06 September 2010

My Blog Sounds Nice - Check 1

lone microphoneThis blog post is the first of what I am calling "check in posts." These will be few-and-far-between posts that I will submit when I want to check in with you, the reader, to let you know that while my blog may be quiet for the moment, I'm still here, I'm still thinking, still experiencing Street Lit. It's just that sometimes I don't have anything to say. I don't post an article unless it's something passionate that's burning within me - a question I'm seeking to answer - an issue I need to unpack - somebody done made me mad ... ya know, stuff like that. I tend to get kinda angsty when it comes to Street Lit. It's a personal journey for me - this research, this thinking, this writing that I do concerning this genre because I come from the streets - was born and raised in the hood - as well as my children. So I'm always thinking about voicedness from the city's underground because it too, has wisdom to mete out - to share, to be heard.

However, what I have been thinking about lately with concerns to Street Literature has been the main title of my upcoming book with the American Library Association's publishing house, ALA Editions. My manuscript is due October 2010, and I am 90% done with the content of the book. This book's requisite subtitle is: "A Readers Advisory Guide to Street Literature." As such, the text will seek to challenge librarians' and teachers' thinking around what Street Lit is and is not, and also, who we are as educators in relation to this genre - a recurring theme of my research. The book will also be a full introduction and resource to Street Literature history, themes, and sub-genres, with practical scenarios offered for readers advisory, library programming, and collection development for the genre in public and school libraries.

With thinking about the main title - gosh - the process has been harder than writing 10 chapters, believe it or not! I've solicited the opinions of my daughters, my friends and colleagues. I've heard more, "No." "No." "No." "Nah uh." "Ewwww, no Mom!" "Gurl stop!" while being laughed at (i.e. "clowned") more than I care to admit.

I was texting one of my close girlfriends last night who is also an amazing writer, poet, feminist, ... just a great thinker..... and between our text conversation and my online research into Hip Hop songs and lyrics, I finally devised a main title I love - and when everyone else heard it (I summoned my daughters at like, 1 a.m.) - and went, "YES - that's IT," I knew it was a done deal. It took about 10 days for me to finally devise this title.

The main title of a book is important because the title has to be meaningful, impactful, and memorable at the same time, while not being too long. A main title has to have a cadence, a beat, a rhythm to it that flows from the content and context of the book. A book is a holistic artifact where every part of it informs the other. I learned that from being a lifelong reader and also from a preservation class I took when I was in library school. Every part of a book from text to stitch, counts.

So YAY - a major development - an issue that can be put to rest. This main title (which I will not reveal until the book is approved and the editors agree) conveys everything the book and my blog (my humble platform here) aims to say - that Street Literature is foundational, historical, impactful, meaningful, edifying for many, and strong enough to handle any critique and keep it real and moving (especially since it is a genre that is actually centuries old). I'm looking forward to the publication of this book.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support by reading my blog. I really appreciate you reading it and your comments. In the coming weeks and months as I embark upon writing my dissertation, I will be blogging about insights from my research with librarians reading Street Lit.

Last but not least - my latest recommendation for those studying Street Lit: "My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop" via BET-TV. It is worth checking out.

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