Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Dear Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes

[I originally sent this to them privately, but I wanted to publicly thank them also]

First off, thank you so much for your time, your presence, your generosity, and your awesomeness. You have always been a role-model for me and I wanted to once again say how much I appreciate you. Things couldn’t have gone any better.

Second, the folks you were talking to were a mix of writers, fans, and community organizers. Your words continued to resonate that night. After Afrofuturism Friday, I led another workshop right now called “the Superhero workshop.” Basically me and a lady who was in attendance for your talk, lead a group of women in using story to work through issues of trauma (with the idea that most superheroes origin story are rooted in trauma). Your words kept coming back to her and we all ended up working until midnight exploring your methods of approaching stories by asking questions. And. We. Had. Such. Breakthroughs.

Thirdly, I meet with the founder of the Kheprw Institute every Saturday morning for coffee and our “sacred dialogue” (basically, we’re off the clock and talk about things other than the community organizing work). As a part of the work we’ve been doing, we’ve been dealing with gentrification issues and equity land use. As a part of the worldbuilding for the novel I’m working on, I asked him about what real equity could look like. He went on a rant about how we’ll never achieve equity, not with the systems we have in place, how we can only leaven its worse aspects, and so on. I looked at my elder and told him I was about to put on my Afrofuturist hat: if we were starting a colony on the moon, what could equity look like? He got this look in his eye, I recognize that look of a dreamer, and then he started to give me some scenarios. I say all this to remind us of how Afrofuturism creates a space of us to dream about possibilities. Even visionary leaders sometimes needs that permission to dream, if only to see where we could be.

So thank you again. Know that you have touched a lot of doers and movers in our city.

Peace and love,

Maurice

PATREON UPDATE: October Extras Month!

Dear Patreon supporters,

Thank you so much for your patience. I’m not going to lie: I didn’t get the September stuff up due to preparing and being gone for the Writing Excuses Cruise (and I realize the weeping going on for me as I offer up teaching on a cruise as an excuse for non-production).

The month off has also allowed me to think through some changes I want to make to the Patreon. First off, in an attempt to make up for things, I’m declaring October “EXTRAS MONTH!”

-for those at the $1 level, it means extra pics of Ferb (and maybe me…on a beach…or something else equally productive).

-for those at the $5 level, there will be three blog posts this month (and at least two a month going forward)

-for those at the $5 and up levels, due to a special Afrofuturism Friday that I am doing in December, there will be a chapbook of several of my stories and a novelette produced that will be sent to you as a thank you.

-for those at the $10 level more chapters of the novel in progress. There may be a publishing date attached (assuming I get all the revisions done). So around next June, you will receive a copy of the finished product.

-for those at the $20 level, I’ve made the previous reports public on my blog:

Patreon Report: A Month in the Life

Patreon Report: A Month in the Life

-speaking, community work, writing update

 

Patreon Report: Afrofuturism Fridays

Patreon Report: Afrofuture Fridays

 

Patreon Report: One Week

-I was overdoing it, even for me

 

Patreon Report: Community Innovation Lab, Afrofuture Fridays, and More!

 

Patreon Report: 18-04-25

Patreon Report – 18-04-25

-more updates on the community innovation lab and Afrofuturism Fridays

 

More importantly, I’m adding a profile piece to the report. Each month I will include a write up of someone I work alongside with in the community development work. Plus updates on Afrofuturism Fridays, a Superhero Workshop, a Spirit & Place event, and a profile on Imhotep Adisa, founder of the Kheprw Institute.

And there may be other sneak peeks and previews this month. YOU. JUST. DON’T. KNOW.

As always, thank you for the support.

Maurice

Clarion 2019 Instructors…

I’m going to be an instructor at the Clarion workshop in 2019. I’m still pinching myself to make sure that I am not dreaming I’m a part of an amazing lineup including Carmen Machado, Karen Lord, Andy Duncan, and Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer. I’m of two minds: 1) it’s sorta surreal to be mentioned in the same sentence as so many writers I admire; and 2) SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! (a sample of the kind of quality professionalism and instruction you can expect)

[Learn more about the Clarion line up here.]

Writing Excuses Cruise 2018

Dear students wanting to know where Mr. Broaddus was all week (not that you’d check Facebook because it’s for old people),

Just know that I was hard at work on a new book and preparing to teach about writing. Because I suffer for my art.

