PINNED! What I do


Become a Patron!
I do two things: write and work for the improvement of my community. On the writing front, here are reviews of my latest two projects:

A starred review in Publishers Weekly for my short story collection, The Voices of Martyrs

-A write up in the New York Times of my novella, Buffalo Soldier

I do a lot of community development work. My passions have always included social justice, economic equity, and racial reconciliation, which is why I work part-time at The Oaks Academy as a middle grade Logic teacher, do work for the Kheprw Institute, and work alongside The Learning Tree. Most of my work centers around the 46208 zip code (one of the “worst” zip codes in the country). We specialize in Asset Based Community Development, finding the gifts and talents within the community and networking them to improve the quality of the community.

I launched a Patreon because some friends wanted a way to help support the work that I do in the community. If you would like to support it (and receive updates on the work that’s being done) please feel free to join. Thank you so much!
Become a Patron!

 

Patreon March-April Round Up

[My Patreon is basically designed to give me flexibility in doing work in the community. I had people who learned what all I was doing in the city and wanted to be able to support me and I wanted to stay off budget for the organizations I work with. So, my patrons support my work and being able to give back to the community. For that, I thank you all so much.]

Historically, this is my least productive time of the year. That was one of the reasons I originally retired Mo*Con, since the months leading up to it were so stressful with all the running around I had to do that I didn’t get much writing done. However, with a different job situation and community partners coming alongside me, it’s opened up a bit of a window for me. That said, the reason this is late is because I didn’t know how the timing of certain news being announced would time out. I was trying to wait as long as possible and … well, here’s where I am. So here’s a two month round up!

At the Awesome Pics level:

-The many faces of Ferb (okay, the two faces of Ferb: “it’s all about me” and “I want what you have”)

-Ferb attempting to be the laziest cat to rule our household

At the Awesome Blog Post level:

-On Being Bi-Polar and a Writer

-The inside scoop on my new book deal

BTW, if you want to check out parts of my Afrofuturist universe, here are a couple free stories:

El is a Spaceship Melody

At the Village Vanguard

At the Awesome Pimpin’ level: Wrath, chapter 7 & 8, an unseen project by me and Wrath James White. And Serpent, chapter 4 & 5, an unseen project by me and Jason Sizemore. [Yes, I will eventually be running some sneak preview chapters from my upcoming space opera trilogy]

At the Awesome Community level:

Updates on:

-A burgeoning black arts movement in the city

-The Build (recently featured in Nuvo)

-My mentoring project

And more! Look at what y’all got me out here doing!

As always, thank you for your support!

Become a Patron!

Star Trek’s Lieutenant Commander Worf and his Journey of Ontological Blackness Klingon-ness

by Maurice Broaddus

Reprinted from People of Color take over Fantastic Stories of the Imagination (2017)

Identity politics has reared its head in a variety of ways in the last few years, fomenting this idea of “us” vs. “them”. Designed not only to shape and define a people, but also to demand a certain kind of conformity from them, such identity politics force its members to swear allegiance to a side. Implicitly tied to identity politics is the yoke of community. A necessary and wanted yoke, but a yoke nonetheless, one that revolves around a sense of shared culture. This culture encompasses a system of shared practices that constitute a society; interconnected spheres of activity — this web of social interactions — including economics, politics, morals, religion, art, language, history, creative expression, and worldview. In short, culture, in its truest form, is our sense of identity, who we are. To be stripped of it results in a kind of trauma.

The idea of struggling with (self-) identity is a universal one. There is an anecdotal phenomenon described as the “Negro-to-Black Conversion Experience” (sometimes called Nigrescence) developed in the work of Dr. William E. Cross, Jr., author of Shades of Black, one of the most frequently referenced texts on Black identity. Admittedly it’s difficult to have discussions about race (doubly so if you’re prone to using words like Nigrescence or ontological blackness). However, such discussions are relatively safe when viewed through the prism of science fiction. The stages of Nigrescence can be applied metaphorically to the journey of self-exploration undergone by Lieutenant Commander Worf.

