White Evangelicals, I need you to do better.
Watching so many of my fellow Christians so fervently support the rise of President Trump gave me pause and served to broaden the disconnect I feel with Evangelicals. I’ve historically identified as one. But somewhere along the way, “Evangelicals” became a byword, synonymous with “American white Republican Christian,” leaving a whole lot of us behind. You should be leading the charge against injustice, intolerance, hate, and destruction of the environment – yet your silence has become your message.
TL;DR – The weekend of May 6-7th, the Broaddus family would love to host folks to just hang out at our house all weekend. If writerly folks wanted to stay at a nearby hotel* and if they wanted to drop by the house, they would be welcome. No pressure. No planning. No*Con.**
Many people have asked whether or not I’d bring back Mo*Con. The reality was that the planning (and stress) of Mo*Con ate up the first quarter of my year. I increasingly wasn’t able to attend cons nor get much writing done. Despite whatever Mandela effect we may be experiencing, 2016 was actually the only year we’ve not done Mo*Con. I was able to attend a few more cons, including Confusion a couple weeks ago. Last year, I wrote over a half dozen stories by June. So, short answer, no.
BUT … I do miss folks.
At a few cons, several folks (especially looking at you Anton Cancre and Sarah Hans) kept whispering in my ear like a devil and angel on each shoulder. They posed a simple hypothetical: would I be willin to just open up my home and be willing to have folks come by and hang out. The same kind of conversations could happen, since, frankly, “the best part of Mo*Con was hanging out in your garage.”***
So the first weekend in May, the 6-7th (coincidentally when we usually would host Mo*Con), the Broaddus family will be home, braced and ready for company. We’ll enjoy food, drinks, and conversation. Meals we’ll do by a combination of pitch in and on site cooking (if folks want to paypal-ing me in advance, we can cater a meal or two).
One more time, the weekend of May 6-7th, the Broaddus family would love to host folks just hanging out at our house all weekend. If writerly folks wanted to stay at a nearby hotel and if they wanted to drop by the house, they would be welcome. No pressure. No planning. No*Con.
Drop me a line if you have any questions (or to let us know that you’re coming).
*I don’t care if folks decide they want to just camp out in our backyard. However, if you wanted to stay at this hotel, we’ve secured discounted rates:
Wingate by Wyndham Northwest
6240 Intech Commons Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278
P: 317/275-7000 C: 317/752-2312
DISCOUNT CODE: CGMWC4
**Lee Harris was the first to call it that. Faux*Con was a close second.
***When the history of my contribution to the genre is written, let it be about my garage.
…my first short story collection! (Art by Arthur Hugot)
“The lush, descriptive prose tantalizes all the senses, drawing the reader into a rich world spanning both miles and centuries. Hints of magic in both the past and present, as well as the science fiction elements of the future stories, make this an exciting exploration of genre as well as culture.” –Publishers Weekly (Go read the full starred review)
“Give thanks for these griot, hip-funk, afrofuturist stories of pure horror and complicated hope. Broaddus sounds a deep beat in this true myth of survival: what our heads forget, our bones remember.” –Karen Lord
“Maurice Broaddus has a talent for creating fascinating characters across lifetimes, fierce voices that linger and stay with you. His fantasies, fables, and far out tales come from an imagination as frightening as it is admirable. And whether they come from the past, present, or one of his cautionary futures, you are certain to find a story that speaks to you.” –Sheree Renée Thomas
“An outcast in the distant past struggling to survive. A religious captain rationalizing away the evil of the slave ship he commands. A future biomech warrior in a literal culture war. The stories in The Voices of Martyrs again prove why Maurice Broaddus is one of the most exciting writers of today’s genre fiction. His vision spans space and time while staying grounded in the stories–in the very voices–which make us fully and tragically and hopefully human.” –Nebula Award-nominated author, Jason Sanford
“Reminiscent of a young Charles Saunders, Maurice Broaddus’ The Voices of Martys is a fresh blend of science fiction, fantasy, and the folkloric history of the African diaspora.” –Chesya Burke, Author of Let’s Play White and The Strange Crime of Little Africa
“There’s a percussive intensity to the stories in The Voices of Martyrs. These are not simplistic heroic tales but poignant examinations of the triumphs and losses, the joys and pains, and the deep, rich complexities of a culture.” –Ayize Jama-Everett, author of The Liminal People
It comes out in March, but in the mean time there’s:
An “Interview with MAURICE BROADDUS” (over at CivilianReader.com)
Your new novella, Buffalo Soldier, will be published by Tor.com in April 2017. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
It’s set in the steampunk universe that I created for my story “Pimp My Airship.” In this universe, America lost the Revolutionary War and remains a colony of England. Buffalo Soldier is a stand alone sequel to my novelette, Steppin’ Razor (published in Asimov’s Magazine). Set in a Jamaica which was never a colony of England and thus flourished, an undercover agent, Desmond Coke, gets drawn into a web of political intrigue when he stumbles across a young boy, Lij. As it turns out, Lij is a clone of Haile Selassie, a messiah figure to the Rastafarians, who the government plans to raise as their puppet to control the people. Desmond frees the boy and goes on the run. In Buffalo Soldier, the pair is on the run through the United States of Albion, searching for a place to call home.
