Friday, February 29, 2008

Djibouti evenT- Memphis, TN - Jan 13

NIA Artists Collective- Thanks for coming through!

Family always comes through on these things! Thanks again.

hERE are some of the photos from the benefit we had last month when we were still raising money for Djibouti..

Nightingale..sing us a song

So this is for you!
WHoever you are reading this blog

Nightingale - Norah Jones

- some kind of invincible i

some kind of part two or three

Its 2:33 am. I got here around.. 3 something.. maybe 3:30 pm.. so I've been here going on 11 hours.
Time kinda flies.
Maybe I should say.. just so people don't think I'm really stuck here.. that I could have left here if I had wanted to.. I'm not actually stranded.

You know I haven't taken any pictures yet. I mean the airport is pretty devoid. I just kind of haven't felt like doing it. Maybe I'll muster up the some energy around 4 or something.

You know there's something about being up alone and late. And at a place like an airport . Its so open , that you start to feel funny inside. But I haven't slept yet. And its not really hard. What's hard is staying up on a paper.It never works for me.

I feel like a chai from Pi or Klekolo.
I'm drinking some water.

Also sometimes you get more emotional as the night wears on.. i mean not really.. just your boundaries or location starts to bleed over.

Suddenly I am thinking of 4th grade.

Matthew Henson- via Urban Science


I want to share this post by my cousin at Urban Science Adventures on explorer Matthew Henson. ( August, 8, 1866- March 9, 1955)
As some might guess I love explorers and this one is a special one.

Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton

There's a lot to say here that won't all get said tonight about Virginia Hamilton..
but here are some of her selections..
some of them changed my life.. and geez.. were just really there..
when someone needed them..
and there were a lot of us who needed them.

Visit her world here.
You'll find all of her books, photos, and writings by her

This girl. I know.

I thought I should take it back a bit.

Once upon a time there was girl. She lived in a house with 3 sisters.
She used to read a lot of books all the time. She didn't play on the playground,
because she was sitting on the bench or on the curb reading her book.
She would sit at the lunch table reading her book.
She would walk up and down the stairs reading her book.
She would go to sleep reading her book.
In the van at night time she'd turn the light on and read her book
and when her sisters wanted her to turn the light off, she'd try to read
by the flashing street lights, dimming and widening, coming in cuts across
the page in the dark.. she'd try to do that thing. She would usually be leaning against the window, in the corner in the very back.
She'd read in Memphis. She'd read in Mississippi... and other places.
She would also read at the dinner table.
She'd read outside and she'd read inside.
She'd read at her grandparent's house.. she really liked to read there.

I guess the theme is that this girl liked to read.
The other theme is that this girl didn't really know how to talk to people.
If you don't know how to talk to people, if you don't really feel comfortable talking
to other people you do other things, like read or something else.

So she read a lot of books. When she did not know how to talk to people at the lunch table in second grade, she read her book. And other scenarios. It was probably easier that way. There's probably a lot more to say about this than this.


Keep on drifting..ain't no tellin.. where you'll land

Time's A Wastin... Erykah Badu..

This song might just be important for everyone.

Got you good, got you fast- BDL Part 1

So I'm stranded in Hartford International Airport tonight.
I'm kind of excited. I have a knack for things like this.. these pseudo extreme notions of a life.
But you have the opportunity to have a lot of good ideas in moments like this.. long moments when you are just with yourself somewhere. when you are holding out and holding in.

I didn't know I'd be trying to fly anywhere last night, but I got a call from my mother telling me she wanted me to come home this morning.

MAN , traveling is so weird. I have whole theories about it. Gosh!

But I'm here now. Decided to finally decide to come around say... 12:30.. called a cab at around 1:00 to pick me up at around 2:30. Put some stuff in a bag or two, cleaned my room up a little bit. heard the familiar beep, said goodbye to my housemate and went outside..

its crazy you know.. this life.. this mellifluous state of being..

man its a decision to try to go somewhere..
i had to start writing about it in the cab..

i got lucky and got a split fare as a professor was waiting in the cab.. when i jumped in.. also headed to the airport.. sweet!

There's a whole other story to this though. There's the one that takes place outside of my mind, but there's all the stuff that happens inside to make all the stuff happen outside.

I once told a friend, that to travel is to burst the enveloping sheath, it takes an energy of motion and of self to burst through what seems like constraints,
or sometimes simply the inertia of being in one place,
of sitting in a chair and pondering -which i like to do also
or going about your established route- which i sometimes do not like to do
or thinking maybe i don't have enough money to do this right now- which of course seems true at different times
oooh ooh oooh, if we could get through that one, and we can.

Gosh, it takes an energy to burst that enveloping sheath.. of a kind of motion that is twisty and turny and takes you places, in the midst of many people, and many things and sayings and its you!
It's you and your motion and your intention and it's you who's gotta get somewhere.
None of the other travelers can get you to your destination, though they have their role and their place in the grand picture, and they help you out so often
but dudes only you can take you to your destination.

