Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I Don't Write Yaoi

'Lo Peoples,

My dating life distracted me a bit even before Holiday season got into full swing. Just in time for New Years Resolutions, I'm back. Her Tangh-i-ness has remembered what she had been doing before hormones became involved.

First, I give props to Tobias Buckell whose blog post on Dreads inspired me to climb back onto my soapbox again. Here is the original post. He is revealing his ardent thoughts on respect for a culture not his own.

Enjoy. Read his novel series where dreadlocked and Caribbean-inspired heros figure prominently.

Cultural misappropriation is a real and disrespectful phenomenon. I could start ranting about the Black contribution to Rock and Roll, but that'll get me off topic. Today, I'm talking about that particular, guy-on-guy action which originated in Japan: Yaoi. Slash fiction, of the Kirk and Spock, or Aragorn and Legolas variety, is a close American relation.

The Yaoi genre remains the reason I still collect graphic novels and DVDs to this day. Many of my other comics and manga sit crated in my basement. I've been falling in love with drawn people since back in the days of Speed Racer. (No. We did not sully our memories with the questionable movie adaptation. Even Christina Ricci's welcome presence couldn't move us. Thank you.)

Yaoi is a Japanese exploration of male/male relationships with a feminine sensibility. Without the seme pursuing the uke the plot doesn't advance, although there are stories where the uke is rather forward. I don't agree with the current marketing wisdom to include all works created by women with the same male/male relationships under Yaoi as an umbrella term. It doesn't work. Yaoi is a specific outgrowth of the social and ethnic culture it spawned from. It focuses on same-sex relationships in ways many women would appreciate on both sides of the Pacific.

Just because I am often writing about guys making love and romantic pursuing other guys (or women pursuing women), doesn't put me in the Yaoi or Yuri category. People who love Yaoi and Yuri may find a lot to their liking in my work, but I'm not following the Yaoi genre rules.

I guess I'm also launching into this speech because of that old saw about marketability and defining one's audience. I happen to be a Person of Color, and as one, I'm very sensitive to the idea of removing something from it's cultural context and completely obliterating any sense of acknowledgment of that something's origin.

Yeah, I read a lot of Yaoi. I bow down to Sensei-gata: Mika Sadhiro, Ayano Yamane, Miya Ousaka, Moto Hagio, Yuuka Nitta, Kazuma Kodaka, Kai Nanase, Kiriko Higashizato, Kasuza Takashima, Megumu Minami, Yuzuha Ougi, Yayoi Neko, You Higuri, Hirotaka Kisaragi and Duo Brand. What these Sensei-gata do is wonderful.

I like to think they steep their stories in the same broth that my own stories simmer within. We are just different flavors of a particularly human experience.


Her Tangh-i-Ness

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: Remastering Jerna

October 23, 2009
Remastering Jerna
Ann Somerville
P.D. Publishing, Inc.

'Lo Peoples,

Remastering Jerna is a work of speculative fiction. Kinky and polyamorous people need folktales just like other social groups. It's much more fun for all those involved if we just agree on that point.

I've had years of practice falling for imaginary people.

But then, that's the whole charm of reading fiction isn't it? To me a successful piece of fiction introduces me to a character I'd like to meet. Even rarer is to find a character I'd like to add to my boudoir. What I appreciate most about Jerna Setiq is the dignity he brings to being a male submissive. In a testosterone-driven society, as particularly evidenced in my native States, being a vulnerable man more often earns one unkind names and sneers than being elevated to a literary culturehero.

Shall we say Remastering Jerna reads like Beauty and the Beast meets When Someone You Love is Kinky? Doesn't make the picture clear enough for you? We shall try again. Within the first seventeen pages, Jerna's life as a happily married teacher is wrenched asunder by a sexually precocious student. Dramatic irony lies in the fact Jerna had actually tried to protect the boy from an abusive situation before the tables were turned upon him. Jerna prefers to sacrifice his own good name to safeguard a former lover involved with the student. His own society brands Jerna a pedophile which he is not. He must divorce his beloved wife lest she lose her children.

The prison scenes had their intended chilling effect with Jerna's matter-of-fact exploitation. They prepare the reader subtly for the difference between willing submission founded upon trust that later occurs in the story. Jerna trades his nightmarish prison-detail for whoredom. Imagine the choice between starvation, gang-rape, and being used as disposable labor and white slavery. Throughout his ordeal, Jerna never loses his penchant for kindness towards others. It earns him the affection and respect of fellow sex workers, a doctor, an older client, and a male Dom who requires training himself.

Some might feel the conciliatory ending where Jerna is eventually reunited with wife and children and yet maintains the homosexual relationship he formed with a male Dom incredible. But isn't that the really juicy thing about folktales—when they end with love involved for all?


Her Tangh-i-ness

Note: This copy of Remastering Jerna was acquired in an author-run contest. The reviewer is quite ecstatic that she won it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Squirrel Saga

Thursday the 22nd, I trekked on foot from Readville Commuter Rail Station from West Milton Street, Hyde Park to Milton Street in Dedham to a vet who handles rehabbing squirrels.

Maybe I should back up a little.

I live with people who have a soft spot for animals. But I get the tough jobs like catching bats, wolf spiders, and house centipedes and taking them outside. Fieldmice are cute and all but not in my home.

So my brother, the Lemurian, calls me on my cellphone last Friday to announce he's coming back with a squirrel in a box. We have already had my sister spring a wounded pigeon upon us a couple a of weeks ago. The Animal Rescue League kindly took the pigeon off our hands although there wasn't a happy ending to that story.

This is a household of five cats, none of which are mine, although all the cats seem to love me. I interpret cat pretty well except if I am dealing with a sealpoint Siamese. My best animal language is reptile though. Water dragons, Tegus, and Nile monitors...well we have this thing.... Cats and reptiles don't mix however so I live without my scaly spirit animals.

Once the squirrel arrives at the house, my brother sets it up in the larger of two kitty carriers. It has banana chips and sunflower seeds from a friend of his who was the first to discover the human dependent squirrel. This little guy will sit on just about anyone's shoulder, eat nuts, and poop. It will hold up its hands to be picked up if you set it on the ground just like any human kid. Totally, unsquirrel-like. This is worrisome.

I am slightly impressed because the squirrel is young enough to lay claim to human kryptonite. That it is has big, black, beady eyes. It runs to the cage door to investigate if you speak to it and then it burrows happily in all the shredded toilet paper atop the newspaper and goes to sleep.

