Time to meander through artistic and athletic identity, as I often do.
I finished a 50k trail race last month. When I think about it, I think about how finishing the helped me turn off arbitrary limitations swirling in my head. It wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but damn it was fun to run and problem solve through ugly terrain with a friend. If I can do that, what can’t I do?
I talk about limits like I haven’t been an athlete since I was in elementary school. An athlete, a writer, trying to figure out where a person that loves both can fit. It has taken me years to understand that I can be an artist and an athlete. Perhaps this shouldn’t have been difficult, but it had been presented to me as an either/or situation. Like curiosity and pushing the limits don’t complement each other.
Circus, and then finding beautiful long form essays in places like Outside, or Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, then the academic & creative writing from Leslie Heywood has helped me see myself as more of a whole person, not fragments of expectations. This is a privileged struggle, but it is also so common in different ways. What have you had to break free from?
A few years of creative work have dropped recently in journals. I’m excited and overwhelmed – since my endometriosis diagnosis, I’ve grappled with how much I want to write about navigating the trauma of chronic illness versus how much actual change the writing can bring. That’s probably unnecessary pressure. Many writers have discussed writing about trauma, and I think often back to a conversation at Charm City Books between D. Watkins and Rion Amilcar Scott: D. was working on new essays (what would come to be Black Boy Smile—go get it, the essays are gorgeous) and grappling with how much he would write about trauma. He discussed wanting to write about simple joys too. What was he writing for?
That why is at the forefront of every word I put down. The question might be why do I write or it might be why is this joy or why is this contributing to a cultural conversation, but it always starts with some sort of searching, and probably thoughts about audience. There is this push online to build social networks with more authenticity, more immediacy. What is more authentic than caring for your community in what you put out there?
Places to find new writing:
Cobra Milk issue 4
Virtual launch party on May 23 @ 8pm EST, Click here to RSVP
Jarnal issue 3: Transitions
Virtual launch party on June 11 @ 12pm EST, Zoom information to come
Books I’m thinking about / recently read:
- The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson
- Black Boy Smile by D. Watkins
- You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
- Choosing to Run by Des Linden
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.