The Monday After

I took the flower bouquets I received Friday night and consolidated them into one mongo bouquet on the kitchen island. The vase it rests in is the same one from the exhibit, a gift from lady Brigid, the Bringer of Light. I wanted to depict onstage a woman’s womb and its power to birth beauty, thus the addition of the bouquet to the dais. Real flowers this time in the vase; they make me smile widely.

wp-1479143378263.jpg
Gifts from a successful evening, a plethora of flowers and a nice bottle of merlot

It is a strange morning. What had consumed my time, energy and effort these past few months is done, gone. I woke up thinking, what to do now? I took the healthy route and scaled down my interests just so I could concentrate fully on developing this creative piece. In doing so, I freed myself of unnecessary worry. But it’s done now, and I feel a bit…naked.

Let’s reflect on the exhibit itself. By the time I had horns on my head, I was ready to go. I had complete faith in each performer, on the attending crowd, and the spiritual energy in the theater. I smiled big the whole night. When I performed, I gave myself to the stage. I honestly can’t recall doing my poetic recitations, but I know they happened. I remember looking into the crowd, finding the faces of my friends. I remember feeling the heat of the lamps pointed center stage. I remember feeling empowered, thinking, “I am good at this!” as I laughed into my next recitation. I gave myself lines and not one, but two sets of poems to recite. I did not mess up. I am proud of me!

The first poem I recited is an actual poem written by Enheduanna, the high priestess of Ur and first poet of recorded history. It’s actually the invocation portion of an epic poem, Inanna and Ebih, In-Nin-Me-Huš-A, which means “Lady of Blazing Dominion.” You know what I use as a mnemonic? Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” I play the chorus in my head, then I launch into the whole poem.

The second poem is an original I wrote earlier this year. It’s a poem about self-discovery and taking chances. It was a story I wanted to tell about me in the search for footing in a 21st century world. I figured it fit with the story of Enheduanna’s difficulty in pleasing the world, leaving her unfulfilled. Until the goddesses hear her desperation, Enheduanna suffers the part. This is so common, especially with modern women. We sit there and stew in our troubles instead of reaching out. Yours truly is a culprit of this activity. Thus, I turn around and encourage the high priestess to reach beyond and find her potential amongst the cosmos. If you can’t find inspiration in this world, be inspired by the worlds beyond.

Today I feel like I released a bird to the sky letting it fly and be part of nature. The exhibit belongs to the artistic ethos now, out of my hands, existing as its own pulsating thing. Today I should allow myself to breathe. Friday was a fantastic night. Today should be a quiet day.

 

Empowered By The Goddesses

Last night can’t be undone.

Magic happened to this scraping-by artist. Months of anxious planning and preparation, interrupted by life and health events, and here it was: my poetry exhibit. Performed beautifully by goddesses of their own caliber, embodying influential archetypes much needed in this post-election week. We gathered to share, we’re not scared. When challenged we have the greatest weapon – our divine sisterhood.

I hand picked artists of diverse creative influences with one common thread: a genuine respect for the power of goddess energy. Allowing them the freedom to choose their artistic interpretation made the project a communal experience. Everyone provided me input as to how they envisioned their deity within the story, based on the loose script I had provided. By the time I met with each woman, got to know her at her craft and on a personal level, and scripted her part, I had the complete story. Using a community-oriented approach to playwriting was a great experience.

And then, showtime. I was not nervous at all. My faith was so strong in these actors I knew I had nothing to worry about. Healthwise, my body had reacted well to new medication, so I didn’t have to concern myself with erratic movement or confusion. Mind, body and soul clear, I took to the stage like I take to my bed at night; cozily and comfortably! You know what? I felt redeemed. After a shitty Wednesday morning feeling tense and scared about my future, I have this moment of success that can’t be taken away. I achieved this, in America, as a disabled person, as a woman of color.  It took incredible fortitude to get here, and I championed that. I’ve arrived at the station I’m meant to visit.

