I woke up from a nap on this cloudy ass day. Still groggy, I felt the urge to freewrite. This was copied this straight from TextEdit and I’m a bit too lazy to re-format or edit for proper grammar and spelling. ****
I swear the sun walked out with my happiness. It was literally here yesterday and gone today.
When they tell you about Chicago winters they not telling you the whole truth
this city a cold place and its not just them buckets of snow God dump on us from October through April.
I’m out here searching for a sunday at home with the family type vibe
instead i get the I’m single can you hook me up with a friend or
how much money can we make together or
just nothin at all; like dead ass silence
and that might be the worst of all
invisibility supposed to be some kind of superhero power
well then i should be stealin on all y’all hoes and I’m not
I’m getting’ stoled on
ha! like that scene in Love Jones
say what you want but that movie still does something for me, especially on days like this when the sun has walked out with my happiness
I suppose this should be considered an Artist’s Date.
I got to check out Aja Monet along with some other local poets and performance artists at a variety show last week. She currently lives in Paris though she previously lived in Chicago while enrolled in an MFA program. She had returned on visit to do some readings around the city. (Here is video of her at the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting ). In her reading at the variety show, she took breaks from her own work to share jokes, recent experiences, and other commentary. There were two things in particular that she said that were important for me to receive that night:
1. That when she lived in Chicago, she didn’t have many friends.
It’s something we joke about – how friendships change (in quantity or accessibility) once we reach a certain age; but this social loneliness can be tough. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to remain in or go back to unhealthy relationships (with people or organizations) because with them we feel needed. The world is a really cold ass place, man. But we move forward. We’ll learn to navigate this loneliness even as ugly temptations from the past abound.
2. That writing when you have nothing to say is useless and may be harmful (or something to that effect).
She was actually reading a passage from Julius Lester’s Revolutionary Notes. Based on the audience’s response a lot of folks needed to receive this message. She said it was this very passage that encouraged her to move to Paris. I ordered a copy of the book when I got home (so I’ll post the passage here once I receive it).
Check out this interview where she discusses her move to Paris and her creativity
“If everyone engaged in this world as artists, this world would be fresh.” – Aja Monet
Xuela on Roland:
“His mouth was like an island in the sea that was his face; I am sure he had ears and nose and all the rest, but I could see only his mouth, which I knew could do all the things that a mouth usually does, such as eat food, purse in approval or disapproval, smile, twist in thought; inside were his teeth and behind them was his tongue.”
“…though I must have held his mouth in mine a thousand times, it was always new to me. He must have smiled at me, though I don’t really know, but I don’t like to think that I would love someone who hadn’t first smiled at me.”
“When he saw me looking at him, he opened his mouth wider, and that must have been the smile. I saw then that he had a large gap between his two front teeth, which probably meant that he could not be trusted, but I did not care.”
from The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid
“Mouths, I”: here. “Mouths, II”: here. Something (written) will eventually come out of these three parts…
Last summer, I had the opportunity to take a free improv class at an indie theater. I enjoyed it so much I thought I would start taking classes immediately but the theater’s classes went on hiatus until this winter. In February, I started my first course in improv fundamentals and have recently begun my second course. Sometimes it’s been more work than fun but the lessons extend beyond helping me be more comfortable in front of audiences, flexing my creative muscles outside of writing, and curbing my aloofness. On a weekly basis, improv has been a constant reminder of one major life lesson:
Fold in the mistakes!
It’s a phrase my teacher says often. When we are playing improv games to get warmed up, he always reminds us of this, usually adding that if similar mistakes happen repeatedly, we are not to stop, but recognize the new pattern we’ve created.
Since I’ve started my improv class, I’ve noticed something about the more talented (long-form) improvisers — they are able to help create engaging scenes by not harping on their own or others mistakes or weaknesses. They keep it moving, they build on what they have in front of them.
This is life!
Random thoughts while watching the video:
- Stevie J and Joseline….No. (I can’t think of anything else to say without being an ageist)
- If I was
ovulating 18 and at a house party back home, I might’ve talked to a dude who look like Trinidad James. He’s got an interesting style.
- *takes notes on Ciara’s floorwork @3:10*
- Future is fine. But we already knew that.
- Long-legged women stay winning. (I’m actually working on a visual arts exploration of this, stay tuned)
- I will never move back to Atlanta. I mean I know she reached out to industry folks to be in the video but watching it reminds me of how small Atlanta felt when I lived there. (I should also note that an episode of Bad Girls Club Atlanta was playing in the background the first time I saw the video, reinforcing the wackness of the city.)
This song is hot. This video is hot. Ciara may officially be mainstream sexy.
I’ve written about melancholy before – my coming to terms with my melancholic demeanor. Since then I’ve been learning to respect my various emotions as they contribute to my wholeness. Over on Jane’s blog, I found this great description of how we are in melancholy and just had to make note of it here:
In my mind’s eye, melancholy often carries a sense of grandeur: one always make it out to be bigger than oneself — we often describe ourselves as being lost in it; overwhelmed by it; controlled by it; it sweeps us into moans which is pleasing to us in heavy ways. There’s always a sense of unclarity like a mist to encourage the moodiness it embraces us with.
And some insight (at least from my reading of her thoughts) as to why we are always on the chase for happiness:
[H]appiness is weightless and melancholy heavy. Hence one feels as though happiness is instant, no matter how long one is immersed in it’s airiness; where as every second of melancholy feels wet. And yet, it is often melancholy which reveals ourselves to us. And it is often our ability to feel this sublimeness within us which encourages our humanity.
I’ve previously shared this video (in April of last year) but I’ve been needing a reminder of what the woman at 10m30s says:
“I’m gonna take the time to ingest images and foods and put myself in the company or space of ppl who make me feel worthy. And then I’m gonna challenge myself to silence that monkey mind or all those voices that go on and on telling you that you’re not worthy because you’re this that or the other thing.”
A while back I started cutting myself off from media images that I didn’t think were good for my self image. It was a good effort (and there’s still more work to be done there) but like Bessie Head said, absenting myself from a stifling environment is only a makeshift replacement for love. To create something more sustaining, I started a self-talk thing; it’s similar to affirmations but more of a conversation. I’ve been on and off with it, but my goal has been to feed myself with some positivity and truth about myself. Sometimes it’s in the form of prayer/meditation when I’m trying to connect with the spirits that are guiding me. I also use it to prepare for situations that I’m nervous about. It’s definitely been helpful but like everything else, I could be more consistent with it.
One day I’ll write a post about the last (and only?) time I was gaslit. Until then, enjoy this Alice Smith song that I’ve had on repeat lately:
I’ve just started Jericho Brown’s Please. It’s the 2nd poetry collection I’ve ever read (not including Evaristo’s novel-in-verse, Lara). The poems are engaging thus far but I wanted to make a quick note of the cover because I’m really digging the book’s cover design (by Adrianne Mesnard). The texture of the photo makes for an illusion: an offer of stubble, pores opened with age, well-cared-for lips — all inviting readers to touch:
Check it out from your library, so you can feel for yourself. (It is National Poetry Month).
from earlier: Mouths, I
Check it (it’s not as corny as the title might suggest):
Notes to self:
Don’t take your old beat up station wagon for granted! (station wagon analogy FTW)
“How fucking cool is it that you are alive and able to make choices and able to experience life and love and express a wide variety of emotions and smell things and taste things and think and tell stories and express yourself and interact with people. That is fucking beautiful.”
“Whenever you see a human being, you should imagine that person as a complex, unique, amazing creature because that’s what we are.”