My brother calls the Animal Rescue League to report the squirrel needs intervention. It has no fear of humans. It tries to sneak into human-inhabited buildings where there's warmth and food. My sister worries that the squirrel will die a premature death if it's just released without any intervention. Not everyone will take pity on a wild animal.

The squirrel spent the weekend. Meanwhile, we were trying to get someone from the Animal Rescue League to take the squirrel. ARL took the pigeon and they are listed as Wildlife Rehabilator when I searched Google.™ It's a little harder to get this to happen with the squirrel. I let my brother call ARL and he gets some information about a Wildlife Rehabilitator in Weymouth. We can't get to Weymouth w/out a car. No dice.We learn ARL aren't rehabbers themselves. The Animal Rescue League will transport the squirrel to a Rehabber's though. There's a lot of demand for their services so they aren't sure when it will happen.

Meanwhile, The squirrel spends the weekend with us. It amuses itself by overturning its water tray and soaking the newspaper. The cats are trying to sneak into my brother's bedroom so they can check out the intruder. One cat is declawed so he's not as much of threat but the others are. The squirrel gets to run around in the bathroom while my brother cleans the cage. I have no idea how to sex a squirrel although my brother thinks that it's a girl because of the visible teat. My sister has no opinion. That time of the month arrives and I get irritated by the whole affair.

Monday comes and we haven't lined up a place we can get the squirrel to. Naturally, the squirrel is bored with it's spacious quarters. The bathroom is the one room where anyone has a hope of catching it and putting it back into the kitty carrier. It also has lockable door to keep the cats from joining in the fun. I am crankier and crankier. My brother is bonding with the squirrel and taking pictures. My sister is concerned that the squirrel gets the help it needs.

Now I have to call ARL. I email too just to cover all the bases. I am PMS-ing something horrible. A very patient female receptionist at the Boston office advises me that there's a Wildlife Rehabber in Dedham that ARL uses. Hallelujah! I can get to Dedham. I call the spot and I'm told I can bring the squirrel tomorrow when the vet is there. After a friendly discussion with the ARL Dedham, I decide we can keep the squirrel another night rather than impose upon Dispatch.

So Thursday, me and squirrel board and Route 32 bus and head onto our adventure. I have transferred our guest to the smaller kitty carrier and provided a farewell snack of almonds and cashews.

I am STILL cranky.

The squirrel does not say thank you or goodbye.

I sign surrender papers.

The vet comes out and explains the process of rehabbing where the squirrel gets to live outside where there are other squirrels running around free and get re-acclimated to behaving like a squirrel again. We are free to call in a week to check the squirrel's progress. My brother and sister can make the call. I am done.

I trudge back down Milton street with an empty kitty carrier, a lighter heart, and a lone hawk circles overhead. That's gotta be a sign the Universe is pleased with me. I did the right thing.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coming Out About My Friendships

'Lo Peoples,

I'm a member of the Outer Alliance, a group supporting LGBT advocacy, and whose ranks are drawn Linkfrom the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres and their supporters.


National Coming Out Day was yesterday. Sunday, October 11th, 2009. I spent part of it at a writer friend's house surrounded by gay men, straight women, one other person of color, and a feline. More people of all preferences and skin tones probably breezed in after I left.

We were there for the host, the food, and the liquid refreshment. What I appreciate about visiting with my LGBT friends is the aura of acceptance that radiates throughout their gatherings.

My friend greeted me with an unexpected kiss on the cheek. Endorphin levels rose. I happily followed him into his abode and I beamed my respects to the photo of his deceased male partner before I took up refuge in his kitchen in full view of the edibles.

I'm not much of a plunger, that is, I tend to hang back in new social situations. I'll speak if I'm spoken to and occasionally when I feel as if I can weigh I on a topic, I'll offer something first. Mostly, I try to radiate good vibes.

I am obviously an African descended person if one looks at me. It's also obvious that I'm what's called heavy-set. Most attractive men can feel my interest in them and it either evokes mutual enjoyment, timidity, or indifference. I will strut around in public with my miniature whip attached to my keychain, or in Black leather and my crop at my side, but I've never had to agonize over publically sharing who I am and who I crawl between the sheets with.

So I listened to my friend's guests discuss the LGBT old guard history, Chicago vs. Boston, the possibility of ejaculation without Viagra when one is post-70, and do-it-yourself remodeling. I smiled to myself because I thought even more people should have the opportunity to enjoy socializing with other sexual beings at peace with being themselves openly. And as always, I end my observances with...


Her Tangh-i-ness

Sunday, October 4, 2009

EBook Review: Like Twin Stars: Bisexual Erotic Stories

'Lo Peoples,

Like Twin Stars: Bisexual Erotic Stories
Edited by Cecelia Tan and Kelly Clark
Circlet Press, Inc

Disclosure: I received a free review PDF courtesy from the editor upon my own request.

Okay folks, get your bibs on. There's some literary treats ahead.

Some Anthologies deserve an extended metaphor. Allow me to regale you with such a gustatory conceit. Taste is a pretty basic matter for all of us, like that infamous three letter word.
Ya'll know it... s-e-x.

And not just vanilla sex, Peoples.


Spicy, sweet, and titillating just like her Tangh-i-ness likes it.

Some anthologies provoke the equivalent of indigestion. Others get devoured and still others are savored. Like Twin Stars: Bisexual Erotic Stories belongs in the latter category. As a writer m'self, I appreciate well-crafted words. I relish the strong flavor of sex without offending the senses or the mind that digests the entire confection.

I don't envy the editors' task of sifting through many tales to find the three that were intended to give the reader a consummate experience. It's like going to the candy store and having to choose between a bag of gummi bears with their chewy, gelatin delicacy, or a bag of peppermint candies that heat up the inside of one's mouth a bit before the sugar rush fades, and lastly a bag of M&Ms® with their fleeting crunch and central chocolate. Yumminess abounds any way one decides to go.

I'll start, in reverse order, with the digestif: The Travesties by Giselle Renarde.

Next, on the palate, is Neil Hudson's Incubus, Succubus.

And the apértif would be The Dancer's War by N.K. Jemisin.

Enter Nurse Clinician Sebastian Savant and the object of his passion—an intersexed person—Cam/ille.
Throw in a mini-history of an invented slang terminology, a predatory researcher, cisgender bias, and the lover who vanished and gorge.

After feasting upon The Travesties, I want to start chanting the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup jingle.
Mentally review the jingle with me now. Something about twos and tastes in a single mouthful right? Got the picture of what that story holds for consenting adults?

Moving right along....

Ready for a slow boil that results in a saccharine implosion?

