Tuesday News: Publishing, coloring, pandering, and grieving
Changes coming to Samhain Publishing- Recently Samhain revealed to its editors that there would be changes
occurring to reduce overhead and become more focused.
*Editor Don has been let go.
*Attrition will reduce on-site staff. In May, Samhain will not renew
its lease. It is the intent of the company to go forward remotely.
*Ad buys will cease because they are no longer effective for the company.
*Submissions are closed. Existing authors and agents who work with us
are always welcome to submit books.
Adult Coloring Books Test Grown-Ups’ Ability to Stay Inside the Lines – I see probably two articles on adult coloring books a week right now. And it’s no wonder, given the fact that eight out of the top 20 bestselling books on Amazon are adult coloring books. That’s 40%. Hachette Pratique even published an adult coloring book as “art therapy” in France, because “[i]t has real antistress effects like mindfulness and meditation.” Stress relief for those who buy the books, that is, because some merchants are struggling with collateral demands:
The coloring fad also has a stressful side. Mia Galison, owner of eeBoo Corp., a New York-based designer of educational toys and other products, in August noticed a spike in demand for colored pencils. Since then, her sales of the pencils, including a 24-piece set that retails for about $13, have been three or four times higher than normal, and she keeps running out. It takes about six months between making an order and receiving the pencils from her supplier in Taiwan, so she is struggling to guess how strong demand will be in June. – Wall Street Journal
Whom Do You Write For? ‘Pandering’ Essay Sparks A Conversation – I posted Claire Vaye Watkins’s speech “On Pandering” a few weeks ago, and this is a follow-up conversation between Watkins and Marlon James. It’s worth reading (and listening to) alongside Watkins’s original text, and thinking about the issues they both raise about internalizing authority and the need for myriad voices in the conversations around how social roles and cultural expectations shape the kind of art that is both produced and consumed.
James: It’s true, and when writers of color do an actual “othering” — you know, the first time I heard a gunshot was when I went to a Martin McDonagh play — we must be witness, we must be direct witness or victim of the thing we are writing about. Otherwise, by what authority are we writing about it? … But to come back to the thing about the white man writing about the other, then that becomes perilous … this sort of cultural ventriloquism which is still, still makes a lot of money. Because then I have my friends who are white male writers who feel so skittish about, “But I really want to write about Haiti!” I say, listen, there are a million ways to fail, and most people have, but do it anyway. By the way, every person before you has failed, but do it anyway. Because I think it’s a worthy discussion — there are examples of people pulling it off, as far back as Othello. Do it! – NPR
A Language for Grieving – This short piece by Sonya Posmentier serves as an interesting companion piece to the conversation between Watkins and Jones, in its focus on the question of how black poetry, specifically, makes room for and grief and constructs a language of grieving, and how critical that is in an artistic culture where poets like Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place are using the imagery and language of violence against black bodies in their work.
This is not to say that in times of grief over racial violence we need only memorial poems of Middle Passage, plantation and burial ground. The plantation is a graveyard, but it was also a place where enslaved people lived — made families, made music and stories, resisted and subsisted. If these recent examples of white appropriations of black experience contain no space for grief, they also yield no space for black joy and innovation, qualities exemplified in the sensory excess of Tonya Foster’s post-9/11 haiku in her collection “A Swarm of Bees in High Court” or the luxurious quatrains navigating the joys of love and travel in Major Jackson’s “Roll Deep.” – New York Times