Anika Myers Palm
Blog: Write Black
1. When did you start blogging?
*** I started a personal online journal circa 2001, but that, along with a couple of later personal blog efforts, petered out quickly because even I find my life mind-numbingly boring. I started WriteBlack in 2007.
2. Why did you become a blogger?
I wanted to talk about books, and I didn't think many other sites had the high/low (for lack of a better term) mix of books I read, especially when it came to black authors.
3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
***I generally think black authors get a poor shake in the world of criticism and the book blogosphere. They're often either ignored or patronized, by critics black and nonblack -- especially authors who write genre or mass-market novels. I wanted to take these books seriously.
4. Which blogging platform do you use?
5. Mac or PC?
***Oh, Mac. I'm an Apple junkie. It's quite sad, actually. I have to resist the urge to genuflect when I hear Steve Jobs' name.
6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?
***An hour in total, I'd say. When I get home in the evenings, I'm always searching for material for the blog, and usually writing, editing and re-editing two or three posts at a time.
7. How frequently do you post to your blog?
***A minimum of three times weekly.
8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?
***I'm not sure I could say. I generally have a tab/window open with my RSS reader when I'm online (which is most of the time I'm awake), and I snack on it several times a day.
9. What's your best blogging experience?
***When Beverly Jenkins, an author whose work I like a lot, discovered WriteBlack in its early days and responded graciously to a not-entirely-complimentary post I'd written about one of her books. I've also been experimenting with video lately, and the response has been better than I'd expected.
10. What's your worst blogging experience?
***I can't say I've had a bad experience. Even when people haven't liked something I've written, I try to use the criticism to get better at what I'm doing. It has occasionally been frustrating to update to new versions of WordPress, although the latest update solves that problem.
11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?
***I think people haven't been aware that it's so easy to make their voices heard. Our numbers are rising, though.
12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?
***Improving access to broadband will go a long way toward giving people the tools they need to blog.
13. What's your favorite color?
14. What's the last book that you read?
***I've been on a kick of re-reading stuff lately, and I'm always in the middle of several books. Most recently read: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan; Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Crusie; and Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's much-hyped history about Abraham Lincoln's cabinet.
15. Who's your favorite author?
I'm hard pressed to choose just one, although top contenders are Octavia Butler, Beverly Jenkins, Isabel Allende and Carl Hiaasen. There are other authors whose books I buy automatically with no questions asked, and on that list would be Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, Nalo Hopkinson and Kelley Armstrong. Probably Tananarive Due, too.
16. What's your favorite type of music?
*** You've probably heard this before, but I really do listen to all kinds of music. It's impossible to go wrong with Sam Cooke or Ella Fitzgerald, though. My ears have lately been attracted to the sounds of opera, so I've pledged to learn more about that genre in '09.
17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?
***My fantasy dead-people-dinner-party list includes Octavia Butler, Alexander Hamilton, St. Augustine, Hannibal, Dorothy Day, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey...and those of my ancestors who were herded onto slave ships to cross the Atlantic and whose names have been lost to time.
18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers?
***How about more than three? I'm terribly fond of all the bloggers at Teach Me Tonight; I love Sarah's snark at Smart Bitches Trashy Books; author Steven Barnes always has a can't-miss take on pop culture, race, martial arts and self-improvement (sometimes all at the same time) at Dar Kush; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ezra Klein and the smart folks at Jack & Jill Politics became my go-to sources of political commentary during the protracted presidential election and have earned permanent spots in my RSS reader.
19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?
20. What don't we know about you that we should know?
***My day job is as a business reporter for a newspaper. I'm a native Floridian and now live back in my home state, but I've also lived in New York City and Washington, D.C. I'm an aspiring vegan (My sad, sad pattern is to eat a vegan diet for several months at a time, but then fall off the wagon dramatically, usually around the time of a major holiday). I plan to run a marathon -- or maybe two -- in 2009.
© 2009, on the black hand side, www.blackhandside.net