Hello Good People~
It's been so long since I have written to you that I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I must begin where I am, which is a place of huge gratitude.
The last year of my life has been the most painful and transformative. I suffered a series of devastating and irrevocable losses (more on that in future letters) that pressed me to the edges of myself. Something (or a set of somethings) had impacted me, creating a crater, a lake, a space of reflection and silence. It was this great depth, and the clarity of what was left standing at the edges, that gave me the freedom to reimagine who I am, who I can be, and what my work in this world (at least this time around) is for.
It was profound to experience in my own life what I have long understood to be true - that change and transformation grows at the edges, it comes from the edges, and that it is only when our reductionist and essentialized stories of ourselves or what is are erased that we can envision a different path. From our darkest places comes our capacity to make magic happen. From our darkest places comes our liberation and our yearning, our willingness to transform.
This theme is embedded throughout an incredible project that is finally (finally!) being birthed into being after years of labor. Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements is an anthology of visionary science fiction and
speculative fiction written by organizers and activists. I am excited and proud (and definitely a little nervous) to share that I have a story being published in this anthology called "Small and Bright," an excerpt from an unpublished novel I have been working on since 2010. This anthology, coming out in April from AK Press, is curated by co-editors adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, and includes short stories, works in progress, art, and essays from some of the most visionary organizers and change makers of our time.
In a recent article, Walidah Imarisha wrote about the powerful community organizing and movement work that inspired Octavia's Brood, named in honor of Black feminist sci-fi writer and MacArthur “Genius” award winner Octavia Butler: "We started the anthology with the belief that all organizing is science fiction. When we talk about a world without prisons; a world without police violence; a world where everyone has food, clothing, shelter, quality education; a world free of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, heterosexism; we are talking about a world that doesn’t currently exist. But collectively dreaming up one that does means we can begin building it into existence." Her gorgeous piece about the anthology, which includes a snapshot of my story, can be found here - Rewriting the Future: Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice.
Is this work necessary? I believe so. For me, speculative and science and visionary fiction has always been the gateway between the world we live in and the world that can be.
And if numbers mean anything, Octavia's Brood have already broken AK Press's record for number of pre-orders. :) You can pre-order your copy HERE.
In other news, I made a wonderful employment transition at the beginning of 2015, and I am now serving as the Interim Executive Director of RECLAIM!, a nonprofit that provides mental health and integrative care to queer and trans youth in Minnesota, with the vision that our communities can be free of oppression in all its forms. I am also serving on the Project Leadership Team for the Cultural Agility Collaboration, a statewide project hosted by Minnesota Campus Compact that is working to build authentic cross-racial collaborations and shared power within Minnesota's institutions of higher education.
In this time of newness and abundance, I am intent on publishing Iambrown on a more regular basis, so stay tuned for future news.
Happy freakin' equinox and supermoon and solar eclipse, people.