Danielle King
On writing, & any number of other things


I’ve heard that writing belongs to everyone, to anyone. The heft of it, the weight that gets you to be quiet and still enough to produce anything is the part that’s personal.

Once the words are out of you, and in a place where anyone else can see them, the reader has as much ownership as the craftswoman.

And I’m fairly certain that I believe in this idea, because the words of other people sing personally to me, like a song or dance of my own design.

The first time I came to America, I couldn’t believe the streets weren’t burning… So that’s what I’ve always found extraordinary [about African Americans]—the self-control.

Zadie Smith, in conversation with Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

And like any artist with no art form, she became dangerous.

Toni Morrison, Sula

civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.

James Baldwin, Down at the Cross

Locating one’s voice is a little bit like trying to put together a puzzle in the dark. More emergent, equally daunting. It’s less about being uncertain of how to begin, and more about wondering at the point of it all.

I’m a writer, sometimes. I’m also an occasional academic, and a few other things, but, more than anything, I’m a somewhat reluctant participant in the human experience. I primarily concern myself with self-vaccination against terrible ideas, the sort that deny the humanity of others. But more than anything, I consider it my occupation to be ever thinking, ever focused on asking better questions.

My writing is supposed to help me better understand how to ask things of consequences, and to inspire a greater willingness to be intellectually honest with myself. In the spirit of that honesty, I won’t pretend for even one moment that this is a site for any particular thing in exclusivity. Ideally, it’s for everything.

I’ll often focus things through the lens of my discipline of political science, but I’m fascinated by video games, food, information technology, environmentalism, history, productivity…and a host of other things in similar-to-equal measure.

It’s all fair game. Pardon my idealism, but it should be, right? That’s the reasoning that justifies our agency, that enables our accountability to each other: the freedom to engage with all of what this world has to offer.

Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas… But there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us… There are only old & forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations & recognitions from within ourselves—along with the renewed courage to try them out.

Audre Lorde, Learning from the 60s