Monday, August 31, 2009

New Writer for

Last week I became the new examiner for the news site Check out my column HERE and keep in the know. I am the DC Community Examiner. Give me your feedback

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Royalty Check May Be Small, but the Reward is Great

So, this week, I learned that we had sold about 100 copies of Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul between online sales and event and in-person sales from June to July. The royalty check for June arrived on Friday and my life partner shot a photo of me cheesing with it after I opened it. It's a paltry sum (once the publisher gets their cut, it is less than $100), but its a royalty check nonetheless. As I continue to sell books to make the money back I invested, I can't help but think how the book's conception didn't even take place a year ago-- it was less than a year ago, with the actual completion was done in March. Whoa. I am so overwhelmed sometimes of how things happen in your life with just the shortest notice, if any notice at all.
The contributors to the book have the opportunity to sell the book as well and earn profit from selling the book and I hope they use this opportunity to use the book as a calling card of sorts, especially those who don't already have their own individual books published.
I've told the story a couple of times of why I chose to make my first book project an anthology of many people's works instead of mine. The short version of that story is (1) I wanted to see how other folks interpret the concept of freedom and the soul, (2) I couldn't settle on what story-- out of the dozens of short stories I've written-- to develop into a novel and (3) I wanted to use my ability to pay for a book project as a vehicle for others with limited work or low funds to get their work published. In light of those facts, the talent that came forward were those who either had their own books out already or had strong writing credits to their name already. I was TRULY honored--- wait a minute, I AM truly honored to even think about the folks that I ultimately included in the text. They are amazing.

Will Be Interviewed by Art Colleague Sharon Burton of Authentic Art Visions

I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon Burton in Feb of 2008 for a story for East of the River newspaper I was doing on her work in an art exhibit in SE Washington DC. When I arrived at the exhibit and peeped her style-- a wonderful fusion of African-inspired art with womanist themes, I was hooked. I LOVE her art. Being an aspiring collage artist myself, I especially love her mixed media pieces that are modern and fresh but always paying homage to what has come before. Her work brings to mind for me the african word "sankofa" which means to look back. Ironically, Sharon has an identical twin-- a gifted doll artist, Sherry Burton Ways-- who has a doll studio named Sankofa Doll Artistry.

Sharon and I had the opportunity to collaborate, in a sense, when she submitted her work for consideration to be included in Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul
(Outskirts Press, 2009). She submitted her work on the very last day of the call for submissions. I had received a lot of work by then and thought I had selected what would be the cover. When her work came in, I was floored. Her piece "Believe" was the most perfect piece ever to grace the cover. I immediately decided it would be the cover before looking at any of the submissions sent to me that day.
Sharon and I have developed a healthy respect for each other and friendship based in artistry over the past two years and I was honored to be asked this past week to appear on her podcast AAV Artcast. She will be interviewing me tonight to talk about Liberated Muse and our upcoming events. Sharon also is the curator for our Liberated Muse Celebration of Freedom exhibit which will be from Sept. 11 to Dec. 1. Check her out at her online spaces HERE, HERE & HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Training Today @ WPFW

(In photo: Me in the studio at WPFW last year when my business partner Maceo Thomas and I were being interviewed about the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest. Maceo took this shot).

I was pleased to find out earlier this week that I was selected to be one of the Afternoon News Messegers at listener-supported WPFW 89.3 a Pacifica radio station in Washington DC. I am going to read news from 1-3pm during Jared Ball's Jazz and Justice show and right before Gary Null's show. I will be responsible for gathering news and reporting on it. It's sure to be fun, I'm sure. I was pleased to be trained today by Askia Muhummad, a well-known journalist who I am a big fan of.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moon in Killer Stilts

(In photo: My little one on her first day of school this week)

So, this has been a busy week. My little one started first grade and the verdict is in---> School Rocks! I am so thrilled she is enjoying her new school year with her new teacher and friends. I literally had to have a therapy moment with her the night before school started because she was a bit nervous about starting the new school year with a new teacher. I was consoling her that she is smart enough for first-grade and the kids there will like her. It's so precious to me how little ones are so sensitive and need so much reassurance. They depend on us so much. These formative years, I believe, will dictate how they treat those in their life once they become adults. I really hope I am poising my little girl to be a sensitive friend to others. It's hard to be that sometimes, I struggle with that even now.

So, to make a long story short, my baby loves school and I'm thrilled!

