Great Interviews Start with Great Questions

The Daily Post

Not sure how to get started? Check out The Art of the Interview, from Blogging U‘s Writing 201 course, “Beyond the Blog Post.” Mark Armstrong covers interview prep, tools, and offers a sample reading list of great interviews to inspire you.

As humans, we’re innately curious about one another, maybe because understanding others is one way to better understand ourselves. Interviews, via podcast, video, or print can help you expand your audience and attract repeat visitors to your site. Today, we’ll look at some tips on how to craft interview questions that will make for compelling watching, listening, or reading on your blog.

Get schooled on your subject

I sometimes find that in interviews you learn more about yourself than the person learned about you.
–William Shatner

Your interview subject has said yes: congratulations! After you celebrate, start preparing: read your subject’s work. Read their blog, Google them…

View original post 577 more words

#Blogging201 and the case of the misplaced brand

So, um, hi. Like the title on the site says, I’m Dara. The reason you don’t see me post here often is because my real home on the Internet is Truly Tafakari. That’s where I go to reflect and riff on everything from my life as a wife & mom, to my musings about being a Black woman while Beyonce reigns King over America.

I started Truly Tafakari about a year ago because I felt limited by this blog space. But now, I’m realizing that blogging means you have to limit yourself in some kind of way. You have to set markers.

I’ve embarked on the #Blogging201 course to help me reach a few blogging goals this year. This is Day 2, so to speak (they have a weird posting schedule). Today I am to consider my “Brand” (which…I don’t even know what that means for me). If I had to describe my blog in three words, it’d be smart, funny, and heartfelt. I try to provide my readers with a space where they feel free to add their opinion without censure…but can also respect mine.

I want to be the girl you go see when something crazy goes down and you need it all. the. way. broken. down. son. A voice you can trust and laugh with. 

Concurrently, I’m in another blogging group on Facebook that suggested I do a content audit. So far, I’ve been too lazy to actually do the audit. But even a cursory glance will tell me my best posts on Truly Tafakari have involved my tagline, Life, Race, and Culture.

The posts that do not resonate? They all involve writing or being a writer. 

This gives me the sads. As much as I’d love to be my entire nerdy self at Truly Tafakari, I realize I do need to limit myself. I try to stuff all the writerly things under the “Life” category, but I don’t think my readers read me to get my perspective on writing.

This is where you come in. Yes, YOU. You followed me here for a reason. I feel I have let you down somewhat by abandoning even cross posting. (The duplicate posts were tiresome after a while) While I cannot promise regularity, I can promise this: I bought this dadgum domain name with real money, so I #minuswell get my money’s worth, no?

So consider this the re-relaunch of Reckless Acts of Punctuation!

What can I promise?

  • This space is a sanctuary for and about writing. About how it sucks and gives life at the same dang time. About how I am having trouble leaving the Internet to read.
  • I will be myself here. I fancy this as somewhat of a “professional” face, since I have ambitions and whatnot. But I have to keep my voice. It’s the only thing I have worth something in a crowd of people.

So. To answer the #Blogging201 call to define my brand, my first act is to start using daratmathis.com for all my nonfiction and writing posts.

I hope you’ll tag along with me, good peoples.

Why #HandsUp #DontShoot is the Battle Cry of a Movement

An American hero.

Each time an unarmed Black man dies, Black America chooses a memento to mark his humanity before the jackals maul it.

For Trayvon Martin we donned hoodies, brandished Skittles and iced tea. I will never hear the words “I can’t breathe” again without thinking of Eric Garner’s last gasp for life. Over the past nearly two weeks since Michael Brown’s death, thousands across the country have lifted palms to air and shouted, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”

These tokens should have had some part to play in keeping these brothers here. This is why we emblazon them, desperately, like a bat signal in dark times. Here, here is an undeniable reason he did not deserve to die. They will take what is left of the mangled bodies of Black men and make monsters of them to justify their deaths. We whisper Black children’s names like prayer to remind us they came from God.

We would rather our boys grow up to be men rather than martyrs, but here we are.

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

Beyonce, Blue Ivy, and the Public Performance of Motherhood

Beyonce
A snapshot of one day never tells a life’s story.

Beyoncé is giving the performance of a lifetime, and for once, it’s not for us. This past week, Bey came under fire for the appearance of her daughter Blue Ivy’s hair. It’s not the first time. And this isn’t the first time I’ve written about Bey, Blue and hair, either. What’s new? This Change.org petition imploring the Carters to comb Blue Ivy’s hair.

When I see people do stupid things, I slow blink at them. Slowly. And then I go on about my business. That’s essentially what I did when I read about the plea to “comb that baby’s hair.”

But in thinking about the incredibly public role Beyoncé is playing as a mother, I was reminded of a truism about motherhood:

Motherhood, and especially Black motherhood, is very much about performance. 

What do I mean? Motherhood is a highly scrutinized position that will have non-mothers and mothers alike offering opinions on how best to raise your child. Not only that, but your body and your child are visually inspected to ensure that you are being a “good” mother according to normative standards. A child with a crusty nose in public inspires you to wonder where a parent is to wipe the mess up. Ashy children are the progeny of wretches. A toddler with mismatched clothing draws clucking hens.

Before they can even talk, our children’s appearances speak volumes about who we are as parents. So mothers dab stale spit onto thumbs and rub dried food off chubby cheeks before heading into the grocery store. And the babies squirm. They don’t care about the orange sweet potato lingering from lunch! They are full and happy; we worry only about the adults with baleful stares thinking, “Why’d she let her kids out of the house looking like that?

So we perform motherhood publicly, over and over again. 

Beyoncé performs the life of a pop star flawlessly but her performance of motherhood diverges from the script she has written for herself.

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari.com!

We ride grief; we do not conquer it

grief
Grief will lull you into believing it has passed and then rush in unexpectedly.

 We ride grief in waves; we do not conquer it. It is wide and wild and ebbing, coming back to drench you when you think you have wiped your face dry of tears. If you know someone who is riding grief and you ask, “How are you?” They may just be answering for that day. Because tomorrow might just be all wet and the day after that, the sun again rises. Just stand in the water with them and wade. That is how we live.