nanowrimo, BOLD, and other grown folks business

i am writing my second novel this month!!!, so i won’t be blogging much, but wanted to come on here to share a few things:

1. the novel i am writing has a serious and intriguing situation at the center, but no real plot. i am having the time of my life writing it. i hope someone out there is interested in reading racialized parallel universe snapshots.

2. i was just at BOLD in north carolina – black organizing for leadership and dignity. it’s one of the places i go to restore my soul and spirit, my cool, my belief that the living liberation i long for is possible. it’s one of those things that is difficult to explain when you aren’t there, being with black people intentionally cultivating our dignity, our right to feel loved and safe in our black bodies. we move, dance, sing, struggle, change. all of that is everything, but the thing that is blowing my whole mind right now is that one of the participants, an amazing starlight named kesi, said i was cool. me!?!? and then, another southern starlight named aaron wrote a poem for me !!! and he said it out loud. and then he posted it. the poem actually captures the collective experience of BOLD, this is what we do for and with and to each other. if you love black people you should be supporting this organization.

3. i finally set up a payment plan with a certain entity which has been chasing, hounding and disrupting my peace for several years. it is the lowest i can possibly give because i am still politically at odds with the priorities this entity stands for, and at some point i am sure there will be some other solution that makes the need for this payment plan go away. but right now i feel grown and exhaling at having gotten it solid.

4. i am a month into not smoking. so. !!!

5. i am 20 days into a sugar shift and have managed to hold my head up and my sense of decision making power throughout travel – even through the sweet tea pie shaped dessert fried fish wonderland of the deep south. i am doing this and my novel writing challenge in community, and i feel immensely supported, seen and powerful.

6. i have bitmoji now. now i can finally express myself in text messages and elsewhere.

7. santigold gave me this. and sam smith put this on spotify. and i spent most of the month listening to alabama shakes sing joe.

*update: and then erykah gave us THIS!! timely pleasure activist mantra.

8. i took a day off today, which meant i read volume 5 of saga, my birthday gift from my sister autumn. it was INCREDIBLE and inspiring. and then i found this article, and i read it, and i felt – astounded. astounded. imagination goals – this man used his imagination to survive being stranded at sea for 14 months. here is a taste:

“Alvarenga let his imagination run wild in order to keep sane. He imagined an alternative reality so believable that he could later say with total honesty that alone at sea he tasted the greatest meals of his life and experienced the most delicious sex. He was mastering the art of turning his solitude into a Fantasia-like world. He started his mornings with a long walk. “I would stroll back and forth on the boat and imagine that I was wandering the world. By doing this I could make myself believe that I was actually doing something. Not just sitting there, thinking about dying.” With this lively entourage of family, friends and lovers, Alvarenga insulated himself from bleak reality.”

ok that’s all for now. if you miss me, write me a poem, or a story, or a love note, or a anything. besos til december (unless i desperately need to procrastinate, like this, with you)

i’m writing

i’m writing, i’m writing.

i have been writing a little less for this blog and writing more science and speculative fiction lately, and it’s exciting. i do want to develop this into a space where i can share new fiction and poetry as regularly as blog posts.

i’m writing. ideas come into my head fully formed, characters crawl out of the shadows with attitudes and understandings that seem greater than and/or counter to my own little grasp of the world.

i’m writing.

i hired a writing coach, a science fiction writer i respect. she expects 20 pages from me a month. that seems like a spectacular amount. i would be daunted, except i know i have often generated that much content here. and actually, i am still daunted. i am realizing how vastly different it is to write these reflections versus writing fiction.

the characters don’t belong to me like these thoughts and stories here. they have their own histories, often in their own utterly alien worlds. i have to be more vigorous than i have ever been to tell their stories well.

i’m writing.

i am voraciously consuming as much art and speculative writing as i can, at every opportunity. last week i went to see nico muhly’s opera ‘two boys’ at the met and was touched by the juxtaposition of the dramatic, familiar beauty of opera wrapped around the tender reductionist communication of teenage chatting. the whole thing felt deeply ambitious, and necessary – brave even. applying this aged art form to this moment creates more possibilities for how we can understand the dramas and longings of our own lives. the present as a gorgeous and operatic landscape? yes. and i was thinking of how i have fallen in love through long distance instant writing more than once, and again quite recently. how much of ourselves and our safety and our passions can now be revealed in these digital missives, reshaping our lives.

i also immersed myself in wangechi mutu’s work at the brooklyn museum. she makes these larger than life images of women’s bodies that simultaneously disturb and delight the mind. i went with a good friend and her toddler son, and it was amazing to watch him recognize the images, ‘owl, snake, eagle’, while what i saw was ripe vulva, mid-trauma, internal narratives, danger, freedom. watching her film ‘the end of eating everything’ with santigold on a full wall was remarkable.

both of these artists are in realms of their own imagining – i am excited to be alive at this time to see their work, and excited by the challenge of creating in a field that contains such brilliance.

i’m writing.

now, when i see people after any period of absence, they ask how the writing is going. i notice the reactions this pulls out of me. if i have written that day, i smile, i feel the ease of doing part of my life’s work, i speak about a story i am in the midst of. if i haven’t written that day i feel a defensiveness, a tightening, a pressure. how can you ask me about such a deeply personal thing??…except that i have thrown myself onto the stage. it is a rough thrill to be out in the open with this flagrant desire to write for my living. it feels like jazz hands before the music starts playing. vulnerable, naked, bold, precocious, deeply humbling.

and regardless of how it feels, whether it comes easy, if i feel up to it, my joy over what’s coming out, or my surprise because so far none of the stories are what i expected, regardless of all of that, with a palpable thrumming gratitude that reverberates under all of my days, i am writing.