Sunday, February 15, 2015

39 is YES

I've been lacing life between so many corners of the earth. In the meantime, great things have happened. I'm in Eugene, Oregon - in case you're wondering - and making life here, stitching meaning out of scraps of here and there looks something like this:

I finished my dissertation in March 2014, and graduated from Yale in May 2015. Now, I don't give too much stock to the Ivy Leagues, but I have to say: I was so incredibly happy to have achieved that PhD. Sometimes, we can't measure successes in time - just in blood, sweat, and tears. Graduate school gives new meaning to blood, to sweat, to tears. As a queer woman of color, and gender non-conforming to boot, and an artist to top it off, Grad school taught me a thing or two about preserving that light we carry within. I am glad to say I still carry it what I came to this earth with, and that it has only grown bigger as a result of making good with what I received.

In the summer 2014, I launched an editing and writing coach business, SOURCE, which compliments the artistic and scholarly work I'm doing, and also helps support that work. You can find out more here.  

Then, in the Fall 2014, I joined the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies at University of Oregon, as their first Visiting Scholar. Wow. Not that I take stock on firsts, but it's kind of amazing to be welcomed by a group of folks who are so committed to opening paths for scholars to do their work, and to receive support in that process. I feel so lucky and it's been amazing so far (two talks down - two more to go! One class halfway through, another class around the corner!).

And, in November 2014, I had the honor of being on a plenary with Kemala Kempadoo and Ana Irma Rivera Lassen - wow. To be among these powerful women, who've been so central to opening conversations and our collective thinking to new ideas and ways of being. I spoke about the ancestors, about Catholic coloniality, about sexual terror. I tried to speak to our hearts, to find a place of love and memory. 

Already feeling like life was so beyond what I could expect, in January 2015, I then received even more incredible news:

I was just awarded an Oregon Arts Commission Fellow, and received the Joan Shipley Award as part of that (double) honor! I'm so excited because it makes Oregon make sense to me in so many ways, to be able to be part of a broader artists' community, with other amazing folks who are making their work. And, I will be performing Landlines in Eugene on August 22 & 23, 2015 as part of the Fellowship! More on that, soon, soon...

AND, I just received the Lilla Jewel Award from the MRG Foundation, to support the development of "The Hope Chorus" - an exploration about what Hope means in this 21st century moment, taking into account our collective social justice struggles across our various communities.  I am so, so excited, and we will be performing at the Portland Art Museum on May 15 (if you are in the area, buy your tickets here! And if you're not, you can still support MRG Foundation).  Not only will I be able to make new work, but it will be in collaboration with four incredible women. More on them soon!

AND, as if that wasn't enough (my cup is full, I drink joyfully, and appreciate the glimmer of the sun and moon on the tender broth): I have a party release date for CANTOS!!  Mark it in your calendars: September 18, 2015 - Cave Canem Foundation, Dumbo, Brooklyn - New York Release Party for Cantos. TEN YEARS in the making, I decided to celebrate the release of Cantos as part of my birthday celebration *yes I'm a Virgo* so I hope you join me in the birthday party, and in the release of CANTOS!!

I have other exciting things coming up, too.  On March 5, 2015 I will be on a panel to discuss Speculative Fiction and Black Queer Worldmaking as part of the Afro-Imaginative Symposium at UT-Austin. 

On April 13, 2015 (7pm), I will be delivering the Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture at the University of Oregon.  Sally Miller Gearhart is a bad-ass lesbian elder, activist, scholar and novelist. She is definitely someone I admire, for her boldness and brilliant commitment. So, this is definitely an honor! 


So, thus far, this birthday year has been incredible. And I am so grateful and astounded...as is only fitting when you look up from the thread to look up at the long quilt spread in your lap. I hope to see folks 'round the way - in those corners where the borders meet.  LOVE!