The nameless, first-person, male narrator of Incubus, Succubus feels set apart from his world. This is a sexual coming-of-age story with a twist. I should have recognized the hint of otherworldly from the first sampling, but I didn't. The rustic, folktale milleu enchanted me right out of guessing the outcome of narrator's quest for erotic awakening, but I'm certain other readers will manage to fight off candy-induced stupors.

I've already waxed rapturously about N.K. Jemisin and her hot men in a previous novel review. I felt honor-bound to begin with the succulent tales from Renarde and Hudson because of it. Last-mentioned The Dancer's War is never least in my book. Remember this is the story that opens the anthology. Meet two more toothsome delights, in the persons of the bantam Elan of the Weavers-of-the-Cloud and the strapping Ansheara of the Ketuyae. Our two virile goodies engage in a battle of wills that begins on a dance ground and ends with both men in a compromising position for the titillation of assembled women. Her Tangh-i-ness was left fiending for more...more...more.

All compliments to the chefs go to the three writers, naturally. I finished well satisfied. With the editors I'll leave a simple request: a companion volume featuring three, bisexual female protagonists and their sexcapades.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Sensei Had to Say

'Lo Peoples.

Her Tangh-i-ness is back to the subject of writing mentors.

I've been promising that I'd share with you some of what I've been learning from the man I call Sensei. Sometimes, there are questions I don't even realize I want to ask myself. Whenever Steven Barnes brings one up, a part of me bristles.

"But he's established," my inner procrastinator whines, "of course, he can spout whatever he likes." Next, my inner taskmaster kicks in, "Ri-i-i-ight. Have you already forgotten he's where you'd like to be when you grow up?"
My inner procrastinator mumbles something to the effect of, "Now that you mention it...."

Please note the following words in the email below are the intellectual property of Steven Barnes. I have his permission to repost this material from his newsletter. Remember, I get this and other regular free teachings via my inbox. How's that for ease of instruction?


Her Tangh-i-ness

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Barnes
To: You know who
Sent: Thu, Jan 24, 2008 11:46 am

Subject: What if you KNEW you could not fail?

One of the most important questions anyone ever asked me.

What would you aspire to, if you KNEW you could not fail?

That's our question of the day. We limit ourselves in so many ways. Our heads are filled with ideas of what is not possible--for us, or for anyone. And yet the leaders and shapers of the world dare to dream beyond those limits. Sometimes they fail. So what? I remember someone saying to me: "Steve, you dream too big. You're setting yourself up for disappointment." So what? I'm a big boy. I can handle it.

But you know what I can't handle? Feeling that I'm not living up to my
potential. That's just me. I imagine two scenarios:

1) At the moment of death, it is revealed to me that my dreams exceeded my

2) At the moment of death, it is revealed to me that my capacities exceeded my

I don't know about you, but the second one sucks. I would rather go all out,
break my heart again and again and again, pick my self up bloody and bruised and hurl myself at the locked gate again, than slink off and nurse my wounds and join the "you can't win" crowd.

Now, better still is to simply operate in a Zen state of awareness where your
normal daily activities, approached with intensity but not strain, naturally takes you through your personal evolution. Just awaken every day, chop wood and carry water, love your spouse, play with your children, play with your toys, tend your garden, rejoice in the life God gave you, and go to bed each night pleasantly exhausted and ready for renewal and a new day. Effort, but no strain. Just hunting and gathering and loving and giving and growing.

And I think that it starts by re-claiming your dreams. So ask yourself: What
would you aspire to if you KNEW you could not fail? Choose goals in all three major arenas. Begin to move toward them. Find role models in all three areas, and determine their belief systems, mental syntax, and use of physiology. As you run into barriers, mark them on your mental "map": you are exploring the intersection of internal and external reality. As you experience fear investigate it, and see where your emotions are knotted. And every day, celebrate the joy of sheer existence.

Let' s make 2008 a fabulous year for all of us. There's enough joy to go
around. Love, health, and success are not a zero-sum games.


The LIFEWRITING YEAR-LONG is the essence of everything I've learned in thirty
years of professional writing. Everything that has helped me earn a living, support my family, and find personal fulfillment without selling out my dreams. Quite simply, there is nothing like it, anywhere. Period. What are you waiting for? Friend, you're all you've got. Today, this day, is all there is. Get MOVING!

©2008 Steven Barnes

Disclosure: Her Tangh-i-ness bought and paid for her own copy of Lifewriting for Writers program. The Lifewrite newsletter she subscribes to is totally free.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Visual Media Review: Battle for Terra Blu-ray/DVD

'Lo Peoples,

Battle for Terra
Rated PG

After all her recent fuming, Her Tangh-i-ness is delighted to have something to crow about for a change. Between the second Transformers movie, District Nine, and the second season finale of True Blood, I felt that maybe other painful, racist tropes were due for a comeback at any time. I have seen proof positive that the kind of movies I want to see and support are actually being made. Buy or rent a copy of Battle for Terra. It's totally worth the good karma points. We need to demonstrate there's a market for these folks.

Battle for Terra has been directed and written by Aristomenis Tsirbas. Evan Spiliotopolous is the screenwriter. Gentlemen, Her Tangh-i-ness, and the Lemurian are supremely grateful for your decision to create and produce a story that falls outside the usual Hollywood toxic fare. Efcharisto! Well done. May the Blu-ray and DVD sales make up for what didn't happen in the box office.

In the making of segment, the Tsirbas explained that he intended for this to be an "invasion" movie. Humans are the invaders this time around. Spiliotopolous also points out that an animation like this is adult fare. Countries such as Japan and France can create animation for grownups, but in the US, audiences are still slow to catch on.

I'm saddened that when my brother, the Lemurian, and I actually went to see Battle for Terra in the theaters, it was consigned to locations that might as well been light years away. We didn't hear about it in time to catch it locally. Yet, the Lemurian decided, based on reviews from sources like IGN, the gamer site, that Battle for Terra would be an instant buy.

So this weekend, we settled in front of his Sony 1080 Full HD screen and slid the Blu-ray into the trusty Samsung. I know there have been rumblings about the quality of the animation, but to our mind, nothing detracted from the viewing experience. Simplicity can be quite complex as any South Park episode can demonstrate. Quality CGI does not result in minstrel-bots or freakin' Jar Jar Binks.

As a person of color, I usually identify with aliens in science fiction. I watch movies expecting the aliens to get the short end of the stick just like human, so-called "minority" groups.

