It's been awhile since I've posted anything. So much has happened and is going on. Though it says this is being posted on March 7 (when I originally started the blog), I'm actually posting it on March 13.
Well, to start, I was recently shocked by the news of Octavia Butler's passing. I can't believe it. A) She was so young and B) I was waiting for her next book! and C) what a freak accident. It's not fair that she's gone because she was so brilliant and had so much to give. I feel blessed that I have known her work, including: Kindred, the Earthseed and Exogenesis series. BRILLIANT!! Axe to you my sistah Octavia, in life and in passing.
The Austin Project is going amazingly well. Laurie Carlos will be coming soon. We're now working on text and movement, as well as on connecting both things. I'm not a dancer, intuitively, but I'm stretching to incorporate dance and movement into my work. It's a good challenge. It's really interesting to think about how movement can influence the actual writing of text, and vice versa. I was looking for a form for the piece I've been working on and moving to it helped me find one. We'll be having our performances on April 8 and 9 in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to it. The people I've been working with are amazing.
This past weekend was also the AWP conference in downtown Austin. Peeps came out for it and I was so happy to see them!! Shout outs to P. H., Y.C. and r.E.D, as well as to the brilliant women and men of Cave Canem, who showered us with love, love, LOVE and beauty and power through their work. There was an official 10 year anniversary reading from the Cave Canem anthology on Friday afternoon. In the evening, Amanda Johnston, as part of the National Women's Alliance, and the Gibbous Moon Collective organized a reading, Sistas Aloud! that was beautiful. It felt historic to have so many amazing black women poets reading their work in the same space. I was honored to be there. The women who read were: Jacqueline Johnson, Raina J Leon, Stephanie Pruitt, Remica L Bingham, Jarita Davis, Amanda Johnston, Natasha Marin, Shia Shabazz, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Tara Betts, and the glorious Patricia Smith.
Highlights from the AWP conference included seeing Joy Harjo read, running into sweet, loving people, and the book fair. I dug that book fair. Loved going around talking to people, flipping through books and journals. It was almost more fun than the panels, although there were some good panels: Writing African-American Dialects, a panel on historical fiction (apropos), Joy Harjo (did I mention that already?), Hybrid Tensions: Novels that confront contrasting cultural spaces and storytelling traditions. I really enjoyed that one and was completely inspired by Gemini Wahhaj. Tiphanie Yanique was also fabulous on this panel; I'm excited to read her piece coming out in this Spring's Boston Review (she won the fiction contest - yay!).
This week is Austin's SXSW (South by Southwest) - there are HUNDREDS of films, music concerts, performances and "interactives". There are also hundreds of thousands of people in town attending these events. I'm going to check out some of them, especially on Thursday and Friday of this week. Next week I'll be going to a friend's dance performance.
In the meantime, check out Block Party if you have the chance. It's all love and laughter.