KL: You know, I’ve never talked about this explicitly, but I know my mama is an expert at what the fuck she’s an expert in. [...] I know the people. [...] But the question is, like how do you allow them to have the flexibility and the fluidity of like their real character and like the directness of quote, unquote, “expertise.” And one, you just have to — reportage is just you have to ask the question, you have to ask these people questions, sit down and listen to answers." (2/?)
KL: But then I just think you have to think about, OK, what happens if I bring Ray Gunn’s voice into a piece about Chauvin and what happens in Minnesota. My grandmother, like I’ve interviewed my grandmama probably like 2,000 to 3,000 hours. Because I’m always in my mind, I’m thinking about to do this different project. And so my grandmama was not allowed to read and write in any sort of public way." (3/?)
KL: And then they used her ability to read and write to not allow her to vote, though she went outside the bounds to learn how to read and write. So you can’t tell me not to put this person who gave me life and gave me like artistic and ethical vision, you can’t tell me not to put her in some essay, particularly an essay you don’t think she belongs.
KL: you can see like oh he keeps on writing about his grandmama or his family. But in my heart it’s like yeah bc y’all tried to write my grandmama & my family off the face of the Earth. So I’m going to try to bring these people into some hopefully majestic sort of artful creation. That’s just basically what I do. These people mean the world to me. These people hurt me in ways nobody else can. They love me in ways nobody else can. They know about my birth marks. They know everything. (5/6)
KL: & you know us. You know we’re tricksters. You know what I’m saying? Like, yeah, I wrote a book called “Long Division.” & there’s two characters called City. And, you know, that book is doing a lot of things. One of the things I’m doing is like I’m literally writing back to my mother who made me read “A Tale of Two Cities” like eight times before I could do anything. Well, I’m like, OK, Mama, well, I’m going to craft my own tale of two cities and it’s going to be called “Long Division.” (1/2)
"Now, I don’t need to make that explicit for anybody else on Earth but me and my mama. Do you know what I’m saying? But I just think sometimes, those kind of things are what carry art. I’m not like just trying to reactively write against normative cis white shit. But I am trying to affirmatively write myselves and the parts of myself that I don’t even love into whatever people are going to be reading tomorrow. That’s for sure. I’m definitely trying to do that." (2/2)
"Queer antagonism, like trans antagonism, like anti-blackness is an addiction broken only by honest reckoning, consistent practice, and the welcoming of radical spirits.
Like most Mississippians, I am an addict. Like most Americans, I am a coward."
~Kiese Laymon (from one of his essays in How To Slowly Kill Yourselves and Other in America (the revised edition))
KL: But like I need to not fuck with that song because I don’t need more incentive to believe the ideas in that song. And I have plenty of incentives to believe the ideas in that song. That’s me. You know what I’m saying? This isn’t for somebody else. It’s because like I’m already queer antagonistic. I’m already trans antagonistic. I’m already anti-Black. I’m already misogynist. (1/2)
KL: If I know certain things are going to encourage me to be more, I need to, as a grown human being who creates art, be like, I’ve got to divest myself of that art. And I think that’s what we all have to do as human beings in this world if we want to move to a more honest, tender place. I can’t control the world, but I can control what I do, you know?" (2/2)
KIESE LAYMON: I think the thing that connects all of us is that it is really hard to look back yesterday at something that we did that we don’t want to look at — on a very elementary level. I think a lot of us don’t even want to assess what we have done if we have potentially done something that is harmful. So we can’t even talk about revision if you don’t talk about the vision. Like the assessment is the vision. (1/?)
KIESE LAYMON: And so the thing that I’ve learned most importantly is that the times in my life when I’m so sure that I have done a relationship, a job, a piece of art like ethically and tenderly, like those are the times you have to like commit more to looking back and seeing what kind of harm was done, if at all? What kind of joys are secretly in there? But for me, like the act of revision on the page is so tied to the act of living our lives. (2/?)
KIESE LAYMON: And the hardest part is the assessment. I just want to say like the vision, like looking at who and what you’ve done. And then if you look at that with like any sort of like rigor or clarity, I think, one, can be like, OK, well, here’s what I need to do differently. What I think we do as Americans is that we resist the hard vision. We resist the hard assessment. (3/?)
KIESE LAYMON: But I don’t even think we can get there because most of us are afraid of what we see when we look backwards. And I am too. But I know that the only way that we can grow backwards and forwards is to like honestly assess the ingredients that we put into life. And that’s what I try to do with my work. (5/5)
KIESE LAYMON: I mean, it’s going to sound like I’m full of myself, but to be Kiese Laymon sort of means you’re a real Black writer. You know what I mean? Like I accept myself now. And I’m a lot of things. And I’m terrible at a lot of things. And I’m a fake at a lot of things. But I’m a real Black writer, fam. And I’m so grateful that I can live long enough to say that to you. (1/2)
KIESE LAYMON: Because I know what that means. I’m going to always, always be invested in revision. I’m going to be always, always invested in the voices of our people that were never given space. And I’m always going to be invested in weirdness. And, to me, that’s what being a real Black writer means. And that’s what I try to do. (2/2)
im going through my insta which is not the best idea BUT i forgot about this music video i got to be in (i love mal blum so much you dont understand) and its perfect timing cause i had so much joy doing this and it came out so much better than i couldve hoped
hyping myself up to do more that just survive today
i will do my storyboard homework and read j. jennifer espinosa and cam awkward rich and go through the trans poets thread and listen to mal blum and go to puppetry class and go to black gay and stuck at home and try to set up an appt to get my haircut w queer barbers and be excited about orphan black and cry and scream a lil and work out and worry about this draining ass paper at the v last minute instead of wasting my day over it!
