Everything I write is about me. My choices around what stories to study and share are informed by my connection to them. Yes, everything is interconnected. I embrace that truth, while exploring the specifics which expose my position in systems and how they impact me, both positively and negatively. I am connected to all things, though I can only communicate from my perspective. This is important to remember. I am committed to keeping myself in the story.
These thoughts were inspired in part by a recent post on EveryBlackVoice.org entitled “the vulnerability of Black Artistry, a dialogue with AMBROSE RHAPSODY MURRAY.” When asked, “How do you define vulnerability?” Amborse says, “Bearing your soul, bearing the complexities of what it means to be alive – that there’s good parts and bad parts. Telling a story with emotion. I don’t think it’s vulnerable to tell someone else’s story though – like, people who don’t tap into their own personal experience.”
As a white writer who collaborates with people of color, I appreciate that reminder to continue to weave my own vulnerability and experience into my work. It is an intentional choice that I publish on a website with my name as the url. While I am deeply involved in collective efforts, these writings are my own. I speak alongside others, but never for them.
Speaking of speaking, I was recently on the radio talking with Julia Haverstock about my “Shakespeare and Stumptown” research and writing for the Asheville FM News Hour. You can listen by going to the November 9, 2022 archive of the show – our part starts around 40 minutes in. Let me know what you think!
More Montford & Stumptown Stories
Last year, as I got more involved in researching the history of Montford and Stumptown and organizing the Montford & Stumptown Fund with my neighbors, I published “History, accountability, and home” to place myself in the story of my neighborhood. It continues to be a journey of self reflection and aspirational action. I’ve been leaning into the pain and responsibility of my connections to the displacement of Black neighbors and the erasure of their history. And leaning into often uncomfortable (and sometimes transformational) conversations with white neighbors in order to invite them onto this journey.
As you know, there are many threads to the Montford and Stumptown story that have been left out of dominant narratives. I am grateful to be partnering with the Stumptown Neighborhood Association, STM Multimedia and Major Moments (with support from Alternate ROOTS and the PSABC) to produce video interviews with current and former neighbors in order to capture and share some of those threads. The above photo I took of the Brown sisters at a recent interview is too sweet not to share. Stay tuned for new videos in the coming months. In the meantime, you can watch the first four at montfordandstumptown.com.
The multiplicity of me includes music
When I think about vulnerability and art, I am compelled to mention music, which has been a big part of my life for many years. As a songwriter, I have put my tenderness into tunes over and over. As a performer, I have experienced the ups and downs of the ephemeral experience of live music. Playing and recording music with my partner, Jason Krekel, enriches our lives infinitely. Our band is called Krekel and Whoa, and we happen to have a few shows coming up – Friday, November 25 from 5 to 7 pm at Shakey’s Dive Bar; Friday, December 2 at the Grey Eagle and Saturday, December 3 at the Boone Saloon opening for Southern Cultures on the Skids. Our schedule (and the schedule for all of Krekel’s bands) can be found at jasonkrekel.com.
Celebrate and support
The 5th Annual CoThinkk Awards Event was an incredibly nourishing and inspiring experience. Kudos to all of the leadership award winners and grant recipients! The active care you all give our community is so beautiful. I left the event full of hope.
The Racial Justice Coalition has been sending out great emails, it’s well worth getting on their list. Same goes for the Center for Participatory Change (CPC), you can read this recent update and sign up for future news. And check out these upcoming events shared by Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community.
Finally, have you heard about Buncombe Decides, an initiative to resist the current set up of the occupancy tax? If not, please check them out, follow their socials, and get involved as you can!
Peace and love. Until next month…
Thanks for reading. You can subscribe to have new posts delivered via email for free (sign up in sidebar or below if you are on a device). If you find these posts valuable, you can become a patron starting at $3/month or you can make a one-time or monthly donation via PayPal to help sustain this resource. You can also give on Venmo to @Ami-Whoa. INFINITE LOVE TO MY PATRONS WHO HELP MAKE THIS WRITING POSSIBLE.