Thursday, April 06, 2006

J. California Cooper

Got to see J. California Cooper the other day in L.A. She spoke at Esowon Books, a cozy store on LaBrea south of the 10 Freeway, that focuses on books by and about black people. (Image on left is from the National Book Club Conference, August 2005, in Atlanta).

Great talk.

If you haven't had a chance to hear her speak and read, you're missing some entertaining discussion. She tends to talk in storytelling style, going from subject to subject, about whatever pops into her mind. At her Esowon Books talk, she talked about everything from sex to drugs to the characters talking in her head to the trees and paper dolls that kept her company as a kid. Don't worry. She's not off or anything. Just a wiser, older woman who tells good stories.

And also writes good stories.

When asked about what motivates her to write, she answered that as a Christian she follows and lives by the Ten Commandments... and that as long as people break them, or have the tendency to break them, she will always have something or somebody to write stories about.

And if you've read any of her novels or short stories, you know that J. California Cooper definitely imparts some mother-wit, tell-it-like-it-is wisdom, and straightforward lessons in life.

My favorite short story of hers is "$100 and Nothing." But I love all her short story collections and novels. The new one, Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns, is sure to be a winner and a classic too.


Berry said...

Never had a chance to hear her speak. Maybe I can catch her at Hue-Man bookstore. Required reading in college.

DizYaBoy said...

wow ... i love that picture of her!

She's an awesome writer!!