Author Archives: Gina Abelkop

Between Memory and Forgetting: An Interview with Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Photograph by Brittainy Lauback

Photograph by Brittainy Lauback

I’m lucky to have known Gabrille Lucille Fuentes for several years now– we both live in Athens, GA and attend the same PhD program, and we co-curate a reading series together at our local indie bookstore. The first time I got to hear Gabrielle read her work aloud I was spellbound– not only was her prose riveting, but her ability to embody the work as she read it made for a thrilling listening experience. I knew she was a serious workhorse when it came to writing– working on several novels at once, and more diligently than most writers I know– and brilliant to boot, so it would only be a matter of time before her work began to enter world as books. Fuentes’ first novel, The Sleeping World, is out tomorrow (9/13) from Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, and it is ferocious, a book hot with searching and loss, tension thrumming constantly at the periphery. Per the jacket copy:

“Casasrojas, Spain, 1977. Military rule is over. Bootleg punk music oozes out of illegal basement bars and fascists fight anarchists for political control. Students perform protest art in the city center, rioting against the old government, the undecided new order, against the university, against themselves. At the center is Mosca, an intelligent, disillusioned university student, whose younger brother is among ‘the disappeared,’ kidnapped by fascist police, missing for two years, and presumed dead. Spurred by the turmoil around them, Mosca and her friends carry their rebellion too far and a violent act sends them spiraling out of their provincial hometown. But the further they go, the more Mosca believes her brother is alive and the more she is willing to do anything to find him.”

You can feel this novel in your bones– when the characters are sore and tired, sweatily roaming through Spain and France, your body meets the book in feeling. I was excited to ask Fuentes some questions about her writing process, the seeds of the book, and much more.

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes is a writer and teacher. Her first novel, The Sleeping World, will be published by Touchstone  (Simon & Schuster) in 2016.  She has received fellowships from Yaddo and Blue Mountain Arts Center and was a Bernard O’Keefe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, Slice, Pank, The Collagist, Tweed’s, NANO Fiction, Western Humanities Review, The YokeSpringGun, and elsewhere.

* * *

Gina Abelkop: What and when were the first seeds of this novel planted? Where were you living? Did it begin with a plot, character, or an emotional impluse?

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes: Song lyrics often start stories for me. I’ll become obsessed with a song—especially one with a scrap of narrative and want to enter into the world of the song through my writing. Or the song will provide entry into a world I’ve carried but didn’t yet have access to. The Sleeping World began as a short story I wrote while listening to The National’s song “Runaway.” I was living in Boulder, Colorado and had just started my MFA. Boulder is a surreal town—it’s surrounded by gorgeous mountains but the town itself like a play-land created by Patagonia and Disney. Very new, very expensive, very white. The initial story came quickly, transported by a few of the lyrics. I wanted to communicate a tension between forgetting and memory, and when I went back to the story, I found that I was writing my own, despite the distance between me and the narrative. My brother had recently passed away and writing was a way for me to grieve, to speak to the dead and carry him with me in the living world.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books + Literature, Interviews

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

 

Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey will be writing a Marvel comic set in the world of Black Panther called World of Wakanda; Marvel interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer of Black Panther) and Gay about the new series: “It’s challenging but in a good way. As a fiction and nonfiction writer, it’s just me and the page but with this, there are so many people involved. It makes me admire the comic form even more, to see what it takes to pull an issue together.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

Poets Morgan Parker, Angel Nafis, and Danez Smith are on tour in Paris this month!

CnhF-VyWIAA_uO_

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

 

Apogee’s new Queer History, Queer Now issue is available to read online. Edited by Cecca Ochoa and Alejandro Varela, the issue includes work by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Cristy Road, Raquel Salas Rivera, Audre Lorde Project, and more: “We offer up this work, unas ofrendas, for those who were taken from us this month, on June 12. Let our collective rage, love, tears, and dance beats move us toward a more just future.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup

blacklivesmatter-2-3

Roxane Gay on the murder of Alton Sterling and America’s continued racist violence: “It’s overwhelming to see what we are up against, to live in a world where too many people have their fingers on the triggers of guns aimed directly at black people. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to allow myself to feel grief and outrage while also thinking about change. I don’t know how to believe change is possible when there is so much evidence to the contrary. I don’t know how to feel that my life matters when there is so much evidence to the contrary.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore writes about why transgender troops should be an oxymoron: “What, then, would an end to the ban on trans people serving openly in the US military serve to facilitate? More of the same: endless war, plundering of Indigenous resources, both in the US and abroad, and a militaristic orientation that sees oppressed people as cannon fodder for US imperialism.”