My art has elevated my mood once again. I’m wrapped in the embrace of creativity, considering how to replicate the show for a wider audience. Or, shall I write another performance poetry exhibit? I love mashing music and poetry together, maybe a joint exhibit with live musicians, like how we incorporated a drummer into Pomba Gira’s performance? Wait, wait…let’s bask in the glow of success that was last night. We can do all of that battle planning later, Inanna😉

14975908_1325903514095128_1182974734_o
Me dressed as the warrior goddess Inanna
The Show:
 

Last night, the beautiful high priestess Enheduanna, troubled by her Moon Temple followers, found relief in the love, compassion, and commitment of her beloved goddesses. First, Persephone, Maiden of the Underworld, arrived as soon as Enheduanna begged for Death. She brought forward the Matron of the Crossroads, Pomba Gira, who offered the high priestess quite a wake-up call! Upon Pomba Gira’s departure, the Bringer of Light, Brigid, softly stepped into the high priestess’ chamber and blessed it with a light-welcoming poem. 

 
She brought forward Hecate, Great Crone, to call the powers of the four directions to Enheduanna. Her poetry reminds us of her all-knowing power. Relieved, Enheduanna takes a moment to relax, but is quickly interrupted by the powerful Kali, Governess of Time. The intimidating mother reminds the high priestess of her natural divinity and urges her to use it. Glamoured into a sleep state, the goddess Ix Chel visits Enheduanna’s dream. Her poem forecasts necessary change from disillusionment. 
 
When Enheduanna wakes, she is reverent, washed over in love and appreciation. To enhance those wonderful feelings, Yemoya emerges from the water to the high priestess, and they share a dance of divine feminine love. Finally, Enheduanna is entreated to the presence of her personal goddess, Inanna, who shares knowledge of the high priestess’ own written words. Inanna passes on her pure lance to the worthy high priestess, then sends her back to the moon ceremony with a poem of spiritual encouragement.

 

A Creative Place

Here we are, the first week of November. It’s still in the 80s here in Florida, with a tease of a cold front moving in this weekend. The Living Goddess Exhibit is turning into an exquisite piece of art, thanks to the collaborative effort of all artists involved. I’m really proud of this event, and proud of myself for sticking to it, as I was challenged by a medicine change a few weeks back.

wp-1478289351802.jpg
Check out the curls! Hanging out at The Complete Sweet Shoppe on a lovely Friday afternoon

It is quite a challenge to stay in an artistic flow when you’re experiencing every drug-related side effect indicated. I’m sensitive that way, didn’t realize how much until this recent run through. But I fought through, head butting through the collapses and the shakes and the confusion. I fixed my face and attitude so that I can have successful interactions with those involved in the exhibit. I continue to be nervous, more for the closeness of the performance date than the side effects.

What I’m most appreciative of is the quality of support I’ve received from my inner circle, growing greater as I venture out artistically. Sometimes I just need to curl into a ball on a friend’s couch for a few minutes, just to get aligned, grounded. Then I burst back into creativity, going through the logistics of the show, or working on the details of my props. It feels good to be genuinely nurtured through the process.

The show hasn’t commenced yet but I’m already thinking about after the fact. Where are my energies going to be directed? What is my focus for the next few months? Earlier in October I ventured out into a project that I realized was bigger than I can handle, and it left me in a depressive state, realizing my limitations. But I’m a try-er, and I can at least pride myself in giving it a go. That’s the artist life. Some things stick, some things slide through. I’ve gotten over the discouragement.

My hope is that the Living Goddess Exhibit goes without a hitch. I’ve got wonderful artists involved, full of positivity and talent, so there’s no denying things are gonna work out. Afterwards, I’ll allow myself a little break so that I can healthfully pursue my next project.

That’s my check in. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

The Living Goddess Exhibit

It’s here! The magic of goddess energy comes to life November 11th in the lovely city of Gulfport. Come see Persephone, Pomba Gira, Brigid, Hecate, Kali, Ix Chel, and Inanna amuse the crowd with their vivacity! $6 at the door. Exhibit begins at 8pm.

goddess-flyer-final-2

It’s Dress Up Time!

inanna
Source: deviantart

Busy, busy, like a queen honeybee, pumping out ideas, designs, and information with little breaks in between to breathe. Ask for help will I? Why? Everything’s under control, yep…everything is errythang.

Whew. Who am I kidding??

