Monthly Archive for November, 2014

A Sci Fi Short for Michael Brown

‘We must become experts on lynching.’
‘Again?’
‘Yes. We thought it was a past tense virus, but it was just in mutation. Our danger is escalating.’
‘And if we know more…what then?’
‘It is unclear…right now we need only to awaken ourselves to the presence of this death in our midst. As with everything, awareness yields new practice, new practice yields new worlds.’
‘I am practicing tears, grief, rage. This awareness is painful.’
‘Yes, liberation is a brutal path. It is also a blissful path. It is the only meaningful path.’
‘Axe.’
#scifishort #Ferguson #writeourselvesforward

if you feel moved, please add on to the story or write your own.

hiatus

i am writing a draft of my novel this month as part of national novel writing month. it is really exciting, in the midst of an exciting time – we had a wildseeds gathering at the american studies association national meeting to think through bringing octavia strategies for liberation to the academy – i was a visitor from beyond the towers, it felt like an honor to contribute. octavia scholarship keeps growing!

i also got quality time with mentor/friend tananarive due, who i just deeply admire and respect.

then i met kid fury and crissle from the read today, and kid fury liked my turquoise bracelet game and they were both everything and lovely and sweet…and i think i acted relatively normal in the face of my black queer love for both of them. we got to uplift crissle’s read on ferguson and our weariness at the onslaught of state-on-black violence to her face. they’ve created a segment on their show called black excellence that feels like the podcast embodiment of my political mode of gifting my attention to the things i want to grow.

also, beyonce is releasing something magnificent before the year is out. !!! sigh. !!! breathe. just…just breathe. she makes me need to produce like a virgo.

to that end, i am going on hiatus for at least the rest of the month. i am going to finish this draft.

y’all see how easy it is for me to accidentally write y’all a whole post when i was just trying to say hi…atus. all kinds of brilliant white rabbit level new ideas keep coming up for blog entries. life is just moving so quickly. and yet, with all of that, the characters in my book are calling me over to their table for tea and monologues and dialogues and backstories and intrigues.

so i will put the wonderland blog concepts on a virgo list AND not let them be a way of procrastinating. i will not be denied in this effort. i want to pour every word i have this month into this work.

so.

see y’all in december :-) send love!

Authenticity chant

Authenticity chant:

Let me not posture
Let me not front
Let me not say yes to
Lives I don’t want
Let me not use words that don’t mean a thing
Let me be fly
as I am, no trying
Let me good
For my heart, not my rep
Let me be still
When I can’t take a step
Don’t let me get too caught
Creating my face
Let me just love me
All over the place

sourcing myself and others

There’s a card in the osho zen tarot deck called ‘the source‘, and I love whenever I pull it because it is so humbling. I sometimes pull it when I am in the midst of doing doing doing things, and it reminds me to just be in connection to source.

I pulled it yesterday and had a glorious day. It says:

When we speak of being “grounded” or “centered” it is this Source we are talking about. When we begin a creative project, it is this Source that we tune in to. This card reminds us that there is a vast reservoir of energy available to us. And that we tap into it not by thinking and planning but by getting grounded, centered, and silent enough to be in contact with the Source. It is within each of us, like a personal, individual sun giving us life and nourishment. Pure energy, pulsating, available, it is ready to give us anything we need to accomplish something, and ready to welcome us back home when we want to rest. So whether you are beginning something new and need inspiration right now, or you’ve just finished something and want to rest, go to the Source. It’s always waiting for you, and you don’t even have to step out of your house to find it.

Zazen means just sitting at the very source, not moving anywhere, a tremendous force arises, a transformation of energy into light and love, into greater life, into compassion, into creativity.
It can take many forms. But first you have to learn how to be at the source. Then the source will decide where your potential is. You can relax at the source, and it will take you to your very potential.

This carnivorous summer has left me feeling like all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and listen. It is only in the past week or two that I have remembered – oh I am a body!

My body is storing all of this feeling so I can keep going with life, but it isn’t like carbon being stored deep in the earth for some next generation to benefit from. It’s like a storage rental with my important life things in it that I need to pay some monthly cost for, and I will pay until I go get those things.

I was saying recently that grief has made me feel like a tree getting chopped into or burned. There are rings – years and experiences of my life, all the way back to the beginning – that I thought were never going to be seen, and now they are meeting with the atmosphere, exposed.

I’ve always been a feeling person, as you may have noticed here, but as I come back into my body, I seem to be having a Neo-in-the-Matrix level experience with emotion. It’s palpable, it’s moving through me with no expectation of words…in fact the opposite, it’s like I’m finally liberated from the realm of words as a container for emotions (she says, scribbling furiously in the dark).

Emotions are not just something to reflect on, they are happening in and around me in real time, quickly, so complex and interconnected. And my whole being is wired to feel them, and to make the most of this human experience I have to grow my capacity to feel, to bear the greatest joy. Because the suffering is coming regardless, but it seems the joy part is the part that is pure potential, and requires my intention and skill to manifest.

I have spent a lot of time with my sister and her family. It’s the only place I’ve wanted to be, really…doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, organizing the toys, playing with the kids. And of course wishing I could get in a fist fight with god for the year they’ve been given, I’ve been given, the relentless pace of loss.