Alice Bag discusses her new solo album with the L.A. Times: “I remember growing up and having people say that there are certain things you don’t talk about at the dinner table…You don’t talk about religion or sex or politics. Well, then I’m going to go eat on the TV tray. Those are the only things I want to talk about.”

Novelist Gabby Rivera discusses her YA novel Juliet Takes a Breath with Remezcla: “I had to do some serious soul searching and evolving in my personhood and politics. As I asked myself those questions, Juliet really came alive and the purpose of it, connecting with queer youth of color, became clearer to me.”

Fanta Sylla has created (and continues to edit) the Black Film Critics Syllabus, feat. subheadings such as “Black music video is Black cinema,” “Black women looking/looked at,” and many more.

Kathleen Hanna is featured in the new installment of Pitchfork’s Over/Under series.

Dev Hynes released his new Blood Orange record, Freetown Sound, a few days early, and you can watch the new video for “Thank You/Augustine” at his website.

Read a transcript of Jesse Williams’ recent BET Awards speech at Colorlines: “Now, this is also in particular for the [B]lack women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.”

Eileen Myles on guns and gays: “When we talk about gun control I think we need to put the focus explicitly on protecting us from us and not from ISIS. We have guns, we live here, we find it so easy to kill. Something is so very wrong with America when the right to bear arms is not freedom but a curse.”

The 20th anniversary edition of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues is now available in multiple formats, including free PDF.

At Buzzfeed, Doree Shafrir writes about how the media (specifically People) covers domestic violence: “And today, the language around domestic abuse remains euphemistic. Marriages or relationships that seem haunted by the specter of physical and/or emotional abuse are often labeled ‘turbulent’ or ‘volatile’ — certainly a legal hedge, but one that also allows the severity of domestic violence to be downplayed and, in a way, normalized.”

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

Remember their names, faces, and lives– these are the victims of the Pulse shooting, primarily queer POC.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

 

If you live in Brooklyn/NYC or thereabouts, you are in the for a treat tomorrow! Popsickle 2016 features readings by Naomi Jackson, Wo Chan, our own WS editor Marisa Crawford, Joey De Jesus, Jami Attenberg and many more.

For those of you on the West Coast (Los Angeles, specifically), This Will Hurt Me More Than You opens at Last Projects tomorrow, feat. work by Ciriza, Michael Dee, and Cynthia Herrera; tomorrow night’s opening features a (not to be missed) a performance by Ciriza.

Alice Bag is interviewed at Bitch about her new solo album, how teaching informs her work, and more: “But when I go out on book tours and speak to students, it feels like I’m teaching again. It’s wonderful to get into discussions with college students who’ve read my book. As artists, we sometimes have opportunities to spark discussions about the changes we’d like to see. I’ve been able to do that through my music and touring, so in a way, I guess I’m still teaching, I’m just not in a classroom anymore.” Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372

At Bitch, Amy Lam interviews MariNaomi about her new graphic memoir Turning Japanese: “I think every young person feels like they don’t quite fit in, or if they do fit in, they feel like people don’t really know them. My version of not fitting in was because I was half-Japanese in a very Caucasian area. It was definitely pretty naive to think that I would find some kind of belonging in a foreign country.”

The Offing, the online literary magazine formerly attached to the Los Angeles Review of Books, is making some big, necessary changes; support them and read more about it in this essay from editor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: “In 2016 our endeavors must include engaging in long overdue transgressions against tradition by actively working with and for people who have long been pushed to the margins, whether through dispossession, slavery, colonialism, erasure or all of the above.”

Over at Flavorwire Sesali B. writes about navigating abuse allegations in the media in regards to the recent split of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: “But can you legitimately defend someone against allegations that are so personal? How? In a situation like this, can you really use your experience with them to gauge what their experience was like with someone else?”