I observed the pale-skinned, three-fingered, tadpole people glide through the first few minutes of the movie. I call them tadpole people because they had the same kind of vestigial tail without fins. They literally float-swam through their atmosphere which incidentally was poisonous to humans. The Terrans were cute in the sense that E.T. and the Muppets are cute which helps with viewer empathy.
Big eyes never fail. At first, the majority of the Terran population revered the invading humans as gods. Terran Elders seemed to have a different opinion of the happenings but they refused to share what they knew with their own people. The plot thickened.

Mala was the fiesty Terran heroine who rescued a human, Jim Stanton, in order to save her own captured father. By the time, we got this part, I'd been thinking this could be Pocahontas meets John Smith 2009 times worse. With his square chin and close-shaved head, Jim Stanton looked like a Space Marine posterboy with a designer eyebrow cut. (Stanton, incidentally, reminded Her Tangh-i-ness and the Lemurian of Richard Corben's Den. Visually. Not actually.) Jim Stanton's character arc required him to move from seeing the Terrans as potential hostiles to sacrificing his life for their welfare. Mala lost her own father but successfully defended her home planet from the crippled generation ship populated by desperate humans. It turned out the Terrans once had a warlike period but banished the evidence to the outer regions of the planet and certain underground facilities.

When I noticed the Black human President voiced by Danny Glover, I think I relaxed a tiny bit. (Yes. Her Tangh-i-ness is oversensitive! She is trying to undo years of exposure to racist propaganda.) The film's antagonist, a suitably hawkish General Hemmer leads a coup against the President in order to ensure survival of the human race. Hemmer intends to terraform the planet and write off the intelligent Terran population as collateral damage. Humans will once again have a home despite the lethal cost to another species. If Hemmer had said, "Stay the course," to Jim Stanton, we could have substituted Hemmer for any number of recent political figures.

I expected Jim Stanton and Mala to save the day, but I didn't expect the hero to die in order to make things right. This is where I really appreciated the risk taken by the director and writers. Sacrifice usually falls in standard movie fare upon some hapless sidekick (often a person of color) whose death clears the path to resolution between the warring parties. The hero strides into the sunset with the heroine on his arm and credits roll.

But it didn't go down like that in Battle for Terra. Jim Stanton takes out Hemmer and everyone else aboard the terraformer in order to put a stop to the madness. Can we say deep? After his suicide run, the Terrans opt to share their world with humans who are confined to a dome where oxygen-producing foliage can allow them to peacefully co-exist. Mala and Stanton's younger brother share a feel-good moment.

Even as much as I'm down for Spock and Uhura, I cringed at the thought of an interspecies romance but Battle for Terra didn't go there either. Thank the Force. Jim Stanton got a statue dedicated to his memory. Mala glided into the sunset piloting her own ship accompanied by a love interest of her own kind. And the Black President survived.

I can totally understand why parents might be loathe to answer questions from their little ones after watching. Why there's that disturbing near-death scene of all those cute tadpole people. And who really wants to own up to the predatorial nature of the human species?

Thinking parents who want to raise the next generation of staunch Pro-Alienists like Her Tangh-i-ness and the Lemurian cogitate, then teleport, but don't walk to get a copy of Battle for Terra.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Visual Media Review: True Blood Season 2

'Lo Peoples,

I regret to inform you...I'm not part of the target demographic in this case, either. I want to watch shows and enjoy them, not break out the verbal equivalent of an edged weapon. Sh*t.

Monday, September 14th, 2009, I'd just finished watching episodes 7-12 of True Blood season 2 at the home of dear friends. Yup. I'm back on my soapbox again. I'd had moments, last season, where I found myself bristling while watching True Blood, but the good moments outweighed the bad, so I kept watching. Now I feel as if I've been visually and dramatically B*tch-slapped. Other than the incidents that I shall address in this post, I found the remainder of True Blood season 2 quite satisfying. I shall pick up my wounded pride and eventually follow a True Blood season three.

I grew up watching People of Color and LGBT characters evolve on network television from nonentities, token representatives, into caricatures and back into caricatures again. Sometime about the 1980's, I drew an invisible line in my mind. I decided to blanket-forgive a certain incidence of foolishness due to the fact that Political Correctness had not yet become a cultural standard. By the way, being PC does not even begin to address the egregiousness of certain repeated tropes on TV, Cable, and in Movies. Actors Mantan Mooreland and Butterfly McQueen took the work given to them. But those roles should have long disappeared by now. No entity or law exists to require PC compliance or to prevent Ethnic and LGBT character-assassinations.

Understand, I am a storyteller. I totally get that conflict keeps people watching. However, there is an issue in visual media of using stereotypical archetypes. This, in my book, falls into the racist and bigoted propaganda camp. The visual medium influences social behavior. I'm sorry...this is a known fact. Take some responsibility and correct the error. True Blood has all of season 3 to do this.

Obviously, if the majority of producers and writers of a show do not come from a particular ethnic or sexual background, they do not automatically have a reason to consider the impact certain characterizations or plot elements have. Yet, I and others, would feel remiss in not speaking out on these points.

Let me begin with the positive.

I accept that the True Blood series centers about whatever Sookie Stackhouse is doing. The Blonde Barbie = Good Girl trope has been with movies since before Sookie. But Alan Ball expanded Lafayette in such a way that I prayed I would see something that had been missing from Queer As Folk, for example. Believe me, I know that the wonderful All-People Of Color headlining show, Noah's Arc, exists, but here is a strong Black Gay male character who has the potential to hold his own amongst an inclusive cast. I am likewise thrilled to have Tara, a beautiful, Black woman, draw an appreciative audience just as Nichelle Nichols playing Uhura once did. I appreciate how much Sookie and Tara feel they are "family."

And I love me some Lafayette. The last time, I was so fascinated with a dark-skinned Black male character was Simon Adebisi from Oz. I have heard some rumblings about Lafayette's being a drug dealer and a prostitute along with his gender-bending sexuality should be a problem. Given that I've been around some of my more outlandish bretheren and sistren, I find Lafayette's portrayal as being refreshingly dignified, despite these two other unsavory aspects of his life. I am relieved that Lafayette was not simply disposed of as in the actual books.

I am concerned, however, that his PTSD storyline will continue to emasculate him. With an ensemble cast, it is incredibly important to maintain the strong elements. Lafayette has amply repaid his 1st season sins—bring my girlfriend back even fiercer than ever! This will go far in being a positive depiction of a LGBT person. Deep down, Lafayette is a survivor. Represent!

It really hurt to watch Lafayette crumble under Maryann's influence. Mind you, Maryann already warped Tara and Eggs. Now we get to Lafayette and he can't hold the line either. I wanted one other holdout of color other than Sookie, Sam, and the vamps. All those characters share a common ethnicity. Naturally, Her Tangh-i-ness notes, their POC castmembers are the weaker ones. Yes, I know that the majority of white townspeople were influenced by the Maenad too, but see my prior argument.

