Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Spotlight: Eartha Watts Hicks


 I stepped through the double glass doors of the sky lounge into the moist heat outside and took a good look. Scattered clouds stretched through the evening sky like tulle. In the still wind, somehow all drifted southeast—all, except a dense plume looming above. My heels clicked with each step across the paved walkway, until I reached the stone fire pit at the other end. The sun was long gone, and there were no stars; the moon was nowhere to be seen. Even searching the clouds, I didn’t see any blurred circle of light or any portion of the moon, just darkness. Off in the distance as far as I could see, more darkness was closing in, making the flattened skyline of Queens resemble an industrial graveyard.
I took a deep breath, inhaling muggy air seasoned with salt from the East River. Then, I kicked my shoes off and knelt on top of the fire pit, hoisting myself up to get a better view over the concrete wall. My heart felt like it was twice as large; it was exploding out of my chest in heavy thumps that throbbed even more than my now rock-hard breasts. The porous concrete felt scratchy against my arms, but bracing myself, I peered all the way down. There were no obstructions. It would be a straight drop. I returned to my feet, picked up my pumps, and took a deep breath. Now, it was time to work up the nerve to do this.

“Love Changes” is a terrific story that i am sure both men and women can relate to in some ways, but i assure you that you will not be ready for the dramatic conclusion of this book.”
— DJ Gatsby Book Club
“Imagine my pleasure & surprise when I get to page 140 and saw me! Love Changes is wonderful, perfect for the beach! When I sit in the sun, I read.”
— Nikki Giovanni (via postcard from Aruba)
Writerly-Good Advice (Circa 2000’s)
Author: You wrote this?
Me: Yeah.
Author: You’ve got something here! This shows a lot of potential! You need to join a workshop. Fast!
Me: But I don’t have the money for one right now!
Author: Here’s the number. Call them up. Email them this. And tell them I sent you. They may work something out with you as far as payment.

Meet Eartha Watts Hicks

I began my writing journey, teaching myself the craft at my local library by reading how-to books. “My man’s mama gave me a set of keys to her brownstone and said I could use them any time.” That is the sentence that started the writing, which became the manuscript, which was edited and revised, to finally become my award winning novel, Love Changes. My first opening line, scratched, to be replaced…. I wanted my words to be clear, concise, and ring profoundly true. So what did I do? I wrote the word PROFOUND on a Sticky Note with a black Sharpie and stuck that to my monitor. My mantra. And then I asked around and got feedback. We have to put it out into the atmosphere, into the universe to learn what works and what doesn’t. And why. And make a commitment to stick with it. From one opener to another….
Mommy never minced words. Instead of saying hello, she stood on my welcome mat, greeting me with an insult. “You don’t look good. You’re not getting enough sleep.”

I consider my writing like trail mix, a feel good treat that’s good for you, too. I love writing dialogue, entangling nutty characters in arguments from every perspective. And then also, there is still that part of me that longs to be a songwriter. I can lend those lyrical nuances to my prose. I infuse music, social commentary, spiritual messages, and comedic timing. I want to make people laugh and cry. I want to capture people of color in our depth, amongst people of different class/race/gender/lifestyles, in predicaments that they’ll have wiggle themselves out of. My favorite authors are Chris Abani, Terry McMillan, Bernice McFadden, Jamaica Kincaid, Dorothy Allison, Iyanla Vanzant.

Books by Eartha Watts Hicks

What Ca Drive A Struggling New Mother Over The Edge
Love Changes

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