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  • Writer's pictureAshley Christiano

3/15 Edition: 5 Things I Learned This Week

It's crazy how much life can change in just two weeks. From just going about your business, aware of a series of crises happening elsewhere in the world but still mostly unconcerned, to stockpiling food and supplies in case you get quarantined in your apartment for two weeks. From talking about coronavirus to living a coronavirus world.

Somehow, I still managed to make time to consume some less intense media and learn a few non-virus-related things along the way. Here's what came up this week:

  1. Unladylike: I learned a lot about slamdunks this week, my friends. And not just any slam dunks. But women's slamdunks. This episode of Unladylike was FANTASTIC and talked around multiple issues with women's basketball form the perspective of real women basketball players at various stages of their careers. One fun fact? Georgeann Wells made the first-ever dunk in women’s college ball in 1984, but the media didn’t capture any photo or video footage of it. So when word spread, most people didn’t believe it happened. Turns out that the rival coach hid the footage. It didn’t come to light until after he died!!

  2. Unladylike: Another dunk fact that actual basketball fans might know but that I was shocked by: the NCAA banned the dunk from 1967-76 in part because of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was just dunking and dominating the sport. And because the shorter white men who used to dominate basketball could no longer compete with the new generation of black men changing the sport. Sounds about right.

  3. DIY MFA Radio: This one is for all the writers who might be reading this (I hope). As you may know (I hope), there has been a big push in publishing - especially children's literature - for #ownvoices books, but also the call for greater representation in general. So how does a writer from a non-marginalized culture determine what perspectives he or she can write from while still creating a novel that reflects the world in which we live? That is a thorny question. And there's really no right answer. Writing isn’t meant to be safe, it isn't meant to limit you. But you do need to be respectful. And that’s where the tension comes from. It’s not the place of the non-marginalized person to write the marginalized story. But they can help champion those stories and participate in the conversation.

  4. DIY MFA Radio: Lastly, I heard a brief mention of a personality quiz that I immediately knew I needed to take: Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies Quiz. It basically helps you determine how you respond to expectations. Are you an upholder (you want to know what should be done), an obliger (you need accountability), a questioner (you want justifications), or a rebel (you want the freedom to do something your own way)? According to my quiz today, I'm a Questioner. But yesterday I was feeling more like an Obliger. But secretly I think I'm a lazy Rebel.

And to round it out to five things I learned, here is something I try and remind myself as I grapple with another round of revisions on my current manuscript. This little gem also came from the DIY MFA Radio podcast.

“You’re never really done as a writer. You just decide to stop.” - Virginia Loh-Hagan


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