When Lafayette has his outburst in Merlotte's after confronting Eggs about hitting Tara, I immediately thought of the Jerry Springer show. You could always tune in there and count on some dark-skinned Black people to act out in public. It's what kept viewers watching after week after week. The image of the predominately white bar patrons in the background also perpetuates a subtle message: Black family dynamics are traditionally dysfunctional, but hey, at least we're not those people. This is a core belief that runs deep in the South. It is this hinted division that helped to keep poor whites and poor Blacks at each other's throats or at a vocal distance.

Lettie Mae's moment of weakness smacked of plot convenience. If this is a woman who could refuse to bail her daughter out of jail, it totally threw me out of the story that she would pull a gun on her own nephew and allow Tara to escape. Lettie Mae seeking her child's love is not impossible for me to believe, but it's not in the context of the scene. It doesn't add up. Unspoken verdict: Dysfunctional Black mother effs up yet again. Some Colored peoples just got it like that on TV.

Tara, Eggs, and the Hunter's Soufflé scene smacks of the cannibal Nigerians from District Nine. If there's any outright cannibalism to be shown onscreen, of course, show the dark-skinned Black people engaging in it. One can take the ooga-booga out of the jungle but sooner or later it's going to come back up in these here civilized parts. Notice, Maryann does not partake in the soufflé. She merely incites. She licks blood. Big deal. She didn't chew and swallow onscreen. Yes, Maryann's served questionable fare to white people earlier, but those scenes did not get the screentime this did. This time, the audience knows whose heart it was that Tara and Eggs are feeding on. They get to connect to the primal horror of bestial Black people. The scene has shock value. It's something worthy of the infamous Turner Diaries.

Oh, and lest we forget, whenever there is a possessed evil being their eyes turn Black and the evil itself is represented by a swirling Blackness. Then Maryann herself, like the vampire Lorena, is dark-haired and evil. Didn't the dictionary analysis scene in the movie Malcolm X already point out the power of negative associations with Black and Darkness? We're talking visuals here—the most potent delivery system for the propaganda du jour. Juicy archetypical stuff guaranteed to be sopped up by an unwary mainstream audience.

I'm having an internal struggle over whether Tara being the reason for Maryann's presence in Bon Temps is the lowest True Blood season 2 moment or if it is the death of Eggs. But, I'll start with Tara. Now I have it under advisement that the Maenad's role in the books is quite different from the HBO series. Yet, if Tara didn't get into trouble with Maryann, Sookie wouldn't have to become involved either. So when one wants to get to the root of a problem with a demonic force—always choose the Black woman to be the cause. Nobody but those PC naysayers will ever question it.

Maryann's involvement couldn't possibly result from Sookie's own doing. She's an innocent party. What terrible luck Sookie has in choosing such dysfunctional friends like Tara. Well-meaning Sookie told Eggs the truth of what he did and Eggs just cracked. Look at that, Tara's love interest, another Black person, has just been shot in the head by her white, ex-crush Jason. And Jason's cop buddy is going to cover up the murder. Viewers like Jason and he's an important part of the series so it must be okay to do something like that.

Hmmmn. Maybe this also means Tara will have to go crawling back to Sam or Jason for comfort. I could deal with Sam, but dread the idea of Tara taking up with her lover's killer. No more freaking Monster's Ball PLEASE. It's as if the only lasting love Tara will ever receive is from white people. Nope. Besides, Tara can't possibly have a functional relationship on par with Sookie's tryst with Bill. Sookie and her family have been saving Tara from her circumstances since...well...since that particular storyline started.

Sorry. I jerked at the same moment Eggs' brain matter started flying across the screen. Eggs. The name is also a synonym for balls. I know it's supposed to be a joke since his name is Benedict. I am supposed to chuckle because a Black man has been named after a body part. Let me stop. So the tragedy of Egg's death is now compounded by the fact that a major series character has perpetrated the crime. Jason has too high a following for me to feel certain that Eggs will get any justice. Yeah, it was all a terrible accident because Eggs looked so menacing. This is called dramatic irony or visual proof that this is what STILL happens to men who look like Eggs. Shoot first; ask questions later. I wonder how many copycats will be tempted to emulate what they see on TV. It happened with that reality TV series, Jackass, you know.

Lastly, I would like to include a link to some handy-dandy tropes I did not address when composing this piece. I restrained myself.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Saturday, August 29, 2009

District Nine Review: I'm Outside the Target Demographic

'Lo Peoples,


First off, thanks so much to Jack Womack and Tobias Buckell for their kind permission to include their District Nine observations in this entry for a balanced perspective. See their links and commentary below.

So now I shall launch into my rant. Buckell and Womack are far more generous with their praise than I can be. A quote from the Lemurian sums up my overall movie grade: "20% great ideas 80% upsetting."

Images hurt. Maybe there aren't any cries of pain from viewers, at first. Some viewers don't even realize when they've been sliced. The wounds catch up with them later in the recesses of their subconscious when the infection sets in and goes to rot. It's not good.

So I present to you my beef against D9, or District Nine.

Propaganda is a powerful medium. Combined with the movie industry, it is a near-innocuous delivery system. It is often used in service of racist, homophobic, and bigoted agendas. 300. Enough said. Or maybe not enough said, because year after year I see the same tired tropes being dusted off by nonBlack directors and film creatives and being foisted upon an unsuspecting public in the name of Entertainment. May I ask to whom is Blackface funny? Not me.

Earlier this summer, my brother, the Lemurian, and I saw the preview for District Nine. We saw the aliens. Cool. The image of a big ship floating over a city. It suggested that we might see an intelligent response to Spielberg's Close Encounters. We were hooked. Opening weekend we transported ourselves to a Regal Cinema and an evening show. Unlike Harry Potter which we had also just seen, District Nine, didn't seem to merit a larger screen in the theatre's eyes. The Lemurian and I have a habit of preferring dark horse movies so that didn't daunt us. Perhaps it should have been a warning.

D9. D9. D9.

We'd seen images from the preview of dark-skinned peoples complaining about the aliens. Just a few second sound bytes to set the mood. We knew Blomkamp would go to some touchy spaces, but we gave the movie the benefit of the doubt, and continued to watch. Segregated aliens being equated with the historically Black Africans who suffered and endured Apartheid made for a metaphor that the Lemurian and I could identify with. "Prawn" doesn't have the quite the same sting as the "N-word" "Kaffir" but, hey, we were still on the same bus with Blomkamp at that point. The Nigerians traded cat food for alien weapons. We merely raised an eyebrow. Quirky. But still within the realm of possibility.

