Monday, June 15, 2009

Susan Says

Okay, so last week, Camile shows up. I shared with you that we met on a diversity forum. I wrote that she’ll be writing on politics, pop culture and world affairs. Well, she hasn’t even warmed her virtual behind in a seat here and she’s telling me there’s not enough of me, my personality at Color Online. Mind you, I’m the one known to be the bull in the china store and she’s telling me readers need to know more about me?

Well, okay, welcome to Susan Says, my attempt to let you know more about me. If you want to know more about me let’s start with why Color Online exists because frankly everything I do here is a microcosm of my politics and beliefs.

I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change.
~Shirley Chisholm

Color Online exists so we can engage and inform one another. A friend of mine, Claudia said once that what we really crave is connection. I formed Color Online the real life group to show young women there is a connection between them and the world, that their lives matter and that their stories need to be told. Every opportunity I have, I try to illustrate how books and reading can transform their lives. My guy says I’m consumed with books. I am. I read and I act. If you’re wondering why Color Online aligns our primary focus of books with art and activism it is because for me, reading is political and art inspires. I act on what I believe.

Have you heard the adage, “The personal is political”? I’m about action, about connection. Damn what you’re sayin’, how you livin’? Books opened worlds to me. In them I heard my story and my voice and when heard my own voice, I found my power. Reading empowers us. Stay with me. There is a method to my madness. Not long ago, I responded to query asking readers what they read and why. Here’s my response:

I read mostly women’s literature, YA fiction (sub-genre realistic), multicultural literature and a fair amount of poetry. [At Color Online] our aim is to inform both members and visitors about writers they might not otherwise know. We hope our blog helps readers diversify their reading habits.

And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives.
~Audre Lorde

I love women's literature because I favor the feminine voice. The issues addressed in women's literature matter a great deal to me: equality, self-awareness, empowerment, beauty, love, social commentary, justice and family. I love YA literature because it empowers, informs, entertains and inspires our young people, and supporting our youth is part of my life work.

I love multicultural literature because I have an insatiable appetite to connect with people. I am curious and I want to learn about the world around me.
I promote and support women of color writers because it matters to me to celebrate writers who look like me, whose work mirrors my own aspirations, desires and experiences.

If you can empathize with what it means to be marginalized and invisible, then I think you can understand a desire to be heard. Literature has the power to make the universal, intimate and relevant- a connection between reader and writer. I want readers to better know who we are. I love and promote women of color writers because if I don't, who will?

If that's not personal enough for you, you'll have to come back each week for more. You'll have to engage me. I have no shortage of opinions and I'm pretty open. If you ask, I'll answer. Be careful what you ask though. I don't blow sunshine up folks' behind. I'm pretty candid. I say what I mean and I live what I believe.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.


mbpbooks said...

You are almost exactly how I pictured you! Thanks for sharing the photo.

Lisa said...

I am so happy to finally "see" you and what a beautiful smile! Talk about enigmas -- remember the first time we exchanged emails? I wasn't even sure what your actual name was. I love hearing more about you and the work you do and I'd love to hear about the young women you engage with too. Thanks for sharing!

Color Online said...

Hi, Mitali,
Thanks for coming by. I'm very uncomfortable w/pics. I've never been photogenic. What's different by the way? :-)

Color Online said...

Lisa, oh the name issue. That's next week's topic. I came online when everyone used pseudonyms. I never dropped that habit. I share my name but I don't normally write under it unless it is a professional piece. I have a few writing clips but I spend most of time promoting others and supporting my girls. :-)

Anonymous said...

Terrific post! Yay for Camile!!!!

Color Online said...


All she needs is someone to say she was spot on. She hounded me to write.

Martine said...

YES! I feel EXACTLY the same way about literature, my path towards activism and the personal being political through the socially engaged imagination that emerged through my reading life.

Advocating for youth and women's issues is my life passion as well. And Audre Lorde is my inspiration for living in truth.

Thank you for sharing your story and creating this community! I look forward to participating!

-Martine (@bubblevisions) ;)
P.S. I think the photo is lovely. Thanks for shining out to us today!

Zetta Elliott said...

Yes--let your light shine! Much as I might wish otherwise, people DO tend to connect with a face more than just a you and your mission seem that much more complete. And you're cute, girl--you better share that smile with the world (wide web)!

Thinking Aloud said...

Hello friend,it is great to meet you again. Your photo adds another depth to your writing, and your words have and will always be wildly honest, weighty in substance and wonderfully on time;I guess that is why we keep coming back!

And I think we were all due for a word from our sponsor.

Neesha Meminger said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for your honesty and your heart. It is truly lovely to meet kindred spirits online.

Will definitely visit often :).


Color Online said...

So are you suggesting I keep my photo in my profile? ((moaning))

Color Online said...

Zetta and T, we shall be having a private conversation. lol

Neesha, ah, I think you rock. I'm glad you've joined us. Welcome to the circle.

Doret said...

Well said.

Eva said...

Loved this post! :D I still think of you as Susan, though, lol...must work on that! :)

tanita✿davis said...

Hah! Don't you hate it when your friends are right? :D Happy delurking from your own site!!

Sherrie said...

Hi Susan,
I got a comment at Filling in the Gaps 100 Project about a review I had of "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret" by Judy Blume. You asked me where you could find my TSS post. I can't figure out what TSS is, could you let me know? I'm really curious about this. You can go to my book blog, Just Books and leave me a comment. That way it won't get lost somewhere else.
By the way, I love your photo. You have a beautiful face, you should show it off more! I will also be putting you in my blog list as I really like your place! And you have sooooo many interesting books here!!! Have a great day!


mbpbooks said...

You're younger than I thought you were (you sound so wise). Yes, yes, yes, I agree with everybody - put that photo up on FB and Twitter and here. It matters who is speaking.

Color Online said...


Yep. lol

Color Online said...


The picture is dated, 2000. Trust me, I'm old. Ask my children. They insist and I accept that 44 is old. :-)

eugene said...

"If you can empathize with what it means to be marginalized and invisible, then I think you can understand a desire to be heard."
not only empathize, but HAVE BEEN. by my family, my community, and in large part, by my gender. and i feel connection with anybody who also has been marginalized in any way. if you want to check out a book by an author you otherwise never would've heard of, which deals with precisely the issues of marginalization and the struggle for empowerment in a fictional context, see a title called Let Slip the Dogs of Love. check out the website: you won't be sorry. it's all one struggle so we all help one another if we do it together, don't we?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you'll be writing "Susan Says." I want to hear the voice you're claiming (more directly) as your own. I agree about the personal and the political and I love your vision. All of it. Thank you for sharing!! (BTW--44 is NOT old!!)

Karen said...

Cool site! These are exactly the kind of spots that need to be created. "Action and connection." A great blend!

And thanks for the link!

Color Online said...

Hi ws, ah, have kids and old takes on a whole other meaning. lol

Hi Karen, glad you like the space. How long since you were in Metro-Detroit? We have to act. Words greatest power is to inspire action.

Eddie G. Griffin said...

exquisitely done

Gavin said...

Susan - Thank you for sharing the story of Color Online. The site looks wonderful and photo is beautiful. It made me smile to see you smile!