“Daily new reminders of the forces we have been pushing against in the march toward positive change. It feels so fragile. Baby steps so hard.”
– Tananarive Due
Baby steps are hard. But they are deeply important to take.
A friend asked recently if I was feeling extra anxiety lately. My reply?
“I’m feeling more determined.”
That determination is what drives me to the gym. It drives me to study. It drives me to write. It drives me to pray. It drives me to speak out. It drives me to show up.
I have determined that building culture is important.
I am determined that these greedy, short sighted, violent, bigoted fools shall not win.
Right after the 2016 election results rolled in, many artists wrote about how to get through these times.
Well, we need to keep figuring that out, don’t we?
And the truth is? People always have.
People figured out how to create during the worst years of the AIDS crisis when queer artists, agitators, and friends were sacrificed on the altar of indifference and fear and a whole generation of queer mentors was decimated.
People figured out how to create when the CIA flooded US city streets with cocaine traded for arms to crush communities in Nicaragua.
People figured out how to create when the wealthy few worked their family members half to death.
People figured out how to create as their cities burned.
People figured out how to create when their communities were bombed.
Some people have always figured out how to create in brutally worse conditions than many of us can imagine.
To create in the face of such opposition is, in itself, a victory.
I don’t care if your work is “any good.”
I don’t care if your work feels “important.”
What I care is that everyone who wants to create right now finds a way to say “fuck you” to oppression, depression, despair, illness, poverty, death threats, harassment, betrayal, silence, oblivion, and anything else stacked up against them.
And I know that’s hard.
And I know I’m speaking from relative privilege right now. [Read more…] about Stoking the Fires of Creativity in Times of Doom: Life in Empire