Worf appears in more Star Trek episodes than any other character, first on The Next Generation, then on Deep Space Nine. In the episodes which center on him, especially in TNG, he journeys towards what could be called ontological Klingon-ness (or Klingescence) which mirrors any search for racial/cultural identity. A case could be made for Worf being a “tragic Mulatto” type, trapped between cultures, often kept in his place by Star Fleet, if not outright neutered. Half the time he comes across as a mascot for the Federation. The journey of Klingescence follows several steps.

Pre-Encounter

“As I watched Worf, it was like looking at a man I had never known.” —Captain Picard (TNG: “Heart of Glory”)

Born Worf, Son of Mogh, Worf lost his parents when they became casualties of the Romulan attack on the Khitomer outpost before he had reached age of inclusion (when a Klingon is formally accepted by his people). Adopted by a human couple, Sergey and Helena Rozhenko, he was raised as one of them, learning their ways, and eventually joined the Starfleet Academy. He spent hardly any time among his own kind, and the distance between him and his people grew to a point where he no longer understood them, or even felt connected to them. To fit in with the culture of Star Fleet, he was asked to change the one thing about himself he couldn’t change: his Klingon nature. Too Klingon for humans, too human for Klingons, he was often shunned by both sides. Converted into aKlingon in Name Only, Worf perfectly assimilated into the Federation, who didn’t see his race except when they could count him as a Klingon statistic. Even Captain Picard exhibited a degree of tone deaf cultural superiority when he remarked that “I think it is best to remain ignorant of certain elements of the Klingon psyche” (TNG: “Where Silence Has Lease”). Worf existed in essentially a state of nonbeing, a perpetual outsider.

 “Worf is feeling culturally and socially isolated.” —Wesley (TNG: “Icarus Factor”)

Typically in this stage of their journey, individuals downplay the importance of race in their lives and focus more on their membership in other groups. Worf’s engagement with his culture moves from a place of safety. There were a few clear examples of how this could played out in people’s lives:

  1. Cut off from going to school with his people, cut off from working with his people, cut off from engaging with his people on any level, all Worf is left with are his desperate attempts to bond where he can. For example, he made Jeremy Astor his brother through the R’uustai ceremony (TNG: “The Bonding”). What this points to was that Worf wants a connection to his people and is trying out their culture and rituals on his terms, even though he isn’t ready to engage actual Klingons.

 

  1. Not ready to engage what some might call “authentic Klingons,” in the Star Trek: The Next Generationepisode “The Emissary,” Worf rekindles a relationship with Federation Ambassador K’Ehleyr, a mixed heritage (half-Klingon/half-human) woman. He feels an obvious connection with someone who is similarly trapped between, or outside, two cultures. Unlike Worf, who initially appears culturally adrift, she had long sunk into a spiral of self-hate. During an encounter with her “kindred spirit,” the half human/half Betazoid Deanna Troi, the two have diametrically opposed views of themselves. While they each have experienced the richness and diversity of two worlds, Deanna saw herself as getting the best of each, while K’Ehleyr saw herself as receiving the worst of each. Her Klingon side terrified her.

 

  1. Part of K’Ehleyr’s self-hate gets passed along to her and Worf’s son, Alexander Rozhenko. After K’Ehleyr’s death, Worf takes custody of Alexander and sends him to live with Worf’s own foster parents (TNG:“Reunion”) beginning a cycle of abandonment and estrangement as each grapples with their own evolving concepts of what it means to be Klingon.

The recurring problem they both face is the constant attempt at the negation of their cultural identity: their Klingon-ness is part of who they are. To reject, dismiss, ignore it is to do the same to part of themselves.

