Tonight I had the honor of reading with Sekou Sundiata at Resistencia Bookstore. Pretty incredible experience. Not only because of being in the brilliant presence of Brother Sundiata, but because it happened in the Resistencia space, with so many other brilliant people in the room. There were several of us reading and talking within the format of Sekou's "51st (Dream) State" project. So what it looked like was like this:
Shia Shabazz read her piece "Cyanosis" and we then engaged in a conversation about motherhood and responses to the world around us
Amanda Johnston read her piece "Electric Green" and we then got into a bigger discussion about how to do and how to be with response to the crises in the world around us, how to balance a sense of urgency with pause
Lisa Moore read a really powerful piece (I'm forgetting the title right now) about memory, childhood violence and survival. And we then discussed the role of the artist in generating/preserving/shifting/embodying memory.
I read a new piece from the Lexicon series (more on that later) that I'm working on. And then we discussed spirituality, paradigm shifts and language.
Andy Johnson read from a short fiction piece about a boy's search to remember the smell of rain. We then discussed shifts in the U.S. civil rights movement, the voices of children, and then...
Rene asked us to consider the question of why 9/11 is a relevant/important moment. This is a huge part of Sekou's work with this piece. So the rest of the evening was spent discussing collective trauma, family, genocide, fragility, humanism, personal and collective memory, citizenship, the role of the artist, the role of family, empire, lynching and terror.
Check out photos from the event on Amanda Johnston's blog. We were having a deep, good time.
All thanks to Sekou's intention. So thank you, Sekou, for engaging us - all of us in the room - with this discussion. A deep, deep honor.