The exhibition is called Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change. Step off the escalator, walk a few feet, and before you, floating at about eye level, is a white sphere. It is split in half horizontally; a thin band of black pulses at the center. Instead of appreciation, comprehension, even confusion, your mind generates a series of questions. How can it be that this sphere is floating? And what exactly is in the middle of that … that thing? Is it some kind of light? Can light be black? Can black light pulse? Step closer to the sphere, look behind it. Ah. A clear plastic tube connects the sphere to the wall. Indeed, from this vantage point the sphere no longer resembles a sphere; it is actually a wedge of curved plastic. Or metal. Or something. You still cannot tell what is happening in the middle.
Read the rest of the article here: Tope Folarin in the LA Review of Books
A Beating, A Prayer
After they took the body of my friend away, I lost my ability to move. They’d left the twisted sheet he hung himself with, still tied to the curtain rod. The noose taunted me, its wide mouth ready to claim another black body.
My father thought the Word would save us. It would save me from the uncertainty and panic that kept my knees buckled. “Real men stand up straight, son. Real men hold themselves with the confidence of the Lord.” It would save Satchel, my best friend, from his sweetness, his lilting voice, his soft, piano-player fingers that reached for your arm when he spoke. He believed if we left what we knew and traveled, if we focused on memorizing the Word, repeating it over and over to those sinner-bent strangers with outstretched hands, we would find salvation. We would find our manhood.
Satchel’s reclamation of his body weighed the air in the already stuffy room. I knew that what he did was supposed to be a sin, but in a way it was also an assertion. Even though I wasn’t all the way grown yet, I knew that Satchel had given in to his heart and couldn’t bear a world filled with men like my father: brutal, unwilling to change.
When a Character Returns
Edward P. Jones connected recurring characters through his short stories, providing a blueprint for one writer.
Lost in the City,
All Aunt Hagar’s Children
Read the rest of the post here: Rion on Edward P. Jones
THE BURDEN OF DIVERSITY
Every year it was the same. The then Milwaukee Sentinel printed the pictures of all their summer interns who worked at the paper. The pictures were divided into two categories:
Each year, my picture, with the worst lighting imaginable, was displayed under the minority banner. I hated that term: minority intern. It was code for so many things. “Look, we have people of color on our staff!”
But the title also translated into some real life/work challenges as well.
Minority Interns meant you were “guided” into certain beats. Community Affairs, which is also code for the “N***a Beat,” writing about Juneteenth, and all other manner of black experience. Such things are a joy to write about when you want to write about them. But we were all trying to be reporters. We wanted to break news, not cover parades. The breaking news was usually divided amongst the “intern” interns. The ilk of writers who dropped in on the city for the summer to get their mid-size paper cred before jumping to a top-tier internship like the Washington Post or the New York Times. This paper was their stepping stone. For most of us minority interns, though, this was our first and possibly last step.
Read the rest of the post here: George Kevin Jordan on The Burden of Diversity