Monday, December 08, 2014

Sew What?

I'm so happy, I could spit sunshine.

I splurged today and bought a Singer Sew Essentials container -- a modern day sewing basket. It's got 165 pieces that fit together nicely in this nifty, snap together plastic satchel of a box, which basically means it's got everything I'll need to start sewing all over again.  And I mean everything. Bobbins. Seam rippers. Pins. A jillion yards of thread. Everything!  I'll keep my old sewing kit for the overspill.  It's cloth and a little dingy but perfectly useful. I just needed to cook with gasoline.

I can build on this -- one stitch at a time. I'll start by making small repairs on everyday things. A hem here, a pair of socks there, a missing button on this, and on and on.  Once I'm really comfortable, I'll yank out my sewing machine. I have to get proper sewing scissors, beautiful shears.  Sewing is fairly relaxing work that's hardly distracting once I get into the feel of it. It leaves my mind to wander and that's when ideas come to me.  Get that left side of the brain going and the right side of the brain is free to wander and explore.

This is a new beginning that's really me going back to the beginning.  What's new is what I used to do. I learned how to sew when I was a small child.  One summer, my Godmother/Aunt Doris enrolled my cousin Leslie and I in sewing classes at the Singer sewing shop in the local mall. I started by making simple things, like a-line skirts. My Aunt Doris gave me my own little sewing basket and looked over my shoulder from a great, grand distance -- she was an expert seamstress -- and by the end of the summer, I could make my own dresses.  By the time I finished college, I fell off.  I had a stint in the costume department of the theater wing that was fun but that came and went. Now that wearing vintage is essential, I'm pretty crafty -- and those sewing skills have come in pretty handy.

I'm already thinking about stuff I want to make, stuff I have to mend, stuff I want to take apart. Hopefully when I get dressed, I won't look like anyone else.  I'll look the way the music sounds.

The older I get, the closer I get to the kid I used to be. When I am old, I will be that girl all over again -- living in the Lowcountry, knitting and sewing and baking and cooking, floating on my back in the water and swimming for hours on end, running just for the feel of my legs spinning out from under me, reading and researching ideas and writing and thinking and making cool art and dreaming of living in New York City...

Monday, December 01, 2014

Joy, Unspeakable Joy

Interestingly, the theme for December's NaBloPoMo is joy, which -- unlike happiness -- is of the divine.  There is the work -- gigs that are work and auditions that feel like work and boxing that's nothing but work -- and all of the goals and priorities that swirl around me constantly, like determined fireflies. And there is all of this work that happens inside of the work -- voice lessons, guitar practice, writing a song down as it comes to me. Somewhere in there, joy remains a constant. It's an invisible string that runs all the way through the fabric of my inner world, somehow setting things right. When the filth of the world won't subside and I have every reason to be depressed and angry, joy lets me keep my spiritual equilibrium and I bounce like a bright red rubber ball.  Joy, unspeakable joy. For this, I am truly grateful.

There's a lot of things that make me happy but I can think of very few things that give me joy.  Music is definitely one of them. So is performance.

This is probably my favorite song in the entire history of ever. I think the whole world should hear it. 

Behind, every dark cloud
There's a silver lining
And after each rain storm
There's a bright new sky

When troubles grieve you
And friends deceive you
Oh don't worry
It will pass over by and by

When troubles pull your heart strings
Don't be discouraged
And even though pain and misery
Fill your eyes with tears

These troubles will soon pass
Yes, soon they will depart
Oh hallelulah,
They will pass over by and by

So remember

Weeping may endure for a night but
Joy, joy, joy, joy
Joy Joy will come
Joy, Joy
Joy, Joy
Joy, Joy

Weeping may endure for a night,but
Joy, joy, joy, joy
Joy Joy will come
Joy, Joy
Joy, Joy
Joy, Joy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Black to the Future!

This is me, displaying what can only be described as a Jack Johnson level of Unforgivable Blackness at the 2012 Baltimore Comic Con.

You're welcome.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Indigenous People's Day!

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that everyone in the Americas celebrates Columbus Day.  America has its hotspots -- there'll be a big parade in New York City and San Francisco likes to celebrate in the streets, thanks to the large Italian-American populace there -- and so does South America but for the most part, acknowledging what this day encompasses means having to embrace the enormity of what Christopher Columbus really did

The 6 million dead because of Hitler is a constant reminder in the media, in movies, in museums and memorials all over the world -- and yet as overwhelming as that loss is, it is dwarfed by the 100 million dead at the hands of Columbus.  The Europeans conquered through disease, not warfare.  Smallpox obliterated the nation.  Smallpox! And that wasn't the only disease, either.  Think of it: at least 90% of the Native American population, gone. In comparison, The Black Plague wiped out 30% to 60% of Europe.

And that's just one of the things Columbus did.

I can't believe Italian-Americans can't come up with another hero to celebrate. What about Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer that disproved Columbus' claim that Brazil and the West Indies were Asian outposts?  South America was initially called America because of him. What about a saint or a priest? San Gennaro, anyone?  Whatever.  With each passing year, throwing that parade up 5th Avenue becomes more and more ridiculous.  Everyone will eventually move on without you.

Actually, everyone is moving on without you.  Seattle and Minneapolis are the latest cities to celebrate Indigenous People's Day, amongst others -- but it should be noted that South Dakota has celebrated Native Americans Day for the past 23 years.  (Freakin' yay.)

So call it what you will --  Dia de la Raza, Native Americans Day, Indigenous Resistance Day or even Indigenous People's Day. But please don't call it Columbus Day.

To touch and review last year's Indigenous People's Day blog post, please click here.

This 1992 poster was created by Seth Tobocman to counter 500th anniversary celebrations of Columbus first arriving in the Americas and to celebrate 500 years of resistance.