NaNo 2021

I love personification of large ideas, concepts, or themes. It’s what draws me to a lot of Neil Gaiman’s work. Especially Sandman. Lupe Fiasco has a series of songs about a character Michael Young History, in which he encounters The Game and The Street. Lupe’s Michael struggles with a mother addicted to drugs, he turns to selling drugs, and eventually is killed.

One of my favorite poets, Steven Willis, has a poem titled “The Hustle Speaks.”

Willis is a fantastic performer. His voice, his presence, it all makes me think, what if The Hustle were an actual person? A deity, or god? I think the idea of belief is very powerful. The idea of a shared culture so strong that it we will things, ideas, people, or events into being. I’ve been thinking of a Black American pantheon. What things are so strong in our culture, our history, that they could be brought into reality. And, of course, if these things can be brought into existence, then that creates enemies opposed to them.

So, I’m probably not going to do NaNo, but I’m going to start writing during November. This idea is going to need fleshing out, and I’m gonna need to do lots of research. A lot of that research is what I’ve been working on throughout my MA. I think a lot about voice now, and what that means to me. What our language means to me. It’s definitely something that I want to explore. The ways that we move through society, changing how we speak, or not changing how we speak, and what that means in the spaces we inhabit. I think about Frederick Douglass tricking little white boys into teaching him new words and how to spell. I think about how The Brotherhood used Ellison’s narrator to try and control Black people in Harlem. I think about how the ways historians like Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram X Kendi, Keisha N Blain, and Michael Harriot take up space and provide context that not only includes us, but shows how we have shaped this country. I think of a white interviewer asking Toni Morrison why she don’t write about white people, and a look that says you’ve never asked a more foolish question before answering, “I wonder if you realize how racist that question is.” There’s so much power in our words, our actions, our gatherings. And since I love personification, I can’t help but wonder, what if that power created something. Someone?

What would they say?

One phrase keeps repeating itself to me when I try to think of the beings I’m trying to will into existence:

You know me, I keep hearing in my mind, and when I put my pen to paper. You know me.

So, not trying for 50k this month, but I’m gonna edit my manuscript and start trying to be a consistent writer. We’ll shoot for 30k this month. 1000 words per day.

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