Encounter 

“Listen to the voice of your blood. You are not of these people.” —Konmel (TNG: “Heart of Glory”)

The second stage in this journey of Klingescence is when an individual encounters an experience that causes them to challenge their current feelings about themselves and their interpretation of the condition of themselves and their people against/within the mainstream of society. The Encounter experience is one that is so foreign to individuals’ previous worldviews regarding their cultural identity that it forces them to rethink their attitudes about their culture. The inherent danger of this is that few things can potentially shatter a person like having their worldview collapse.

Probably the most important encounter for Lt. Worf came during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the episode “Heart of Glory,” he encounters some injured Klingons aboard a freighter in the Neutral Zone on a mission to seek glorious battles. One of them, Korris, asks Worf to explain his reason for joining Star Fleet. Worf describes how after the Romulans attacked the Khitomer outpost he was left for dead in the rubble until a Star Fleet officer found him and took him to Gault to raise him as a son. Taking in his trimmed hair and “civilized” look, the Klingons realize Worf hasn’t spent much time among his own kind. Worf doesn’t know his culture, his rituals, and doesn’t know what it means to be a true Klingon. The words “Have they tamed you?” cut like a bat’leth through his soul. Though this won’t be the last time he hears from the “More Klingon than Thou” crowd, they prod him onto a path of self-exploration.

Their words fire his soul. Now he has a taste of his own people, a place he’s meant to belong. And thus he goes on a pursuit of ontological Klingon-ness. Worf’s journey of his allegorical blackness sets the stage for most of the Star Trek: The Next Generation storylines which focus on him.

Immersion-Emersion

“I have studied and know everything about my heritage.” —Worf (TNG: “A Matter of Honor”)

In this stage, individuals immerse themselves in all aspects of their culture. Diving into Klingon-ness, especially now that he’s liberated from his Star Fleet ideals, hasn’t necessarily made Worf committed to his Klingon identity. Worf has had an intellectual understanding of his people, though his was a perspective of the outsider even among his own.

At this point, however, he embraces all things Klingon. He romantically engages with only Klingon women (K’Ehleryr). He exclusively studies Klingon culture, history, rituals, religion, poetry, and songs: all the things he was stripped of or kept from. As a part of his Star Fleet training, he was indeed stripped of his religion, his culture, and his identity. Though benign and unintentional, his Star Fleet enculturation left him with only his zealousness to his duties as his avenue to prove himself. However, there was still a loss of self, culturally.

(Both Commander Riker and Captain Picard choose to explore his culture, often alongside him, in order to understand and know him better. An essential step in navigating cross-cultural relationships.)

Such over-compensating Klingon-ness still doesn’t nullify his internal insecurity. He lives either for positive judgments such as pronouncements on him acting “as a true Klingon” (TNG: “Mind’s Eye”) or in fear of the negative assessments such as having his name not being mentioned on his home world due to the dishonor of his Discommendation (a Klingon ceremony where an individual and their family are shunned, stripped of honor, and severely reduced in social status, left with few rights within Klingon society). “It is as though you never existed. Terrible burden for a warrior to bear. To be nothing. To be without honor. Without the chance for glory.” (TNG: “The Drumhead”).

Internalization

It’s only at this stage that the idea/his personal definition of Klingon-ness starts to be defined, starts to become a part of him. It’s the psychological change wherein he learns to balance his personal cultural identity against his greater cultural identity. It’s a two-pronged internal battle that he constantly faces: his Starfleet training vs. his Klingon nature; and what it means to be a Klingon among Klingons.

“Is there nothing in your heart but duty?”  —Kern (TNG: “Redemption II”)

Early in the series Worf presents as a Sidney Poitier/Jackie Robinson type. All dignity and honor, he is Star Fleet’s perfect Klingon representative: Klingon, but not so Klingon as to be overly-intimidating. He was the uber-Klingon required to break through: smart, handsome, and with a knowledge of how to navigate the “mainstream.” From Star Fleet’s perspective, his token acceptance — after all, he was the only Klingon serving in all of Star Fleet — gave him a singular distinction, allowing Star Fleet to essentially proclaim “Look at us! We got our one. WE ARE DIVERSE!!!”

