Writing Activity, April 2021

One of my 2021 goals is to keep a list of my writing activity for each month. I do so partly as a form of encouragement for myself–to show that I am still able to do some writing despite the energy-sucking terrors of the pandemic–and partly as an archive that I can look back on in the future. As such, I will include negative happenings (e.g., receiving rejections), not just positive ones.

I think that it is important for me to share my list publicly as a queer disabled writer of color because mainstream discourse tries to either pretend voices such as mine do not exist or actively tries to suppress them. Whether one is part of a marginalized group or not, writing is an essential act of resistance in these terrible times, so I hope that my list offers encouragement to others.

Here is the list for April (here’s March’s), which is basically in chronological order:

1. Wrote at least one senryu or haiku in my journal most days, although I really slacked off on this during the last week of the month.

2. Finished revising (for now) a book manuscript on Mennonite literature and submitted a proposal about it to a publisher.

3. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies website.

4. Found out which of the five poems I had submitted to the 2021 Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology last month got accepted (everyone who submits has one chosen).

5. Attended a meeting with my haiku mentor and workshopped my first ever haibun.

6. Attended a workshop run by Carley Moore about how to write about current political events.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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