ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
In listening to descriptions of Trump's reaction to finding out how much Presidential work he can't delegate, I'm reminded of an African-American folktale about a black man and a white man racing to open a pair of boxes.  The black man gets there first and goes, "Oh, I got de biggest box!" ... but dat box full of hard work.

You can read a couple different versions here.

I am also reminded of Spock's observation about wanting vs. having.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a good essay about the importance of representation in F&SF

We need diversity so that a maximum of readers can see themselves reflected in literature.  We need positive  portrayals. As much as I like reading Native American literature, I'm leery of its overwhelmingly bleak tone.  It's almost impossible to find happy characters, or ones who balance their tribal heritage with participation in wider society.  Given the sky-high suicide rate on reservations, I worry that painting such a dark future encourages people to think they have none.  Much the same happens with queer folk, trans folk, people with disabilities -- they need the reflection to encourage them to keep going, to understand they're not alone, to believe they can be the hero of their own story.

This is why I write much of what I do.  In my writing, anyone can be the hero, anyone can be the villain.  Your ancestry, skin tone, wealth, religion, politics, love life, abilities or lack thereof do not predetermine your future.  You decide what to do with the opportunities before you.  And I will show the light and the dark of all those possibilities.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was charmed by this tutorial on African dance.  It uses a clock metaphor to describe the moves.  They are simple, repetitive, and energetic.  That makes them easy to learn, good exercise, and fun to do.  You can see these in African documentaries. If a whole tribe is dancing together, they'll be very repetitive, using basic moves to synchronize lots of people for a long time. But if you're watching one or two dancers, it's like jazz, they'll improvise using the same moves.  Think of the steps like chords, once you know them, you can join a group or riff on your own.  You can also see these at a drum jam in a big city.  I've seen it at the Delmar Loop in St. Louis and Taste of Chicago.  (They were surprised that I joined in, because I do not look like the lady in the video.  :D )  Street music is awesome.

Over in Terramagne, this is the kind of stuff that appeared very early in Sankofa Clubs.  By now, lots and lots of people know at least a few basic African dance moves, which makes it fairly easy to get a group of people dancing.  Over time, they've thrown in samples from cultures around the world.  Usually they'll look for the simplest foundation steps.  Almost everybody has some folk dances, like circle or line dances, that are very easy to do.  Those transmit nicely.  So T-America has a lot more left of the social dance tradition compared to L-America.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the October 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] johnpalmer and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "loss of identity" square in my 7-16-16 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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As people travel, they take their stories with them, and those stories change slowly over time.  The evolution of mythology thus parallels the paths of migration. 
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
This performance is probably the best communion of natural and technomagic shamanism that I've ever seen.  Even I cannot make all of those animal sounds.  Oh, and that's not just "techno beat" music.  Some of those sounds are for spirit and technomagical elementals.  The iron horse toward the end is pretty iconic.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Black students are more inclined to enroll in black colleges now

Amazingly, if you shit on people then they don't want to be around you and would rather be around others like themselves. Also if you refuse to allow them safe space, they will seek to create their own.  

For black folks, that means don't expect white people to protect you; take care of yourselves.  And if their goals are not yours, then don't give them your money; keep it in your own cause.
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Here's a look at diversity in Star Trek. I'm particularly taken by Armin Shimerman's experience regarding perceptions of the Ferengi.

However, I must note that "having equality" is a white perspective on Lt. Uhura. Whoopi Goldberg's reaction was, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ Dr. Martin Luther King's description was, "You prove that we survive."  Those are very different values in the character.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Pocketnaomi. It has been sponsored by LJ user Lone_cat. It belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Brothers, Equals"
-- Alcaic stanzas


You cannot name a people as ignorant
Who turn your language, basketlike, whispering,
Back running over self and substance:
Listen and learn or else fall to failure.

O Best Beloved, African history
Tells tales that Europe, envying, echoing,
Brings home to ponder weighty meanings nightly:
Honor us, join with us, brothers, equals.

* * *

NOTES:

This is a poem by  Danso, rather than about him.  One of his pet peeves is people who talk down to him because of his race, his background, and whatnot.  There's a saying, "No man can call you ignorant if you can beat him in a game of chess."  Every culture has things it respects as signs of sophistication; in America, chess is one and poetry is another.  If you can write poetry in Greek forms, you have disproven the argument that you are uneducated or unintelligent.

Alcaic stanza is a Greek form of poetry which relies on syllables.  It doesn't fit well with English, but I've made a capable effort here.

The Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling relate fables about why the animals are the way they are.  "The Elephant's Child" is one that explicitly mentions Africa.  "O Best Beloved" is a phrase from there.