Integrating human ways into his Klingon code proves a bumpy ride at best, as he lets a Romulan die rather than donate his blood (TNG: “The Enemy”), not to mention his other struggles balancing Klingon vs. Federation responsibilities (TNG: “Ethics”). He masters code-switching, behaving in a more Klingon fashion among Klingons, then acting more “human” among his fellow Federation members.

“I know, but it is not my way.” —Worf (TNG: “Redemption II”)

The responsibilities of being Klingon come to weigh heavily upon Worf. Though he realizes he has a child from his relationship with K’Ehleyr (TNG: “Reunion”) and he feels comfortable enough to choose Captain Picard to be his Cha’Dich, his “second,” during his trial, his rival, Baytor, remarks that “He’s still unsure of himself” (TNG: “Sins of the Father”). By the TNG episode “Redemption,” he seems to have learned an appreciation for what it means to be a Klingon. And for its cost. Being Klingon means he has to transcend his own individuality in the name of communal survival. As Worf is developing his sense of ontological Klingon-ness, he clings to an ideal vision of his people, who they are and who they ought to be. So to show that he truly possesses a Klingon heart he accepts Discommendation, a willing sacrifice for the sake of this ideal. Once again he finds himself isolated from his people. The difference, however, is that his isolation is due now to his choice. And it is undeniably a testament to his commitment.

Internalization-Commitment

At this stage, the idea of one’s cultural identity involves commitment to a plan of action, and individuals reaching this stage begin to live in accordance with the new self-image that they have developed for themselves. Worf’s Klingon-ness takes on the dimension of praxis — theory accompanied by social action — but it springs from a place of reclaiming his internal pride. Being Klingon means being true to who he is. All of him. His self-defined Klingon-ness allows him to be who he is no matter his context. Worf possesses a new mindset and is in a better position to guide his son, Alexander through his own journey of self-discovery (TNG: “New Ground”), impressing on the boy the idea that his sense of honor is what makes him Klingon.

“We have forgotten ourselves. I do not know why. Our stories are not told. Our songs are not sung.” —Toq (TNG: “Birthright: Part 2”)

By the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Birthright: Part 2,” Worf abandoned the paradigm of what was culturally acceptable as a Klingon value by not abandoning his father to dishonor. Thus he finds himself at a camp of Klingon survivors, with a whole new generation of Klingons in search of their own Klingon identity. Not bound by any preconceived traditions, these emergent Klingons were drawn to Worf. He walks around the camp — big pimpin’, a Malcolm X to the young people. His voice helps restore their pride. He teaches them their stories, and the stories define them.

As successful as Worf is with the lost tribe of Klingons, the events of “Birthright” leave him feeling empty. There is one part of his cultural heritage which he still hasn’t explored. Again due to benign neglect more than anything intentional, he has lost his religion, his God. So in TNG: “Rightful Heir,” Captain Picard responds to Worf’s crisis of faith by suggesting he again immerse himself in Klingon beliefs to see if they hold any truths for him. Worf makes a pilgrimage to the Temple of Boreth, core of Klingon beliefs concerning Kahless and Sto-Vo-Kor.

A secure sense of his Klingon-ness allows Worf to pursue Deanna Troi of TNG and marry Jadzia Dax of DS9, though both exist outside of his race. The relationships aren’t defined by a Star Fleet indoctrination on the nature of relationships. The women aren’t some sort of prize of human/Klingon integration. He is able to follow his heart from a place of internal security and definition of self. This same mentality allowed him to make peace with his brother (TNG: “Homeward”). This also, however, opens the door to the struggle of passing along a complex, nuanced worldview to his son.

