It's almost eerie, the way I can revisit Audre Lorde's work again and again, and always find that she seems to be speaking directly to the questions I'm grappling with at the moment. It's one of the reasons I count her as one of my mentors, in spite of the fact that this mentorship began long after she passed away.
Have you ever had a mentor like that? Here's a passage I came across while
rereading her work for school. From her essay "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power:"For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.
These are meaningful words, and timely, for everything I've been exploring lately about getting in touch with my feelings
and creating change from within
. Thanks for the affirmation, Audre.
So. On with the newness. Here's one change that's happening for me: I'm no longer part of the Matrices Press anthology I was helping put together to gather voices that challenge oppression and silencing. Since I'm feeling open to change, it feels right to move on. Hopefully soon I'll be able to focus on my own project in support of my vision for lifting silenced voices. Big thanks to all of the talented writers who submitted their work! If you'd like to keep up on what's next for Matrices, visit the website
And something new that I'm trying: tonight I'm going to try participating in a special show called The Lit Slam. The Lit Slam is a monthly performance poetry event based on competition for a shot at publication in an annual print journal.
I've never competed in a poetry slam before, and I'm a little nervous about going up against some seasoned pros, but I am on the lookout for submission opportunities
, and since I'm trying new things, I thought I might as well. The last time I participated in a writers' competition, Portuguese Artists Colony, it turned out pretty well for me
. And if nothing else, I know that tonight I'll have fun, which is really my main goal.
This month's feature is slam champion Danez Smith
. I've just spent way too much time on Youtube falling in love with his poetry. I'll never get that time back, but it was so worth it. Here's one of his pieces. If you want to hear him read live, come out to Viracocha
tonight at 8 pm, and for more about The Lit Slam, see their website
I owe this blog a recap! I've been keeping busy with a variety of events
, including some exciting new projects, so here's a quick recap of all that's been going on. Deeper reflections to follow.
Regie Cabico reads at
Lit Crawl for Matrices
- Matrices Press. Matrices Press debuted during Lit Crawl 2011, the final night of the literary festival Litquake, with a reading by the writers of Matrices: Origins. Writers included myself, Regie Cabico, Laura Wolfe, Willy Lizárraga, Antonio G. Fernandez, and the anthology's editor, Rajshree Chauhan. I mentioned that I needed to have fun that night, and it was indeed a fantastically fun evening. And even more than that, it was an event that made waves.
As co-host and collaborator of the next Matrices anthology, I felt unbelievably honored to be there as the event unfolded. The other readers' work was just breath-taking, and the sense of how vital this work is resonated throughout the audience. And the waves are continuing to flow. So far, we've received submissions
from Canada, France, Africa, and throughout the United States for inclusion in our next anthology. It's going to be amazing. Catch some video from the event here
, and visit the Matrices website at www.matricespress.net
to learn more about the project and how you can submit!
The cast of That's What She Said,
hosted by Wonder Dave
and Caitlin Gill
- The Hermana Sisters. The Hermana Sisters also made their debut in October, at the all-female variety show That's What She Said! Actress Elaine Gavin and I joined forces to take on cultural appropriation, women's roles in the art industry and more, all with a sense of humor.
The entire show was just magnificent, and it was so much fun to be a part of it. You can watch all of the second night performances here
. Folks have asked if the Hermana Sisters will perform more in the future, and the answer is yes! Check back soon for more information.
Wellness Wednesday participants helped
create this altar for a
Dia de los Muertos event with PODER
- Wellness Wednesdays. I've been part of the circle of CUAV members putting together Fall Wellness Wednesdays at the offices of CUAV (Community United Against Violence). And it's been absolutely wonderful to see what grows each week as LGBTQ survivors of violence come together for community fun, healing and food. Learn more about Wellness Wednesdays at CUAV's website.
I dressed as Gwendolyn Brooks
for Saturday Night Special
- Growing as a reader. I've been having so much fun at readings. At Hollie Hardy and Tomas Moniz's Saturday Night Special, I featured with the incredible Nathan A. Jones and readers in costume brought their best to the open mic. And at the Living Room Reading Series, I read among such great writers as Dan Langton. It was an unforgettable experience.