These last two years, I had been producing works for publication and sale. After joining the band, I was compelled back into performance art. So, getting my Vaclav Havel on, I’ve designed an exhibit of empowered, proactive women sharing words of wisdom in the form of goddesses. Fun, right? The exhibit came from a place of concern, that pit in the gut where you feel something needs to be expressed, something especially important for humankind. This is what Art does for us, yes? Get those expressions out into the open.

I wanted to express my disappointment in humanity, specifically, in the way women refuse to support each other when it comes to social cues and laws defining our roles in society. But I didn’t want to be a nag about it either. Instead, I took a comic view. What is it that women typically deal with that we can all agree we deserve a break from? And so, I’ve developed The Living Goddess Exhibit.

The girls are here to tell it like it is.

Me, I’m going to perform as Inanna, my all-time favorite deity. I’ve blogged about her too many times to not support my obsession. Inanna is perfect! If I lived in the time of her worship, I would be her best high priestess. Why? She does what I do all the time: explore people’s dualities. I *love* to exploit either-or people (in a gentle way) in order to get them to see the world’s challenges as not which team one prefers but rather, what the global community could embrace if they considered both options. It’s easy to follow the herd, but ultimately, someone needs to shepherd. Inanna is that deity.

wpid-wp-1434557224999.jpeg
Inanna, Goddess of Love and War

More details on the exhibit to come, but know this: I am in a place of deep creativity and also of calm. Things are moving at tornado speed around me but the inner cone is silent. I’m glad I’ve gotten to a point in life where I can manage the outer and inner worlds as a whole. Wish me luck in these next coming weeks!

 

 

The Great White Male

fat-superhero-3

I slapped on the visor and apron with uncertainty. Already I had worked the season opener for the local college team, now my volunteering efforts were geared towards opening day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The USF game was its own special nightmare – scorching day, no breeze, collapsing bodies – but otherwise, sales at the Second Time Arounders Marching Band tiki bar boomed. I think it was because we were by the boat.

This time around, we were placed in a beer corner with not a lot of space to move between the six of us. Before I had finished dumping ice onto the premium beers it was go time! Customers lining up for all things frosty and salty. I did as trained – smiled as I took the order, if it involved alcohol I asked for ID, held the ID up to confirm face and date, then processed the sale with a cheerful “Enjoy the game!” to send their happy selves off.

And then, he came. A large, burly man dressed in Buccaneer regalia, beads dangling proudly from his neck. His face was cute, chubby, and pinked at the cheeks. He ordered two beers and a water. I asked for his photo ID. His chubby face became firm. He flared his arms, “Are you fucking serious?”

“Yes,” I calmly replied.

“I’m 54 years old! I could be your goddamn father!”

“I’m sorry sir,” I calmly explain, “I can’t sell you those drinks without an ID.”

I watched as he stepped backwards, almost into the couple behind him, then flare his nostrils and widen his chest. I swear he was going to rush the stand, but then he yelled, “Let’s settle this right now.”

My eyes followed his left hand waiving over someone. I’m thinking it’s his wife or somebody holding his ID. A dark blue suit with TPD on the lapel and a gun at the waist appeared instead.

Never in the history of me has a cop being waived my direction ever worked out in my favor. I’m flushed, I feel my heart start to race, and an “Oh SHIT” mantra starts looping in my head, all the while thinking, he called the cops on me, he called the cops on me…

The large man details the situation above and then tells the cop “She shouldn’t ID me.” Wow! I wish I had that kind of social authority! Being above the law, being able to tell a cop what should and should not happen to him during his good time at a privately-owned stadium.

The policeman looked at me, at him, then replied, “It’s her discretion whether she sells you alcohol or not.”

WHAAAT! He’s on MY side?

Never in the history of me has a cop agreed with me, even off-duty. I felt redeemed. And even though he was pouty after the fact, I still sold the big guy a water.

I don’t care how mouthy you are. Rule #1 in retail: get the sale.

I wasn’t worried about him, I was worried about the cop. He was worried about his beer, I was worried I was ending up in handcuffs. This is our world – a bunch of unnecessary worries. If I’m lucky in this lifetime, I shouldn’t feel threatened by the appearance of law enforcement anymore.

