5. Apr, 2022

can you tell the time?

I've been thinking....I've been thinking about thinking...thinking about all the things that inform what we say, how we say them and why we say the things we think are worth saying. Language is a magical thing, potent with so much possibility, its little wonder we often treat it like it aint no thing, lest we get tongue tied and stumble while trying to wax lyrical. The pulling of rabbits out of hats is always about making magic. I guess I have a hard time with it because I do take it ever so seriously, and get pretty frustrated that I have to "invent teeth" while doing so.

What to do with the frustration? Your intrepid introspectress (TM) is ever ready with some instructive fails.

What I reckon is a recipe for dexterity (because you will fall, oh make no mistake babe, you will fall..on your face even or especially when you think you have a plan). So this recipe is something like a fall, some graceful cushioning when I am not full of grace. When I feel like a tantrum and know damn well that every tantrum I have better be finessed into a lesson (safa igrowth!).

The past 3 weeks have been taped together with the collective wisdom and love of my beloveds thousands of kilometers away, some coming in from as far away as the 17th century, who show up so hard for me, it makes me blush.

Playlists are such a love language for me, ever grateful for homies who send me music I can writhe and write to. Latest loving playlist HERE (hint hint, you too can love me tender with some a deliciously curated playlist).

Funny thing about these recipes for disaster management (cf my 2020 recipe) is they don't come in until you've turned on the stove (side eyes in hindsight). Some of the ingredients aren't even invented yet, but you're hungry, in the kitchen, making what you can of the meal you know you have to eat. This YOU, is Me (*gasps in M Night Shyamalan*). Is true! I have no business writing recipes ala Martha Stewart or feign Tabitha Brown's sanguine disposition. I cook the way I cook, so here it comes:

  1. You will need some friends. I mean FRIEND FRIENDS. I mean soul hugging, doing the WERK FRANDS! Get you some of those.
  2. You will need ears. I don't mean your regular ear, I mean some e.e.cummings ear of your ear EAR. The ear that hears when your regular ear is competing with your mouth to speak. I mean the ear that dares bypass your lizard brain-fighting strong (shout out of the lizard brain) and HEAR HEARS.
  3. You will need a tattoo that moves from your right small toe all the way to your right pinkie finger, that's your compass...a reminder: you are here. This is how much room your physical body takes up. This much. A reminder of your sphere of control, a reminder of scope, a reminder of humility, a reminder that you will need more than your little body to do all this work (and that your little body is enough to do what you need to do).
  4. You will need memory and forgetfulness in uneven doses. You will be asked to time travel both forwards and backwards, speak from both sides of your mouth and mind you don't tear yourself in half as you do so (hence the compass). You will be asked to do a lot of things, hailed and interpolated, triggered if you like, but you will remember your task is not to be a bridge, that work's already been done.
  5. You will need a raft to yourself. Fashion it with whatever you have at your disposal (wifi connected cellphone, colourful pens, cute notebook, podcasts, literature, music, dancing..lots of dancing, memory, silence) but the water is rising, some of the materials you can't be too precious about, but just remember, you will have to sit in this raft you build, so choose your seating materials wisely.

  1. lay on your back. Scroll through your phone. Scream, laugh, numb, expel some kinetic energy and type furious gestures of agreement to something, delete. Sigh.
  2. take your vitamins. brush your teeth. breathe. make your bed. breathe. check your to do list.
  3. resist the urge to scroll on your phone. calm your vagus nerve. take a shower. put in clothes in the washing machine. answer emails. these busy-work tasks are doable, do them.
  4. you're 7, no 5 hours behind on your todo list. breathe. ok brain...work work work, how to undo the panic and get some slow work done. You still have time. breathe.
  5. light some candles, yes, that nice one that smells like ice-cream (how'd they do that? focus) breathe. in for 3, hold for 4, out for 7.
  6. get your reps in. turn off your distractions. move the sharp rod protruding out the raft and place it gently on the floor (don't worry, it will be there when you're done).
  7. now row. you will be slow at first, but trust me, you know how to row. don't worry about how it looks, nothing so debilitating as trying to make surviving the flood sexy, row. you do look silly, of course you do, you've never done it quite like this before, row. are you the water or the oar? well now...i think the rowing is working ;)

  1. Sam Greenspan's Bellwether is gorgeous. Did it give me nightmares, sure did. Did it give me answers, scoff, lol, no. Did it give me hope, sure did. Give it a listen here: Bellwether (shoutout to Sam for this FIRE recommendation!)
  2. Kopano and Maneo are making magic with the folks over at VS. Poetry foundation. Their conversation with Kholeka Phutuma was sublime "All the apostles are Black, all the saints Queer and All of them are brave" (part 1). Listen to the series, part one you can find HERE
  3. I love the 11th, they are doing something dope AF over there. The happiness project episode is a such a balm, stretching my auricular muscles. Give it a listen HERE
  4. our season of The Academic Citizen is here! So excited to be making this podcast again, you can listen to it HERE

If you've read this far, high five to you. here's a cryptic update on what's been up, reading/writing, delivered in the form of a playlist.

  1. Week 1 arrival. shangela. so earnest I begin with Boas (LOL)
  2. Week 2: feeling around in the dark. anchor with podcasting. librarians are magic. restart, I begin with Lilith Mullings (that's better)
  3. Week 3: exploring museums. POAs to rule them all (hubris). paper work. podcasting. stye-gate. bumbling about. ramp up the reading, blowing through Baker, Lorde, oscillating to Fanon and Magubane (dizzy)
  4. week 4: the plague of personal proportions. podcasting. a glimmer, a very shiny glimmer. medical industrial complex redux. I grab hold of Sara Ahmed, Morrison, Sharif (grit)
  5. Week 5: Itumeleng <3. figure out repair. office: yay! buy pants: yay. social security, sigh. citation level up & meet podcast humans (librarians are magic!). orchestrated madness. human resources.>Anthro-history seminar has me casting the net wider.
  6. Week 6: abstract thoughts. deliver sonic lecture. remember Mama. make a friend. Karaoke. Heart breaking news. Anthro-history has me thinking about the uncanny.
  7. Week 7: feedback. admin mountain. RACISM ON FLEEK inside and outside my work (lol, is there an outside). Glimmer. Anthro-history has me thinking about possession, Sister des Agnes and all things genealogy.
  8. Week 8: thin skinned. Octavia Butler Week. Anthro history has me thinking about register and location. The A squad shows up!
  9. Lol, i thought i was already in week 10, that's a nope...slow down little one, time travel needs time <>