so belatedly. In fact, I’ve only mentioned it to say how it got me thinking about my lack of long-term job experience and how as a young girl growing up in a developing country jobs, first jobs especially, didn’t always seem like a job in the quintessential sense.
It’s that time of year again: SUMMER. For students, or recently graduates like myself, summer brings with it a freedom that seems limitless. Faced with so much time to do what I like, I always make a list of what I’d love to read. For those employed year-round, summer doesn’t necessarily evoke anymore those long stretches of free, unscheduled time, but I put forth this reading list in the hopes that whether you’re lounging on a beach, stuck in an office from 9-5 or doing some combination of both, you’ll give yourself time to read a w0rk that is truly lovely and inspiring. Nathan Go already started off his summer reading list with suggested works by Filipino and Filipino-American authors. Similar to my summer reading list last year, I’m going to keep my list eclectic and globally diverse. There are some some books I’ve read, some books I look forward to reading and some that have been adapted into films–for those, like myself, who love reading books and watching films and noticing, sometimes irritatingly, the differences between two versions of the same story.