Hanif Abdurraqib Recommends...

“Since moving back home to Columbus, Ohio, I’ve had to reformat my writing time and how to make the best use of the moments when I find myself running up against a block, or several blocks. I am someone who now finds myself with less time to revel in the outdoors, but there is a park a few blocks from my apartment. It is a park I know and love well. Much of my time living in Columbus has been spent there reading or dancing or camping or holding hands with someone. I live closer to it than I ever have before, and I walk there once a day. Lately, I’ve been taking Yusef Komunyakaa’s The Emperor of Water Clocks (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015) with me to a bench. I can’t be sure that there will always be a dog at the park every day. But there almost always is one, eager to run into the arms of a kneeling stranger. I think often about the thing that writes itself. The way a dog’s love is perhaps fleeting to them, but I find it to be permanent for the way the small moment of a dog running eagerly towards my outstretched arms lives with me. There is nothing that rattles me free of writer’s block like getting to pet a stranger’s dog, and then go on my way, back to all of the language I have to unravel with the memory of a brand new friend who has maybe already forgotten me.”
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio, 2017)