What kind of force is that.. come hell or high water or heaven, man its you.
That's great. I'd think. I could talk about that thing so many times.

So today I started out and I think you're always kind of afraid at the start of a journey.. Should you do it? SHould you decide to go to that place. to take your physical body, muster that friggin energy?

It's like a light switch that you turn on inside of yourself. You can't go anywhere if you don't decide to flick it.
I had to do that today when I was sitting on the couch..
around 12.

And then I started moving...

I didn't know how I was going to get to Hartford.. so I posted something on facebook and thought about calling some people.. but it was short notice.. like an hour to two so I just figured to call a cab..

and then I got to the airport and tried to list on the flight ( I had called earlier to check on the availability for standby) and there was a problem. That we hadn't been verified for this year.. and this was like 30 min before the flight and it was something you had to do online and i couldn't get wi-fi downstairs and i was trying to call my dad and couldn't get him and like i'd already come to the airport and i tried to call home and couldn't get anybody.

then i called again and my sister picked up and it was like 3:30 and the flight was scheduled to leave at 4:09 and i was like can you hurry up and go online and verify us for the year? ( because the flight attendant couldn't let me list if not) and it was like 9 minutes until the cutoff time when you can't get on the plane, but you gotta try these things anyway and after some more twists and turns online as i talked her through it on the phone she did it.
And I got off the phone and got in the line and called the northwest ticket agent on the phone while in the line and she was British and i told her where i was trying to go and all the things you have to tell and she tried and she said she couldn't do it, even though we had already done it. Like it hadn't yet registered in the system. AND I told her I was standing in the line.
But I was still like .. lemme try this. I'll go to the desk.. and the line was so long!
And then one of the agents called
"LAST call for Detroit!"
so I looked up and backed on out of line and slipped under the divider and went around to the desk and told her I was trying to go to the Detroit and that I wasn't listed yet.. and she looked a little stressed to tell you the truth..
but at those moments when you are standing at the counter waiting for someone to tell you yay or nay,
you just gotta think the best, so I was thinking to myself.. this lady is like an angel.. and i was waiting you know..
and just moments before the British lady on the phone was like. "Sorry love."
But then this lady looked up, ripped off a boarding pass and handed it to me.
yup.. ok
so.. skip along some points and i'm in the terminal and i'm waiting
and .. skip along some more and I'm waiting to get my seat.. and there's a process when you're a standby and i guess this flight had been oversold ( when i'd called a couple hours earlier there had been some seats left, but these things change you know)
So I ended up not actually getting on the flight, but it was kinda ok. You know I've learned that sometimes when things appear a certain way they really aren't.. or at least where flight is concerned I've kinda learned to be ok when you don't get on a flight.. like you'll be ok.. you brought yourself to this scenario.. and you'll live to see
the next day.. and it'll be fine.

And then I was like actually somewhat excited.. this beats being in the computer lab or trying to stay awake all night to write a paper, which I was doing last night. ..

SO! here I AM sitting in the airport. And it's snowing outside. I would upload a picture, but once again I forgot my upload cord. It's so beautiful.. actually. I'm listening to Amel Larrieux and some classical music of unknown origins (to me!) is playing in the background and this snow is drifting
so crazily beautifully in different directions
and soft-like
but fast.
What if you could be floating like that, floating in that midst like a snow feather.
I'm kind of really affected by this right now..

I'll be back a little later..

I. says the Abioto

Leap! Year Travels: Stranded in Bradley International Airport

SO folks!

I'm stranded in Hartford International Airport! tonight!

This won't be the first time! I've stayed here overnight
or Detroit
or Charles De Gaulle in Paris, France! (on the way back from Dakar..! in 06)
I'm catching a flight out at 6 AM to MEM

So in honor of the moment
I'll be posting things ALLNIGHT long,
photos, writing, links to fly people, etc.

For you folks who aren't going out you can check on me intermittently.. or check in the morning for coverage..

And if you send me a message tonight or whatever and maybe I'll post it with all the other stuff I'm doing tonight.

Man, I love these time space travels,
gees friggin louise!

watching the sun go down on the tarmac..

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


photo from

All you mind/time travelers looking for places to go, or how to get there, or wishing to hear more about travel from other travelers, check or the blog rendition

Sweet blog.
Sweet site. Sweet lady who shouted us out on her blog. JuST check it ok. was created specifically for Black travelers interested in traveling abroad for business, education, and leisure.

Black travelers often have travel experiences that are very different from other travelers, and there just aren't any travel guides that focus on the needs of Black international travelers.

Our goal is to create a fun and informative collection of personal stories and photos submitted by travelers like you,who want to share information about the attitudes, cultures, and adventures they encountered during their travels.

We hope you'll join us!

