high•ly tex•tured writ•er: A person whose work is to write books, poems, or stories and has curly or kinky hair.
Welcome Leesa Cross-Smith to Librarian Dreams.
1. What is your signature hairstyle and how do you achieve it?
I had super-long dreads up until about a year ago when I chopped them off by myself over my bathroom sink. Now, I just wear it however. I’ve never been like, a HAIR PERSON. I hated doing my hair when I was in high school and used to get it straightened sometimes, but even then would only wear it in a bun or ponytail. I was also a dancer so always, always had my hair out of my face. Now, as long as I don’t have to think about it, I’m good.
I wash it with Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo and I use the Creme de la Creme conditioner and the Multicultural Curls or Frizz-Ease. My goal is the same thing each day = to get my hair as poofy and wild as possible. I love it when it’s just sticking out every which way from the top of my head. It’s how God made my hair so I just roll with it.
It gets tangled easily so my husband detangles it for me. He used to do my dreads too. It’s extra-adorable because he’s this white dude doing my black girl hair and I love that forever.
2. Which books could give insight on you as a person? Why?
This is a great, tough question. I’d have to go with the Ramona Quimby books because I grew up on those. That’s what I was reading when the deep lovelovelove for books sparked my heart. The Baby-Sitters Club, any book by Judy Blume. Those books set the foundation and set me off on my reading-all-the-time path. Same path I’m on now. Those books made me want to write, made me want to read, always. I also love the Gospel of John, my favorite book of the Bible. I love cozy books like Secret Life of Bees and Time Traveler’s Wife. I also have vivid memories of curling up when I was a little girl and reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. To Kill A Mockingbird. The Bell Jar. Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite-favorite writers ever because her work is simple, beautiful, true. In college and after college, I began reading books because of the beauty of the language and was drawn to Plath and Jack Kerouac and Billy Collins and Margaret Atwood, Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott. Miranda July. I love books about relationships and how people cope with things and first dates and first kisses and complicated relationships. I love books that allow me to see things in a new/different light as well as books that remind me of things I already know and love.
3. Do you have any fond memories of being at the library?
My dad used to pay me in books. Instead of allowance. I can’t remember my parents ever saying no to me re: a book and same for the library. Anytime I wanted to go, my dad would take me. He’d let me take as long as I wanted and every time on the way out, walking down the library steps, we’d count our books together so we’d know how many we needed to bring back. I always think about that when I go to the library. And in my own house now, with my children, we don’t say no to books. My husband and I made a pact when we were first married and didn’t have very much money at all…that books were something we would always say yes to. We passed that on to our kids and even if we can’t afford it at the moment, we’ll get it next time around.
4. I listened to an interview where you discussed not wanting a lot of attention. What challenges do you run into in regards to doing readings of your work?
Thank you so much for listening and for being so kind to me! I appreciate and love these questions. Yeah, a lot of writers love readings, but they’re not my favorite-favorite. I like listening to people and I think I do a fairly good job of reading my own work. I’m not particularly shy and I feel comfy talking in front of people but if I had my druthers, other people can get the spotlight and I prefer to watch from the dark. I don’t mind it when it’s my turn but I never want to read too long and I get embarrassed no matter what when I’m being introduced. Just feels like I’m waiting there while someone is bragging on me and it makes my face get hot. I just get over it though. I did more than ten readings last year I think for my book tour so I just got over it, but I’m not the first person to jump up and sign up for a reading, no. I’ll do it and it’ll be fine but I’m a homebody. It’s hard to get me out of the house.
P.S. Happy birthday to MLK Jr. 🙂