Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now. – Audre Lorde
The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible. – Toni Cade Bambara
It’s been a whirlwind of a Fall, going now into Winter, and I wanted to be sure to send you all a post before too long! What’s been on my mind lately: my students’ stories and final essays; writing something, anything, every day; keeping sane and warm by taking baths; the concept of “decolonizing” and my preference to call it “decolonize Oakland” rather than “occupy;” technology and how it can isolate and overwhelm rather than connect; appreciating the simple things – like a good hug or a good bowl of soup.
I pulled up this quote by Audre Lorde because it’s how I’ve been feeling, as I go into another birthday and a new year, and get nostalgic and anxious that “time is running out.” I know I’m not alone in this feeling around time. The “blessed unrest” (Martha Graham) of the artist is both a blessing and a curse, but I reside in gratitude that I am able to share my passions and gifts with the world, and support others in doing the same – and with that, I am happy to share with you some reportbacks and some forthcoming news. It’s a lot of reading, but please scroll all the way through!
HIGHLIGHTS: My ONLINE STORE where you can get a freshly pressed copy of my poetry CD; reports on winter events; booking opportunities; a casual food/art event this Monday in SF; and my birthday wish. I end this post with a poem “where we occupy,” which I wrote with indigenous peoples in mind and right after the Occupy Oakland camp was aggressively raided, on All Soul’s Day.
Oh – one more thing! – I’m getting my technological/web stuff upgraded over this winter. Your feedback, whether it’s subscribing, joining me on twitter, “liking” me on facebook, all helps! Thanks so much for reading, and many blessings for this winter season.
REPORTBACKS & SHOUTOUTS
- 11/22: I was the featured brunch speaker/performer at this year’s ECCTYC (English Council for California Two Year Colleges), held in San Bruno. During my talk, I shared thoughts around on I called an “embodied” approach to both writing and teaching. I felt inspired myself by the responses I got and the reminder that so many of us in this profession come to it as writers who care deeply about bringing out students’ voices and providing greater access during difficult times. Special thanks to Sterling Warner and the ECCTYC directors for inviting me.
- 11/23: A History of the Body Staged Reading and Story Circle was amazing. At this event, four new scenes from my play (now full-length and in revision!) were shared by actors Christine Jamlig and Earlene Somera, with the directorial work of Tracy Ward. Then, Joanne Rondilla and Margaret Hunter, both experts/scholars on the topic of skin whitening and skin tone stratification both in the Philippines and globally, gave riveting powerpoint presentation/talks with an rapt audience. Missed it? Photos will be available soon on my website. And support the project here any time!
- The 12/2 reading for Conversations from the Wartime Café: A Decade of War 2001-2011, edited by Sean Labrador y Manzano, which includes one of my new pieces, “All Time,” at the DNA lounge. I enjoyed the rare opportunity to share the stage with Genny Lim and Elmaz Abinader, two of my poetry heroines, as well as a long list of writers featured in the book.
- The 12/12 Featured performance at Lunada, along with hostess Sandra Garcia Rivera, whose birthday we celebrated, was a blast! This was the official release event for my new CD, LIWANAG: LIGHT, and the audience gave me nothing but love and lots of energy! Thanks to the Galeria De La Raza, the audience, students who came out, the hostesses Sandra and Erica Roman, along with all the fierce men and women who graced the stage!
- Just received my copy of the book, Hanggang Sa Muli, Homecoming Stories for the Filipino Soul, edited by Frances Ong and Reni Roxas, an anthology by Tahanan Books (Philippines). It includes one of my poems, “this house,” but also a few well known Filipino authors including Carlos Bulosan and the contemporary author Pati Poblete. http://tahananbooks.com
- KPFA Radio show feature, 11/25/11 – The day after Thanksgiving, I was honored to be interviewed / featured on Pedro Rais’ show, La Onda Bajita Del Barrio Atzlan. After joining the protestors at the Shellmounds in Emeryville on Thanksgiving day and participating in conversations about decolonization with Occupy Oakland folks, it was perfect timing to be interviewed about historical impacts of colonization, the content of my writing and the role of the artist. I performed two poems live with the help of Toussaint Haki Stewart on the cowbell, and my sister Aileen (Kitchen Kwento) was also in the studio. While the show is no longer available on the KPFA website, the MP3 will SOON be available on my website, so keep posted in about a week!
NOW FOR WHAT’S NEXT:
1) My CD, “LIWANAG: LIGHT” and my Online Store – Been wanting a recording of my poems? Are you looking for a holiday gift that supports a local artist, not corporate chains? Are you a teacher interested in playing poetry for your students in your classroom? In October, I released a limited number of my first fully-studio-recorded CD, “liwanag: light,” a collection of 10 poems recorded at Oaklion Studios and mixed/mastered by percussionist Ajayi Jackson. It includes newer pieces like “Litany for the Sea,” and “The Meal I Never Had,” as well as older pieces newly-recorded like “this house” and “Salsa.” I only have a few dozen, and once these are sold, I’ll print another run. I’m also planning to move forward after this towards a longer CD with musical guests and a fancy insert, so all of your contributions towards this CD will get me closer to that project too! So get yours now! Support your local poetess (me!) It’s easy: go to my online STORE.
2) 12/12/11: EAT Action Potluck with Deep Waters Dance Theater and me! This is short notice, but if you’re in the Bay Area, come to CounterPULSE tomorrow, Monday, 12/12, 6-8 pm (1310 Mission Street, SF), for – Food Party in members of Deep Waters Dance Theater and neighbors surrounding CounterPULSE theater on Monday night for an EAT action Pot luck food party. EAT is an acronym for Everybody At the Table, Everyday At the Table. Come sit at the table; let’s eat together, share stories about food and reclaim our right to have time to be nourished and sustained not only by our food sources but by our connection to one another. Bring a dish to share! Spoken word performance by Aimee Suzara! live music jam with members of DWDT and YOU!!!
3) On the teaching front: I had a great time teaching Creative Writing and Social Action at Cal State Monterey Bay, and I’m looking forward to teaching two courses there next semester: Multicultural Poetry and again the Creative Writing and Social Action intro class.
4) NOW BOOKING: I’m currently getting 2012-13 booked for performances, talks, workshops, lectures, etc! Please visit www.aimeesuzara.net and click on “book aimee” to make a request or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5) My Birthday Wish: On Dec 29, I’m turning another year on mama Earth (it’s a multiple of 3…) And rather than hope for or expect gifts, I’d like to ask my friends, family and supporters to do what you do best: help your fellow hustling poet/playwright/professor to get my work into the world! It’s what I feel I’m here to do, and with the little institutional support of artists, especially in hard times, we rely on our individual supporters.
And to do this, you can either (or both!) purchase a copy (or 2 or 3) of my LIWANAG: LIGHT CD online or make a donation to A HISTORY OF THE BODY, which I am fundraising and grant-writing and revising and working my butt off to get off the ground, hopefully in 2012-13.
Donate at paypal or send a check, for a tax-deductible donation, to COUNTERPULSE, 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco 94103 OR directly to me, written to Aimee Suzara at PO Box 10732, Oakland CA 94610 with a note, “A History of the Body”.