i believe everything is connected and that our life, if viewed through a particular lens, can expose the mythology of our deeper being and life experience.
today feels mythic. elements from different parts of my life feel like they’re rising up around me and i can see clearly the threads that hold them all together.
this morning CALL ME TREE was on kirkus reviews’ BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2014 THAT CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. i haven’t had a new children’s book out in 5 years and it was pleasing to know that it could land there. this was a strange comfort on the day they said the darren wilson decision would be announced.
from the review: A seed, depicted as a little boy, nestles deep underground. He wakes up and grows into a strong tree, free yet rooted. When he awakens, he sees other trees, presented on the page as an array of ethnically diverse children, standing and moving in their own ways.
when i reread the review, this stood out: ‘he wakes up and grows into a strong tree, free yet rooted.’
just a few hours ago it was announced that darren wilson would not be indicted for the murder of michael brown. it seemed the obvious conclusion in our current state of affairs, but the audacity of it still stings like the face slap it is.
my heart hurts. and like everyone i know, i’m tired of my heart hurting. but i have worked hard to keep my eyes and my heart open. i don’t want to lose that, so i go with the hurt.
‘he wakes up.’ i listen, hear the myth. waking up. becoming aware. seeing things for what they are. opening to the truth all around.
when St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch spoke the well crafted words that the grand jury did not indict darren wilson, it was clear to me, seemed beyond obvious… this is wrong. everything is wrong here. how he’s talking. what he’s saying. for a moment i thought it was me. like i was having an emperor’s new clothes moment. i was relieved when i saw the huffington post refer to his announcement as bizarre. something is wrong.
i know what it’s like to be lied to. it can make you feel crazy and powerless if no one believes you. ‘he wakes up and grows into a strong tree.‘ when i trust myself and what i know, when i open my mind and don’t buy the big lies fed to us for generations (and this evening), i grow into myself. as a queer chicana growing into myself is a radical act. and supporting and aligning with more communities like mine is the most sane and natural path. we belong together.
‘he wakes up and grows into a strong tree, free yet rooted.’ this last part is prayerful. may we wake up, grow strong in ourselves, and from that strong place feel our belonging as well as our deep, innate freedom.
darren wilson not being indicted for the murder of michael brown is wrong. the larger systems are wrong. they are based on old lies. now is the time to wake up, grow into the strength beyond the lies. so that one day we can understand what it means to feel free yet rooted. and strong like a tree.
i am deeply grateful that children’s books are a part of my practice. they teach me. they heal me. creating new stories, new visions of inclusion and belonging for our children changes the world. slowly but surely.
thinking of you michael brown.
amidst the trees.
(if you need to make some art or you know some kids who do, you can go here to download drawing pages of strong black youth at kidlitEquality)
Dear Maya, Congratulations of this well deserving recognition for your groundbreaking wonderful work. Abrazos, Francisco