2017 ended a week ago. We are a week into 2018. I have been avoiding writing like the plague. I have not blogged in months, and every time I contemplated it or even showed up to the page, I found lots of excuses and reasons why I shouldn’t, needn’t, couldn’t write, but tonight something shifted.
I have been reading a lot, more in a concentrated span of time (about 48 hours) than I had really read all of 2017. I’m not talking FB posts and links to rabbit hole articles. I’ve owned a nook and a kindle app for years now but somehow it hadn’t really translated into reading more. So what made the past 48 hours significant or different? It’s just that I finally decided to stop using the lack of expendable income as an excuse not to read. So first I looked to see what Prime had to offer by way of free books by African writers, working from a list Essence put out last year. Turns out nothing. I thought, ok, expand your search to include in general, writers of color. Still lacking but I found a few titles to download, and I began with Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection of short stories, 18 years old. How old I was when I first immigrated 23 years ago.
Then I found Catapault and Wendy Angulo Productions. Curated writing spaces. While there I read some of my VONA sistas’ stories. Then a read a fellow VONA sista’s FB declaration about writing without fear. Then I read another one’s reflection of the #52essays challenge. Then I tentatively snooped around for word on more of the #52essays movement. Then I dared myself to join. I’ve read so much in the last 48 hours that the articles and stories have melded into one and I can’t tell you from which site I got what. Only thing I can say is, they all made me pick up my laptop and start tapping away.
So here I am, 2 hours shy of a week into the New Year making a commitment to go back to my writing. It’s a scary feeling. I can’t say if it’s scary because I feel I am not disciplined enough or if it’s scary because I remained mum on lots of important issues in 2017 because I had suddenly been thrust in the limelight as a business owner and I needed to maintain a certain look. I felt arrested in much the same way as I was when I first began working at a small liberal arts early college and felt that I had to keep certain parts of who I was silent to protect me, to not give them a chance to doubt me. The funny thing is being all of myself was exactly what they needed to see. To feel they then had permission to be all of who they were struggling to be. 2017, I felt muzzled and I think up until a few minutes ago, I hadn’t managed to quite shake it off yet. I kept quiet about the shitty things that had happened to me because a lot of my clients and customers had now friended me and I now had a public image to preserve/uphold. I didn’t even post as much personal stuff as I used to. And I resented that fact. That my personal page had somehow been subsumed by the public persona. But then I didn’t know what to do, so I kept quiet. Didn’t take part in public discourses which showed which side I was clearly on.
In any case, although I haven’t resolved the personal vs business dilemma I have nonetheless chosen to take the plunge and write. So here goes everything!
In the words of my favorite musical: No Day but TODAY!
Akwaaba to the journey
So to show you how committed I am, I stayed up to post even though I left at 1030 to spend 4 hours in the ER with my uncle who is sick and so technically it’s already week 2 of the new year but who’s checking but me?