African history is the wellspring of humanity, so pay your respects.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Water is life.  Protect it or die.  Here are some actions to support the Sioux protesters who are blocking a hazardous pipeline.  #11 -- Spread the word.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the May 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Paantha. It also fills the "dominance and submission" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by an anonymous donor. It belongs to the Pain's Gray thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem contains some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Ricasso asks Gray to help with a voluntary punishment, because Zhonn finds pain a useful reminder but his African ancestry makes him very prone to scarring. The racial aspects are handled mindfully, but this is a real issue in the kink community and even worse among non-kinky African-American folks. The poem contains delicate racial dynamics, discussion of medical details, practicing kink, exchanging roles, a minor performance mishap, use of a switch replacer forcefully enough to draw blood, intense emotions, physical discipline, voluntary use of a superpower to cause pain, an Italian-American man petting an African-American man's hair, and other challenges. On the whole, it's a positive poem. Please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the July 19, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] lone_cat, [personal profile] ellenmillion, and LJ user Rix_scaedu. It also fills the "safe" square in my 6-1-16 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Daisiesrockalot. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It follows "Bearers of Witness with Justice," so make sure to read that first, or this will make no sense.

Warning: This poem deals with some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes odd cultural dynamics, references to past whaling, ambivalent emotions, surprising interpersonal dynamics, quiet acts of heroism, and other challenges. There are spoilers for "Bearers of Witness with Justice" too. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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This article describes how North Carolina purposely and maliciously disenfranchised black voters, and how a federal appeals court took it down.  Do not scroll down while your mouth is full.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the June 7, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  This poem belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth

WARNING: This poem includes graphic descriptions which may be disturbing to many readers.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  This is the trial of the Japanese whalers.  Accordingly it contains legal stress, the challenges of accommodating nonhuman citizens, interspecies diplomatic incidents, body consciousness, religious and political differences, traumatic stress, rough telepathic contact, alarming use of superpowers; graphic descriptions and telepathic re-experiencing of past attempts to murder and eat sapient persons, violence and injuries, miserable medical memories, really stupid provocation of the flashbacking whale, followed by relaying the whaler's memories to everyone else, Steel broadcasting his even worse memories of being hunted and seeing his family murdered twice, which includes child death, and lots of gore; current environment is safe; mass vomiting because the inside of Steel's head is a cookie-tossing horror show, rude people snapping photos of play therapy, references to possible mental injury due to telepathy, public shaming and banishment, schadenfreud, and other mayhem.  There is also a lot of emotional support, and justice is certainly done, but it's still very stressful throughout.  If these are sensitive issues for you, then please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether you want to read this.  It's plot-heavy, however, so skipping it would leave a big gap.  WARN ALL THE THINGS!

613 lines, Buy It Now = $306.50
Amount donated = $30
Verses posted = 16 of 168

Amount remaining to fund fully = $276
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2


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This poem came out of the July 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] librarygeek, [personal profile] siliconshaman, and [personal profile] redsixwing. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

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This poem is spillover from the July 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "unhappy ending" square in my 7-1-16 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest.

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My partner Doug found this video about patriotism as an inclusive value. (I am now happily imagining bigots with smoke pouring out their ears as their brains explode.)  Keep a sharp eye on background parity, it's very well done here.  This level of diversity is typical of Terramagne-America, and indeed, this is the kind of public awareness video is the sort of thing that Hefty or Officer Pink would do.  If you look closely, you can even see the kind of live-work buildings common in T-American downtown streets.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
June 25 marked the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Greasy Grass, aka the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  

I've long held a fascination for this one, and it got me kicked out of history class more than once -- one of those for bringing in personally collected photographic evidence that book and teacher were both wrong about a strategically relevant point of topography.  I mean really, that battleground has been mapped and modeled over every inch, you'd think people would be more careful.  There are whole shelves full of books about it, and I read a lot of them.  We had to do some serious hunting to find the ones written by Lakota authors, but they exist.

When I was in junior high, we made a couple of long summer trips out west.  One of the stops was the Little Bighorn, and we didn't realize it until we got there, but it was the anniversary of the battle.  It was an uncommonly cool, damp, foggy day for the middle of summer in the middle of the plains.  A low mist blanketed everything, stirring and stirring in the breeze.  Everyone else was huddled in the visitor's center, because apparently, this had a habit of happening and the ghosts would get restless, particularly around the anniversary.  Naturally this made us want to go out and hike around the site, since it wasn't broiling and wasn't crowded.  The staff all looked at us like we were crazy.  Well, we have houseghosts and some complicated distant connections to the folks on the Pine Ridge Reservation, so we were not deterred.  It was very exciting to see the battlefield up close and take pictures of the important places.  We saw a few of the ghosts, eddies in the mist, wisps of color seen through the corner of the eye.  They never bothered us.  Most of it was just sounds, whispers and hoof-thumps and such.  History, resurfacing occasionally to remind people that what is gone should not be forgotten.

Never forget.

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