How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Kiese Laymon

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1932841776

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Author and essayist Kiese Laymon is one of the most unique, stirring, and powerful new voices in American writing. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is a collection of his essays, touching on subjects ranging from family, race, violence, and celebrity to music, writing, and coming of age in Mississippi. In this collection, Laymon deals in depth with his own personal story, which is filled with trials and reflections that illuminate under-appreciated aspects of contemporary American life. New and unexpected in contemporary American writing, Laymon’s voice mixes the colloquial with the acerbic, while sharp insights and blast-furnace heat calls to mind a black 21st-century Mark Twain. Much like Twain, Laymon's writing is steeped in controversial issues both private and public. This collection introduces Laymon as a writer who balances volatile concepts on a razor's edge and chops up much-discussed and often-misunderstood topics with his scathing humor and fresh, unexpected takes on the ongoing absurdities, frivolities, and calamities of American life.

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in my blood. I remember the wobbly way my grandma twitches her eyes at my Uncle Jimmy and I imagine being at the end of that twitch for the rest of my life. For the first time in almost two years, I hide my face, grit my crooked teeth, and sob. I don’t stop for weeks. The NAACP and lawyers get involved in filing a lawsuit against Millsaps on my behalf. Whenever the NAACP folks talk to me or to the newspaper, they talk about how ironic it is that a black boy trying to read a book gets kicked out

you expect me to give some sort of anecdotal moral to that quote, like you’re taught to in English class? Like, you shouldn’t leave a paragraph without finishing your point? Nah, I ain’t got the answer, homies. I guess that’s what I’ll leave for you all to finish. You know, keep the flow going. Bless, Marlon Peterson Kanye West and HaLester Myers Are Better at Their Jobs… MY GRANDMOTHER MARRIED A BEAUTIFUL brown troll named HaLester “Les” Myers twenty years ago. The Christmas before last, Les

as I was coming out of the shower late one Saturday night. He told me that Tupac had been shot again in Las Vegas. “MTV told me,” he said. “It’s true.” Without knowing how many times he’d been shot, where the bullets landed, how, or if, he made it to the hospital alive, even if Tupac Shakur had actually been shot, I knew he was going to die. I didn’t know much in the fall of 1996, but I knew intimately the ways that black American ambition, unchecked by healthy doses of fear, would lead to

told me to confront failure and mediocrity with honesty, humility, and imaginative will, and to show a little more restraint with my anger since I had students of my own who would look to me as a model. I’m still working on that. In and out of the classroom, my kids have asked hard questions, and risked intellectual and emotional shame and fatigue. After graduating, some led renewal efforts in New Orleans; some graduated from law school; a few became producers; tons have gone on to seek MFAs

badge in the other. He’s telling me to get out of the car. My lips still smell like Filet-O-Fish. “Only you,” he says to me. “You going to jail tonight.” He’s got the gun to my chest. “Fuck you,” I tell him and suck my teeth. “I ain’t going nowhere.” I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Cleta is up front trying to reason with the man through her window when all of a sudden, in a scene straight out of Boyz N the Hood, a black cop approaches the car and accuses us of doing something wrong.

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