Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wow. So much has happened this past week. Where do I begin? Well, my lap top computer officially decided to call it quits last Wednesday afternoon. I was trying to install a new wireless adapter when it went beep beep beep and died. My computer is in the shop until tomorrow, so I'm not singing dirges yet. I still have hope.

In the meantime, I've been visiting the Center for African & African American Studies. This is where we meet for The Austin Project workshops; I also use the computer for internet research. My coda/intro deadline for Erzulie's Skirt is coming up on Monday February 20th and I want to have everything into Lisa C Moore by then, but the computer thing is definitely something I didn't anticipate. I think sometimes, writing just requires adaptability and flexibility. Oh yeah- and resources. There's that!

The workshop is amazing. This past weekend we met a Resistencia bookstore here in Austin and sat in the presence of two incredible elders: raulsalinas and aina olomu. What?!! They were incredible. Just to be in their presence was powerful (it makes me think about how many of our elders from the movements in the 60s are still alive and accessible), but then when they dropped their humility and wisdom on us, it was so moving. I was thinking a lot about the connections between spirituality, creativity and community. The fact that for me, all three are interdependent. In other words - that writing is a practice for me. It's a practice that I stray from sometimes, but one that I try to hold nonetheless. And that writing allows for profound creativity and happens for me in community. Anyway, that was part of the conversation and it was powerful. If you ask me the particulars of what was said, I don't know if I could tell you because what they shared made its way into my subconscious and in many ways has permanently changed me. Oh well, yes, there are a couple of things.

One is that raulsalinas started resistencia books with three books 24 years ago.

The second is when aina olomu said, what's the point of spirituality without community?

Anyways...other than that, we are moving right along. Laurie Carlos will be with us shortly, in March, and I am looking forward to working with her.

Before then, is the upcoming AWP conference: The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Annual Conference. Yes - I missed the online registration deadline, but I'll be there. And so will some great friends. I'm really excited about that.

Some women here in Austin who are Cave Canem fellows and alumni will be reading their stuff. As soon as I have more info, I'll pass it on.

It's great to be here. Peace

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's been a couple of weeks since I had serious internet access. I've been on the road, from NYC to Austin. Phew. But before we get to that...

The reading panel and workshop on January 28th was AMAZING. Dr Moreno Vega really said some powerful things about life, living, truth and love. She was wonderful. And it was cool cause she read from her memoirs, which was a great balance to the fiction that I read (I read three excerpts from Erzulie's Skirt). The audience asked some great questions about what inspires us, how to deal with writer's block and how to stick with our voices. Then after the panel, I had about 19 folks in the workshops. We did some movement work, some writing and some shared writing. From what I heard, folks got a lot out of that. I left feeling really happy, and the Caribbean Cultural Center is such a great space. It just gives off good, good vibes. Chango was with us all the way, too!

Then the road was great. We drove through Pennsylvania, decked out in Go Steelers signs from Philly to Pittsburgh. Then down through W. Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri where we stopped to see my brother and his fiancee; they are so lovely. After that, it was roadside Haiku. We decided to take the long route through Oklahoma: via Highway 69 instead of 44 to 35. Eh -hem. Halfway through the plains, we started composing small poems such as this:

Need a job?
Stop
Do Not Enter
Carcasses accepted for deposit
Stop
Stop
Detour

Yes - Roadside Haiku. A small spin off from the Urban Haiku's of earlier years

And finally, on Saturday, we arrived in Austin. Austin is a lovely city. It's got the southwestern climate, with California architecture, Texas attitude and an overall love of funkiness and fun. We've been driving around the neighborhoods trying to familiarize ourselves with the city. So far, we can see that the action is happening on the south side, and that besides malls of franchises, life happens on the small streets. There are some amazing folks here. We stopped by ALLGO today, and the Theater Action Project is right here, too. Later today we are going to check out Guadalupe Street.

Yesterday was my first workshop with The Austin Project. Talk about an Incredible Group of People: IGP. Yes - incredible. Very dynamic. We have a really great blend of performers and writers, as well as life backgrounds. Very abundantly creative group of folks. More on that later. I'm off to lunch. Peace.