why i write...

I am poet, novelist, journalist and image-maker. My writing most often lives on the page, although, sometimes a poem will whisper across the room or feather to the floor on a small square of muslin. It exists as an exploration of emotions, space, punctuation and the unknown. Within each writing, an answer is being sought; in each idea, there’s a body, space or feeling that I try to grab hold of. The metaphor and/or lyric serve as a leash, to harness and consume what does not wish to be transparent. In the past few years of making, I’ve followed the unknown, driven mainly by the feeling of falling in love. With whom, is the first question that hits the page. In order to feel close to resolving this sensation, I observe my environment very closely in search of color, abnormality, charm and shape. It’s key to constantly be in conversation with myself and the images I find/create so I may find the answer of who or what I am falling in love with; how I got here; what it means to be a body without assigning a binary boundary; whether that be boy/girl or black/white; where I come from genetically and culturally; why I love you. The more I write, the more I know.

 

As Twyla Tharp would say, I “scratch” through the work of other female makers, including Audre Lorde, Nayyriah Waheed and Ayn Rand. When I write, not only am I with these inspirations, but myself, too. I carry around my mother, the woman who broke my heart, my blackness, my grandmother, my grandfather, the man I lost my virginity to, and, particularly, the old woman across the table that waits for me to ask her another question. I am overwhelmed often, but I am also here, calm and breathing.

 

One of my favorite pieces that I have fully manifested is a series of centos poems titled My Black Woman. I read through multiple books of poetry, belonging to Gwendolyn Brooks, Ntozake Shangé, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez and Carolyn Rodgers. I chose these as examples of African American female poets working within the prime time of the Black Arts Movement in the 60s and 70s. As I read, I made small annotations, noting my favorite lines, those I felt fit the essence of the poet. Then I went on to compiling the lines, re-arranging, cutting and adding in order to make a new poem. Each poem varies in length, and one from the collection was exhibited at the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago, where many of these women have been honored.

 

A current project takes on a more autobiographical sphere. After completing a first draft, encapsulating the most intense infatuation I’ve experienced, I have been working to fictionalize the story in order to draw attention to the idea of the relationship at hand and away from the fact that it’s my own experience. Fictionalizing the truth gives me the chance to relive but also recreate, which consists of imagining alternate realities, writing my life on a different plane than that of which I currently exist. I’m employing new methods of telling, using the voice of inanimate objects, involving only the use pronouns and playing with the order of time. As of now, my writing is in a transformative period, growing to create a succinct style for myself that still allots space for additional growth and metamorphosis.