In what ways does being female affect one’s sense of place, placement, and/or (dis)location?
We are seeking submissions of prose writing by women, and strongly encourage you to submit your work for consideration. We are looking for fiction and nonfiction stories that wrestle explicitly or implicitly with the question posed above. A selection of submitted stories will be published in a web anthology called In Her Place: Stories about Women Who Get Around in the fall of 2011. A publisher is also being sought for a print version.
We prefer submissions to be 3000 words or less, but will consider longer pieces of exceptional quality. We will not accept submissions of poetry. A cover letter is not necessary.
Please send your submissions to submissions // at // inherplace // dot // org in the following manner:
“I began listening to Gil somewhere around the age of 19, I am 57 today. Being a young black man growing up in the inner cities of Newark and New York Gil was one of my favorite role models. Now before anyone conjure a smart comment in relating to my confession, I implore you to hear the full context. I don’t know how long Gil has struggled with his drug demons, but one thing I do know is that back during those years he was a role model by whom I and others were inspired, because I had my struggle, not with drugs, but as a young black man trying to find a place at the table of brotherhood within white America. Through his music Gil was able to paint real pictures of real life events that were identifiable, that could be felt, that were being lived. His music was a pillar of strength, and again not just for me but for many of my associates as well, because we knew that no one could express oneself within the harmonics of our own emotions unless that individual was experiencing the same things we were. And without knowing anything concerning any of his personal battles, the one thing we felt that we did know was that he too was trying to find his place as well. So he came across as someone strong, assured, having it together, such as being somebody in spite of the oppositions that might have been confronting him. I’ve gotten past those times, thanks in part to Gil of whom I have introduced to my children as one of my favorites. He was a revolutionary, not within a racial context, but in the context of speaking out against any force that was in play to destroy the good and well being of a man. I am now a preacher and a talk show host (www.realityhour.net) and have been for many years. I thank God for using Gil to help me back then, now I can return the favor, and through prayer unto God I can help him now.”—
The piece is, in essence, a dialogue with Shakespeare’s original play; and, although writer Toni Morrison would not call herself a feminist, the result of this dialogue is a feminist and African Amercian womanist revision of the play’s characters and the norms set by the era in which they lived. Morrison’s masterful tracing of sly, systemic modes of enslavement—of women, of Africans, of “others”, “villains” and “angels” is carefully brought to the fore through a series of monologues delivered by Desdemona (played by Elizabeth Marvel) in the afterlife.
It is a project worthy of Morrison.
And project is indeed the right word for the production. As Peter Sellars emphasizes in his introduction to the performance (he gives an opening talk each night), the piece is neither strictly theatre nor concert. It is an ongoing project, a dialogue, and an exploration in which the audience are invited to take part.
Desdemona’s dramatic monologues are interspersed with and layered over by Rokia Traore’s haunting and very African music. Rokia Traore, through her music and finally through direct dialogue, plays Desdemona’s childhood nurse, Barbary. And while the character is only given brief mention in Shakespeare, relating how she dies of a broken heart singing an epic tale of love and loss, Morrison gives her equal staging—and equal voice—with Desdemona in this project. …
This is my mother, Alice Antwi. She grew up in Kumasi, Ghana. She describes herself as someone who went “with the flow” of fashion which, for many Ghanaians at that time, meant Western fashion. But back then, she told me, you wore whatever you had at the time. It is not like how it is here in…
This part is especially telling (and sadly true of some places I’ve been involved in):
The core group began by thinking it was easy to go beyond tokenism to integrate women of color into the organization. They ended, however, with the realization that genuine integration means not only attracting more women of color to events, but also shifting the structure of the organization to include women of color as powerful forces in shaping the organization. Perhaps because their racism made them see me as a “white ally,” these resistant white feminists were often very up-front with me about their decision not to share power with women of color. One Board president told me it “simply isn’t worth it” to consult women of color about what they want, because she realized it would take the organization in a direction she didn’t want it to go, and serve a constituency she now realized (as a result of our “counseling”) she didn’t want to serve. Other white women said that it would make them “too uncomfortable,” and that, for them, TWFC would no longer be a refuge and a place that boosted their egos by affirming they “did good.” Instead, they’d have to be “careful” all the time, and would be self-conscious about what the women of color thought of them. In short, given the comfort of racism, and the discomfort of active anti-racism, they chose racism, outright. What was there for me to do at that point, except clarify that they had chosen to perpetuate racism, rather than to end it?