Beautiful Habon

This is Habon.
Gooodness, we were soooo glad to meet her and her family.
After we ended up having to stay in Djibouti 3 days longer than expected... i don't know what we would've done if she and her family hadn't welcomed us so.. but sometimes when you are traveling or moving or living, the right people will show up when you need them. It's one of those things. Kind of like flight you know? More on that story later..


Monday, February 25, 2008

Purple Mag / This oh so Ultraviolet Underground !

I've been meaning to shout out these people for a while now.
Quite simply this mag/ place is ridiculously great.

I stop here at least once a day just cause it's so positive and necessary.

And they're accepting submissions for their Purple Mag as well. See below and Check them here.

The Green Issue and Fall/Winter Modern Myth Anthology for Underrepresented Cultures Issues will be released in '08. Respective Deadlines: April 6 and September 6
You can also submit .MP3's (Indie artists only) for the accompanying musical goodies being compiled as digital goodies.

Submission guidelines and general info for Purple Mag are listed below. Please email purplemag at for more information

Purple Magazine and are part of a collective effort to provide independent thinkers with content from Underrepresented Culture/Indie Artists, Grassroots efforts and Metaphysical/Green-centered Holistic thinking.

Ummm hmmm. yup. That's right. we approve.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


so this was on the road in Djibouti to.. Lac Assal which I will give more information about sooner than later. I took these pictures out the window as we were driving by in the little bus somewhat fast. The terrain is pretty rocky as you can see and just really devoid of any grass, but I still liked it, still beautiful.. passed by this blue little jeep.. i mean can't tell if it was still working or not, but ..
and the sky is always beautiful.
Apparently it hasn't rained in Djibouti since November 06, of course unless something has happened since we left.


Kalimah Lima on the Radio.radiooOO

Here goes our Kalimah with some of the fellows we had a roundtable
discussion with at the University of Djibouti. The two ladies to
the right are Johanne with the Africa Travel Association's Young Professional Network
and Aslie, the Director of Youth in the Djiboutian Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Recreation.

Kalimah just screened a short from The People Could Fly documentary work this past Friday downtown at the Dumas Arts Festival in Roanoke, VA. My plan was to head down to Virginia, but with the winter storm in this part of the northeast I ended up staying in Connecticut.

But I heard it was great! Hopefully I can get Kalimah on here to say a little bit about it and the discussion afterwards.
But in the meantimes, the betweentimes..

Listen! to Kalimah's radio interview with Studio Virginia 89.1FM Regional arts and culture news magazine, hosted by Gene Marrano & Cara Modisett as she talks about the PEOPLE COULD FLY DOCUMENTARY and why and how and REALLY what we're doing. For those of you still kind of wondering what this is really all about here's a good way to get it straight from the source.



spring. this summer. really right now..

This is Ali, one of the kind people who showed us around in Djibouti.
Many of the men's beards were this particular red color. I have yet to find out
precisely what they used. Someone said henna, but I'm not so sure. I will
get back with you all on that.

Dear World,

hmmmm, i know we've been a little bit missing around here, but!
we're still here!

What has happened is I'm back at school and having to balance school life ( ya! ya ya)
with this project, which we are still very much still doing and planning and developing.

We're working on our spring break and summer break lineup and plans.
We're also brainstorming and coming up with new crazy ideas.

There's so much to say here.

This is practical here, I mean I've actually been working on how best to balance. That's part of flight to you know.. balance.. ballistics.. doing something anyway and all ways how. I mean
I have class tomorrow morning.

But we're going to be switching some things up around here.

1. We'll be doing shorter and more frequent posts. And we need to share more of our experiences thus far and from Djibouti. So I'll be doing a series of photo posts with accompanying thoughts/ descriptions. I'll be doing one of those a day.

2. One of our ultimate goals is to get other people/ make it possible for other young people to come with us/ join this journey/ create their own stories. I'm just going to go ahead and put that out there.. wait for it .. wait for it.
I mean initially we didn't know how we were even going to do this.. but we knew we were going to do it and get there.. and here we are.. still doing it.. so.. you just better wait for it..

3. We want! feedback, ideas, and suggestions. We desire suggestions for destinations! Coming this March/spring break we're really wanting to share the things we've learned about making a dream or intention happen/ flying, specifically with young people/our peers and just anyone at all. If you have ideas for places that would be good for us to visit/or give a talk or have a conversation with people/ exchange/ or film please write us. This is important. We've gotta share this stuff you know.

4. To all the people who have contributed in various ways, whether monetarily or through well wishes I haven't forgotten you. You are on our list for photographs from Djibouti and the journey. Really really really. I've just been getting settled back at school.