Our first stop was at NASA. Chilling with the Saturn V rocket. 60 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. You can’t appreciate the scale unless you can picture parking your car into one of the FIVE thrusters in the back.

Then I found myself in Roatan, going over my lesson/workshop plans when suddenly I was struck with writers block that I found a way to push through…#beachmassagesrule

Then came Belize where I was, uh, researching. #writerslife

I did meet up with a few folks: one codenamed B15

and the other group codenamed Bravo Bravo Bravo.

This exchange probably best sums up how I lived on the Writing Excuses Cruise:

Me: Let me get this straight, I can order anything off this menu and you’ll give it to me for NO extra charge.

Waiter: Yes sir. So what would you like for dessert?

Me: The roasted duck.

#wrxcruise2018

I want to than the entire Writing Excuses crew for inviting me out and giving me the opportunity to teach some folks who will be taking the literary world by storm before too long.

Intern Bella and GenCon: A Summer Recap

[My GenCon report by way of how I spent my summer vacation aka a long post]

“Mr. Broaddus, do you have any interning opportunities?”

Thus enters Bella, one of my (former) 8th graders who went through my creative writing club at the middle school who wrote me a week after graduation. I said “no,” but wanted to hear her thinking. When I met with her and her mom, her mom told me that though she tried to talk her out of it, her daughter was determined to be a writer. If that was the case, she needed to start networking now. Between her boldness in asking and her clear goals, I said yes.

We’ve had a whirlwind summer involving a reading list (Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Nick Mamatas’ Starve Better), a dialogue seminar, writing through the lens of social activism (a project I am doing with the Kheprw Institute),

She shadowed me through project development, generating income streams, and learning the business side of a writing career (granted, I had to explain that calling up a publisher and hurling insults at one another is only the special submission guidelines between me and Jason Sizemore). We’re also writing a story together which is an easy way for me to teach the finer points of character development, plotting, deepening themes, conflict, and revision. Which means she’ll end up with a pro credit, too.

One of the things about my writing career is that I certainly didn’t get here by myself as I think of the folks who mentored me along the way and became friends (Kelly Link, Gary A. BraunbeckByron Kane, and so many more) and those who introduced me around at my first con (Wayne Allen Sallee). Since she wanted to network, her intern “graduation” was doing GenCon with me.

Intern Bella (about my red outfit): “Mr. Broaddus, it’s hard to take you seriously when you look like you should top a sundae.”

With one joke, she stole all my friends at GenCon. There’s a great community of folks who go into making the Writers Symposium such a wonderful experience (Kelly SwailsJerry GordonLucien SoulbanMonica ValentinelliMax GladstoneScott LynchTanya DePass, and so many more). But I wanted to highlight a few who made me look like a genius in retrospect by surrounding Bella with role models of powerful women:

Alethea Kontis – who basically took Bella under her wing and displayed the finer aspects of authorial badassery (Bella, like most young people, isn’t on Facebook, so I can say badass).

Melanie Meadors – who fielded all of her questions about being a publisher and editor.

Sarah Wishnevsky Lynch – who gave such a wonderful talk about the importance of resilience that I wanted to bottle it up and spray myself with it every morning.

Elizabeth Vaughan – who besides being a wonderful example of generosity, gave Bella the opportunity to see how a trusted community of peers can speak into each others’ lives with advice (even it if’s uncomfortable truths), support, and accountability.

Jaym Gates – who is not only the editor for the story Bella and I are working on, but spent time answering all of her questions and offering long term career advice.

Toiya K. Finley – whose expertise in gaming basically LEFT A (SOON TO BE) HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN SPEECHLESS.

Me: We’re like Batman and (very insecure) Robin.
Bella the Intern: It’s okay, Mr. Broaddus. One day you’ll be Batman. #shesgotjokes

I’m kind of spoiled by my experience with interns. And while Bella has already declared that any future intern of mine works for her, I remind each of them that we’re always in relationship (which is why Rodney Carlstrom is Intern Emeritus). As for her thoughts on me, I overheard her say this to another writer friend of mine: “He never stops teaching.” And that’s what made my summer.

[And I would have posted this yesterday, but Bella wanted approval. Something about one of my lessons about controlling your narrative.]

GenCon Schedule – Where I’ll be!!!