As a bonus, I was interviewed over on Wired: “(Daniel) Older, (Silvia) Moreno-Garcia, and (Maurice) Broaddus recently helped edit People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror, special issues of Fantasy magazine and Nightmare magazine written, edited, and illustrated by people of color.” (Read Writers of Color Continue to Wrestle With Lovecraft’s Racist Legacy)
Not that I expect to be nominated for any stories, but I thought it would be fun to do a roundup of my projects for the year. Interesting enough, all of my projects came out in the last quarter of the year:
At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia) – Mothership Zeta #5
The Spirit Stone – Not Like the Rest of Us
Young, Gifted, and Ventrue – The Cainite Conspiracies
Super Duper Fly – Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling (though it was a sneak preview story in Apex Magazine last year – so it’s not technically eligible for anything)
The Greatest Gift My Mother Gave Me (essay) – People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror
I also has a play piece debut: John Freeman – Finding Home: Indiana at 200 as well as consulted on the videogame Watchdogs 2.
While not a return to my blogging ways, I did post a few blog posts. Here are the top ones:
I didn’t set any writing goals last year, but as I look ahead to 2017, my goals are to write ten short stories, a novel, and a play. And I may try my hand at writing four songs (as I was challenged by a young friend at church to do so).
Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writersfeatures seventy-eight notable Indiana poets, fiction writers and essayists, including Marianne Boruch, Jared Carter, Mari Evans, Karen Joy Fowler, Helen Frost, John Green, Philip Gulley, Patricia Henley, Susan Neville, Scott Russell Sanders, and Dan Wakefield. The most experienced writers here are in their nineties, the youngest in their twenties. Some are best-selling authors, some widely known in literary circles, some just beginning. Many were born and raised in Indiana, others found their way here and stayed.
Edited by Barbara Shoup & Rachel Sahaidachny
I have a story out in the latest issue of Mothership Zeta. It’s one of my personal favorites.
Table of Contents:
- Editorial: Being Proud of Where You Came From, by Mur Lafferty
- Editorial: Check It Again Against Your List and See Consistency, by Sunil Patel
- Fiction: Noteworthy Customer Service Interactions, Example 12: Mendoza and Squeakybuns, by Laura Pearlman
- Fiction: Rescue, by Sarah Gailey
- Nonfiction: Game Review: Have You Met My New Birdie? He’s a Lawyer, by Rachael Acks
- Fiction: The Indigo Ace and the High-Low Split, by Annalee Flower Horne
- Fiction: Dear Future Customer, by Darin Ramsey
- Nonfiction: Story Ideas from the Oxford English Dictionary, by Karen Bovenmyer
- Nonfiction: Interview: Jackson Lanzing and Company Take Us All on a Joyride, by Adam Gallardo
- Fiction: At the Village Vanguard (Ruminations on Blacktopia), by Maurice Broaddus
- Nonfiction: The Story Doctor Is (In) by James Patrick Kelly
- Fiction: Making a Good Impression, by James Hart
- Nonfiction: NaNoWriMo: Pro or Con?, by Mur Lafferty
- Fiction: The Penelope Qingdom, by Aidan Moher
- Fiction: The Last Half Hour of Winter, by Meghan Ball
- Coming Soon/Masthead
“Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poems, and essays that will highlight the long-standing tradition of writers who identify tropes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and twist them into something new and interesting.”
“In Maurice Broaddus’s meta “Super Duper Fly,” Magical Negro refuses to help his assigned white hero.” (Did I mention the anthology got a starred review in Publishers Weekly?) Available December 13, 2016.
Here’s my interview with Victor LaValle (and if you’re not reading Victor LaValle, you’re doing yourself a great disservice).
Here are the essays from the three editors of the issue, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (fiction), Tananarive Due (reprints), and myself (non-fiction).
Guest blog by Sharon Therien
How Addiction Destroys Lives
Addiction can start in many ways: trying a drug with some friends, turning to drugs because of difficulty dealing with problems, using substances socially. But once you’re really on the path of a substance use disorder (a term that includes substance abuse and addiction), it always ends the same way.
