© 2016 Karissa Chen all rights reserved.

What ​

 

listens to while writing.

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[ on edwidge danticat and "good writing"]

Anyone who is close to me knows that one of my favorite writers is Edwidge Danticat. I have met her twice now, and each time I am overcome with nerves and emotion, because her writing has meant so much to me. The first story of hers that I ever read was "Children of the Sea," and it is a story that has undoubtedly influenced my writing — you can see evidence of it all over my work. It's the story that first ever hit me with a profound sense of longing to move someone else with my words. I had always loved books of course, but I think reading that story was the first time I ever felt Wow. I want to do this for someone else. 

Years later, I brought that story into a graduate school workshop — only to have it torn to shreds in front of me. This set me on a road to doubting my own literary discernment. Only years later did I realize that maybe my classmates' reactions weren't about me or even about the story, but about the context in which they read from. In other words, maybe it was about their own racial context.

I wrote about this for Electric Literature and I'm excited to share this piece with you.

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December 6

2017