I feel that I've been growing in general in my writing, but especially in the realm of being able to read my work. It's a really good feeling, to be able to use such tools as humor, honesty and imagination to create work that can both draw a response from a room and feel true to my voice. I'm really looking forward to my next reading, at the Clattering Loom on November 20th. Find the details on my events page.
I need to have some fun.
I've been stressing out way too much recently - almost enough to forget that I actually love my life and everything that keeps me busy in it. So tonight, some of my hard work will pay off, and I'll get to remember to have some fun. Tonight is Lit Crawl, the final night of Litquake, so in a matter of hours San Francisco's Mission District will be filled with those who love words. We'll gather in bars, bookstores, laundromats and alleys, share stories and poems and laughter, and yes, dammit, we're going to have some fun. Here's where you can find a full map and schedule for Lit Crawl (you'll need one!).
Street art in the Mission
Photos by Maisha Z. Johnson
For me, a night like this feels necessary not only for the chance for a much-needed fun break, but also because of the necessity of voices. With about 450 readers sharing their words tonight, paths will cross, folks will hear one another, and there will be intersections of roads that may not meet on any other night but this one. There will be a variety of readings to choose from, and on my personal journey through the Crawl, I'll be looking for readings that push beyond that damn d-word to embrace a true diversity of voices.
"To all indigenous people made prisoners in their own land"
That was the idea behind Matrices
, the event that I'll be a part of tonight. Not merely diversity in its (often short-sighted) usual sense, but integrated diversity
, to include all intersections. I'm so excited for this launch, which will happen during Phase 1 of LitCrawl, at 6 pm at Public Works. Where else can you find an integration of unique voices? This is
just a sampling.For Phase 2, at 7:15 pm, check out Cipactli: Raza Studies Journal of Art and Literature
or Sunday Stories presents…Brown People Don’t Read?
Phase 3, at 8:30 pm, includes Lamda Literary Foundation Presents
and The World Cries Out for Revolution
. Check out this video on Laura Goode's "Sister Mischief,"
an interracial, gay hip-hop story. Laura Goode will be reading during Phase 3's The Rumpus Presents
. And there are many more events to choose from! Will you be at LitCrawl? How will you choose? Maybe our paths will cross.
It's October, which feels to me like a turning point, at least for Bay Area writers. This time last year, I was relatively new to this blogging business, and I shared my giddiness
in anticipation of my first event as a featured reader
, taking place during Litquake 2010. Now, it's almost time for Litquake 2011, and it feels only right to take a moment to pause. To reflect on the past year, and to look forward to the next chapter in my life as a working writer, or something like it. For a review of the last year, see the archives. It's funny to me that I now have many of my experiences from over a year of my life
chronicled in blog form. For the next chapter, read on. There are many exciting events coming up, to launch the New Writers' Year. I'm realizing how much I've missed blogging over the last few busy weeks
, so that's one thing for me to look forward to - blogging regularly again. Here are a few more:
- Introducing Matrices at LitCrawl Phase 1, October 15, 6 pm. That's right, it's time for Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival. LitCrawl takes place on the final night. Start your journey on this literary crawl through the bars, laundromats and alleys of the Mission at Public Works, to witness the launch of Matrices Press.
- What is Matrices Press? It's a new project and publication, based on a longing to hear from those dynamic voices that are silenced too often. I've been helping Rajshree Chauhan, editor of Matrices: Origins, a publication launching during Litquake. Matrices: Origins features the work of myself and others, and we're accepting submissions for another anthology, to be published in 2012. Check out the details here!
- That's What She Said! October 19 & 20, 8 pm.I've teamed up with my good friend, improv genius and actress Elaine Gavin, and our amazingly awkward comedy duo will be featured at this variety show of women doing comedy, poetry, music and more. Join us at The Garage, and look out for future performances!
- Saturday Night Special, an East Bay Open Mic, October 29, 7 pm. I'm the featured reader at this special Halloween edition of Saturday Night Special! You have the option of participating as well - not only by dressing up and competing in the costume contest, but also by reading in the open mic! Or, you can just come to hang out, of course. Join us at Nick's Lounge in Berkeley. Got any ideas for literary costumes for me? Send them my way!
You can always stay updated on what's coming up by visiting my events page
. As you can see, I'll have a lot to write about, so come back often for the next year of blogging. Happy Writers' New Year! What are your resolutions?