Amandla Stenberg answers readers’ questions at Rookie as part of their new “How We Live” series, which is “a series centering on the lived experience and thought of black teenagers.”

Iman Williams writes on Beyoncé’s Lemonade for Entropy: “The Black feminine is denied entry and access to worlds and modes of being that cease to exist without her; Beyoncé’s Lemonade indicates that the conditions that situate the Black feminine in this interstitial space inaugurate a Black feminist futurity that exceeds a traditional symbolic order.”

Ginger Ko writes on connecting through the internet in her new essay for The Offing, “The Cave”: “I don’t consider myself obligated to maintain Facebook as a representative snapshot of the world, in which the most adamant and idle take up the most space with their ample voices and ample time. My blocked list is important to me, and shall be maintained for as long as my Facebook lives.”

Women are having to travel farther and father to access abortion, as reported at the L.A. Times: “As more states adopt more restrictive laws and the number of clinics dwindles in the so-called “abortion desert” – an area that stretches from Florida to New Mexico and north into the Midwest – women are increasingly traveling across state lines to avoid long waits for appointments and escape the legal barriers in their home states.”

Domonique Echeverria talks to Paper Magazine about her suicide attempt, the harm pharmaceuticals can do, prosthetics, and her own path to healing: “I’d done coke and heroin and acid and I’ll tell you, pharmaceuticals are the worst fucking drugs. They can make people sick. I guarantee you there’s more people addicted to pharmaceuticals than street drugs.”

The new issue of Divine Magnet (edited by WS contributor Seth Landman!) is now live, featuring work from Monica Fambrough, Lesley Yalen, Cheryl Quimba, Natalie Lyalin, and more.

What did we miss this week? Let us know in the comments! <3

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Living for Moments: An Interview with Filmmaker Malea Moon

2016-02-23 10.33.27 1 2

I first “met” Malea Moon on Instagram after being interviewed for Risen Mags, a website that she’s a contributor to as well. I began following her and watching her short IG clips, which then lead me to her YouTube channel; Malea’s films are intimate, sweet, smart, and beautifully edited, tender portraits of herself, her friends, and her environment. I hadn’t realized initially that Malea was so young– fourteen!– which is not to say that what makes her work exciting is her age; rather, I found it thrilling and moving to find this world where young women were using digital media to express themselves and the intimacies of their lives, something that requires a kind of dedication and continuous practice that I very much admire.

Malea Moon is a 14 year old filmmaker living in a rainy valley in Oregon. She’s got a passion for art, rain, Bernie Sanders, and lavender lemonade. You could probably find her rambling about her OTP, shoving a camera in your face, or drinking coffee when she knows she should be drinking tea. She aspires to represent marginalized voices through her art and travel the world in a beat up VW with her closest friends, going to concerts and swimming in the ocean while it rains. You can keep up with this human on her Instagram (@adolessent) or her YouTube (@ Malea Moon).

***

Gina Abelkop: The internet didn’t really “exist” until I was twelve or thirteen, and it was REALLY different for me then than it is now. How old were you when you started using it, and how has your relationship to the internet changed as you grew older? What are some of your favorite websites, and what makes them exciting/interesting for you?

Malea Moon: When I first started using the internet, I was super young. Around 7 or 8, at the oldest. I remember that I spent most of my time playing dress up games and looking at puppies as a kid, I suppose I just thought it was a fun way to pass the time. I didn’t really see the internet as a way to meet new people or to learn new things until I was at least 10 or so. Now, the way I view the internet is much different (enter: nervous laughter) I have to distance myself from it sometimes, honestly. I can get sucked in very easily. I spend a lot of time on YouTube and Tumblr, crying over new films and fandoms. I’m terribly introverted and I was born in a tiny town without much diversity, and so I began to use social media as a way to make new friends and remind myself there was more than just my small, sheltered hometown. That was something that made it kind of an oasis, a safe space despite all of its danger. I can’t really think of what I’d be doing without the internet, considering it’s been such a prevalent part of my life and aided me being able to connect with others.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Interviews