We are in the Process of Evolving!

my indie press is going through a shift

My whole life, may I evolve with the grace and audacity of a tree.
I trust my roots, so I risk reach.

I believe my trunk, so I ascend.
I know growth, so I surrender to expansion.

...the grace and audacity of a tree...
It’s all about getting bigger and going deeper, like a tree. This makes us strong.

When Matthew and I created Reflection Press in 2009, we did so with the firm intent to let it grow like a tree. Evolution. Naturally. Expansion. Creatively. We did not separate out art from life from work from spirit. But instead saw all things as one, united to support us in learning about the power of creativity from within and without. We had vision, but mostly we had presence. Through process and presence we published our first three books, Claiming Face, Gender Now and Gender Now’s school edition.

Resourcing children from underserved communities has been an important part of my work for many years. Getting these books committed to print was our obvious first step. But there was a hidden gift in the making of these books. The act of articulating the philosophy was the same as creating a piece of art. It was like creating a reflection of something that had been inside of us now outside. The process ofContinue reading

The Blessing of a Ban

This week we celebrate Banned Books Week. Banned books are insights into a culture’s deepest fears. They speak to what we’re trying not to face, what we’re in total denial of or what we feel we must suppress to maintain and protect the current order. Clearly these books hold power. For one, a book like this has become visible enough to be a problem and two, its contents are so powerful they must be controlled. These are books to pay attention to.

I imagine one day we will look back as a planet and be impressed with how limited our thinking was during this time. Gender Now Coloring Book: A Learning Adventure for Children and AdultsI imagine in this future day, we will generally think many more thoughts than we do now and we will feel completely free to do so. This is a natural future to me because in my imaginary world, thought and awareness always expand.

I have a professor friend I work with in Alabama. Last year during an interview I told him I didn’t think my new coloring book, Gender Now, would be banned despite the fact that it has children in their natural states showing multiple gender expression. He said I should be so lucky to have my book banned. I laughed. Yesyes. I should be so lucky! Lucky enough for my book to join the list of those books that in their mere existence present the great opportunity for us to expand our minds to the point of freedom.

Here’s to all the banned books, the good, the bad, the brilliant and the brave. To you I show respect by happily falling through the dark, out of my clothes and into the dough of the night kitchen! In salutation of all those who have helped expand our minds…I play. I expand. I know. I am free.

And I sing into that night…You will never imprison my mind. (Gandhi)

About Banned Books Week: Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. More at: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Reading to the kids of Nickerson Gardens

Last week I flew to Los Angeles for an American Federation of Teachers media event on August 19th. As a child, unions were a natural part of life to me. I grew up with talk of Cesar Chavez, as well as shop talk about the electric union my father belonged to. So I was honored to be included in supporting the union that supports some of my favorite and most respected fellows: educators.

The event took place at the Head Start Center, deep in the Nickerson Gardens Projects in Watts, Los Angeles. The outside walls were covered with fading, but powerful renditions of Martin Luther King Jr. and inspirational words. The images reminded me Continue reading