THURSDAY

12:00pm Reading as Writers

2:00pm Beyond Cloaks, Corsets, and High Heels: Clothing in Spec Fic

 

FRIDAY

10:00am Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

11:00am Signing – Writing Symposium Table

12:00pm All About Apex

4:00pm Urban Fantasy: Why So Serious?

 

SATURDAY

11:00am Steampunk: Up in Smoke

2:00pm Signing – Indianapolis Public Library Table

AFROFUTURISM READING LIST AND RESOURCES – STARTING PLACES

[see also African Americans in Speculative Fiction – A Primer]

Mark Dery essay “Black to the Future” (1994) – coined the term “Afrofuturism”

BOOKS

Fiction

Tomi Adeyemi – Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) (2018)

Steven Barnes – Lion’s Blood (2002), Zulu Heart (2003)

Jennifer Marie Brissett – Elysium (2014)

Tobias Buckell – Crystal Rain (2006)

Octavia Butler – Parable of the Sower (1993)

Bill Campbell – Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (2013)

Samuel Delany – Aye and Gomorrah (1967), Dhalgren (1975)

Nicky Drayden – Prey of Gods (2017)

Tananarive Due – My Soul to Keep (1988)

Nalo Hopkinson – The Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), Midnight Robber (2000)

N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season (2015)

Walter Mosley – Futureland: Nine stories of an imminent future (2001)

Nnedi Okorafor – Who Fears Death (2010), Binti (2015), Binti: Home (2017), Binti: The Night Masquerade (2018)

Deji Bryce Olukotun – Nigerians in Space (2014)

Rasheedah Phillips – Recurrence Plot (2014)

Sun Ra – This Planet is Doomed (2011)

Nisi Shawl – Everfair (2016)

Rivers Solomon – An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017)

Sheree Renee Thomas – Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (2000)

Colson Whitehead – The Underground Railroad (2016)

 

 

 

MUSIC

Sun Ra – “Space is the Place” (1973)

Parliament – “Mothership Connection” (1975)

Outkast – “Aquemeni” (1998)

Janelle Monae – “The ArchAndroid” (2010), “The Electric Lady” (2013), “Dirty Computer” (2018)

Drexciya – The Quest (1997)

Erykah Badu – Baduizm (1997)

Flying Lotus – 1983 (2006)

 

FILMS

The Brother from Another Planet (1984) – John Sayles

District 9 (2009) – Neill Blomkamp

PUMZI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWMtgD9O6PU

INTERVIEW with Wanuri Kahiu – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlR7l_B86Fc

Wanuri Kahiu Ted Talk on Afrofuturism – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvxOLVaV2YY

Janelle Monae Dirty Computer Emotion Picture – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdH2Sy-BlNE

 

VISUAL ART

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Molasses

Antonio Lopez – fashion illustrations

Tim Fielder – graphic artist, “Black Metropolis” exhibit

Niama Safia Sandy – curated “Black Magic: Afro Pasts/Afrofutures” exhibit

King Britt – curated “Moondance: A Night in the Afrofuture” exhibit (2014)

Joshua Mays – Tells Stories in Murals

Lina Iris Viktor – A Rising Star

Rachel Stewart – jewelry maker

Ingrid Lafleur

 

Comic Books

Black (Kwanza Osajyefo)

Black Panther (Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Destroyer (Victor LaValle)

Milestone Comics (Icon, Static, Hardware, Blood Syndicate)

 

Non-Fiction

Afrofuturism: the World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy Culture (2013) – Ytasha L. Womack

Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro Blackness (2015) – Alondra Nelson and Reynaldo Anderson

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (2015) – Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha

More Brilliant Than the Sun – Kodwo Eshun

The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics – Louis Chude-Sokei

Emergent Strategy – adrienne maree brown

Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction – André M. Carrington

Black Quantum Futurism: Theory and Practice Vol. 1 – ed. Rasheedah Phillips

 

Misc Resources

Afrofuturism: 3 Women you need to Know

Tech and Afrofuturism on Robin Thede’s late night show The Rundown:

Pt. 1: https://youtu.be/BltqLsYnOgw

Pt. 2: https://youtu.be/jk0OV_ZIxvw

Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto: http://martinesyms.com/the-mundane-afrofuturist-manifesto/

Aker: Futuristically Ancient – https://futuristicallyancient.com/

House of Future Sciences

This American Life – We are the Future

My story At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia) is now up on the Escape Pod site, available as a read or listen. It’s one of my favorite short stories plus it lays the groundwork for much of my Afrofuturist universe.