Sure, the exact circumstances can differ. But inevitably, if you continue without any personal or professional intervention of the addiction, you end up on a path of decline within your life. Substance use disorder ruins some aspects of your life or eventually it can ruin all aspects. It is capable of affecting every part of life.
Areas of Decline in an Addicted Life
How do your life and the lives of your loved ones decline when you’re addicted to a drug and/or alcohol? Here are some areas of life that tend to decline from substance use disorder:
Addiction takes a significant toll on your body and mind. Even if you’re able to hide your substance use from others, you won’t be able to hide it from your body. Often, people neglect taking care of themselves and fail to eat enough healthy nutrients the body needs when they are focusing their lives on substance use. They can end up with nutrient deficiencies that affect the body’s ability to run itself and heal itself.
The ways substances are used lead to certain health effects. When substances, such as alcohol or pills, are ingested quickly and/or in high amounts, the liver has trouble with its roles of breaking down what you ingest and detoxifying. You can tax it so much you end up with liver damage and/or disease.
Snorting drugs can lead to problems with your nose, such as nosebleeds and losing your ability to smell. By injecting drugs, you could end up with a blood borne disease, develop infections or abscesses, and/or collapse a vein. These are examples of health consequences of using drugs in varying ways.
Addictive substances can cause many other serious health consequences, depending on the substance. Drugs and alcohol are capable of creating brain damage, leading to heart disease and stroke, and setting the stage for a variety of diseases. In many cases, addiction creates a decline of your mental and spiritual health.
Addiction often leads to an early death whether by overdose, suicide or as the result of a progressing disease or health condition created or worsened by the addiction. Also, the World Health Organization points out that addiction can lead to people losing the quality of life they once had through disability.
Addiction is considered a family disease because the entire family is affected by it. Family members develop unhealthy coping skills to deal with the problems in the household and within the relationship. They often have to face financial struggles, hiding the addiction, dealing with an unstable household and other concerns.
Nonetheless, it’s not just family members who are affected by a person’s addiction. Friends, bosses, co-workers and others connected to the person’s life can also be affected.
Relationships become strained as the person focuses his time and efforts more on the substance than on the people around him. Relationship strain also comes when loved ones and colleagues have to deal with difficulties that come with the addiction, such as violence, a decline in performance at work, legal and financial troubles, lies and theft, and other issues.
In time, loved ones can change to develop their own unhealthy methods of dealing with life. For instance, they might become codependent and full of shame. They can develop mental problems and turn to substances themselves. Ultimately, as you progress with addiction, you will either have very unhealthy relationships with those around you or you will lose those relationships altogether.
Addiction also worsens your life in a lot of practical ways. While people often turn to substances to help them deal with problems, the substance doesn’t help those problems go away and instead adds new problems to the old ones.
Because of your substance use, you could have problems performing your work well. You could lose your job or get into professional trouble. For instance, it’s possible to lose your professional license because of actions you took, whether under the influence or from poor decision-making because of how addiction has changed your brain. Another scenario is that you could end up arrested after stealing from work to pay for drugs.
Overall, addiction can create many practical problems, such as financial troubles, legal problems and the loss of school or work opportunities.
High-Functioning Addicted People
Some people can get along better or longer while having substance use disorder than others. They may be good at hiding problems and capable of functioning well within the public aspects of their lives. This is the case with high-functioning addicted people who are still doing okay with their professional lives and maybe even their relationships but who have a hidden personal side devoted to substances.
Some people are able to delay or offset some of the problems that addiction can cause because they or their support systems have money and possibly power. For instance, you might be able to weather the financial and legal troubles addiction can bring because you have the money and social standing to handle them better than people without those assets. So maybe you lose a job because of drinking but you have savings, a trust fund or family support to fall back on. Maybe you have a lawyer who can make your legal problems go away.
But even the people who are able to get by in some areas of their lives will eventually feel the effects of addiction in some way. Family members may get tired of the pattern of bailing the person out of trouble, especially if there are no signs of progress. This can strain and even break relationships. You might struggle with the fact that you’re not able to personally support your family. You could end up with health problems, and while you may have money to help with that too, addiction health problems aren’t always reversible.
Addiction always comes with problems, whether it creates them or worsens ones that were already there. It destroys lives by creating a decline in some or all areas of your life. It can also greatly affect the lives of those around you, especially close family members. Even if you’re not dealing with addiction-related problems now, you won’t be able to escape them forever.
The only way to stop this decline is to get off this downward path and commit to recovery. If you’re not able to stop substance use by yourself, a treatment program or professional can provide support and guidance to help you.
You’ll have to forgive me. My thoughts are jumbled and all over the place this morning as I wake up to the reality of this. But the next time someone asks me how can I write horror, my answer’s going to be “because I’m black and live in a land where people just voted for Donald Trump to be president.”