While she is at school, I am pretty business during the day. What I hadn't mentioned in the last blog post was that I had taken on the commitment of being part of a new production. While my performance group, The Saartjie Project is on hiatus from performing as a group as we develop new work and do individual projects, I was selected as part of the cast of the upcoming performance Killer Stilts. I won't say too much about it other than I play a character who is a celestial being, pretty much like my moniker, Moon. Ok, well, not really, but you have to come out and see for yourself so I don't go into too much detail and ruin it. *smiling*

The production Killer Stilts is written and directed by Susan Faucon, a singer and healer based in Takoma Park, MD. I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with her and another talented actress in the production who is a jazz singer who performs regularly at spots around DC. Her name is Amafujo Nicholas and is part of the band Our Mood Swings. Her partner Kenneth is also in the play as a musician and co-founder of Our Mood Swings. Great folks I am so honored to work with.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Liberation is a State of Mind

Life as an indie is wonderful. Don't ever believe the hype otherwise. When you are an indie, you are managing multiple streams of income and responsible for managing your own time. The freedom for some is overwhelming, but, for me, I love it.

I talk a lot about how I have come to where I am in the introduction of our book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul. (If you haven't gotten your copy, what are you waiting for???)This move in this direction of becoming an indie has been so liberating on many levels but challenging as well. I will be doing workshops soon for folks to come and engage in some of the affirming activities I developed for myself to stay sane in this society which often challenges our values and often asks us to compromise ourselves with the impression that we have no other choice. I'll share more about my workshops as they are fully developed and available for sign-up. But, for now, I wanted to share some of the cards I made that I call "Liberation" cards

Liberation cards are visual affirmations that you create to support you as you move forward toward your goal of living an indie life. I make them index card size and laminate them so I can slip them easily in and out of my purse. To make them, you can you use real photographs, or clippings from magazines and newspapers. You can also draw on them. It's really up to you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Still Promoting the Book and Trying to Get a Breather In

Can't believe that summer is ending in less than a week! Where has the time gone? Now, I'm getting caught up in the flurry of getting my 5 year-old ready for first grade. The items required are not what I remember when I was growing up. I remember needing a notebook, paper, crayons, pencils, reinforcements, glue-- the typical stuff. My daughter, her school is requiring FIVE composition books, folders, glue sticks-- packs of them, computer paper, two pencil boxes, a plastic shoe box and other things that have filled six bags already. Clearly, I'm helping to stock the classroom, lol.

In the midst of getting my little one ready for school, I'm also actively promoting our new book which has been the platform for some wonderful activities. Trying now to get some gigs facilitating artist workshops at the local libraries. Hope you can come up to our upcoming event at the Potter's House on Sept. 11. Click here for details . I'm looking forward to a book signing I have coming up in southeast DC on Sept. 1.

The book can be purchased by clicking HERE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Heart the Little Ones

Worked with little ones today-- this time 4 year-olds, 5 year-olds, and a couple of 6 and 7 year-olds. My own 5 year-old was my "assistant". It was nice. There were about 6 elders in the room with me as I worked with the young children and it was interesting how different our styles are working with children. While I was trying to encourage the kids to talk and interact, the elders were periodically on the kids to "stop talking!" or "keep still" or "pay attention" which kind of halted a lot of the organic movement of the art activity I was doing with the kids. It was a learning experience for me on how to peacefully maintain control despite conflict of facilitation styles. I modified the story quilt activity and read two stories-- one to preface the activity and one to follow it up. The children were so engaged, creative and just plain sweet. They also welcomed my daughter into their group with ease.

What really touched my heart was when one five year-old said out of the blue "thank you so much for coming in today to work with us. you are so much fun." I heart the little ones.

Ok, off to finish this grant I'm working on with two phenomenal artists. I've been slacking enough:-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Art Literacy Workshop Today with Fourth Graders and Grant Writing Meeting Make a Full Day

Today was a wonderful day...I was contracted to work with youth @ Southeast Ministries today in DC to a summer reading class for ten fourth graders. We made story quilts as I led the youth in understanding the power of storytelling through illustration and minimal word use. Check out some of the photos above. The activity is excellent to encourage cooperative learning and help reluctant readers build their storytelling skills and descriptive word use. Below is the quilt I made at home with my partner and our daughter. Our quilt depicts our memory of our trip to Rehobeth beach year before last which we loved.

After the workshop, had a wonderful meeting with two members from my network to draft a grant proposal due this Friday. The grants are to create murals in new libraries opening in the east of the river area of DC. Hope our proposals get approved! It would be awesome to create something on public display for years to come.
Later had another meeting with curator Sharon Burton who will curate a Sept. 11 show that Liberated Muse is having to promote the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul. We met with the woman in charge of the gallery space @ the Potter's House to get the logistics and are pleased with the offer to exhibit from Sept. 11 to Dec. 1! Woohoo! Today was a great day. Call for Artists to Exhibit Coming later this week!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Celebration of Freedom Continues @ the Potter's House

We are still promoting the book and will be doing so @ the Potter's House on Sept. 11 and will bringing a robust show of spoken word from the book, music performances from members of and visual art exhibited by members of the network. More details to come...the talent on board so far is amazing. In June, our show was so dynamic I was astounded.


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