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It was a year of sassy transitions, of living and dying, of being, wiping tears, sitting still and enjoying silence. Hands on her hips swivel dance skirt dusting Oya gave me exactly what I wanted, needed, could imagine, hope for, feared, craved.
Many in my orbit have had relatives and loved ones transition into a new state. Two friends of mine also went cosmic fishing. Then there were my cats. But as death delivered, so did my sister-in-law: a boy I like to call Pie. And who doesn’t like pie?
Travel was big for me this year. Every month I was somewhere running my mouth, conducting business, holding court, and afterward laying about giggling enjoying food, drink and love, often to a chorus of disagreeable beds and fickle weather. Started my 41st year strolling along the beautiful canals in Amsterdam, and ended it in Accra sipping warm palm wine spiked with Guinness from a calabash on the side of a road near the Mapong Akuapem Mountains. You aint been nowhere till you been to a place where black folks are the majority. Where even the television got nothing but a bunch of beautiful, brown faces. For the most part, anyways. Where I winked at more men in nine days than I have in my entire life in the US. Where one becomes acutely aware of the effects of the colonialized mind. Where I saw myself clearly in the metadata. It’s better to travel, trust me. Your inside parts will thank you.
Did a lot of work with the BGLA this year. Developed the collection, added more items, worked with two interns to help process many elements of the collection, and gave plenty a presentation about it. I am humbled by this work. It taught me the value of storytelling.
On the publishing tip, birthed two and promoted three VEP books: The Damaged Good, Carry the Word (with RedBone Press), and Conjuring Black Funk. My first solo book, Funny, is now out of print. Hilarious, right?
Immersed in three major writing projects now, a book of essays, poems and fiction; a biography; and an anthology co-edited with the marvelous Cheryl Clarke. Stay turned.
Attended many pride events – Philly, Washington DC, Atlanta, New York. Gave talks in St. Louis, Atlanta, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Toledo. Enjoyed myself. Did damn good. Stepped up my game considerably. You should bring me to your town. I give great talk. But you gotta pay a Negro.
Spent time in Toledo and Kansas with family this year. Wonderful. Several times throughout the festivities at my family reunion in Kansas City, my 90-year-old grandmother, who struggles with Alzheimer’s, would stroke my goatee and tell me, “ooo, I betcha the girls just LOVE this, don’t they?” I just nodded.
In other news…
Emotionally aware of how I feel to about everything, which can be distracting.
Mentally I’m becoming conscious what I create on the daily. A very good thing, indeed. Now, if I could just make better decisions.
Also, kinder to myself. I made a lot of great decisions this year. Now, if I could monitor my thoughts more closely.
Physically got fatter which sort of gives me a butt. Kinda.
And I think I finally got it. Glimpsed it. Took my boat out on the water and rowed toward this thing of mine, alone, trembling.in.this.place.here. My own thing, this, this, this. And she feels good and expansive, quiet.
My Lovers, Third Eyes, Compasses, Cautionary Tales, Ace Boon Coons, Oxpeckers: Carla, Marvin, Mingus, Heru, Niki, Jafari, Phillip, Samiya, Artis, Lisa, Andre, and Larry. This blissful year was in struggle, recognition, and acceptance of what I truly want and need. After many hard lessons, it was a time to return to splendor, of healing with knives and laughter, not to mention, lots of writing, therapy, and love. Turns out that there are only two things that this here boything wants and needs and desires: unconditional love of self and others, and peace of mind. All else has become irrelevant to me. Whatever drained me I let go.
Fear-based love always implodes.
Choices are always available.
I don’t mind a little chaos.
Not into pain like I used to be.
No longer moved to put a wall between us.
I like you better when we share face time.
I tuck pain away in my stomach, hard things to digest.
My muscular memory is a function of my fabulous mind.
My joy comes from creating, not necessarily from the thing created.
Have a great year. I plan to.
APLA to produce its first multi-gender anthology created by and about people of African descent.
NOW, a forthcoming journal from Aids Project, Los Angeles (APLA), is seeking submissions from writers and artists who envision new and insightful ways to talk about the black queer bodies, women’s health, the house ball scene in relationship to HIV/AIDS, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on cultural production in the black LGBT community for the last 25 years. Continue reading