Being around kids having feelings is helpful, I need that obvious direct stuff. It feels like I can’t do enough because I can’t erase the hard parts, but they show me how to make everything generative.

Since their youngest sibling transitioned in the womb, Finn is pouring himself into dragon family art and obsessive gaming, places where he can control the story, where he can win. Siobhan is being very fabulous all the time, giving me a very Rihanna level independence. At first she was carrying around her own ‘dead’ baby doll in a box and singing ‘dead baby, dead baby’ at the top of her lungs. Now she is wearing constant costumes, sashaying everywhere, and overtly figuring out her impact, working rooms until everyone is laughing, oohing and ahhing. Mairead is adorable and inconsolable much of the time, delightfully exploring the realm of language, throwing her whole body into tantrums as she learns to articulate what she wants, and simultaneously learns that saying a wish doesn’t make it come true. I love that she seeks comfort from me after I say no to her, let’s me hold her even though she thinks I am causing her suffering. This reminds me of my relationship with source.

And they teach that my own emotional responses are that clear, even if I’ve been socialized not to express my emotional truth.

My life with family feels like a living meditation – doing the dishes I am serving life, moving the laundry I am serving life, dumping the compost I am serving life.

This awareness expands to other experiences. I went to the hot springs with dear friends and as soon as my skin hit the water I was transported into a realm of sensation, memory and clarity – each of my cells had something to tell me about feelings, had been waiting for me to circle back around and notice. I sat under the stars, steaming and writing notes to my self.

I went from there into generative somatics’ teacher training. Mostly we are there learning and practicing our teaching, but we always do bodywork exchanges, to practice giving and holding it, and to continue opening ourselves, listening to the whole self through the body.

I got on the bodywork table with curiosity, and my partner in the work was so gentle that I thought for a moment it might be an easy, even relaxing session. Then suddenly I felt so much that I thought I was having a heart attack, like grief was carving it’s way up through me, and that if I let it out I would become a scream that would never end. It’s strange to write about the experience of bodywork, but I feel the need to proselytize, because I released more grief in that half hour of gentle attention than I’d been able to move the whole summer.

It took hours to feel like I could be around other humans again, my whole existence was so alert and sensitive. I still have to learn how to feel so alive and be around others.

One of the teachers shared this poem:

For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river-
Unbearable pain becomes its own cure,
Travel far enough into sorrow, tears turn into sighing;
In this way we learn how water can die into air,
When, after heavy rain, the storm clouds disperse,
is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end?
If you want to know the miracle, how wind can polish a mirror,
Look: the shining glass grows green in Spring.
It’s the rose’s unfolding, Ghalib, that creates the desire to see-
In every color and circumstance, may the eyes be open for what comes.
– Ghalib

Since then, my emotional awareness has been turned up. There’s so much happening all the time, in every interaction, in the suffering world, in music, in the passing of hours with loved ones. Beloveds have witnessed me laughing and crying uncontrollably, I can’t contain it, I am feeling so much. The whole history of all living things and all the potential futures are with each of us in each present moment. In talking with a friend, or my mom, or a stranger, I wonder, what are the poles of their life, their joys and sorrows? Does it feel like this inside everyone?

Part of the clarity that came up from my cells is that I have some work to do. I have a novel to write and I have emergent strategy to share. But when I say ‘to do’, that is inaccurate. I have some work to embody. I know again who I am. And to be myself creates such an abundance in my life and relationships and family and movements.

I’ve been taking in all of these experiences, sitting in them. It is time to write, to share, to process, to give.

I am as insignificant as any fragile living thing, but I am not small. I am connected to source as a default. I require only, but no less than, my full attention.

nanowrimo

i am writing a draft of a novel!

i had an incredible experience with napowrimo, national poetry writing month. i spent april writing a poem each day and remembering how much i love poetry, that i am a poet in my own way, even if it isn’t my primary form.

i have been reading a lot lately. i was recently inspired by kiese laymon’s long division, and then margaret atwood’s maddaddam trilogy. both were wonderfully creative and funny stories, the first one on time travel, the second on apocalypse and corporate control.

i was looking around for my next book, which i am pretty sure will be chimimanda ngozi adichie’s americanah, when i was reminded that november is national novel writing month (nanowrimo).

my style isn’t really funny, but it absolutely concerns time travel and apocalypse – in detroit. this is a story i have been trying to get out for a while, and everything i’ve written is too small to tell the story. the goal of nanowrimo is 50,000 words. i hope that’s enough, but i figure that by the end of the month i will know a few things:

– how i feel about novel writing
– how big my love story of detroit needs to be
– what’s possible inside my writing practice with a rigorous daily word count goal

the other thing to share about this story is that it’s all about grief, of course. part of why this story has been hard to land is that grief keeps knocking me sideways. today i pulled together the writing i have done about grief on this blog and it was so much. it was beautiful to see how time has made each loss more bearable, more complete. and it was humbling to see the ways in which my real life grief is being transformed into a generative force in the story i now write.

this novel may be like my songs and most of my poems, for my own release and healing. but i am excited to let it out, to give these ghosts a place to play together.

send me love, and luck. and if there are people you have lost that you would like me to include in some way, especially connected to detroit, please share their names and stories here. i’ll see what i can do.