Winding down and firing up

Personal Narrative

Wrote Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” There are also years that break your heart and years that fill them. And some years are simply a rollercoaster of questions, answers, exclamations, proclamations, numbness, anger, heartache and love.

10801508_10152880868100798_5545174428645282099_n
The kiddos, Blue and me. #blendedfamily

2014 was one of those years.

It bore witness the passing of beloved icons, the reclamation of beauty, horrific brutality and engaging art. Just everything. In the midst of the collective tragedies and celebrations, I enjoyed my own milestones and joy-filled events.

This year flew by. They say the older you get, the more quickly time seems to pass. I’m not sure when or if the trend reverses, but I do know I’m finding it difficult to grasp the end of this calendar year and the beginning of the next.

Compared to the recent past, I’ve probably spent the least amount of time on social media this year. I’ve blogged a little less, tweeted a lot less, and at various intervals, I removed Facebook from my phone entirely. That said, for my 40th birthday, I merged my old domain name and my blog into a new virtual space. A few folks stopped by and took a look around. Some posts resonated:

  1. In one, I weave my wedding story with my daddy’s memorial.
  2. In another, I challenge critics to be more discerning – more critical, in fact – of artifacts presented on the Internet.
  3. In the third most popular post of the year, Tayari invited me to share a little bit about my writing process.

A couple of entries from my older blog made the rounds as well. Folks liked reading about being powerful and feminine (yes, simultaneously), wearing dresses, and FAMU president Dr. Elmira Mangum’s contract battle.

10366286_10153000978792780_6992355837704246348_nAs we go into the new year I’m re-imagining this space and the stories I want to tell here. In truth, I’ll always do that. What is living, really, if it doesn’t include evolution, revolution, growth, change?

In many respects, 2014 was a foundational year for me. But current events have me in feisty, fiery mood. Not angry, but more awake. Spirited. Inspired. Quite honestly, I’m looking forward to the fireworks.

I’m wishing you a year of evolution, righteous victory and overwhelming joy.

Have you made art today?

Love

I’ve been asking myself this question daily as of late. In part, because it reminds me that I am an artist – something I’ve only recently embraced. And in part, because it spurs me to action if the answer is no.

There’s a lot going on these days. It seems some of us have become caught in a cycle of  seeking and finding the worst in each other. Of creating solutions that perpetuate vengeance and violence rather than compassion or healing.

When reality is ugly, brutal, far from utopia and idealism, art shows us beauty and possibility. It encourages. Resonates. Reminds. It gives us new questions and new ideas. It pushes. Heals. Helps us to expand. Art is activism.

Whether you paint or dance or cook or sew or write or act or sing or whittle or sculpt or compose or love or…

Have you made art today?

The institutions of human society treat us as parts of a machine. They assign us ranks and place considerable pressure upon us to fulfill defined roles. We need something to help us restore our lost and distorted humanity. Each of us has feelings that have been suppressed and have built up inside. There is a voiceless cry resting in the depths of our souls, waiting for expression. Art gives the soul’s feelings voice and form.

~Daisaku Ikeda