5. I think that's all for now. more soon


Saturday, February 23, 2008

these brown children.with their dreams and mysterious.thoughts

i just wanted to say this real quick, though. I've been working on a paper real heavily as to the lack of news and posts,
but on a for real for real tip i just wanted to say as
i was sitting here on the couch thinking

on a for real for real tip

the black child/black children/ brown children need a revolution ( and without the stigma that just saying the word revolution
sometimes invokes, from overuse)
but on a for real for real tip
black.brown children need a revolution
and it can't wait until they get to college and
suddenly think they know what they are talking

or suddenly think they know what they are
talking about because they are in buildings or an
institution that might illusorily validate their knowledge
and knowings

it can't really wait until they start to read writers and thinkers
who's writings somehow seem to echo truths they've really known all along

and then they can call out their names and theories amongst and between themselves
and feel like they have finally learned something, and that their knowledge and knowings become a handshake they can pass around

it really can't wait til then ok!
there's too much good stuff before then
there is just too much great stuff

it can't really wait until they are sitting in class discussing and feeling
about ideas and feelings and notions and perspectives and then they write a paper

-where part of the goal is making a point
and then writing a paper about it
a paper they maybe will not share with anyone the rest of their lives or
even their peers, with whom it really matters

it really won't wait until then!
it can't really wait until then ok. it can't really wait until that time

there's too much good stuff
there's too much great stuff
there's so much

do you remember it? do you remember the way it felt when you were young (or now or old)
and you wanted something, some dream sooo bad
and you played with that
it it was in your dreams and in your imaginings
and maybe you made games about it and sang songs

there's so much, that's worth remembering and worth finding and worth saving and we already had it all
and we already still do
and i really want to talk to people about these things
and i really want to talk to young people about these things
because i remember the way it felt when i was younger
and i remember the way it still does

yeah, i wonder if we could help young people and young brown people remember their dreams
man that's so important
that is so important!

sometimes they get lost you know.. sometimes they really get lost
sometimes they just slip away (though they are never gone)
sometimes they just slip away
and that's no good
because that's the most important thing we have!
then we can make anything! with them
and do anything!

this is just something i've been thinking about and what i felt like sharing
because its important
to go there

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Muse on you! Part Deux


It's Saturday morning. Man, that is so great. I halfway can't believe it. What a miraculous time. I just wanna stretch out my limbs across the green world in that sleepy yawn that goes everywhere and knocks your covers in disarray. You know sometimes when it is a Saturday and the sun is all bright and gosh, you feel like everything will finally and forever be allright and your breathing patterns even change. You are rising inside yourself just like a muffin, just like a muffin in the oven- unintentional rhyme scheme there ok. unintentional.

You know I just want to say sometimes I get angry ok. Sometimes I get angry, particularly when I think about the pasts of black people, ok sometimes I get angry. And If I am angry it is really because I am sad and am trying to make sense of this thing and myself and trying to take an agency in being here and hear my own voice echoing around me instead of a silence that says something completely different. I didn't always used to have anger.. I didn't always used to .. in elementary school I wasn't so much angry, even though I then knew pretty much all the things I know now.

I'm trying to find my anger's purpose. Sometimes it has a very whipping energy like the most curving winter wind and is so cunning. Oooh, my anger is so cunning. It slips up behind me sometimes, gives me a shake, and scares the mess outta me sometimes. Good lord. But I kinda like it. It also gives me a lot of ideas.

But I don't want to hurt anyone. It becomes critical for me, because I'm at the point where I must say what I feel. And I'm at this point where I have to talk about what I feel in this class and this world of today and I can no longer skimp out on saying something about how I feel, which for me means in the company of white people and critically white people my age. I cannot pretend to not know what I know when I know IT, that I do not feel that feeling when I feel it. I hope I do not hurt anyone in the process. That I can do this in a good way.

Maybe the reason I am so angry is that I can no longer be sad. I can no longer be that girl in high school, who while very much powerfully herself in her secreted way, was very much was not in her sunshine. I have read and heard said that anger is sometimes better than sadness and depression. I think this is true in some scenarios.

SOmetimes I like my anger, because oooh it feels so good. It can burn something up, and sometimes thats ok. Do you think there is such a thing as a happy anger?

But I would like to remember a place where even this did not register for me, where when I was little even though I had seen all the segments of the Roots mini-series, I still wanted to play with everyone and had to insist that this girl here and this girl here could and was indeed going to be my friend. When I did not even care. I think this is the first place to remember. This is the first place of remembrance.

I wanna direct some energy to Heroes this great by Lesley Ann Brown and Woodie ( together Homegrown). It really did something for me this morning, and just helped me out.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Muse on the status of the systematic loveliness

This is one of those random posts where I don't know what I might say before I say it.
It might just be nothing. SO maybe I will talk about magazines and the youth aesthetic.

So you know magazines, or television sometimes or advertising agencies and how frequently and often they are advertising the youth aesthetic, the youth culture, etc? What is the youth aesthetic as it is called or branded or advertised? And very often it is sculpted toward a particular suit, like a deck of cards.