“I will teach you what you need to be a warrior and you will teach me what I need to be a father.”  —Worf (DS9: “Sons and Daughters”)

In the TNG episode “First Born,” Worf wants to take the time to involve his son in cultural rituals, not just to prevent him from being assimilated, but also to allow Alexander the room to find his own destiny. To not be trapped by his people’s or even his father’s idea of who he should be. Worf and Alexander share a complicated relationship. For benign reasons, Worf keeps handing him off to others to raise. Alexander avoids Klingon culture for years until diving headlong into it. He joins the Klingon Defense Forces in part to learn those ways and get his father’s attention. Part of him recognizes that as he reaches Klingon maturity, he must navigate the intricacies of this stage of his life among his people. By this point though, unskilled as a warrior, he’s unequipped to serve with other Klingons. Worf re-enters his life in order to smooth the way for him, the father passing down his lessons to his son.

Every people has a story to tell. When all is said and done, any racial identity is about shared story. A story that has defined the members’ identities and continues to form them. Getting to the heart of that culture, to being true to who they are. Self-consciousness, experience, that culture in its totality of life and ideology transcends individuality in the name of communal survival. Throughout his transformation, Worf’s major battle is one of fighting against the passive integration which has under-girded much of his life in Star Fleet. Though he initially struggles with the insecurity of not knowing who he is, he’s given room to explore his culture, difficult as that journey and the conversations involved with it may be. There are times when he has stern words with his friends and allies and has to make difficult decisions. He carries the burden of his culture, but the thing is, he begins to relate to others, both within his culture and without, on his terms. His is a journey of self-discovery and cultural exploration, one which never truly ends.

Publishers Weekly announces my next book deal

 

Publishers Weekly just putting my business out there

Seriously you can imagine, I’ve been (barely) sitting on this news. I’m so excited about this! I wouldn’t be here without my community. Supported by, humbled by, and loved by them. Now we head into space. We claim all the stars!

Special thanks to Jen Udden and looking forward to working with Diana M Pho and Will Hinton.

[Photo by Dennis Pharoah Green II; gear by Napornothing]

Preorder your copy of Pimp My Airship today!

Uncle Jam wants you to (steam)funk with  me!!!

Preorders for Maurice Broaddus’s steamfunk adventure Pimp My Airship are open now! The book will be released May 21, 2019.

Warning:  Don’t Believe the Hype!

All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protestor known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be.

When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight for their freedom. Chased from one end of a retro-fitted Indianapolis to the other, they encounter outlaws, the occasional circus, possibly a medium, and more outlaws. They find themselves in a battle much larger than they imagined: a battle for control of the country and the soul of their people.

The revolution will not be televised!

Preorder your copy of Pimp My Airship today and save 20% off the print edition by ordering directly through Apex! Use discount code PIMPSHIP at check out to save! Plus, all preordered print editions will be signed by author Maurice Broaddus!

Need more Maurice? (Who doesn’t?) Exclusive to the Pimp My Airship preorder period, Apex is offering a Broaddus Bundle for only $50! Get all five Apex titles that Maurice Broaddus has either written or edited in print, signed by Maurice! That’s Pimp My AirshipI Can Transform YouDark Faith (co-edited with Jerry Gordon), Dark Faith: Invocations (co-edited with Jerry Gordon), and Orgy of Souls (co-written with Wrath James White) for $50!

The eBook edition can be preordered through KindleKobo, and Google Play. It will be available soon for Nook and iBooks.

Don’t miss out on this exciting new steamfunk adventure from Maurice Broaddus! It is an action-packed romp through a retro-fitted Indianapolis that you will not want to miss!

Cover art by Godwin Akpan.
Cover design by Mikio Murakami
Release date: May 21, 2019

Alternis (a Serial Box)

“Imagine playing Fortnite from the inside…and for the fate of the world.” – Marco Palmieri

Serial Box presents … Alternis (Created by Andrea Phillips)

A LitRPG serial perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Tron. She created the game that will decide the fate of the world . . . and she’s stuck inside it.A video game designer finds out that the game she created is the seed for an ambitious top-secret project to keep the world from plunging into war—and Team USA wants her on board.

