Interviewed by Rachel Wild
Read Janine Blue’s fiction piece, “…for a Black girl”
Rachel: “…for a Black girl” is a brilliant piece of writing, original and very funny but sad too and exposing of the state of the US. What was the starting point for it?
Janine: The starting point for this piece was the formatting. I knew I wanted to write about Black Girlhood in America, but I wasn’t sure how it should look. I didn’t want a standard aesthetic of paragraphs and indention because nothing about being a Black girl in America is standard. It wasn’t until I was at a store looking furiously for “ethnic” haircare products that the idea of a shopping list format made sense for the work.
How do you go about writing hybrid pieces such as “…for a Black girl”?
For me, when it comes to a hybrid piece like “…for a Black girl,” it’s all about how the shell of the story relates to the words or what I’m feeling at the time as I’m writing. I might have the idea for the story and what I want to say, and once I have the aesthetic genre figured out, I begin writing the piece.
What advice would you give to someone starting out on the writing journey?
My advice for new writers would be not to give in to doubts about your work or if you’re good enough. Part of being a writer is uncertainty, and another part of being a writer is rejection. It’s a complicated, subjective game at times, and you have to be willing to play it and have the stamina to keep playing even when you’re knocked out. Additionally, as someone who writes hybrid, definitely don’t conform if people tell you your work is too out there or “will never make it” commercially. Forms don’t change until people start changing them.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a hybrid novel incorporating prose, poetry, and playstyle.