The signs were there from the jump: even when I prepared to go vote, I packed my driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, and voter’s registration card in case my right to vote got challenged. Once I got home, thankfully without incident, it struck me that this is the climate that I live in.
Donald Trump’s rhetoric emboldened people’s racism, which stripped away the polite veneer. It was a reminder that the promise of President Obama remains unfulfilled, that we aren’t as “post-racial” as we imagined, and that with the anger, fear, and frustration behind this whitelash, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about moving to another country, which, speaking as someone who has dual citizenship, that’s not so easy to do. (Dual citizen also means I’m doubly stuck since my country of residence just made Donald Trump president and my country of origin just voted for Brexit.) For those who want to tell me that my true citizenship is in heaven, I’ll just direct you to my election night tweet:
“Watching so many of my fellow Christians so fervently support Trump has really made me question my faith.”
Seriously, if you supported a literal campaign of hate and fear of “the other”, you forfeit your right to talk to me or anyone else about the love of Christ.
Those who clung to “but the Supreme Court…” and other single issue voters basically sent the signal that African-Americans, Latinos, women, the LGBT community, Muslims, and poor lives don’t matter. Your support said that you’d be tolerant of racists and sexists. Oddly enough, people are underwhelmed by “I know I voted for a man whose campaign was fueled by racism/xenophobia/misogyny and buoyed by fear/hate, but God is sovereign” sentiments. Alone in the voting booth, your true allegiance comes out. You’d be better off admitting that your true gospel message of Republicanism, capitalism, and self-interest. So spare me your brand of American Christianity.
And you know what? I’m not blaming: those who voted third party, their (write-in) conscience, or those who saw our choices and said “Screw this, I’m not voting.” Yes, they could have stopped his election, but right now I’m more concerned about the 58M+ people who voted FOR him. When I think about what America essentially told me, all I can here in my head is Ice Cube’s voice from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted when he said “Here’s what they think about you” and quoted the race rant from Do the Right Thing.
For the record, no I’m not moving. Frankly, I don’t have any illusions that there are magical places where people are much better. Besides, my parents survived the lead up to Civil Right and my grandparents Jim Crow and segregation. Fighting for freedom and a better life is what we’ve always done. But now comes the tough part.
I haven’t given up on my faith. I’m not going to pretend that I have much of anything figured out, but the way I see it, if we are to be serious about our faith, we must be about:
1) the business of forgiveness. Stop with the hate. At some point, we have to build bridges and figure out what it means to live in peace with one another. Despite how much I want to snip out the “love your enemies” part of the gospel message, we’re called to be such agents of change. We also have to challenge each other to do better.
2) the business of healing. I love what my friend Danielle Steele wrote on her Facebook page: “I will hold space for you, also, and I will trust you, too, understand that America must work for everyone, not just the privileged, not just the white people, but everyone. Your change can’t come at the expense of other people’s rights. I will hold you accountable if you support policies that harm minorities, immigrants, or people of other religions. But I will also hold space for you and your concerns.”
3) the business of subversion. There’s the world we live in and the world that ought to be. I believe we’re called to create the world we wish to see, to do God’s work of reconciliation and redemption. I believe this means we have to confront injustice whenever we see it, defend the disenfranchised (even at a sacrifice of our self-interests), and love one another (because that’s rather the whole point of our faith).
And I can go back to writing. My pen is my sword and I intend to fight.
I’m very proud to have my piece “The Trial of John Freeman” included as part of “Finding Home: Indiana at 200,” the Indiana bicentennial “anthology play” at the Indiana Repertory Theater. Written by 29 Indiana writers, there will be two versions of the play, Blue and Gold, the names given to distinguish the two evenings of programming. The Blue and Gold programmatic streams run in rotating repertory. Each evening has at least 12 public performances. Additionally, there are also student matinees.
Oct. 27: 7:30 pm
Oct. 28: 7:30 pm
Oct. 29: 5:00 pm
Nov. 3: 7:30 pm
Nov. 4: 7:30 pm
Nov. 5: 4:00 pm Writers discussion
Nov. 6: 2:00 pm Writers discussion (I’ll be attending this one)
Nov. 8: 6:30 pm
Nov. 12: 9:00 pm
Nov. 13: 2:00 pm
The two performances marked “Writers discussion,” I’ll be one of the writers present to talk to the audience in a staff-moderated post-show discussion. Audience members can get a glimpse into our process of creating our piece(s) and ask us questions.
Here’s a picture of me with some of the writers:
Here’s what the floor design will look like:
Here’s a model of what the stage will look like:
Why no, I’m not geeked about seeing my words performed. Not at all. Hope to see you there!