And sometimes when they sell it, because they do sell it.. it is a shiny thing, sometimes it is a sparkly thing, you know?
It is glistened and quite glossed.. and sometimes there are many different colors flashing all around in a circle, because sometimes that seems to be a ubiquitous symbol for something described as young ( though of course we do like colors)
or just bossed like the hood of a car..and we think to ourselves this is the youth aesthetic.. this is that zig zaggy, somewhat sweet and sour delectable nature
and everyone is like ahhhhh and applause and oooohh if I could get some of that youth aesthetic into my game, man
my life would be so tight

it gets to be where even some of the young people are trying to get this youth aesthetic into their game
i mean really, instead of making their own game up

there are some magazines and of course other diverse media publications that ...
.. how do i say this.. of course do have a grasp on the style.. but its too clean you know.. its just too clean
Some of the aesthetic that is being proferred back to young people and to the world in the name of them (yikes!) is just too clean and just a little too packaged

Do we really all look like that...? I mean do we really all want to look like that...? I mean if we could choose to live in the pages of some of these magazines (or various diverse media) would we? actually? (my mouth would go dry..) whether its that hip hop aesthetic
or hipster
or emo
or artistic nerd with the vans and the red backpack and this is where it gets ingenious and complicated and it can get tricky a little .. its aight.. its alright)
or that northeastern boarding school gig
or that down south dirty
and these are all realities, but they shouldn't be too perfect
i don't think

I wonder. Something about the youth aesthetic is that it is perpetually new seeming, though of course it is as old as the dickens ( what is the dickens by the way..) It will perpetually be new.. it will perpetually be cashable.. it will perpetually produce as life does you know... you know? That's why its so marketable.
I wonder though... I really wonder.. if it's so marketable and so many industries are fueled by the youth aesthetic...

It's like a spritz. It really is. You spritz some here and there and the flowers grow or something you're selling has more appeal.. a car sells more.. or this package looks so much more appealing. Its like an essence. Flower essence. Young people life essence.

My deal is.. if its so valuable and so profitable then.. how and when and where do young people get paid for their youth aesthetic...? How and when and where do institutions for young people get served through the use of this youth aesthetic by big and small industries? (
Not just institutions for young people, but BY young people and all the many combinations of the two.)

How, when, and where do the
ideas ideas! ideas! that young people have get funded, supported, and lifted through the use of their life, their beauty, their overwhelming continuing creation and ingenuity by and for so many diverse industries?.. through the use of these same ideas.. but in hyphenated format..

How does that come back to us? How does that feed us, serve us?
If this is the case all children should have healthcare.
(And this shouldn't be an issue.. why is this pulling teeth?..)

I don't believe that young people should have to take low-paying work or even that you have to suffer under a ridiculous internship ( unless it is a good internship that serves you! and where you have a great relationship with a mentor, etc..yes!) or just be a student.
Student! Such contested word.

I think we can do so much more than this..
I think young people have so much power ( and everyone.. i only talk about the young because this is my focus group) We just have to identify where our power lies, name it. Understand it. Feel it in the palm of our hands. the weight of it. How shall we mold this thing into our creation? Use it to weigh the balances. Check the balances.

I think it is a ruse the whole idea that young people have EVERYTHING to learn from older people. ( Though we do have MANY things to learn from them and all in respect of course!) And even then it has to be done within a framework of mutual respect. Otherwise I believe young people are only taught to be second place citizens in our own lives.. and this goes from the pre-schooler to the post-grad. If you're consistently taught to bow or something or sit down in your seat, when do you unlearn yourself to stand up? When do you learn to take the reins? To become the author of your own living and breathing... to go to the bathroom when you friggin feel like, take hold of your survival or better yet abundance, yeah i said it abundance.. like feeling alright and feeling good and feeling great.. hmmm
I want to talk about this more.. but actually.. i mean actively.. as in words that are actions.. there are such things.. hmm

- the Indelible In

ADDENDUM to this message:
( Oh my God! They're selling our dreams back to us. OMG! I think this is what it is.
..We want our dreams so bad, of course! we will pay for them. I actually have to come back to this on the next one.. but this has soooo many implications.. ).. And of course like all things we can do something about it
and about ourselves..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


If you're in Virginia tune into:

Studio Virginia 89.1FM (Thurs 7:30-8 pm) - Regional arts and culture news magazine, hosted by Gene Marrano & Cara Modisett
I will be on the radio talking about the PCFP and our screening downtown at the Dumas Arts Festival in Roanoke, VA on February 22 at 7:30 PM.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Black Childrens' Books for all children, Part 1

So for AfroSpear's Black History Month Blog Carnival I've decided to list all the
children's/ young adult books that have black characters in them from my recent and not so far flung childhood, as well as any others that have come on my radar as beautiful, or special, or radiant, or great. You know the ones that give you chills or make you cry like that's me in that book, that's me.. even if the character is a male and you're a girl, or they're from Minnesota and you're from Tallahassee, or they can fly and it seems like you cannot. All those lasting ones. Their magic never ends.