Tandy Kahananui is at her best when she’s fighting monsters and exploring dungeons — in Alternis, the video game that she’s making. Then she discovers that somehow, someone’s stolen her game. But it’s not pirates trying to make a buck. Alternis is the seed for an ambitious top-secret project to keep the world from plunging into war. And Team USA wants her on board. It’s not just a game anymore. The fate of the world is in her hands. Can she help Team USA hold its own? Can she even survive?

 

AUTHORS

Maurice Broaddus

Andrea Phillips

Jacqueline Koyanagi

E.C. Myers

The Usual Suspects – (STARRED) Kirkus Review

When a gun is found near their school, seventh-grade pranksters Thelonius Mitchell and his best friend, Nehemiah Caldwell, must work together to solve the mystery before being blamed for something they didn’t do.

Readers will love watching these two uniquely gifted black boys explore the complicated tensions between impulses and choices, independence and support, turnin’ up and getting through.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Just Keep Writing – Episode 3 – The Maurice Effect (plus Keene Podcast Update)

Just Keep Writing – Episode 3 – The Maurice Effect

This week, Marshall and Nick discuss the February challenge and usher in a new topic for the month of March: Dialogue. Maurice Broaddus joins Marshall and Nick this week to talk about to best use of time while working a day job and how effective dialogue can do for the reader. Maurice also talks about the in-depth research he did for his series “Knights of Breton Court.”

Topic of the Month: Dialogue

This Month’s Challenge: Take a scene from your current Work In Progress (WIP) and rewrite a scene with dialogue. When you rewrite this dialogue, do with it without dialogue tags. Look to make your characters distinguished from one another but there mannerisms and unique traits. Add dialogue tags later as necessary.

Episode 3 – The Maurice Effect

 

Maurice Broaddus – The Horror Show with Brian Keene – Ep 120 [NOW ON YOUTUBE]

In what may be our greatest episode yet, Maurice Broaddus sits down with Brian Keene, Dave Thomas, Mary SanGiovanni, and Phoebe to discuss ghost-writing for celebrities, reconciling religion and faith with genre writing, being a trailblazer for writers of color, his friendships with Wrath James White and Chesya Burke, and much more. Then, his co-editor Jerry Gordon joins the discussion to talk about the art of crafting the perfect anthology, and Maurice’s son reveals an embarrassing story about his father.

Patreon: February Round up

My Patreon is basically designed to allow me to do work in the community. I had people who learned what all I was doing in the city and wanted to be able to support me and I wanted to stay off budget for the organizations I work with. So, my patrons support me being able to give back to the community. For that, I thank you all so much.


At the Awesome Pics level: the rare shot of the kids (Ferb and Bellie Bob) acting relatively nice to each other.

At the Awesome Blog Post level: a sneak peek of my introductory essay for the upcoming issue of Apex Magazine called “Our Audacity” (the issue may or may not be Afrofuturism themed).

At the Awesome Pimpin’ level: Wrath, chapter 6, an unseen project by me and Wrath James White. And Serpent, chapter 3, an unseen project by me and Jason Sizemore.

At the Awesome Community level:
-My mentoring project, which includes my
Adventures with my (apparently never “former”) intern Bella:
“Mr. Broaddus, where you get your ideas?”
“Well, my friend Joshua A. Thompson is playing down at the ArtsGarden. Let’s go get inspired.”

Joshua was part of Art & Soul’s : “Black Migrations, Urban Realities.” He took us on a piano tour of the history of black people (I had no idea his performance would feature surprise vocal guest, Manon Voice) The pieces included:

Out of the Silence- William Grant Still
Africa, Land of Romance- William Grant Still
Adagio in F minor- Chevalier de St Georges
A Deserted Plantation- William Grant Still
In the Bottoms Piano Suite- R. Nathaniel Dett
Summerland- William Grant Still
Single Petal of A Rose- Duke Ellington
Deep River- Samuel Coleridge Taylor
Troubled Water- Margaret Bonds
Melancholia- Duke Ellington

Café Creative. Which gives me the excuse to “network” with my fellow creatives. Which includes me hosting Tatjana Rebelle’s “This is America” book launch (the pic at the top). Here’s part of my intro of her: “During our time working together, I came to appreciate Tatjana’s fierceness as a warrior and her incredible talent as an artist and teacher. I’ve seen her passion for justice, watched her fight for her people, and witnessed her love for her family. It’s been my honor to know her and call her friend. I give you Tatjana Rebelle.”