Then, we got knocked off the bus.

D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9.

The Nigerians also prostituted their scantily clad women to the aliens. Interspecies sex does not offend me, but I won't speak for the Lemurian. Exploitation of women does outrage us and in, particular, the exploitation of Black women. The Khoi woman, Sara Baartman's remains had only been returned to her homeland since 2002. I am referring to the Hottentot Venus. She was used as a prostitute and displayed as a sexual oddity. Now seven years later, a scifi movie implies that Nigerian women bonk aliens, because naturally, no nonBlack woman would. Nor did I see any nonBlack women in the movie except in respectable, mostly clothed appearances.

Upon viewing the Nigerian prostitutes and smugglers in D9, I cringed in my seat while the Lemurian went into his "I'm-gonna-have-to-disembowel -somebody" mode.

Next, the Nigerian priestess incites the crippled leader of the Nigerians to feast upon "Prawn" parts to increase his strength. As someone who practices a traditional African religion, I am fuming. Here we go again with the "Hoodoo-Voodoo" stereotype. I realize that "Muti" maimings and killings exist, but in this context, the image is reprehensible. It results in the idea that a Nigerian, read Black man or Black woman, equals a prostituting, weapons trafficking, witch doctor, evil cannibal. Most viewers would not even question Blomkamp. Doesn't everybody know this is just how those Nigerians are? Yeah right.

I could barely contain myself when the audience cheered upon the group of Nigerians' deaths. The majority of the audience is not African descended. To them, these images are just colorful accents to a powerful story. I and the Lemurian are off the bus and are left completely aware we are solidly outside the target demographic. Upon genetic testing, I'll bet you my ancestry is probably Nigerian.
Try substituting another ethnicity in place of the Nigerians and the impact is still troubling. Movies slip past most people's internal censors and go straight to the subconscious. This is defamation of an an entire ethnic group.

D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9. D9.

Now lest a reader think I am merely whining, I have included feedback from two other science fiction writers who also saw the movie.

First we shall hear from veteran author and publicist Jack Womack:

"Tangh-i, 'OK, saw it yesterday with Carrie, old pal/former girlfriend/current 'Aunt' in our Her initial reaction: 'That was the weirdest damn version of ET I've ever seen.'

"Clearly (on a serious note, now) some *considerable* racial weirdness underlying (and overlying) this film, some of which is clearly just plain black/white, some of which I suspect may be particularly black/SouthAfrican white -- some of which is obviously conscious, and some of which I suspect is unconscious (or, more accurately, subconscious.) I'm going to be all over the place here, but let me write down things as they come to mind.

"So first let us consider, were this an actual situation, what would be the likelihood that Nigerians (or any other group) would be allowed to set up camp, live, etc., within a clearly demarcated township/concentration camp zone? Not so much, I don't believe; as I recall the townships (which Dist 9 is clearly patterned on) were secured under apartheid though I honestly don't know to what degree. But in Dist 9, it would appear to me that by the start the area is pretty much supposed to be off-limits to people, and policed from without accordingly.

"Therefore what would and should naturally develop, if the aliens are so close to humans in behavioral patterns as they would appear to be within the context of the script, would be over the course of twenty years, especially in such clearly intolerable circumstances, the development of criminal groups *within the ranks of the aliens themselves* a la the way sonderkommandos were selected within the German camps, the way the criminal elements ruled the political prisoners in the gulags etc. etc. etc. I could in that case see outside elements (conceivably Nigerian, but most likely South African locals, whether black, People of Color, or white/Afrikaaner) serving as the conduits through which an under-the-table market for cat food, cow's heads, etc. are thereby provided, through the fences etc., to the aliens in exchange for......what?

"Well, some sort of McGuffin -- within the film you wouldn't need to have anything but the sketchiest idea. Unless the government/MultiNational United itself has deliberately chosen this route i.e. to provide the bad element to be on hand that keeps the rest in control – but it seems to me the MNU is perfectly capable of keeping everybody miserable, when it wants.

"And this calls to mind another fine question: clearly, the aliens are able to reproduce -- the little guy (who was my favorite character, actually, and the smartest....) being clear evidence of that -- if a hooker market developed, why would it not develop among the aliens themselves??? Leaving aside the entire typical question of interspecies intercourse, which this would clearly be in this case and pace Kirk/Spock slash, we know would be not that popular. So why would A) we first hear about Nigerian hookers? (Heavens, Those People will screw anything....) For that matter, where the hell were the female aliens?

"Now, another point. Considering that that the SA government may or may not be black-majority or Afrikaaner-majority ( that's never really made clear, is it? If the latter, then we could be dealing with an alternative history, but that's left hanging, for better or worse.)
"Now, the more I’m thinking about it, the more I *suspect* that the dramatic parallel was intended to be that the (white) MNU was just as brutal and relentless and bloody when it came to dismantling the hero for his parts, to gain power, as the (black) Nigerian gangsters. But it’s taken me considerable dwelling on the movie for this to become clearer to me.

"Now the eternal question raised by the Critics: can't you have seriously f*kd up evil black characters in a movie? Of course you can. (Forest Whitaker as Amin; and in Devil Wears A Blue Dress, it's really hard to beat Don Cheadle as Mouse, just to think of a couple off the top of my head; those are also fairly complicated characters, as well.) The central character, here, could have been made a government rep, as opposed to an MNU rep (or is he a government rep? I'm not clear) in which case he could have been black and his nefarious father-in-law could have been black etc. -- it's not as if the contemporary SA government hasn't done some f*d up things and their AIDS policies are beyond horrible.

[A Tangh-i Note: Blackwater and Xe refers to a known private security contractor.]

"Here’s something I was unclear on: the MNU, like Blackwater/Xe/You name it clearly has Caucasoids in charge, though blacks are working as same. And, the MNU is clearly not the government, but operates with full government backing. What is the makeup of the government? Is it ever made clear if it is as today (i.e. African-led) or as an alternative world slightly adjusted Afrikaaner-with Africans working not in the top positions?
"Leaving aside any present-day cultural actualities in Africa, whether SA or Nigeria (Muti, etc.) the basic takeaway for the viewer, as it plays, seems to me:

"1) Aliens: good, but troubled, and bad only in response to their treatment
2) Whites: some good, some bad, some very bad 3) Blacks: mostly bad (hookers, black marketers, weapons dealers, gangsters, cannibals), one noncommittal (the press secretary), one mercenary doing his job but not in charge, one good guy seen very briefly as the one who has found out the hero was in the right, has exposed the genetics program of MNU, and is under arrest/awaiting trial for having done so. "The sheer spectacle of the film, the pacing, the fine performance of the lead are all superb -- but there was considerable room for improvement. Considerable."

