i have been on a significant technology break these last couple of weeks and it has been delightful! i need to do this more often.
first i was at michigan womyn’s music festival, which i already wrote about some here. what reverberates for me a couple of weeks after leaving was how intense the conversations around inclusion of trans womyn were in the space, and how hard it is to stay present to changing conditions and communities. how part of committing to a community is committing to it’s evolutions.
after that i was home moving slow for a couple of days before going to celebrate the birth of my nephew. he is 3 now, and he is a dinosaur – a t-rex. he watches ‘the land before time’ regularly, and as he watches it he emulates the stomping and roaring of the most fearsome creature before the ice age. watching the movie with him made sense to me finally of the odd stomping and roaring boy terrorizing the kittens in the front yard when i arrived to see him. he is in full speed ahead learning mode, learning to read, learning about fear and conquering it by becoming a t-rex, learning to ride his tricycle, learning about birthdays and over-the-top gifting, learning that he can actually walk all over his auntie and she just loves it.
watching my one year old niece wrestle with her big brother’s birthday was also a study in the human condition. she definitely wanted to share in everything he got, whether that meant holding one of the new dinosaur toys, or climbing on the back of the new tricycle in spite of the danger. nothing else interests her but what he has.
this included auntie time. there was a moment when finn was crawling on me, a t-rex on the mountain, and siobhan started crawling over me too, and i realized that this was absolutely a heaven on earth.
from this little heaven i went to utah to a gathering called creative change, a gathering at the intersection of artists and organizers. it was fascinating, and i emerged with a whole crew of transformers (my shorthand name for folks who are committed to ‘transforming themselves to transform the world’). i got to meet some owls before they were liberated into the wild, and see robert redford (yes mom, i got footage).
came home to find a few friends in town to do black women rock – a showcase of black women artists pulled together by jessica care moore. it very much excites me to see women command a stage, and the artists last night did just that – tamar-kali, lafrae, navasha (from fertile ground), ideeyah, deekah wyatt, monica blair and steff christian. steff did a tribute to tina turner which ripped the stage up completely. my main wish was that hart plaza, where the show happened, was more lenient with end times. i didn’t get enough.
on the drive home we came on what looked like a major street fight happening – i wrote something once i was safe at home, which i want to share here because i am trying to be more transparent about my work of coming into awareness about places where i could develop new, more communal, instincts:
running scared, aug 21, 4 am
it wasn’t til I was
breathless behind the locked door
safe within my few walls
two streets away
and many kinds of miles
that I thought
that it occurred to me
quieter than the city crickets
rioting beyond my window
I could have stayed
(I could have saved that man’s life)
I could have stayed.
the energy in detroit right now is electric in all kinds of ways – more palpable after i have been away for a while. the violence is up, as are the levels of inspiration. change is here, in all it’s full destructive and creative force. towards the end of spring there was great concern about uprisings in response to the pressures and insecurities being piled on detroiters by the mayor’s and governor’s plans. no uprisings have happened in the formal sense – but we are brutalizing each other, killing each other, it can’t be denied.
i got to spend some time with toshi reagon over the past few weeks, and she reminded me there is no end to the work we are doing, to the change we seek. it is ongoing, unfolding before us, as far as we can imagine and beyond that, as far as humans exist. this is particularly important to remember at urgent times, when it feels like we will combust, or we must push ourselves til we are frothing at the mouth because the end is just around the next corner.
while these times feel urgent, my work remains steady. waking up, loving, believing in freedom, deepening the relationships that will liberate humanity, breathing, and knowing i will continue this work as long as i am able.
in the week ahead i get to read a lot of original science fiction, send out reminders to folks who committed to transform their lives at the AMC Octavia Butler session, and re-immerse myself in detroit.
what a blessed life.