That Internet Wife Of Mine

So recently your truly achieved a milestone here at Ars Marginal in hitting my 100th post. It’s pretty cool to think about because Ars Marginal has truly grown and evolved. So to honor the epic accomplishment I decided to do a one-on-one interview with our fearless leader, my internet wife, RVCBard, who coincidentally is celebrating her 25th birthday (again) this weekend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOO!!!!

As the interview will soon prove, there’s a reason why the two of us aren’t allowed to get together without adult supervision and a SWAT Team in place.

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Creating art and life from the intersections (reposted from Love’s Labors Lost)

(Originally posted at Love’s Labors Lost)

With the $1 Play Project underway (and if you have 60 seconds and $1.00, you really should give what you can), and way too much to do in not enough time, I want to take a moment (read: procrastinate) and talk about what it’s like and what it means to create art from a perspective of intersectionality.

Before buzzwords like “intersectionality” came along, a lot of people assumed that womanhood was White, Blackness was male, and both were straight. When Black feminists and womanists proclaimed that All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some Of Us Are Brave, they created a new paradigm for examining race, gender, and sexuality that centered on the lives of Black women.

When I started writing Tulpa, or Anne&Me in late 2009, I had no idea I’d be doing the same thing for theatre. As much as I like to fantasize otherwise, I’m not really all that brave. I hate pain (receiving or inflicting it), and I am more easily hurt than I often let on. I’m much more prone to shyness, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion than my online persona indicates. My outspokenness about racism, sexism, and homophobia says more about their magnitude and the peril they pose to human beings than about any particular courage or wisdom on my part.

So when I set out to put down on paper some of the many thoughts and feelings I have when I try to relate to White women about race and gender (all from the perspective of a woman who loves women), it wasn’t because I was intentionally trying to provoke people. It initially started out on my LiveJournal on something of a lark that channeled my infatuation with Anne Hathaway into something more meaningful. Since the discussions about race I was having with real White women were often so lacking, why not make up the conversations I wanted to have?

As Black women, we are constantly being asked to hide away or tear off chunks of who we are to make us safer for consumption. When we are with women, we’re supposed to magically forget we are Black. When we are Black, we’re supposed to ignore our womanhood. And we’d better keep that queer shit deep in the closet if we know what’s good for us. Yet in Tulpa, all three of these identities are necessary to fully understanding the characters and the story.

Tulpa, or Anne&Me is not Intro to Intersectionality. The dialogue is pretty exclusively about race. But it’s a queer woman’s experience of race and how it impacts her most personal moments. The play focuses on an intimate relationship. But it’s a relationship between women trying to maintain that intimacy in the face of racism and what that means for both of them.

“Your silence will not protect you,” Audre Lorde once said. Even prior to reading Sister Outsider, I may have sensed that this was true. As much as I hate being the center of attention or the object of scrutiny, the alternative – my silence – was even worse. My silence would mean allowing someone other than myself to define what my life means or what it should mean. My silence would mean becoming a shadow not only of myself but to myself. My silence would mean accepting my own dehumanization.

Despite the fact that I live as a queer Black woman in my queer Black woman body, as an artist I often wrestle with a sense that my life as I live it diminishes my art because it’s somehow not as universal. But creating Tulpa, or Anne&Me cured me of that.

My art does not happen despite my queer Black woman self but directly because of it.

My queer Black woman self is not an obstacle to my humanity – it’s the key to truly acknowledging and understanding it.

Round Table: LGBTQ Edition

A few months ago, four POC novelists held a round table discussion which tackled the challenges that authors of color have to face in both the publishing industry as well as the media in general in terms of race, gender and orientation.

http://arsmarginal.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/round-table/

With diversity in media, in particularly in terms of queer content, an LGBTQ-themed round table was recently conducted. This time it was opened up to playwrights, comic book creators and artists of various storytelling mediums.

Participants submitted questions and topics they wanted to address. What was interesting reading the responses while composing this round table. The participants only saw their own responses, so the answers often made for fascinating reads. With an eclectic mix of writers from very different backgrounds, sometimes there would be seven vastly different answers and in certain instances, the answers were unanimous and almost verbatim.

One thing was certain, this was definitely a conversation that has been long overdue, and certainly one that needs to continue.

Seven storytellers, one powerful discussion.

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Will you support queer Black women’s stories on stage?

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid” — Audre Lorde

Earlier this year, I wrote and produced a play called Tulpa, or Anne&Me that debuted at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

Since that first production, I’ve often been asked about what’s next for Tulpa, or Anne&Me. This is a great sign because it means that the play has touched people in some deep places and led to powerful moments of growth and healing for many. I feel a real responsibility to make this piece the best I can make it and bring it to as many places as I can where people want and need to see it.

Right now, I’m talking with someone who can offer me an opportunity for more performances in mid- to late April. Despite the fact that I’m based in NYC, there are still only a few plays by and about queer Black women being made. Although the world we live in wants me to be comfortable with feeling insignificant, I no longer have the luxury to deceive myself into believing that my work and my voice are not important.

I am raising $3,000 for the 2012 production of Tulpa, or Anne&Me. If I reach this goal, my work will have another chance to do what it’s meant to do — pave the way for healing and transformation in our lives, relationships, and communities. If you contribute to this project, you will be doing more than putting a story on stage, but creating a vibrant opportunity to honor those of us who are Black and woman and queer.

Will you contribute to be part of that process?

(*Check out the IndieGoGo campaign for a moving promo video from Hollowstone author and Ars Marginal contributor Dennis Upkins)

Will you contribute $50 to support theatre by and for queer Black women?

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”  — Audre Lorde

Earlier this year, I wrote and produced a play called Tulpa, or Anne&Me that debuted at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

Since that first production, I’ve often been asked about what’s next for Tulpa, or Anne&Me. This is a great sign because it means that the play has touched people in some deep places and led to powerful moments of growth and healing for many. I feel a real responsibility to make this piece the best I can make it and bring it to as many places as I can where people want and need to see it.

Right now, I’m talking with someone who can offer me an opportunity for more performances in mid- to late April. Despite the fact that I’m based in NYC, there are still only a few plays by and about queer Black women being made. Although the world we live in wants me to be comfortable with feeling insignificant, I no longer have the luxury to deceive myself into believing that my work and my voice are not important.

I am raising $3,000 for the 2012 production of Tulpa, or Anne&Me. If only 60 people contribute just $50 each*, I can reach that goal. If only 60 people contribute just $50 each, my work will have another chance to do what it’s meant to do — pave the way for healing and transformation in our lives, relationships, and communities. If only 60 people contribute just $50 each, they will be doing more than putting a story on stage, but creating a vibrant opportunity to honor those of us who are Black and woman and queer.

Will you contribute $50 to be part of that process?


(* This rounds out to 1 person a day for the 60-day time frame I’m giving the campaign.)