Thank you, Mr. Womack. And now we shall hear from the Nebula award nominee, Mr. Buckell. By the way, Mr. Buckell does have an excellent review of D9 that he composed after we had this email conversation. Go to

Tobias Buckell:

"Hey Jarla, I don't have a review yet. I'm of two minds about the movie. 1) I'm happy to see SF at least *trying* something in this direction, and for 30 million, which could mean more movies get made 2) Major stumble on the Nigerians. I think the director was trying to show an apartheid world, but kept forgetting to focus on white/black human interactions because he was hammering the alien/human interaction as being the stand in metaphor. As a result, he made some big mistakes. And I wonder what prompted the Nigerians characterization.

"As a result, many white people are going to praise the movie as being an amazing look at race relations, as they're only focusing on the standing metaphor, others who are more inclued will ask 'what about the actual black people in the movie?'

"(Of course, as an SF writer I think the aliens=black people metaphor is a troubling one b/c it contributes to total othering, and due to more bad characterization, other than the nice alien and kid, the other aliens don't really make any sense or have their culture explained, so if you take the metaphor at face value, it actually crumbles the movie).

"Part of the director's mistake was his desire to portray humans with a total misanthropic brush, not a single human in the pic is a nice person, but I think as part of his simplistic characterization he did wrong.

"So I view it as an action-filled half step forward/half step back, ultimately going nowhere, but that might prompt some people to do better, and maybe we'll get more of a focus on the idea that 20 mil SF movies can be made instead of 100-200 mil."

Thank you again, Mr. Buckell.

I have also heard reportings from other movie goers that the demonization of the Nigerians springs from actual socio-ethnic conflicts in South Africa. These D9 aliens may be actually modelled upon refugees from neighboring Zimbabwe. It may be indeed actuality, but it is difficult not to suspect another agenda, because the Nigerians spend more onscreen time than any other Black ethnic group. The Nigerians are also specifically named. There is no "friendly" Nigerian in the cast to soften the perception. Nor is the Zimbabwean = alien connection made explicit.

I've also heard praises of the white protagonist's antiheroic characterization as a darkly humorous truth. I have no beef with the person of Wikus van de Merwe.

I'm also more sympathetic to the inclusion of a "magical alien" in the being of the "Prawn" Christopher Johnson. Imagine if Christopher weren't so forgiving? Enough to keep one awake at night.

In closing, the segregated and exploited alien trope in D9 was its highlight. That's why the issues I brought up hurt so much. There is a Black character who tells the truth about the MNU's treatment of the aliens who ends up jailed which might have been added to provide balance, but I'm sorry, the evil Nigerian trope overpowered any other contrast. It hits viewers on the primal level whereas the MNU's crimes seem reasonable. It might as well say: This is what arises from military-industrial complexes. Doesn't everyone know that? But hey, Blacks eating body parts is even worse.

The reason I take umbrage about the Nigerians' depiction in D9 is because a group is clearly being targeted, not an individual character as in the Whittaker and Cheadle performances. This is where the film veers into Racism and Bigotry. I'm not insisting that Blacks can't be villains. It is the context in which the villain operates. Idi Amin is a known historical figure. Making a movie about Amin is not presenting a "slant" that will result in all Ugandans being judged accordingly. Evil Nigerians in Fiction are problematic because after the fantastic elements are removed what's left is pure prejudice.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Disclosure: We actually paid money to go see this movie. GRRRRRRR.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Review: Magazine Beach

August 21, 2009
Magazine Beach by Lewis Gannett
Harper Prism

Some books encourage the growth of new neurons. You need them to hold together the plot and compute its theme inside your head. In Magazine Beach, Ian Fleming's suspenseful hi-jinks meet Nevil Shute's technologically-produced disaster and proceed to get busy. It is unfortunate that in 1996, the public imagination had been siezed by various medical and legal thrillers, failing planes, and a former Vice-President's executive orders, that an unlikely eco-terrorist group's impact upon Antartica's ice shelf had not registered. Pity.

My father taught me to appreciate antagonists. Without them, nothing plot-worthy happens. Slotsky with his relentless pursuit of intel, noseless face, 'dorph addiction, and foot fetish more than fits the bill. The man proved as hard to pin down as a subatomic particle. First he was there, then he wasn't. Slotsky had the final laugh in the end.

I also enjoyed the infamous ménage à trois of Antarctic expert Earnest Trefethen, his chemically persuasive wife, Helen Scarf, and billionairess Martha Cliffcloud.

Here are some highlights from the darkly comic narrative:

• A crash course in ice-shelf geomorphology.
• The wonder drug Amphendorph.
• An ambulance tank.
• A home laser defense-system being used as a glorified insect zapper.
• A sexually-frustrated male twin impersonates his own sister and later gives in to his attraction to the man he assumes to be his rival for her affections.
• A plucky old lady by the name of Arugula dies in her sleep after sharing in the adventure of her life.
• The supercool combo of a gay "it" boy, his hetero galpal, and her thigh-high boots earn a cult following.
• Former upstanding members of the "establishment" revert to their radical bent.
• In a cosmic irony, the hero, a self-confessed catastrophist, finds that his photo triggers the final set of nuclear-explosions the survivors intended to prevent. At least, with the exception of Arugula, the rest of the hip, young cast got laid before the end.
• The Earth is the only character left

Some of my favorite quotes:

"I'm a kind of a fraud. Taking credit for geophysical cycles that predate human history by millions of years."
"Who'd believe a bunny sets off doomsday?"
"Nightmare, Toby thought. He realized he was shirtless. Then he realized he wasn't wearing any underwear."
"The Boston Sunday Globe: Nukes in Antartica seek "Beast" "Two Faces": Overpopulation, High Technology? Cambridge Dinner party provides clues."


Her Tangh-i-ness

Disclosure: She received a free review copy direct from the author. It's autographed so she is keeping it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

August 17, 2009
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
By N. K. Jemisin
©2010, Orbit Hachette Book Group

First off, once the Nahadoth Nightlord T-shirt and action figure line becomes available—I must be notified immediately! Can we say sizzling, long-haired, uber-Badboy? Shall we say this is the same kind of insane attraction that an legendary, fanged Transylvanian possesses? Yum.

