There are plenty of pop culture narratives about young women seeking fame and fortune in the media and publishing industry, but few featuring black, openly gay protagonists who work overtime to create stories that aren’t designed for their needs success in the system or experience in the mind. Mickey, played by Tembe Denton-Hurst, fills the void as a paid “media agent” in the novel Homebodies. girl” begins her story. Soon, however, she loses the job that gave her so much of her self-worth, her relationship with her live-in girlfriend begins to unravel as she reconnects with an old flame, and she begins to question what home really means to her.
Homebodies Witty enough to make reading irresistible, but it’s also an insight into the harsh realities many workers face Examining that in so-called “dream jobs”—particularly black women who are often pushed down the “office pet-to-office menace” pipeline by Erika Stallings—can ultimately be sacrificed An institution dedicated to them. Vogue recently spoke with Denton-Hurst about finding time to write fiction while working full-time in media, creating novels to become Homebodies
on Writer Ni Nicole Dennis-Benn’s writing class and what she expects from Mickey and all the girls who see themselves in her.
Fashion: When did this book start to take shape for you?
I would say shortly after I started writing this book at Nicole Dennis-Benn’s writing studio. It just came out of me and I thought at first, oh, this is a short story, but then the story ended up being a meditation on the way Mickey estranges his family. It really grew from there; I told Nicole, “I think it’s Mitch’s story about her coming home from just losing her job and trying to deal with what it means to come back in a different situation than she is now. She Losing all of that, and this person she still cares about, and the life she’s left behind.” Nicole said, “It’s not a short story. It’s a novel.” What Form does is really ambitious, but I think writing fiction is also a big thing. Nicole gave me that kind of permission and confidence that really pushed me into this novel.
so expertly captured what I think is a very common archetype of experience in media of feeling alienated when you don’t necessarily fit in the industry. What was it like to tell that story?