My novelette, “Bound by Sorrow,” is now up on Beneath Ceaseless Skies!

Remembering our past…

“All journeys are born of death.” The eyes of the Wise One glistened as he spoke. “Let me tell you a story. Each word in its place; none forgotten. The order is sacred, exactly as I once heard it. You would do well to heed its wisdom, young warrior.”

A great drama played out behind the old man’s eyelids so plainly the warrior could almost behold it. The campfire flickered in his eyes, which no longer focused on the young warrior but were lost recalling the words to the story. The warrior took a stone that fit snugly into his palm and sharpened his blade. When matters of life and duty became too much, threatening to drag him under the sea billows of life, he kept his head down and focused on what he knew he did best.

[Continue reading on Beneath Ceaseless Skies]

Pulling back the curtain Part I

Let me start by saying that BRIAN KEENE is like the older brother I never wanted (along with WRATH JAMES WHITE). Like, to the point where my baby sister’s (RO TOWNSEND) argument about sibling reparations almost begins to make sense.

A couple years ago, I drove out to visit Brian. At one point during our usual hilarious shenanigans, we got into an extended conversation which veered into the deeply personal. He asked me if I’d ever written about my sister’s death. I told him that I hadn’t. He then goes all in telling me that, since he knows me, if I haven’t written about it, I haven’t dealt with it because that’s what I do.

Mind you, we decide to have this intimate conversation in the middle of his podcast. As one does.

When my father was diagnosed with his cancer, I began to write a story about a young warrior poet dealing with the death of his sister who ends up encountering an orisha dealing with his dying father. I had already been thinking about the rituals of grief by reading Francis Weller’s The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. And, well, I actually wrote the death scene of the father four days before my father passed away.

What was supposed to be a 5,000-word story turned out to be closer to 20,000. Apparently, I had a lot to work through. To my friends I referred to it as the container of my grief, something I *had* to write to deal with everything going on. Stuff I had to get out in order to move forward (in my life and in my other writing). Anyway, I cut close to the bone to write it and it was a challenging piece to write.

All this to say that “Bound by Sorrow” is a deeply personal story for a lot of reasons. As well as an Afrofuturist/Sword and Soul adventure story, because that’s also what I do.

The bottom line is that sometimes I really can’t stand Brian. Even moreso when he’s right.

And, btw, a very special shout out to CHEF OYA (of The Trap). She knows why she’s awesome.

Pulling back the curtain Part II

The name Luci may seem out of place. Let me tell you that story:

One day I came into my classroom and one of my students is sitting in my chair with her feet up on my desk.

              “Mr. Broaddus, we need to talk,” she says.

              “Okay.”

              “I need to be in your next story.”

              “Okay. A couple things: one, get out of my chair. Two, my next story is about going through grief.”

              “Okay then, you have to write the character bio.”

              “That’s fine,” she says, undeterred. “I can help you with that.”

So, she wrote a paragraph about how beautiful, smart, and funny “her character” had to be. And that she should be a princess. It was a pretty solid character sketch, so I wanted to honor it (and she approved of my line about being a princess).