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ON THE BOOKSHELF

"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it." Zora Neale Hurston

 

Carmen Maria Machado's genre-bending memoir, In the Dream House, is as beautifully written as it is haunting. Through a collection of 145 short stories, none more than 14 pages (many just a paragraph) Machado recounts the chilling tale of how her storybook romance evolved into a relationship of virulence and terror. A rare account of lesbian abuse, Machado challenges conventional (if not legal) understandings of domestic violence within contexts contemporary and historical.

Sing, Unburied, Sing is immediately spiritual, magical even. While the book underscores the horrors of a Jim Crow South, and its legacy of violent dehumanization, it’s not without tenderness and the affirmation of Black dignity.

 

“It stays with me, a bruise in the memory that hurts when I touch it.”

 

It pushes and pulls with a symbiotic rhythm, pulsing like a heartbeat. It’s riveting and evocative without being sensational. It’s both graceful and heavy—hard at its core and soft around its edges. Even the surrealities are written with such conviction, they’re not only unquestioned but embraced. 

PUBLIC PROJECTS

Every dollar spent locally generates two in the community. “Shop Oakland: Buy Black” is a forthcoming map that highlights Black-owned businesses across verticals.

 

As part of a citywide campaign, “Shop Oakland: Buy Black” promotes spending close-to-home celebrating Black business owners and Oakland's regional resilience. 

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be an animator and write/illustrate children's books. 30+ years later, with a child of my own, I can still remember animating shorts (mainly stop motion music videos!) and writing my versions of Harold and the Purple Crayon or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. (When I was pregnant, I decided to enroll in California College of Art's graphic design program and I'm happy to announce I'm one course away from completion!) It's a special thing to know your passion from a young age, but because I didn't see womxn that looked like me doing that work, I never considered either of those creative careers a reality. 

 

The Artish Reader is sprouted from that dearth. It is a space to celebrate BIPOC art and literature, sprinkled with works of my own.  I hope this is a space where you can be inspired, make a friend, or find your next read.

Thanks for stopping by!

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