Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Thoughts About Ayiti by Roxane Gay

Ayiti by Roxane Gay, Artistically Declined Press.

I'm not sure there is much for my prose-weak mind to add about this book. It's been pointed at with lovingness (like this awesome nod ) and talked about by Roxane wonderfully (like here) and been opened up nicely in reviews (like this one by J.A. Tyler ). Yet, I still feel bad for not giving myself some record of why I loved this book.

- My digging of creative writing started as a way to run from the teenage junk I didn't understand, both in myself and around me. But now, as I'm fighting my lazy scared guts in order to become more "in-the-know" and "stable," creative writing is the expansive catalyst for this growth. Yeah, news is informative and talking to people is fun, but books and stories and poems that engage with those issues are teaching me more (about myself especially) than I think I initially wanted.

- Ayiti contains those smacking stories that teach and engage and force me to pay attention, don't allow me to be a wuss and "not care." (Or at least say I don't, because I do, but in my selfishness, I say this.)

- These are stories about the struggles of Haitians and how America affects them and how America's lens is dusty and how Haiti is a dangerous place with a gorgeous HUMAN soul.

- My favorite stories in the collection--"Motherfuckers," "About My Father's Accent," and "The Harder They Come"--were the ones that refused to let me NOT see myself in the Americans, to NOT deny that my worldview sucks and needs improving. More importantly, I think the clear, descriptive, and sometimes (emotionally/physically) brutal show that Roxane puts on in these story show so much of the ugly that it becomes clearer than ever to know how to be good.

- I used to think that Roxane's writing tried to tug at my heart strings, which it still might, but after reading this collection, I realize that these stories tug at all of me, WAKE UP.

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