Click here to head there.

For those who attended Mo*Con, you became familiar with the awesomeness that is Sip N Share Winery. Well, they aren’t exactly staying a secret as they were on the cover of this week’s The Indianapolis Recorder.

Click here to read Black women vintners changing the wine game

A Day in the life of an Intern

Even when my middle school students graduate, I can’t escape them. Meet Bella. She’s interning with me over the summer. And she insists on *still* calling me Mr. Broaddus.

We started last week when I put her through her paces:

-inspirational speech (“your first novel’s gonna suck. Your second one’s probably gonna suck too, but it should suck less.”*)
-goal setting (she’s now aiming for Alphas as well as entering the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards)
-been given a reading assignment (Binti by Nnedi Okorafor)
-creative disruption: joined others on a nature walk/spiritual practice
-writing time
-developed a projects list (well, went over my projects list to see what she could jump in on)
-activism/community development work: we interviewed Diop of the Kheprw Institute
-eating (unlike with my other intern, I didn’t have her buy)
-reflection (which was more thorough than any of the reflections she wrote when I assigned them in school)
-I suffered through her love of music by the Backstreet Boys as she worked
-LOOKED AT THE ROUGH DRAFT OF THE COVER OF MY UPCOMING MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL!!!**

For those worried about the fate of @RodneyCarlstrom, he’s been “promoted” to “Intern Emeritus.” And he makes for a nearly as adorable picture… #werestilladorable

*Of course, her response was to print it out and leave it for me to give her notes on.
**Interns are obligated to ooh and ahh.

AFROFUTURE FRIDAYS – DANCING OUR WAY TO A BETTER FUTURE (A Re-Cap)

“Afrofuturism is me, us, as Black people, seeing ourselves in the future. Being as magical as we want to be.” –Janelle Monae

Why Afrofuturism? Because we have to imagine the future we want to see. Let’s start with a re-cap of our Octavia Butler discussion.

Octavia Butler’s work combines imagination with social, political, and even religious practice. It creates blueprints to find new ways to understand ourselves and the world around us. And, with its Afrofuture promise, it paints a vivid portrait of what the world could look like.

TABLE DISCUSSION: Adrienne Brown (a co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements) wrote this:

Octavia understood that these are the conditions that emerge when we are trapped in the imagination of racists, fundamentalists, and smart people addicted to hierarchy—people who don’t think of the whole; people who don’t love people like me who are black, queer, feminine of center, fat, wear glasses, etc. Octavia understood that we have to claim the space to imagine ourselves beyond this world.

In terms of lessons learned, what can we be doing to help our communities through dystopian times? What are some methods people can use to uproot injustice patterns in communities?

[table report]

-switching our mindset: we’re conditioned to believe we’ll turn against each other, but being free of oppressive systems may unite us

-we need to begin to know our neighbors and building trust with them now

-we need to start saving stories and knowledge that can be passed down

-be self-disciplined, be accountable to community, be flexible to a larger vision, and recognize our agency

“We get to paint a different world, on our own terms. I get to be whatever I want to be through Afrofuturism.” –Janelle Monae

In our Afrofuturism discussions, we’ve been asking the questions “Where are we now?” “Where do we want to be?” and “How do we get there?” We can draw a straight line from Octavia Butler to Janelle Monae.

In Butler’s novel Wild Seed, which Monáe has cited repeatedly as one of her biggest influences, the main character has to survive alongside her oppressor through a combination of sexual sagacity, empathy, and shape-shifting. Donna Haraway’s famous essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” explicitly draws comparisons between the hero of Wild Seed and the function of an android figure in “pitting her powers of transformation against genetic manipulations.”

Monáe borrows from Butler a focus on reclamation and restoration of the past as a path to both claiming individual identity and living with and within an oppressive society. In Monáe’s work, finding a connection to a history that’s been taken from you is a crucial part of resistance and self-empowerment.

Who is Janelle Monae? (a question that she asks and begins to answer with Dirty Computer)

BIO:

Janelle Monae was born December 1, 1985, to a mom who worked as a janitor and a dad who was in the middle of a 21-year battle with crack addiction. Her parents separated when Monáe was less than a year old. She grew up in a massive, devoutly Baptist family in Kansas City, Kansas. She studied extensively in her journey and eventually her music caught the attention of Big Boi (Outkast) who introduced her to Sean Combs. The rest is history.