-And more! As always, I appreciate your support.


Become a Patron!

Patreon: January Roundup – A Year in Planning

Over on my Patreon, I just made my list of writing goals for 2019. It looks like this:

Novel Draft

            -Freedom of Thought (Diop autobiography)

            -Sweep of Stars (science fiction novel)

            -Cypher (horror novel)

Second Draft

            -The Usual Suspects: Blackhats (middle grade novel)

Novelette

            -untitled sword & soul for Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Short Stories

            -Autumn anthology

            -Uncanny Magazine

            -untitled collaboration project

Except for Cypher, all of these are due by July. And this doesn’t take into account if something I’ve turned in gets thrown back to me for the next round of revision (looking at you, Serial Box project and Pimp My Airship). Speaking of plans, here’s what we have going on for this month’s round up of the Patreon levels:

At the Awesome Pics level, well there’s Ferb. And more Ferb. A tale of triumph in four pics, if by “triumph” I mean “the strange places she gets to in order to get what she wants.”

At the Awesome Blog Post level, I answer a few process questions. I’ve received a lot of questions lately about how to schedule and rotate among multiple projects. Since you’ve just read about my writing goals/projects, I go into detail about how the sausage is made.

At the Awesome Pimpin’ level, I give a sneak peek at the cover art of the soon to be released book, Pimp My Airshp (spoiler: IT’S AWESOME!). I’m also continuing a couple of works in progress: Wrath of God (co-written with Wrath James White) and Serpent (co-written with Jason Sizemore).

At the Awesome Community level, I lay out my tentative plans for the year. This means what’s coming up for: Afrofuture Fridays, Mentoring, The Build (artist collaboration), the Superhero Workshop (using story to work through trauma). In other words, the main work that you support.

Speaking of, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

 

Patreon: December Roundup – A Year in Review

The point of my Patreon is to help keep me off budget for the work that I do in the community so that those resources can remain in the community, I can continue to get my writing done, and I can, you know, keep making my bills. Thanks to your support, here’s what I’ve been able to do.

The bulk of my work in the community has been through the Kheprw Institute, a grassroots think tank and community organization that works to create a more just, equitable, human-centered world by nurturing youth and young adults to be leaders, critical thinkers and doers. They see the people in any community as the most valuable assets and are committed to working with marginalized communities to bring about change that leads to empowered self-sustainable communities. Under their umbrella I participated in:

Community Innovation Lab: A partnership between the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Groundworks Indy, and EMC Arts, I was the artist facilitator for this community project. The purpose was to explore the challenges in Indianapolis to economic empowerment and human agency faced by two particular groups of our fellow citizens – women “returning citizens” (formerly incarcerated) and youth aging out of foster care. Through interactive and artistic activities, we unpacked some of the complexity around these issues and why the Lab’s “adaptive response” approach is particularly well-suited to uncover new efforts aimed at systemic change. One of the things that came out of the lab was the…

Superhero Workshop: The hunch we were exploring was the possibility of using story to work through trauma issues of Returning Citizens. As we didn’t want to “experiment” with RCs, we opted to work with a group of community leaders who had worked through their traumas and felt comfortable exploring them in new ways. The new way: designing a workshop where we’d use story to explore and work through a person’s trauma. The conceit would be that after we’d worked through their stories, we’d pivot and, as many superhero origin stories are rooted in trauma, use their stories as the basis for origin stories of them as a superhero. It’a about reframing their narrative and lives. It’s been well received and we’re looking at expanding it in 2019.

