Once again…back to thinking about

What is friendship?  Who do you call a friend?  When do they  fail you and when are they you’re biggest fan?

How do you talk about privilege to the privilege (i.e. how to be an ally?  Esp. when the people I love most are the most close-minded on certain things?)

“There is nothing glamorous about being poor.” So true.  Then why I am so uncomfortable with advancing my own status.  This isn’t internalized oppression.  This is an honest feeling, I think, that my way of life is ten times better than the way of life of those people in that condo up the street. 

I hate gentrification.

I’ve never thought about what it must mean to be the only Black and Puerto Rican (and to look it!) and to be the only half-sibling or half-daughter besides.  I’ve never thought about how lonely I’d be without having at least ONE person who understood and embodied what the hell you were in the same house as you. I think I might have gone a little crazy.  It makes me want to cry as I write this.  So I am overwhelmingly blessed to have you BOTH.  (And, to the little homie, chica I ALWAYS have your back.  You’re always home and have a home in me.  That’s sangre, mija).  I wouldn’t be who I am today without you both and I only hope I can support you as you need to be supported and empower you as you need to be empowered to be the great women you are destined to be.

And that brings me back to friendship.  How much do friends change over the years.  I thought some things would never, ever change.  Not fundamentally.  But it seems like they are.  Is this bad?  Is this good?  I am still blessed–but damn.  What to do with this new geography we are mapping as a crew….

Family is love.  Love is work.

That is all.

I’m feeling a little better.

Sent emails to my writing group.

Tucked Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter in my bag as my new *break book.*

Actually working in my office instead of my bed.

Part of the release is that I have my roommate situation almost settled.  But part of it is that the time is nigh.

I dreamed that I was fired from a teaching job I loved, something reminiscent of my position at KIPP.  I cried so hard in the dream.  I thought I would wake up crying, but I didn’t.

I’d be so overwhelmingly sad if I wasn’t doing the thing I am doing.  This is work that I’m meant for.  My fear doesn’t change that.  But my fear can take that work out of my hands if I don’t manage to regroup in time.

So the regrouping begins now.  I am affirming self.

Andrea Hairston’s Mindscape

“We still yearn for a Metatheory, a God who never lies, whose simple, absolute truth will guide us from nothing to everything without once falling down. Unfortunately truths are false and lies are true. Anything we are absolutely certain of doesn’t matter and everything that truly matters is uncertain.”
~~Vera Xa Lalafia


Finished. Really, really liked it. And since I am still stuck in the Lull and am apparently incapable of constructing a coherent paragraph much less a review essay, here are the bullet points. (Never fear–no spoilers ahead). Mindscape:

  • Confirms for me that the best hard sci-fi is the kind that openly lusts for magical realism and leaps of fantasy.
  • Confirms that science fiction looks very different when it takes takes seriously 1) that a hero can be female and still sexy, violent, flawed, vulnerable and triumphant 2) a female hero of color can be all of these without being junglefied or mammied 3) people of color can play roles that aren’t just witty, “ethnic throwback” sidekicks or helplessly tormented victims.
  • POC humanity can be fundamental parts of the plot without the story collapsing into racial polemics, masochistic Afrocentricity, ambiguous mestizaje, or a melting pot of Latinidad. Translation? The history, culture, politics, and, hell, the people-dom of people of African, Latina/o and Native American descent should not only be a part of the story that is told but that people-dom should be critiqued and created with the same rigor as majority (Anglo or European) societies. That means asking what is it that poc nickname God? Was it the color of their skin only? Was the rhythm of the drums/beat/scratch? Was it the distribution of political and social power between men and women, elders and age-grades? Was it the lyric and spiritual? The curve of clay forms? Was it a kind of prayer or a way of speaking? And where do you then place histories of slavery and genocide, how do your characters feel that as spectre even as they walk in worlds three, four or five thousand years ahead of today?
  • You don’t have to say your characters are any color for them to be that color. (Proof again that putting the humanity of people of color into sci-fi is more than just taking a brown crayon to your cookie-cutter hero or heroine)
  • Just because you don’t give your characters a color doesn’t make them “everyman” or “everywoman” (Proof again….)
  • Gender is as much a myth as race and should be interrogated and respected just as is explained above. Sexuality is the same deal. And the absolute best sci-fi out right now is flipping both of those way on their head and them thrusting them into another dimension before bringing them back and commiting them to paper.
  • Ooooooh on the way that really, really good sci-fi can take things that are absolutely normal today, magnify them, and make them absolutely otherworldly and yet frighteningly prescient. (I can’t say more without spoiling…but ooooohhhhhh!)
  • Ooooooh on the way that afrofuturism deplores the happy ending. After all: “Anything we are absolutely certain of doesn’t matter and everything that truly matters is uncertain.”

That is all, at least until I am a real writer again. If you have free time, read the book. If I had free time I would start a TechnoAfroCats Book Collective or distro (yay, I just learned what that is!) or something.

Hmm. Actually, interesting thought. I might have to consider that….

Kismet is a writer, teacher, dreamer, scholar, insurgent, artist & in love with history. This is where I live.  She co-authors the blog Waiting 2 Speak.