I’ve slept on this and still felt compelled to write, because it’s such a phenomenal experience. When you look a certain way, or hang out in a certain crowd, the labels and assumptions abound. Negative labels and assumptions unfortunately carry on with you despite social improvements. So when I describe this simple scenario, I wonder if you’re reading it as someone who’s been negatively labeled all their life, or if you’re wondering why the cop agreeing with me is such a monumental deal. It is a big deal. It signifies the necessary shift in the social wind. Not everyone who looks like me needs to be disciplined by the police. Moreover, people who look like me aren’t easily threatened by the gesticulations of the Great White Male, as was my friend’s mistake.

 

 

 

 

My Upcoming Gig

Be proud of me. This is my 1st event flyer of 2016, and it’s August. This represents a huge sigh of relief. A difficult start I had this year, but I’m proud I was able to recover within the 12 months. It’s the Ishtar in me, I suppose. Can’t keep a woman down too long!

spokenworkslibraryflyer

And so here’s my new project, Spoken Works. Why Spoken Works?  Written words are the definition of a generation’s experience. In my experience, too many well-written words by exceptionally talented artists remain unshared because of personal barriers: shyness, terror of public speaking, fear of judgment. Knowing that, I asked myself, “What can be done to avert those challenges?” Then I asked, “What helped me?”

Group sharing in my Creative Writing courses. Discourse amongst colleagues in closed environments. Finding the right tribe, and sticking to them, because I can trust them. Those experiences helped me. When I had a home base for my sharing, I was not inhibited anymore.

This workshop program is part of my POP Pinellas venture, a grass-roots poet outreach program. To poet and to be a poet, to me, is one in the same. Just as people use “their” as a gender-neutral derivation, I use “poet” as a title-neutral derivation for those who write their truth down. Makes sense right? Instead of listing, oh I’m a poet, author, lyricist, short story writer, blahblahblah. I’m a poet. 

And this wasn’t my original idea. From James Baldwin’s 1963 speech, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity”:

However arrogant this may sound, I want to suggest two propositions. The first one is that the poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets. That’s my first proposition.

Which, heads up, a review of James Baldwin is gonna be my next blog post because I’m absorbing his words right now. If you want to book club it, I just started “The Cross of Redemption” and am still reading through the speeches.

Questions? Comments? You know how to reach me. And check out POPPinellas.com when you have a moment. I haven’t officially launched it yet, but it’ll eventually be where I post about Spoken Works and other local projects.

Smoochies!

 

 

 

 

 

Keepin’ It Short

Progress report on my awesome ‘do.  I’ve got about an inch and change of growth since the buzz down. The curls are coming in really tight, yet still distinct – soft, wispy curls along the temples, thick twists cover the rest. There’s still the weird patch of hair that grows longer than the rest of the head.

The last time I cut my hair down, it grew back in bone straight, reflecting my maternal biology. This time, there isn’t a straight hair to be found, all coils!

wp-1472052282395.jpg
Also to note, no makeup! My secret? Oil of Olay

 

What’s also growing in all nice and neat are white hairs. You know what? I think I’m gonna leave them alone. I kinda like the thought of entering my 40s with salt-and-pepper curls.

All About That Crown

Been riding quite the wave this week. Got my spoken word workshop green-lighted, received positive responses from exhibit participants, and I’ve even lined up some local celebs to bring flair to my projects! Man, am I a lucky girl. Thanks for delivering, Universe.

On Thursday, my arty cohort and I traversed the local Joann Fabrics and Michaels stores. I needed to brainstorm.  As per usual, I’m taking the most complicated route to satisfy a very simple project; in this case, trying to get my goddess apparel together for my November exhibit.

wp-1470322581796.jpg
The crown I plan to replicate.

Still going with the Queen Puabi crown of course. As we perused row after row of notions and beadings and sheets of both paper and cloth, I realized yup! I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

Here’s sketches of what I’ve designed. Found the “easy” dress pattern and some bamboo cross-stitch hoops to make a crown base. The key is to make the head gear as light as possible.

The dress? A yummy purple floor-length number with an empire waist. It’s not so much the cloth adornment as is the emphasis on jewelry. This is an elaborate crown, indeed, and so to compliment it, I’ve pulled down accents to the arms. As you’ll see there’s little anise-shaped stars that go along the crown which I’ll also make an armband of. And that elaborate strip of gold foil? I’ll have that carried down the other arm.  At least this is what my ambition is coming up with; hopefully we’ll exceed expectations!