Just passin’ time

I’m not sure whether the 4thof July or a son turning 29 does more to make me feel the passing of summer and the need to tend

What I'm currently reading

to my ‘to do’ list. At the top of my growing list has been searching for a new job. I haven’t had much luck yet, but I’m hopeful! I realize that having been in the same spot for 14 years gives me that same sense of complacency that Virginia had.

 Doret recently shared a very interesting article on the success often found by authors outside a culture that authors inside a culture cannot find in book sales. The article specifically speaks to the success of non-African authors over African authors and asks whether this is acceptable to readers.

I may not be the one who should try to carry this part of the conversation further as I can be so completely obtuse in oral conversations, often quite oblivious to any and all verbal clues. Nonetheless, I do believe there is something in the culture of written language that leaves those outside the culture feeling like an outsider. There is something about the way African Americans communicate, or is it a subliminal sense of guilt? Does it come across as confrontational? Is the rhythm difficult to follow? I don’t know exactly what it is, has there been studies to address this? I can’t exactly describe it because I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced a sense of dislike for the writing of another culture that would make me want to avoid all authors of that culture.

I was recently reading an arc of Ghetto Cowboy and I remarked to myself that there would have been a time when the educator in me would have really been bothered by the grammar Neri chose to use. Now, I’m simply amazed at the skill it takes to write in the language of Black urban teens. And, I’m equally amazed that my inner voice reads this in my language rather than exactly as written. It’s almost like the same why my mind allows me to read what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote when I try to proofread my own writing. With Nerei, this writing has a natural rhythm and it flows…to me… but perhaps not to someone less familiar with it’s construction. But what about when an author of color, such as myself writing here on this blog, writes by what they believe to me American English writing norms? What are the difficulties in reading that?

I have not successfully transitioned to reading graphic novels/comics. I grew up reading Archie, Little Lotta and Richie Rich but I guess I didn’t stick with it well enough to take the time to read the images AND the text.

It was recently announced on Twitter that we’ve lost another Black comic creator. Bronx-born artist Gene Colan, co-creator

Gene Colan with his wife Adrienne and Chad Frye.

of the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, died Thursday. He was 84. Born Eugene Colan on September 1, 1926, he had a career spanning seven decades. Drawing the adventures of Batman and Dracula, he had a style that attracted comic book lovers and critics alike.

At age 18, Colan found a job at Wing Comics. He joined the United States Army Air Corps soon after and was stationed in the Philippines until the Second World War ended.

In 1969, Colan and Stan Lee created the African-American known as the Falcon, a frequent partner of Captain America. Colan drew all 70 issues of The Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s, along with much of the satire Howard the Duck, written by Steve Gerber.  Also at Marvel, he drew Iron Man (in Tales of Suspense), Doctor Strange, and — from 1966 to 1973 — Daredevil.  “He had developed a signature style by the late 1960s that people just loved,” said Meth, the writer of Colan’s biography.  it is said that Colan worked on almost every major Marvel comic book.

Last year, he and writer Ed Brubaker won the Eisner Award for Best Single Issue for Captain America #601, which would be his last published work.


I’ll admit I have really been unaware of the contributions of artists of color in the comic work. This list of Black comic book characters shows I have a lot to learn!

I found a new cooking show on the Cooking Channel and I’m going to experiment with a new recipe this evening. It sounds so simply delicious: cocktail shrimp mixed with corn and black bean salsa and then spooned over lettuce in a taco shell. Bring it on, summer!!

I’m getting things together for a little summer giveaway, so stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Just passin’ time

  1. I remember reading Sapphire’s Push and, at the beginning, feeling confused and frustrated by the style, but then I fell into the flow and absolutely loved it.

    I haven’t had a chance to read Neri, but I’d like to.

  2. I’m glad my post got you thinking, that was really my hope was to get people thinking about the topic. I think that is a great point thinking about the voice in African American writing. Non African American authors trying to write about the community would likely miss that authentic voice I’d imagine.

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