As well as feature our future readers, we also wanted to check in with folks who have read for us over the last 5 years. Vonetta Young read for us in 2019 – read what she has been up to below!
What have you been up to since reading with us at Writers & Words? How has the writing been going?
I started my own financial services consulting business last year, and it’s really taken off, so writing has, unfortunately, taken a little bit of a back seat. But I’m in the process of re-jiggering my schedule to make Friday my writing day – no business, just writing, dammit.
What are you working on right now (writing or otherwise (nothing is a valid answer as well))?
I’m querying agents for my memoir, Daughter of the Most High, a coming-of-age story about growing up with an emotionally abusive father who was a minister (think Small Fry meets Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl with a splash of religion for garnish). To take my mind off that, when I am writing, I’m working on a collection of short stories about Black women being messy. I’m finishing the fourth of what I think will be nine or ten stories.
What has been your favorite Quarantine Read thus far?
I read Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid as salve at the beginning of this whole thing, when my body only wanted to sleep and, when I wasn’t sleeping, only to read. It’s a great story about a Black Millennial woman at the end of the Obama Administration, and it all felt so poignant reading it in March 2020.
How would you describe the writing community where you live in just a few words?
Beautiful. Supportive. Smart. Reliable. High quality. (All of which could apply to a good bra as well, apparently.)
What would be a few words of advice you would give someone wanting to get into any writing community?
Luckily, I just did this last week! My advice is to get out there, see what’s available, and find your place. Attend as many readings as possible; you’ll start seeing the same faces. Take classes at local writing centers. Join a critique group, and always bring wine. Support other people’s writing, and they will support yours. That’s the definition of community.
Bonus question: what level of quarantine are you at? 1) relaxing with a book, 2) the dog clears her throat too loudly, 3) hot dog fries, 4) THE PRINTER IS BROKEN I DON’T NEED A PRINTER, 5) I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.
Totally #5. I hate all the horrible things that have happened, but not gonna lie, this has been so nice, being productive and not having to be around people. I’ve been living my best life.
Vonetta Young is a Black woman writer based in Washington, DC. She generally explores in her work the themes of complex family dynamics, the intersection of race and class, and the desire for belonging. Her essays and fiction have been published in Catapult, DASH, Lunch Ticket, Barrelhouse, and Cosmonauts Avenue, among others.