Because we partnered with the SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL, I ended up a part of two events:

1) The Intersection of Equity, Land, and Power – I was part of an Afrofuturist re-imagining of land use. I was been paired with an architect to bring different visions of designed community possibilities to life. And letting folks design the worlds they wanted to see.

Dear Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes

2) Afrofuturism in Action – This is a special edition of Afrofuturism Friday. October was a jump on point in our discussion, with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes answering the question “What is Afrofuturism?” Now we apply it to community work with Tobias Buckell. But let me back up…

Afrofuturism in Action: A Conversation with Tobias Buckell (Updated with video)

Afrofuture Fridays: On the second Friday evenings of the month, I’ve been leading a community discussion on Afrofuturism and adapting the mentality of the artists/practitioners to community work.

The Build is a movement of art & culture led by Indianapolis artists coming together to share ideas and resources to sustain and grow their creative work. We share our experience and thoughts on the current and future state of the Indy music/art community. Coinciding with Chreece, the largest hip hop music festival in the city, we did a panel discussion focusing on refining and redefining success; the power of relationships; and skill mastery.

I did some work outside of Kheprw, too. While out and about, your support helped allow me to do:

Mo*Con: This is a mini-convention that I host built around food, community, and conversations (typically around the topics of spirituality, art, and social justice). Basically imagine a barcon that’s the focus of an entire weekend. I partnered with the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Empowering Cuisine, and Sip N Share Wine, all grassroots organizations doing a lot of work in the community.

Creative Writing Club: I ran an after school Creative Writing Club with some of my middle grade students. We covered plotting, brainstorming, voice, dialogue, beginnings, middles, ending, scenes, and revision, culminating with our celebration event. We did readings of work produced during this time (me included).

Asante Children’s Theater: Partnering with the Indiana Writers Center, I did a world-building workshop with them. We used an Afrofuturist lens to create new worlds rife with vibrant ideas (basically, I provided the prompts and then got out of the way). Three generations of writers in that room and listening to what they created made my heart full.

Open Bite Night: Runways and Reels: Open Bite Night launched by my sister and her husband to encourage local businesses and artisans. Held outside, block party-style at and around the Flanner House and Watkins Park, it showcases the gifts and talents of neighborhood poets, artists, and local entrepreneurs. The proceeds go toward GRoE, my sister’s non-profit which provides after school meals to children in the neighborhood. This was the fifth Open Bite (and I am now the Director of the Open Bite Board).

Mentoring: Among others, Bella, one of my (former) 8th graders who went through my creative writing club. I also mentor through the Kheprw Institute and SFWA.

As for this month’s round up of the levels:

At the Awesome Pics level, well there’s Ferb. And more Ferb. I might post a couple behind the scenes photos from this year’s Broaddus family tradition (we make home movies for our themed Christmas party. We start filming the day after Thanksgiving).

At the Awesome Blog Post level, looking back, the most demanded blog was Grants for Writers. This month, I talk about the Value of Rejection (or, What Failure Teaches Us). Plus sprinkled through the month will be answers to questions from my mentees. Speaking of mentees, I adjusted a level on Patreon for folks looking for some quasi face-to-face mentoring time.

At the Awesome Pimpin’ level, from this level up, supporters (should have, if the mail system hasn’t failed me) received a surprise gift in the mail. I’m also continuing a couple of works in progress: Wrath of God (co-written with Wrath James White) and Serpent (co-written with Jason Sizemore).

At the Awesome Community level, there is a mini-profile on local hip hop artist Diop Adisa who also happens to be the son of the founder of the Kheprw Institute. We’re working on a project that’s a mix of being his autobiography, the story of an artist (his music currently featured in the Spike Lee show She’s Gotta Have It) and the philosophy/framework of how KI does its work. Which is handy as Kheprw begins to look to next year with its theme of “Creating the Future.” And I’ll discuss the writing residency I am in the middle of constructing.

As ever, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!