1. The Planet of Junior Brown, The People Could Fly ( obv), Justice and Her Brothers ( The Trilogy, House of Dies Drear, Cousins, Second Cousins.
Pretty much all the books by Virginia Hamilton. They are panoramic and mythic in scope.

2. Yolanda's Genius by Carol Fenner
This was pretty much my favorite book around fifth grade/ 11 or 10 years old, so its still one of my favorite books of all time.

3. The Black Snowman, Phil Mendez and Carole Byard
Pretty Self Explanatory, Haunting and beautiful, To be black and beautiful.. man you are learning about so many things when you are a child.. like what black means.. and stuff like snow and if you have a place in a place that is beautiful

From Publishers Weekly
Jacob Miller is an inner-city boy who hates being black and poor. He reluctantly assists his little brother Peewee in making a black snowman from the filthy snow in the back alley. The figure comes alive after they unknowingly drape him in a fragment of the magical kente , a cloth worn by African storytellers for hundreds of years. The snowman challenges Jacob's outlook on life by telling him all the wonderful things that are black, and mysteriously conjuring forth brave heroes from African tribal tradition. When Peewee is trapped inside a burning building, the snowman shows Jacob a way to save his brother while exhorting the boy to believe in himself. Using mystical elements and the power of the past, Mendez, in his first book, weaves a stirring tale of Jacob's transformation from a bitter victim of his situation into a proud fighter for his life. Byard's haunting color drawings bring to life not only the snowman; they successfully portray the many contrasts between Jacob's dour moods, Peewee's optimism, the dingy apartment and the eerie parade of stately African tribesmen. The valuable lesson inherent in The Black Snowman is not just for black children but for all who struggle for identity within their own worlds. Ages 7-10.

4. Daddy is a Monster.. Sometimes John Steptoe
Man oh Man! I remember this book. It was so scary, yet good. I remember reading it with my sisters or rather being read it. Cause for real.. daddy can be a monster sometimes.

5. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters John Steptoe
This book is a little creepy sometimes, but still kind of good. hah

6. Follow the Drinking Gourd, Jeanette Winter
Oh goodness. This book right here is creepy too, but in a good way.. kind of get on your path.. get on the path.. and the illustrations are off the chain. Talks about running away to freedom and following the north star, following the drinking gourd

7. The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm / A Girl Named Disaster Nancy Farmer
Both great books by Nancy Farmer.. I mean truly great adventure type narratives.. really pulls you in and both are set in Africa

8. Ashanti to Zulu, Margaret Musgrove, illustrated by Diane Dillon
Wonderful wonderful rich rich book of illustrations.. you can just pour over these pictures

8 seems like a good number. I might do another one of these for good measure.

Blog Loveliness. Folks we admire/think are cool

The past week Invisible Woman from Invisible Woman.. Black Cinema at large Viral Tagged us as one of the top 5 blogs she's seen lately.
Her blog is the freshness so check her.
So we have to tag some other people. This ordering is arbitrary, but here's some of the folks we love.

1. Urban Science
A blog by my scientist cousin who frequently keeps us updated on the blogging world. Her passion is science and sharing it with young people, which is pretty cool. Check her recent post on Black Explorer Matthew Henson. Tight!

2. Black Girl on Mars
I found this blog of writing and really like her style and just her subject matter.

3. The Global South
Musings and thoughts from my good friend studying and writing a book in Morocco on a Fulbright. yup. keen. keen. keen..

4. Brooklyn Circus
Fresh thoughts. Fresh clothes. Fresh motivation. Fresh people just doing it. We like that around here.

5. She Real Cool
That's it though. She just real cool.

6. Carla Girl
Fresh Photographer scholar I met in NY at the Here and Now Conference.
Great resource for visual artists. I stop here pretty often to get the scoop. She's shouted us out several times.

"The rules are like this:“This link loving in 2008 came from Not Much More Than This. I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!). It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially!

The benefits of Viral Linking:- One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode!- Increase your Google PageRank fast- Attract large volume of new traffic to your site- Build your community- Make new friends!"

Now, add/tag 5 of your friends blogs…The Strategist Notebook Link Addiction Ardour of the Heart When Life Becomes a Book The Malaysian Life What goes under the sun Roshidan’s Cyber Station Sasha says Arts of Physics And the legend lives My View, My Life A Simple Life What Women REALLY Think Not Much More Than This Jayedee Jenn Beth Christie Marla Cailin Simone FlipFlopMom Katrina Gill’s Jottings Work of a Poet WakelaModern Day GoddessLivin With Me A Simple Life Verb Random Thoughts I’m Running to Win Two Regina’s Family Seasons Lifesong The Laughs Will Go OnMilitary MomTheVasquez3Brik-See-Us Five Dollar Shake , My Three Wisemans , You Better Recognize , Miscellaneous Matters , Opinionated Black Woman, The Happy Go Lucky Bachelor, Slausin-Ass Slaus, Word On The Street, Invisible Woman, Darkbrotha, The Black Actor, The Happy Go Lucky Bachelor, The People Who Could Fly Project , The Luscious Librarian, Sincere Thoughts Urban Science, Black Girl on Mars, The Global South, Brooklyn Circus, She Real Cool

The Project at the Dumas Arts Festival! and VA Radio Appearance

Great News!

