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Put the thesaurus away

read + write
we’re back with more
While we’re testing Notes, we’re publishing interviews with writers testing the feature. Today, we’ve got reading recommendations, inspiration, and writing advice from Terese Mason Pierre, Kirk McKeand, and Joewackle J. Kusi. 
You can hear these writers speak live in a Space on Thursday, July 21, hosted by @TwitterWrite. Our guests were fantastic in our last Space (listen back here) — so to say we’re excited for the next one would be an understatement. Set yourself a reminder
read + write + inspiration
Our first guest is Terese Mason Pierre. Terese is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in Hobart, The Puritan, Strange Horizons, and more. She is also the co-Editor-in-Chief of Augur Magazine. She is the author of two chapbooks, Surface Area (2019) and Manifest (2020). 
📸: Chaad Mason Pierre
📸: Chaad Mason Pierre
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
Honestly, I read my old writing from when I was a teenager. I was just starting to get serious about writing, and I made so many mistakes. Reading my past work reminds me of how far I’ve come and inspires confidence when I’m in doubt.
What’s the best thing you read in the past month?
I really enjoyed Luster by Raven Leilani. The prose is so excellent and sharp, it kills me. I’m in awe. I want to read more — and love more — books about messy Black women who deserve grace and second chances. I think it might be my favorite book. 
Who’s the Twitter follow that hasn’t let you down, since the beginning?
I love Bolu Babalola’s Twitter. She’s the author of Honey and Spice. She’s so funny and cool, and I admire her and everything she’s accomplished.
Tell us a way you’re excited to see people use Notes?
I’m excited to see more personal writing and bite-sized info pieces. I also want to see people write about what they’re most passionate about, or little glimpses into their daily lives.
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
“Writers are readers: to be a good writer, you must read the work of others.” I think this is so very true. I make it my aim to read the work of writers around me who I admire and who I’m inspired by, especially work published in the past 3-5 years. 
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved)
I think many of my readers are my fellow writers. I see the people who read my work, mainly, as part of my community: people who inspire me, who I support, who I learn from, and who I create with.
Our second guest is Kirk McKeand. Kirk is a writer and journalist. He is the managing editor of GLHF, and his writing has appeared in USA Today’s For the Win, GamesMaster, news.com.au, and more. His upcoming non-fiction book History of the Stealth Game launches on October 30. 
📸: Kirk McKeand
📸: Kirk McKeand
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
I tend to read fiction rather than journalism when I’m looking for inspiration. My peers in game journalism are doing incredible things, but sometimes it helps to step out of that box. It’s especially useful for structuring interview-led pieces, where you’re essentially outlining a character. 
What’s the best thing you read in the past month?
Stephen King’s Revival. Horrible, brilliant book. It got into my head and I dreamed about it when I wasn’t reading it. 
In what way are you excited to see people use Notes?
I’ve already used Notes to promote my non-fiction book, The History of the Stealth Game, and I’ve messed about with some fiction. I’m excited for people to use it in ways that no one expected. Also, as an aside, it might cut down on people making long threads all the time. That’s exciting. 
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Write as if you’re speaking to a friend you’ve known for a long time. Put the thesaurus away (unless you’re trying to avoid word repetition and your brain’s pulling a blank). 
Our third guest is Joewackle J. Kusi. Joewackle is a writer, filmmaker, and podcaster. He is the creator and producer of Check Your DM Podcast, and his work has appeared in Dazed, OkayAfrica, VICE, The NATIVE, and more. 
📸: Andy Madjitey
📸: Andy Madjitey
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
I come from a place where oral storytelling is a significant part of our culture, and history. As unconventional as it may seem, when I need to remember how to write, I call my mother and discuss the themes of what I’m writing. Sometimes, I read works that have already explored these themes.
What’s the best thing you read in the past month?
Woman, Eat Me Whole by Ama Asantewa Diaka. I was fortunate enough to watch her perform some of the mind-blowing poems from this collection. As a man with relations with a lot of different kinds of women, a book that explores the complexities of these different women — what they go through with regards to their bodies, reproductive health, who they love, and how they even choose to love — is an important read. Ama is a genius, and this book is good for your soul. 
Who’s the Twitter follow that hasn’t let you down since the beginning?
@FCTamakloe always uses an authentic voice that is hilariously relatable, and unashamedly Ghanaian. My relationship with him has grown beyond a Twitter follow to working together on important projects like this audio drama @GoodbyeGC1957. He reads my drafts and sends notes — which I appreciate as an intimate and romantic gesture because every writer knows how embarrassing first drafts can be.
Tell us a way you’re excited to see people use Notes?
I am excited to see how people use their distinctive and unbridled storytelling skills to create opportunities for themselves and their communities. I look forward to reading stories in more personal, and less strict, language — as well as paying close to no attention to conventional writing rules.  
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Travel is expensive, but you should when you can. Whenever I travel, I return with fresh ideas, different perspectives, a deeper understanding of the world, and more empathy. Travel even if it means leaving your neighborhood to talk to people, get their stories, develop communities such that you can actually tell real stories with soul.
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved)
My relationship with my readers has been a journey through different media. 
People have engaged with my writings in different forms: short stories, films, television shows, podcasts, audio content, or even Tweets. In whatever form, it is humbling to watch them come along with me at every point of my career. As long as I am able to make them laugh while staying connected with my stories, I’ll be doing this writing thing with them — through different genres — forever!
wrap up
Big thanks to our guests for their thoughts and insights — and thanks to you for reading. Remember to follow @TwitterWrite and set a reminder for our Space on Thursday. 
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