A dear friend of mine read my recent post on anxiety, identity, power and struggle and commented that my work reads as though I am constantly unveiling an authentic self. I asked her what she meant, though I think intuitively, i knew. Feeling partially naked, partially curious to hear my own thoughts, I responded. That night I shared clearer than ever: when i write, i dive for words, I pull them grudgingly up from chambers inside and glaze them on a page before they run or duck. If this metaphor is true then my writing must be my very own flesh turned out. Another friend reminds me that this analysis of self, this woman self, this black woman self, this young, black, woman self, is all kinds of political. Which, of course, makes sense to me. Primarily because through the years I’ve learned what this craft does for, to, with me and those around me.
I’ve been writing since i was 8. And i now have almost thirty journals filled with stories of birth-day parties, notes from friends, early year poetry, tales from travels, current events and some public news. At a young age i learned quickly to document and archive. Somehow trying to compensate for the absence of pictures from my mothers childhood. In other ways filling a void in little black girl’s narratives. Over the years, these journal pages have safe guarded much, but not everything. There are times when i am afraid of writing. Let me repeat: There are times when i am afraid of writing, because there are times that i am afraid. This year, i am dedicated to understanding this. Remembering that writing is fleshy, vulnerable, inside-out stuff for me, I am mindful to not swallow the blue pill whole while jointly experimenting with the thought that shedding light on fear might make one fear/less.
This commitment comes the day after 12 people are killed in Paris. Where words like barbaric, terrorism, Islam and fundamentalist are splayed across headlines. Images of black men, men in black, black guns, black cars, black. Flashes on repeat.
This commitment comes the day after a NAACP chapter in Colorado is bombed. Coverage spans over 1 single corporate media outlet. Suspect: “Domestic terrorism”.
This commitment comes the day 3 more women bravely forward stories of sexual assault accusing Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them. Total count: 30 women
This commitment comes 6 years after an oil spill in Nigeria. Shell oil company to pay settlement: $84 million – fraction of the costs required to rebuild homes and communities where families have been displaced.
No monetary value: the cost of rebuilding their lives.
This commitment comes the day after the UN confirms Palestine will join the International Criminal Court. The response: Israel halts sending millions of $$ in tax revenues needed to pay Palestinian salaries and Public Services. USA threatens to revoke $440 million in aid to Palestine. The result: economic terrorism.
This commitment comes the night Washington, USA offers for the 1st time that their guns and bombs may have killed civilians. Number dead: not important.
…according to Pentagon spokesperson:
“We don’t have the ability to — to count every nose that we schwack. Number two, that’s not the goal. That’s not the goal… the goal is to degrade and destroy their capabilities. And we’re not getting into an issue of body counts.”
This commitment comes eight days into the new year.
so when i can’t write…
I must still remember my commitment to do so.
“I remember the promise i made my pen never to leave it lying in somebody else’s blood”