Kalimah is screening her film work for the project (so far! ) on the 22nd at the Dumas Arts Festival in Roanoke, VA. Congratulations Kalimah!

Kalimah is our treasured filmmaestro and also a junior film studies major at Hollins University in VA. She was also interviewed about the project this past week on a Virginia radio station.
Details on date and time coming soon. Anyone in the VA area you should definitely go!
There's gonna be some sweet stuff going on. More info can be found here.

Join us on Feb. 22-24 for the first Dumas Arts Festival! A cooperative effort between the Dumas Drama Guild and the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, the festival will celebrate African American theatre, film and poetry. The centerpiece of the weekend will be a staged reading of Clinton Johnston's "Am I Black Enough Yet?" on Feb. 23.

The Friday schedule includes a screening of If the People Could Fly by Kalimah Abioto. (For more details on Kalimah's work, click here: If the People Could Fly.) The evening will end with musical excerpts from the upcoming Hollins University production of Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change," directed by Ernie Zulia.

In addition to Clinton Johnston's play, Saturday's schedule includes free workshops in acting and poetry, as well as an exhibition poetry slam in the afternoon. The festival concludes with a jazz concert on Sunday afternoon that will include poetry readings by T. J. Anderson III.

Tickets are $15 for Friday, $10 for the Saturday night play, and $15 for Sunday. A festival pass for all three days is $35, or $50 per couple. Students and seniors are half price! To reserve your tickets, call 540-342-5740 or 800-317-6455.

Featured Participants

T. J. Anderson III has had his creative and critical work appear in Black Renaissance Noire, Sulfur, African American Literature Review, and Callaloo. He is the author of At Last Round Up a chapbook of poetry, a critical book on jazz poetry Notes to Make the Sound Come Right: Four Innovators of Jazz Poetry, and the Spoken Word CD Blood Octave. A former Senior Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, Anderson currently teaches at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.

Clinton Johnston, a member of the theatre faculty at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA, is the author of "Am I Black Enough Yet?" He received his MFA in directing from the University of Virginia. Along with over a decade of experience acting and directing in local theaters, he has assistant directed with nationally renowned directors Sabin Ebstein and Bill Rauch. Clinton will be entering the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University in the coming summer to pursue his MFA in dramatic writing.

Amy Gerber-Stroh, who will discuss African-American film, has produced and directed more than 30 documentaries and art films. She has had significant professional film experience in Hollywood and New York, working on several 'B-movie' features by Roger Corman and as casting associate on twelve major motion pictures, including Goldeneye and The Mask of Zorro. Her documentary feature, Public Memory, was completed in 2004. She earned her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, School of Film/Video. She is a member of the film faculty at Hollins University.

Ernie Zulia, who will direct the excerpts from Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change," has directed more than 100 productions of plays, musicals, operas, and world premieres in theatres around the United States and internationally. His stage adaptation of Robert Fulghum's international best-selling book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, has been produced around the world. He served as associate artistic director at Virginia's Mill Mountain Theatre and is currently an artistic associate at Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago, where he has been nominated for Chicago's prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award as best director. He has directed main stage productions at various regional theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Syracuse Stage, and the Asolo Theatre.

Lenora Inez Brown will discuss African American theatre prior to the reading of "Am I Black Enough Yet?" While serving as the literary manager and dramaturg for the Crossroads Theatre Company, the nation's leading African-American theater, the theater received the 1999 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. She was part of the artistic leadership for Crossroads' new play festival, the Genesis Festival. Lenora has been a guest dramaturg for the Sundance Theatre Lab 2000 and 2001, The Southern Writer's Project at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center's Youth and Family Program's New Visons/New Voices and the Cleveland Play House. She teaches dramaturgy at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and she will be visiting dramaturg this summer for the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University. Lenora holds a B.A. in art history from Dartmouth College and an MFA in dramaturgy from the Yale School of Drama.

Dwayne Yancey is a Roanoke Valley journalist, playwright and author. By day, he is a senior editor at The Roanoke Times. In what's left of his spare time, he writes plays. He's had scripts produced in 38 states and 6 foreign countries, the most frequently-produced of which is the one-act "Hamlet on Spring Break." His shorter work is frequently seen at No Shame Theatre at Mill Mountain Theatre on Friday nights. Two of his No Shame pieces, "White Goes First" and "Dodger Blue," will be presented at the Dumas Arts Festival on Feb. 22. Yancey also is the author of "When Hell Froze Over," about former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder's political career. He lives with his wife and two children in Fincastle, VA.