She is signed to her own imprint, Wondaland Arts Society, and Atlantic Records (Monáe has become one of the few black women who run their own independent record label in conjunction with a major record label). Besides being a singer and songwriter, for which she has received six Grammy Award nominations, she’s a CoverGirl spokeswoman and had roles in two feature films, Hidden Figures and Moonlight.

Janelle Monae publicly debuted with a conceptual EP titled Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase)

– Partly inspired by the 1927 film, Metropolis, it was originally conceived as a concept album in four parts, or “suites”

– involves the fictional tale of Cindi Mayweather, a messianic android sent back in time to free the citizens of Metropolis from The Great Divide, a secret society that uses time travel to suppress freedom and love.

-Janelle Monae says this about her alter ego: “Cindi Mayweather is an android and I love speaking about the android because they are the new “other”. People are afraid of the other and I believe we’re going to live in a world with androids because of technology and the way it advances. The first album she was running because she had fallen in love with a human and she was being disassembled for that…And I feel like all of us, whether in the majority or the minority, felt like the Other at some point.” This is when Prince became a fan/mentor.

In 2010, Monáe released her critically acclaimed first full-length studio album The ArchAndroid

-The second and third suites of Metropolis

Her second studio album, The Electric Lady, was released in September 2013, to critical acclaim.

-Monáe’s first single from The Electric Lady, “Q.U.E.E.N.”, featuring Erykah Badu, premiered on SoundCloud and made available for download purchase at the iTunes Store on April 23, 2013. “Q.U.E.E.N.” garnered 31,000 digital sales according to Nielsen Soundscan with the accompanying music video gaining four million YouTube views within its first week of release.

In her 2013 interview with fuse, Monáe states that “Q.U.E.E.N.” was inspired by conversations she shared with Erykah Badu about the treatment of marginalized people, especially African-American women, and the title is an acronym “for those who are marginalized”; Q standing for the queer community (QUEER was the original name of the project), U standing for the “untouchables”, the first E standing for “emigrants”, the latter standing for “excommunicated” and N standing for “negroid”.

[table report]

-she gets to the core of why people are otherized

-about how society used the marginalized and otherized

-she validates them

 

Janelle Monae’s Activism:

-In 2015, with members of Wondaland, she created “Hell You Talmbout,” which demands we say the names of black Americans who have been victims of racial violence and police brutality. -Before #MeToo and Time’s Up, Monáe created an organization, Fem the Future, which stemmed from her frustrations about opportunities for women in the music industry.

Monáe’s third studio album, Dirty Computer, was released on April 27, 2018

“Dirty Computer” is a homage to women and the spectrum of sexual identities. The songs can be grouped into three loose categories: Reckoning, Celebration and Reclamation.

– “D’Jango Jane” is an ode to black power and pride that is also a dirge about the struggles that come with that heritage.

 

The emotion picture “follows a young woman, played by Monáe, on the run from an authoritarian government that hunts down so-called deviants and “cleans” them by erasing their memories. Those memories serve as the musical interludes (the videos) amid the drama.”

TABLE DISCUSSION: “Monáe has spent a lifetime perfecting the art of being a pop star who isn’t a sexual object. Discretion is a survival strategy, a coping mechanism especially useful for black women living in the public eye. But she has now made an explicit album about sexual expression and identity that is somehow still shrouded in ambiguity.”

As an advocate of women and queer issues – how does this help us imagine a different future? Especially in light of the patriarchy, misogyny, and homophobia in our music and culture?

Ending Quote:

“Through my experiences, I hope people are seen and heard. I may make some mistakes. I may have to learn on the go, but I’m open to this journey. I need to go through this. We need to go through this. Together.”

Let’s find ways to do this. Together.

 

 

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/cover-story-janelle-monae-prince-new-lp-her-sexuality-w519523

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/janelle-mone-steps-into-her-bisexual-lighting.html

http://thequietus.com/articles/04889-janelle-mon-e-the-archandroid-afrofuturism

https://www.vox.com/2018/5/16/17318242/janelle-monae-science-fiction-influences-afrofuturism

https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/02/16/586014275/janelle-mon-e-teases-dystopic-afro-futurist-emotion-picture-dirty-computer