Writing for free, writing strategically and Ethnic Aisle

Today I sent an email to the Ontario Arts Council inquiring about grants for Ethnic Aisle. We’ve been mucking along for three years and this fall, we got serious. Also, I got made publisher. Responsibilities!

We all do the Ethnic Aisle for free. I write for a living and recently have been asked to contribute works to various sites and companies. They want my years of experience, which is fine. When I ask for rates, they offer Google+ authorship. I said no and Google+ authorship has lost its value anyway.

At this stage in my life, I have to be strategic about my free writing. I write for free but it has to have meaning for me. I write for free for Ethnic Aisle because it’s a voice that is desperately needed in Toronto. Why?

Because the Toronto Star used the word “Somali” six times, which is five or six times too many.

There is a difference between twerking and wining when a police officer dances.

Why there is hardly any mention of books written by and for people of colour.

No one really writes about this and if they do, it’s from a homogenous lens. That’s why I do the Ethnic Aisle for free.

I’d like for us to get paid. I think the writers and editors do such a good job. They could be doing other things, like being paid to write but they give up a lot of time to write for us.

So forget your offer of Google+ authorship. A piece on why permanent residents in Toronto should be allowed to vote in the municipal elections is more valuable.

That, by the way? Is one of the articles that will be in the Municipal issue. It’s written by Desmond Cole. There are other pieces including an excellent interview from Jaime Woo. You should read it when it comes out.


Quick self-promo! Pick up the latest issue of Spacing. I’ve got an article in it about the Midtown Planning group.



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