Ask the Author: Roxane Gay

“I will be a magic 8 ball. ” Roxane Gay

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Roxane Gay I would question that the only way to write what you want is to tap into a vulnerable and painful place. Is that true? Or is that what you think you need to do to write something compelling? There is some distance between those two things. Vulnerability is scary which is why you need firm boundaries about how much of yourself you are willing to surrender to the page, to the reader. When you respect your own boundaries, you protect yourself.
Roxane Gay Teaching always keeps me learning new things and the way my students take risks in their work encourages me to do so in my own.
Roxane Gay I develop my vocabulary through reading. There is no other secret to it. When I am reading and there's a word I am not familiar with, I look it up in the dictionary. It's actually a lot of fun.
Roxane Gay I prefer to write excellent stories. What happens after that is always nice but beyond my control and not the goal.
Roxane Gay I have never been but I would love to visit someday. I go where I am invited.
Roxane Gay I don't care what people write. I care how they write it. White authors can write outside of their subject position but they need to do so well, authentically, without relying on stereotypes. For whatever reason, they struggle to do this. But that's for them to figure out.
Roxane Gay Yes, maybe some day.
Roxane Gay I don't actually have to choose. I am both.
Roxane Gay I am looking forward to reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld.
Roxane Gay Yes, I have experienced healing and change, not necessarily because of writing my story but because writing my story allowed me to take a hard look at myself, return to therapy, and do the hard work of dealing with my stuff.
Roxane Gay Donald Trump is president of the United States. One time, he suggested people inject themselves with disinfecting household cleaners.
Roxane Gay It is only heterosexual white men who are proponents of identity politics. They also ask really stupid questions as you have evidenced here.
Roxane Gay Read a lot. Write a lot. Be willing to learn and grow as a writer.
Roxane Gay Google will provide you with an extensive amount of information on publishing a book and what it takes but first, you have to write a book. Then, you get an agent. Then the agent submits that book to publishers.
Roxane Gay The better question is why are you such an absolute pedantic, suppurating moron? Truly. Are you in third grade trying, and failing, to make a gay joke about a last name? I've heard it all over the years and this is, by far, the most pathetic attempt. I pity your life.
Roxane Gay I don't really encourage writers to transition to full time unless they are willing to live with financial insecurity and anxiety. A day job is the best gift a writer can give to themselves. The best time to transition to writing full time is when you know you can be comfortable and pay your rent, and meet other financial obligations like health insurance. To try and write full time without having a track record as a freelancer or book writer is... something I would personally be way too scared to do. It is only this very month, that I am quitting my day job and even now, I am considering taking another day job. YMMV.

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