Don't ask how I have come into possession of The Ten Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin. Suffice it to say, I won't betray my fellow pro-Enefadeh. The Itempan Arameri have their scriveners recording every word I say. I'll keep typing as fast as I can.

Yeine Darr Arameri, the protagonist, comes across as a solid everywoman despite her fantastical surroundings. The novel remains in her point of view. Her trouble is most of the novel's cast seeks her death for one reason or another. Yeine balances being a reader surrogate during charged exchanges with the afore-mentioned Nahadoth, being the kind of heroine who transforms from awkward barbarian to a force for justice in a vicious, amoral world, and being comfortably herself.

I fell in love with the book almost from the moment I saw the author photo on the back. People of color have an ancient tradition of fabulous story-telling. I, for one, demand more volumes to choose from and The Ten Thousand Kingdoms has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. The brooding cover art also promised a delicious, female-centered darkness. 398 pages later, I wasn't disappointed. Cross-pollination between genres is welcome. Romance readers and fans of Shonen-Ai may also find this book to their liking. I appreciated so much the inclusion of alternative sexualities. Think on this, an incestuous triangle between two gods and their deceased sister-goddess lies at the heart of the conflict. This is the kind of book that derives its intense eroticism, not from gratuituous prose, but from the understated image of its aftermath: a broken bed. Read into that whatever you will.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Steven Barnes is my Sensei

August 15, 2009
Steven Barnes is my Sensei

This entry will launch my series on Writing Mentors. I will rant and rave about other stuff naturally, but this topic makes an excellent start.

First, let me define the word Sensei.

Keep in mind that I have never been on a mat, never taken a stance, never sparred with a bokken, never drawn a bow, nor have I trained in any dojo of any kind. I am far more likely to sit on my generous butt watching a martial art flick. Yet, the same discipline needed in martial art connects to writing. I equate Sensei with a high level of discipline. Her Tangh-i-ness will get there. Baby steps. Baby steps.

The Japanese word, Sensei, is commonly known to refer to a judo or karate teacher, it can also respectfully refer to a teacher or a mentor. It so happens that Steven Barnes actually practices several forms of martial art along with writing his screenplays, teleplays, short stories, and novels. He has New York Times Bestseller status and Hugo and Nebula awards to his street cred. So I'm sure ya'll understand why someone like him would find a place on my wall of honor.

I have displayed there a time-worn collage of writers both living and dead. Steven Barnes shares the same plane at the top as Samuel Delany and Mark Twain. Octavia Butler inhabits the center (for those who must know).

Mind you, Steven Barnes never directly answers to this title: Sensei. It's just something I chose to call him. I've a bad habit. If I like a person, they get a nickname. Which is how they're stuck being addressed when I talk to them. Steven Barnes didn't ask for this. It's all me. What can I say? Her Tangh-i-ness has issues. My father was not thrilled with my being an artist instead of following in his footsteps and applying myself to science. So I got into into my head that I needed a literary Father-Figure of some kind. I thought I'd pin that dubious distinction on Steven Barnes. He, wisely, avoids that responsibility.

I'd started emailing Steven Barnes when I had to make a tough decision. In 2001, Octavia Butler was at Clarion West. That year, Sensei would teach at Clarion East. I was rabid about the Aubry Knight books. So I hoped when I was in the Seattle area I could actually meet their author. Didn't happen. I went off to Clarion West and studied with Ms. Butler. Steven Barnes wowed Clarion East. That could have been the end of the story.

But, I emailed Sensei, post-Clarion, whenever I read a book of his that really sent me into orbit or to ask his blessing for an idea from his books that I wanted to explore in my own writing. Steven Barnes always graciously responded. I'm not gonna to tell you what he said either. Nyah.

In 2003, I was accepted into the Mojo Conjure Stories anthology. Steven Barnes' name appeared in the same volume. I emailed again. We had a nice chat. In 2006, Octavia Butler passed and I signed up for Steven Barnes' Lifewrite newsletter. Every few days, I'd get free teachings straight from Sensei without having to fly to the West Coast. Sweeeeet.

2008, I eventually invested in the Lifewriting for Writers program. I absorbed it for a whole year before taking him up on his offer of a short story or outline analysis. In May 2009, I spoke with Steven Barnes on the phone for the first time in nine years of emails. I felt like I'd won the the literary lottery. I was talking to my hero!

I adore Steven Barnes unconditionally. He did, however, say I could share with ya'll some of his words of wisdom. I am presently searching through my collection to see what gem from Sensei that I will pull out to feature here. In the meantime, you could always go straight for the source. Type with me,

The best teachers know the student really doesn't need them. It's all about the hand, the arrow, the bokken, the shinai and the target. Her Tangh-i-ness will get over herself.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jarla Tangh is in the House!

Her Tangh-i-ness is here on Blogger to show love for those who think outside the box, y'all.

This means she's here to make friends and build up her fanbase only.

She read constantly as a youngster and was misunderstood because she spoke the King's English near always and used SAT words in normal conversation. For your information, her verbal was 780, but alas, her Math sucked the big one at 540. Poor little dread-locked girl.

Her Tangh-i-ness is a Clarion West 2001 Graduate. She owes her pseudonym to a vocalist friend who gave her the first name, a faery godmother of an editor, who told her using just one name is pretentious, and the surname from the Turkey City Lexicon. She considers herself African Descended rather than African American, but will still answer to Black and Colored. She is one of those people who thinks Disney should release Song of the South. Forget that damn The Princess and the Frog! Likewise, Huckleberry Finn needs to stay on bookshelves, so kids can remember what life used to be like. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, performed a service to humanity given the prevailing anti-Negro sentiment in his day.

Her Tangh-i-ness is a writer of homoerotic male-male romance, science fiction, fantasy, and horror featuring people of color as the protagonists.


Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest New-Wave Trajectory, 2008

Essay "A Close Encounter with my Pseudonym" Publisher Ohio State University Press

Editor Marleen S. Barr

Mojo Conjure Stories, 2003

Short Story "The Skinned" Publisher Warner Aspect

Editor Nalo Hopkinson

Current Projects:

The Nether Concern- a dark urban fantasy series set in 1915 Boston with a gay Black hero

World Jumping- a multi-world urban fantasy series set in Boston with a straight Black heroine

The Society for the Protection of Engineered Creatures- an alternate-world sci-fi series with an African descended, intersexed, albino hero.

The Caldlond Demon series- a multi-generational fantasy set in an alternate Ancient Britain.

Thank you all for reading, buying, and recommending the above-mentioned. Now for some thanks in Yoruba.

Modupe Pupa Pupa.