Dumas Arts Festival will be Feb. 22-24, 2008! Call 540-342-5740 for tickets!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

je suis americain ..?

Charles de Gaulle Aeroport, Paris France.. Can you see Djibouti?

So I think I should present this in stages, you know. This has been a hectic past week for me. Not sure of what all I've said so far on the matter, but pretty much arrived on campus with the clothes on my back and some few other articles- don't know what I was thinking- after picking the wrong suitcase to have sent onto Hartford from. To tell you the truth I probably meant to do it in some weird way. You know the drama of roughing it, or being able to say I did this.. or something.. walked however many miles through snow to school as they say. For any lingering Putneyites out there- waking up at 5:30 for AM barn, etc. But back to what I was saying..
whatever I was thinking I don't know..but overall it's been a hard strange week for me coming back to school, on the heels of Djibouti, or rather just on the heels of life. It's life really cutting you close to the heels. It's just life and.. school. You know I hadn't been in school since spring and that was 8 months ago. And it's so nice really, allowing your mind to linger and wander and linger here some more when you're not there. I mean there's no where to go sometimes and nothing to do, but what you make. You could get lost somewhat, just lingering on thoughts and smelling the living around you. This suddenly makes me think of Eiko Otake and her Delicious movement workshops, one of which I went to last night ( and which was coincidentally focused on the idea of being a foreigner). Her dance work is very concentrated on lingering. Lingering is important, I think it is where some of the best things are made. You know, I come up with some of my best ideas through lingering. And some would call it daydreaming, and it is, but I think it is one of the best tools for life. When I am sitting alone or braiding my hair or staring out the window, not even seeing what is there or actually seeing what is there, or some similar seemingly mindless action I am thinking so much inside myself, or being there.. worlds merge, boundaries cross and what seems inside becomes outside and vice versa.. almost similar to the movement qualities of crossing your eyes.. (the movement or visual phenomena, but not the feeling) I love this thinking thing. You know thoughts can be so pleasurable, the imaginative aspect. You are just imagining and lingering and you are in that place, whatever exciting future reality you have created, and you are planning really, and setting forth..
but, I'm lingering here too long..
I was/am convinced I wouldn't let school take me over, or take me away from myself.. pretty mercilessly.. the past week has been me fighting with this concept.. and without going into details and I know I'm being vague, I want to dialogue more about this process of not letting school take you over- or whatever it happens to be- because I know so many students, including myself who've in the process of being educated have been sucked dry..
like are devoid of themselves
and things like creativity
and self direction
that self direction thing is sooooo important
and motion
and that inevitable and indomitable possibility that comes from these things together
.. as much as we love education.. much as we love it.. there is a way to be PRESENT and not lost.. or taken over in the process..
i will come back to this topic.. perhaps I will hold a workshop or something..
because I really want to talk about these things and share with some people and exchange..
I really like people creating
and creating their worlds..
but how about a series, eh? We'll do Djibouti in stages..
Kalimah will post film.. and I'll just keep the photo story coming..
and we can make this happen. And you can stop by our house ever so often.. and check it out.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The People

So things are changing.
We're brainstorming.
We're waiting.
We're listening.
Maybe to the wind.
Where to go?
Where to take ourselves
and this. thought

sometimes a new phase needs coming.
sometimes there's just something else on the way
sometimes you don't know what is coming yet.
I think sometimes you have to be ok being still for a second,
like can you stand it when the air around you is still.
Can you be ok then? Sometimes that is the hardest thing/ I think
Like it's ok. It's alright.
Is it alright?
But we're still here.
Maybe we don't have a lot to say right now.
I kind of don't have a lot to say right now.
We're people you know.
And this is a real thing.
I've been thinking about my grandparents today.
And that's always a time.
And that's a real thing.
But we're here though.
still here.

-The People

Friday, February 1, 2008

Grace Abounding

Last year some anonymous good person/friend slipped a hand-written poem in my mailbox at school. No name, no nothing, just this poem by William Stafford written on this lovely paper with plant and flower parts embedded in the paper. I think this poem is relevant.. and wanna say thanks to all and to whoever gave me this poem. I suggest clicking on the photo in addition to reading the copy below.

Grace Abounding

Air crowds into my cell so considerately
that the jailer forgets this kind of gift
and thinks I'm alone. Such unnoticed largesse
smuggled by day floods over me,
come grass, turns in the road,
a branch or or stone significantly strewn
where it wouldn't need to be.

Such times abide for a pilgrim, who all through
a story or a life may live in grace, that blind
benevolent side of even the fiercest world,
and might ~ even in oppression or neglect ~
not care if it's friend or enemy, caught up
in a dance where no one feels need or fear:

I'm saved in this big world by unforeseen
friends, or times when only a glance
from a passenger beside me, or just the tired
branch of a willow inclining toward earth,
may teach me how to join earth and sky.

William Stafford