what ill do:
go to black gay & stuck at home tonight / honor my black trans family
go to a class i enjoyed last week & continue laughing at my storyboard
watch tampa trans film festival
drink enough water
watch batwoman and/or x files and/or willys wonderland
feel joy at this therapy consult i just had
listen to montero
compile these i am loved reminders into the folder so i dont forget
worry about my paper later if ever
plan curse everyone out and maybe sleep
WHAT RESEMBLES THE GRAVE BUT ISN’T by Anne Boyer
Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another one; sometimes falling into a hole within a hole, or many holes within holes, getting out of them one after the other, (1/?)
" then falling again, saying “this is not your grave, get out of the hole”; sometimes being pushed, saying “you can not push me into this hole, it is not my grave,” and getting out defiantly, then falling into a hole again without any pushing; sometimes falling into a set of holes whose structures are predictable, ideological, and long dug, often falling into this set of structural and impersonal holes; (2/?)
" sometimes falling into holes with other people, with other people, saying “this is not our mass grave, get out of this hole,” all together getting out of the hole together, hands and legs and arms and human ladders of each other to get out of the hole that is not the mass grave but that will only be gotten out of together; (3/?)
"sometimes the willful-falling into a hole which is not the grave because it is easier than not falling into a hole really, but then once in it, realizing it is not the grave, getting out of the hole eventually; sometimes falling into a hole and languishing there for days, weeks, months, years, because while not the grave very difficult, still, to climb out of (4/?)
"Even when most fans know TV is written by a roomful of people, they still tend to lean towards individuals when they think of writing. I have a lot of thoughts about how fans—and audiences in general—have a really hard time processing the fact that people are writing in groups, iteratively. Even with massive franchise films made by thousands of people, they latch onto individual figures, even when 100 people may have had a hand in the script." (2/2)
“I think we’re so often told, or made to believe that being Black and being queer, being Black and being Trans, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, is a divergence, not just from blackness but from our lineage. And I want to tell you that it’s the exact opposite. It’s a returning and it’s a regrounding. “ — Benji Hart
there was this post on insta i saw yesterday about "do not set boundaries at the same time you are discussing emotions/venting" or something to that effect. and i couldve used that last year, perhaps, but its helped a lot. cause i never think to establish my boundaries until it feels like its too late and i shouldve used that as a starting point of where i need to grow instead of believing thats how it has to be forever.
something a friend (l) told me that i keep just trying to remember when i feel like im not good enough/doing enough is that i cannot heal in the same environment that hurt me. so when things are hard here. when it feels impossible to get better, its because, well, it is. i can keep chipping away, making my coping mechanisms a little better and stuff, but i will not be able to fully heal until im out. and that may never happen. and i should stop hurting myself over it.
"love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth. Only love can give us the strength 2 go forward in the midst of heartbreak & misery. Only love can give us the power 2 reconcile, 2 redeem, the power 2 renew weary spirits & save lost souls. The transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change. W/out love our lives are w/out meaning. Love is the heart of the matter. When all else has fallen away, love sustains"~bell hooks
"None of this
Is man-made or of human making, our
understanding irrelevant in the face of
Its perpetuity, and yet, with an arrogance
so great we question the abundance of
The stars right to its face, all while looking up
at their tricks of entropy, our eyes gleaming
In the presence
of a dead light."
~Camonghne Felix, Even When Looking Up He Thinks He's Above The Stars
“Slowly I began to understand fully that there was no place in academe for folks from working-class backgrounds who did not wish to leave the past behind. That was the price of the ticket. Poor students would be welcome at the best institutions of higher learning only if they were willing to surrender memory, to forget the past and claim the assimilated present as the only worthwhile and meaningful reality.”
— bell hooks
ive been learning that i need to calm down about making art for capitalism's sake--which i keep trying to be like, no! its different this time!--bc aside from being unsustainable and against my heart, it just isnt possible. i do the same lines, the same obsessions, running my tongue along the hole where the tooth used to be & my tongue keeps memory it doesnt matter how far i go i will always remember the sharp of it & i will use it in everything & it will never be fresh but like why should i be
the inherent romanticism of theatre, though the story is the same i may fall and you might forget your cue, changing us irrevocably only those here will witness us, we will never breathe this same breath again
the inherent tragedy (or potential joy) of film, the story will always be like this you can not pause me long enough to keep me from my endings, i will return to the same breath, you can turn away but i will always end like this does that fill you hope or terror?
art is fucking amazing
a response to "how do i trust myself after leaving an abusive relationship?" that ive needed for a while
@wenotfreeyet This one?
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
a personal server for a black nonbinary traumatized person