Writing Activity, May 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 (Which is still going on! Keep wearing masks!)–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 May (here’s April’s), which is basically in chronological order. I got very little writing done this month because

1. I got into Hunter College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction (I got accepted a few months ago, but can now make it public), and spent the month making moving arrangements and moving. My writing has been evolving more and more toward the personal during the past five years, and I feel the need to get some more training for how to embrace this shift.

2. I had a publisher follow up on a book proposal about a volume of literary criticism on Mennonite literature by asking for the full manuscript, which I then submitted.

3. I had a senryu published in the April issue of Kingfisher (which arrived in May): “pandemic / my manic Mondays / on hold”

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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