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alternate names for black boys
by Danez Smith

1. smoke above the burning bush
2. archnemesis of summer night
3. first son of soil
4. coal awaiting spark & wind
5. guilty until proven dead
6. oil heavy starlight
7. monster until proven ghost
8. gone
9. phoenix who forgets to un-ash
10. going, going, gone
11. gods of shovels & black veils
12. what once passed for kindling
13. fireworks at dawn
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
15. (I thought to leave this blank
but who am I to name us nothing?)
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath

As the world watched the tumultuous events in Ferguson, Mo., over the last week, a new hashtag was born: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. The meme was photographic: what images would the media use if I died? But the question, at its heart, was one of naming.

Kid or criminal? Victim or threat? Brother, son, friend — or thug? One of us, or other?

Danez Smith grapples with the power of naming, and the powerlessness of being named, in this poem. Poetry Magazine tweeted it out earlier today, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

— Camila

(via nprbooks)

(via nprbooks)

Welcome Home (at Mars Cheese Castle)

Welcome Home (at Mars Cheese Castle)

1. Take a quarterly vacation
2. Hold a “retrospective” after projects
3. Write every day
4. Create an “interesting people fund”
5. Keep “tear sheets” to get inspired
6. Nap every day
7. Envision what you will be remembered for
8. Brainstorm at the bar
9. Get out of the building
10. Engage in “morphological synthesis”

99U culls 10 creative habits you should steal from worthy models like Cheryl Strayed, James Victore, and Ze Frank – details on each at the link.

Pair with the daily routines of famous writers and 99U's field guide to honing your creative routine, then revisit William James on the importance of habit.

(via explore-blog)

Find the shows and/or reporters whose work you love and listen closely. Become familiar with what we do and think deeply about ways to make it even better! And consider volunteering and/or freelancing for your local public radio station first. Build your contacts there and soon enough, you will be able to make contacts at NPR.

—Guy Raz - Host, TED Radio Hour (via nprlife)

All the old birds are out for the Paul McCartney concert  (at Nationals Park)

All the old birds are out for the Paul McCartney concert (at Nationals Park)

Lol outside #Pho14 in Columbia Heights (at Pho 14)

Lol outside #Pho14 in Columbia Heights (at Pho 14)

Go and tell me the stories behind everything that happened in the world today. Explain why it happened, and how it affects our lives. Do it every day. Tell me what’s important, and don’t waste my time with stupid stuff.

- Neal Conan, signing off on NPR’s Talk of the Nation after more than 11 years at the helm of the program and after more than 35 years with NPR News.