For the month of March, we here at Black Nerd Problems are spotlighting femmes and women of color creators for their outstanding contributions to the universe. I feel as though I should remain pensive about my access to so many wonderful writers, especially those who are unapologetic in speaking their mind about current issues they face; Issues that are reflective of how social constructs are currently being utilized to oppress or silence voices. I am grateful that so many artists refuse to stay complicit, and I am glad these individuals are willing to speak up about their process of production within this environment.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dianca London Potts, a writer who resides in Brooklyn. I was immediately captivated by their work, especially after reading their short story ‘She.’ I hope you enjoy their insight!
Black Nerd Problems: I want to get into how nerdy you are! If you could drink mimosas in a hot tub out in the Poconos with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Dianca London Potts: I would love to grab a couple rounds with Kendra Young from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s not a literary character, but I’ve always been in awe of her confidence and focus. Even though her time in Sunnydale was short, her impact was monumental. She was so aware of her origin, her calling, her destiny, and her strength. I’ve always been jealous of that. She also had killer style and made Buffy flinch, which is a pretty epic feat.
BNP: What are some of your all-time faves on your bookshelf? What are you currently reading?
Dianca: A few of my all time faves include: Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, Tar Baby by Toni Morrison, The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector, anything by Audre Lorde, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, and Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa
Books that I’m currently reading: Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins, Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker, What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons, and Sorry To Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell.*
BNP: What works of literature have challenged your perception and understanding of what storytelling is? Do you find yourself deviating from conventional methods when creating?
Dianca: If I had to narrow it down to just a few titles, I think that Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins, Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams, and Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso have challenged my concept of what narrative is (and can be) the most. Through language, tone, and the subversion of linearity, each of these writers have forced me to think differently about what a story can look like on the page. Their work has taught me how subverting literary conventions allows for the reader and the writer to grapple with and reveal deeper universal truths.
BNP: Do you find yourself inserting political and social commentary within your work? In today’s political climate, do you feel it’s necessary for more writers of color to speak out on specific issues?
Dianca: As a woman of color, I’ve never been able to divorce my politics from my work. Whether it’s fiction, an essay, or journalism, everything that I write comes from that perspective. For me, our current climate is just another reminder of how important it is for people like me to share their stories and be heard, really heard. It’s a reminder that even though we’ve come a long way, we as Americans have a lot of work to do and sharing stories and being in dialogue with each other is part of that work. So in short, yes, it is necessary for writers of color to speak out. That in itself is a radical and revolutionary act.
BNP: What are your plans/goals for the future?
Dianca: Right now I’m working on a book proposal that I should have finished months ago, but I keep worrying about whether or not my story is relevant, whether or not it will sell, and if it does sell if anyone will care enough to read it. So one of my short term goals is to conquer my fears and finish the proposal ASAP. I’m also working on a short story that I’m pretty excited about and hoping to dip back into a novel that I started writing during the latter half of my MFA program. When it comes to long term goals, I’d like to read more, write more, and be more intentional about building community with other writers of color. My ultimate goal is to just be as real as possible, to be better at loving myself, and be better at loving others. I want to thrive and be healthy and help others do the same.
BNP: Check out Dianca London on the internet!
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