Last week I had the pleasure of doing a reading with the Afrotopia Book Club in my home town. Here are some random thoughts that related to/came of it:
The Brothers Jetstream—at its core—is about black folks doing what we’ve always done: protecting Mother Earth from greed. The eternal war: Art vs Commerce. Art says “Let’s explore our inner and exterior boundaries, let’s imagine new shared realities, ones beneficial to all.” Commerce says there’s only one reality: strife, because strife makes people buy things they don’t really want—and then commerce sets about making that false state a lasting reality. Granted I want everyone to buy this book…but money wasn’t the prime driver in getting the message of this book out.
The message was how do we (and specifically black people) deal with an insane world: we create, we rebuild, we renew.
THE STATE OF SCIENCE FICTION
We’ve caught up with the old stories. We live a science fiction life. Look at Flint. How big a stretch would it be to have Katniss walking the streets? Now we’re at the point where our stories absolutely MUST go where the old rarely ventured: the everyday life of the individual, the soul of Life. That’s where people outside the mainstream excel. Why? Because their/our lives encompass the need to escape from the hellish dreams of oppressors. It’s the difference between “We find the problem; let’s create a solution” and “We are the problem; let’s pretend we’re the solution.”
Sad / Rabid Puppies & the Lovecraft Award change (people manic about hanging on to the old ways).
JK Rowling (stepped in it as the latest trying to Disneyfy First Nations people).
PoC Destroy Science Fiction (which I submitted a story to) – It’s like with Detroit, people always wonder where Detroit’s comic, sci fi, and other visionary healing are. Answer: IT’S RIGHT THERE. ALWAYS BEEN THERE. Andre Batts has been putting on the Motor City Black Age of Comics convention for years. MECCA Con (Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts) spearheaded by Maia Crown Williams is another comic-geared convention, and it rocked the hell out of the Main Library last fall. We’ve always been here. The problem has been we were squelched. We’d be the ones jumping outside a window and the Mainstream’s inside saying, “Nope, don’t see you.”
A friend posted this a few days ago from Humans of New York. It touches perfectly on the False Prophet Buford’s motto “If it was special we made damn sure it didn’t stay that way”:
A gentleman is sitting on a park bench above the caption: “I don’t enjoy observing people as much as I used to. Everyone acts like they’re on stage. People used to come to The Village sheepishly. Nobody was sure if they belonged. We didn’t know if we were artists. These days everyone walks around like they’re contributing something. There’s no angst anymore. There’s too much certainty. And that’s a shame. Because all the best art comes from people who feel like they don’t belong. Art is a way of proving your existence. When I was a young man, a person that I respected told me that I was an artist. It was one of the worst things that could have happened to me. I stopped walking into museums or galleries with a sense of awe. I walked in feeling like an ‘artist.’ My arms would be crossed. If I liked a piece, it was ‘good.’ If I didn’t like a piece, it was ‘bad.’ I didn't feel vulnerable anymore. I lost my humility. And that’s when growth stops.”
The Jetstreams is about that sense of wonder never going away…even when your daily life consists of Atlantis, vampires, and a hundred entrenched global conspiracies.
Pen. Your pen must flow as smoothly as well-lubricated sex. Choose wisely.
Laptop. Indispensable. Why? You can spread out on the couch. Too long at a desktop = unhappy buttocks. Laptop + couch + lounging that ass off = Happy Buttocks. Always bet on happy buttocks.
Desktop. The old war horse.
Paper. As in writing pads. Many writing pads. Not everybody writes longhand first but there will always be those flashes of inspiration during inopportune moments requiring silence and/or stealth. Midnight. Phone or pad out of power. Jury room. Confessional.
Internal drive to grasp the narrative thread given us by perceptions of linear-based time in order to solidify thought and emotion. A necessity.
Snacks. And an exercise regimen. Yeah.
Life, the universe, and everything creative
Towel Photo credit: EvelynGiggles via Foter.com / CC BY