Jacaranda

Taproots: Trot Past Tropes – Najiyah Maxfield

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about tropes. If you read enough or watch enough films, you will begin to feel allergic to them. There’s the “Rebellious Teenager” trope. The “Nerdy Misfit” trope. The “Feminist Learns to be Soft” trope, the “Non-Feminist Grows a Spine” trope, and the “Man Learns that Women are a Thing” trope. Shallowness as far as the eye can see. How do we wrap our characters in so much meaningful writing that their situations don’t come across as tropes? First of all, we can be aware of the clichés and actively avoid them. I’m particularly

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Taproots: by Resident Writer Khadijah Abdul-Haqq

It’s the first day of my low res MFA program and this year, thanks to Covid, we are virtual. I click on the join link with all trepidation of a five year old on her first day of kindergarten. In a room of 80 participants, a handful of black, brown, and yellow people stick out. They are what I soon come to know as the school’s BIPOC group. One by one they hit my chat: “Hey! Yolanda. How are you?” “What’s up, Yolanda!” “Yolanda, nice seeing you.” I feel welcomed but on edge. Who are these people? And what do

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Branching Out

This week we heard about a novelist who has hired a friend to do her social media posts, and a creative nonfiction writer who has hired her niece to transcribe her interviews. Remember, as a writer you don’t have to invent the wheel, create the wheel, paint the wheel, roll the wheel, and repair the wheel all on your own. Use your networks to find people who need work and might be willing to give you a good deal on their services. Our circles are full of them. And don’t forget, your number one writing opportunity is right here at

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Taproots: Meet Michelle!

Meet Michelle!  Michelle Sekusky is an Ohio native who came to Islam almost 10 years ago when a World Religions class led her to seek deeper knowledge. Facing some difficult life trials, she found peace in Islam and eventually embraced the faith. Michelle has been a student of Islamic knowledge under the tutelage of Anse Tamara Gray since 2013 with the Ribaat Academic Institute.  Michelle is also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist. Growing up in Akron, OH, she attended performing arts middle and high schools. From there she continued her studies in Virginia, where she toured the East Coast performing

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Branching Out

How did you get bitten by the writing bug? When did you first feel that thrill of creativity that wanted to burst our of you onto the page? What writer inspired you? Was it a goal of yours, or did it sort of land in your lap and you ran with it? So many writers, so many stories! Hit us up in the comments! Writing Ops: Since we are all about making a living writing around here, a great place to submit writings is Make a Living Writing. Help your fellow writers grow into professionals! On the complete other end of

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