Saturday, March 11, 2006

e equals emcee ciphered

i hope that i can do my many thoughts about this luscious day justice. bear with me. this may be a long post, and in case you didn't already figure it out, i don't work off of a plan or an outline, i just go for it.

i have two journals. the one i keep here is just stuff. whatever i'm moved to write on that day... which could be anything from the occasional meme to my feelings about writing to my musings about my life's journey. this one is not so much about what's spiritually going on with me - that's what my other journal is for. but see, i haven't been using the other journal as often. this is partially because i devote time to this blog. but i realized that it's also because "what's spiritually going on with me" is so very intertwinable with my creative life, and i've been blogging about that.

this morning, i woke up early, to sunshine and my best friend's text message. i did usual saturday morning stuff. scrubbed my place up a bit. got myself comforted by calling home to stop my mom in the middle of cleaning her kitchen so i could get some love... then i did something i don't always do. there's a local newspaper that covers the urban literary and performing arts - it's a project that i adore and champion. it's spearheaded, and admirably sustained, by a woman who i call both role model and friend, sage queen. i volunteered to do some work for her, so i sat down at my computer, and for something like two or three hours, i did some work on the paper. i loved it all - the content of the paper-in-progress and the act of doing something with my literary eye, and even the frustrating moments where i had to confront or discover things about the english language that get sticky and tricky. it kept me inspired and challenged and feeling useful to someone besides just myself. may i say - i love my dictionary and thesaurus!

anyway, i had plans to look forward to. yesterday, i asked my beloved frik when would be the next time folks would be in the studio - just my luck that today was the day! but before i left the house, i wanted to take care of me. everyday i run to work to make money to take care of my debtors and servicers and my landlord. i cheat myself out of pamper time every time i'm too tired to do anything but sit and veg. and though i love doing it, when i'm running across that bridge supporting the arts i love, i'm spending money, i'm driving between 40 -90 minutes to get where i'm going and back, hunting down parking, getting home late - ask my friends and family members - i'm never home, i'm never available, i'm always running. and though i love it, sometimes i need to slow down.

inspired by today's lovely spring-like weather, i dedicated hours to myself. i lit some incense, spread its scent all over the house, and nurtured the inner hippie earth mother i knew was in there ever since i was a child ruminating on what it meant to be soulful, natural, true person... i even thought to myself this afternoon that i am such a boho stereotype. i put on a favorite - er.ykah badu's live album, which i'm actually listening to right now (her cover of searching, on repeat). ate some bright orange cantaloupe melon. then, slowly, lovingly, and somehow both solemnly and blissfully, i commenced to loving this beautiful body from head to toe. first up, a facial with my caro.l's dau.ghter stuff, which smells soooo good. then a meticulous, soothing pedicure. and the shower? oh yeeeeah. i know the water heater was challenged today, but it was soooo worth it. i let that water help me shed my every concern and just be sensual - the sight of the sunshine brightening up my bathroom, the sound of water making the bass line on ery.kah's album the only other heartbeat i could feel, the touch of pure wetness and soft soap, the smells of strawberry body wash and milk and honey shampoo... so peaceful... so right. i painted my toenails, like i'm apt to do in spring. let cocoa butter do its sweet magic. let conditioner caress the softness of my unstraightened, crinkly hair. when all was finished, i looked at my naked body and admired it, unashamedly. i smiled at myself. i affirmed myself. it had been entirely too long since i'd done anything but mere maintenance. today's extra loving was like getting a free rearview mirror tree and wax besides just the car wash. the extra attention can go a long way. even now, i'm still riding on that high, feeling beautiful and beloved.

then and only then was i ready to leave the house. lucky me, k. b. (knowledgable beauty) was working on a project at the studio. the song that i heard being mixed when i entered moved me. i've started a new poem, inspired by what i heard today. i thank God that i heard that project today. it ministered to my spirit so refreshingly - so lovingly... and then, surprise, surprise, i wound up in the booth adding an extra voice to the others around me for part of k.b.'s project. i was intimidated at first, like the last time i lent my voice for a friend's project. i am not a singer. can't read notes. ain't used to studios. not sure of my range. i have issues slipping from full voice to falsetto, and insist on singing alto despite having been told i'm a soprano. i'm still, after all these years, learning how to breathe right. and, to date, i have never sung solo in front of an audience, with the one exception of a one liner as part of an ensemble cast, way back in high school. can you say, uncomfortable? i really like and admire k.b. and i didn't want to mess up her stuff. but she had more faith in me than i did. so, i sang with the others, who are so much bolder and more secure about their voices than i am. i harmonized with them. and in hearing the playback, i can only hear myself if i listen hard for me, which pleased me immensely! that means i'm not sticking out, messing up.

now let me tell you about k.b. k.b. writes. she writes creatively and entertainingly and introspectively. she also sings and performs. she gets on a mic and commands attention. if she's ever nervous, you wouldn't know it, because she's at home when she's on a mic. her pieces and her presentation never bore... never waste your time... and whenever she performs (i told her this today) she reminds me of heroes of mine, jill and erykah. part of what i like about them is that you get the impression that when they perform, they're not just doing a song 'cause that's what the people came to see. they're drawing back a veil and offering you a piece of themselves. it's a skill i want to develop - to be able to draw people in and make them feel your humanity and relate to it and even aspire to be closer to it. k.b. can do that. she has a gift that way - it's beautiful to watch. like jill and erykah, she loves what she does - she's never told me this, because she doesn't have to. it shows - it glows out of her. it shines through in her writing. i call it presence. k.b. has amazing original presence, not just in the performance, but in the quality and tone of way she puts her words together. i am very much looking forward to hearing the final outcome of her project - from what i've heard i'm really feeling the creativity, the production, and the direction. watch out world!

from the studio, bunch of us rolled to the movies to see dave ch.appelle's bloc.k pa.rty. now, i knew already that i was in for a treat, because some of my favorite performers - some of the best artists who are doing the dayum thang right now - were headliners at his concert. without going into specifics about the movie (only 'cause it's dark in the theater, or you know this dork would've taken notes) i really enjoyed myself. strangely though, the primary reason wasn't the music, or the comedy, or even the great company. it was my thoughts on the faces in the movie. each face represented one spirit. each spirit having issues, likes, dislikes, beliefs, pasts, presents, futures... each face represented a manifestation of its Creator. (why is this so hard to explain?) i was looking at the people dave brought from here and there. all those faces in the crowd. all those faces on stage. like grains of sand. like every individual strand of hair on a head... to see them all having this positive experience together - nodding their heads, putting their hands up, singing along, sharing energy - it was such an extraordinary thing. or maybe not... it happens every day at mass, every sabbath in temple, every sunday in church, every time the prayerful are called to gather together prostrate before the Most High, every time those kids surge together at a rave, every time they jump up and down in a mosh pit, every time the tribal dancers get mystical when communing with or consulting or appeasing the spirits.

energy needs release and expression and distribution and to be shared or transferred somehow. that's why atomic particles move and clouds spit lightning and even why babies sometimes holler for no reason. and those who can facilitate and steward energy are among the truly blessed. those who can inspire or teach are among the extremely blessed. those who can do it for masses are among the extraordinarily blessed, most especially when what they spread is love, peace, joy, knowledge, wisdom... not only do they provide for others' souls, but they are most certainly feeding their own. energy loves to be spread generously. i know this, 'cause i know what i feel when i sing (alone). there's something about taking a sound you can't hear yet and manipulating energy and air to make that sound happen, coming out of your mind's earshot, and putting it within the world's. it makes you high. there's something about taking a thought that needs to be articulated and manipulating energy to find the right words to make that thought or feeling or experience speakable, nameable, claimable. it's nourishment.

that's what i do. that's why i do it. that's what i have in common with k.b. and frik and frak and sage queen and ebony knight and wild child and the servant and countless other wordsmiths i've met since God brought me home. that's what we have in common with dead prez and talib and mos def and kanye and jill and quest and black thought and erykah and cody and kanye and common and wyclefprasandlauryn, and yeah, dave too. that's what they have in common with dizzy and sassy and count and duke and miles and bird and quincy and that's what they have in common with sonia and nikki and maya and langston and zora and countee and saul and that's what they have in common with baldwin and morrison and achebe and walker and that's what they have in common with the scribes and prophets and griots. it's a beautiful thing. it adds to people.

and when done juuuuussssst right, you can inspire one of those faces, one of the grains of sand, to seek the best most positive energy there is. to spread it. to ask for their Creator's guidance and manifest it, becoming a creator in the very image, changing their world and the world around them. and maybe, not just one. maybe two. a dozen. a dozen dozen. a thousand dozen dozen. a whole entire brooklyn block. the whole city of philadelphia. the whole okayplayer clientele. a marching band from ohio. an internet aficionado in timbuktu, mali. an indonesian grandmother. who knows?

but the possibilities are endless.

and i just wanna be a part of the movement.

may my Creator lead me.