Monday, February 06, 2012

Self publishing

So here's the new push. It's actually the old push. Self publishing. Did it once, got a book deal. All gravy. I could go ont eh hunt for another publisher for the new book but i think I'm going to e-publish it. But like with all the bells and whistles. Like hopefully get a well known oakland Graph artist to hit me with some art. Get Mr. super trouble Fenyang to do audio tracks for each chapter, maybe even get a small flash game going on for it. Bundle it all for a 2.00 fee. Why? Because why the hell not, that's why! Already got my old pardna from CodeZ doing edits so we'll see what's the what. In the meantime I'll be coming back here on a semi-regular basis to update foolios on the process. Everyone does it differently, this self publishing thing. I say its all about the luv!

More l8r.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I'm ashamed of my amazon account

The day is approaching when I will be a published author. The liminal people is still on track for publication in December, by small beer press. Having done so much already in the writing world, you'd think I'd be a little calmer about this fact, but no, I am a teenage girl on prom night when it comes to this book coming out. At 13 I'd promised myself that if I wasn't on the New York times best seller list by the wizened old age of 25, I would kill myself. I mean what would be the point of being an old writer, right? But now I'm older and am so thankful that my youthful ignorance didn't take me down any dark roads. Besides, who the hell wants to read a novel written by a 25 year old? Jokes!!!

But as I look back on this process, on what it's taken to get this book published, there's one person and one place I have to give thanks for. I want to be clear, I'm giving thanks for the help with the publishing and not the writing. I hate the writing. The writing is the affliction that some of us either do or end up in an insane asylum. I love the writing when it's good, it holds me and caresses me and tells me that in the end the comfort this world has is nothing compared to the comfort my own mind can give. I despise the writing for withholding that comfort from me until I get the phrase, the paragraph and the tempo just right, for me.
That's not this entry. This entry is about the polishing of the craft. Of turning the masturbation into intercourse if you will. One can be an excellent writer and have no one else ever see their work, even now in the age of the Internet. One can spend that time crafting the perfect sentence only to find it strikes like a club footed lindy hopper on foreign ears. A good writer needs a community. Renee swindle has been that community for me.

Ms. Swindle is a writer. She does nothing else but write and teach about writing. Real writers have day jobs, a prominent writer once told me, paraphrasing the worst bumper sticker ever. Renee's day job is talking about writing. She was kind enough to let me into one of her writing workshops a few years ago. She didn't like me at first, she would later tell me. But she let me in and workshopped the shit out of my paper babble along with about 12 other people.
Wine and snacks were provided, laughs were plentiful, but let's be clear, this was no bullshit session. In the vernacular of the black drag queens of my youth "ms. Renee gave much workshop". You couldn't coast with inattention to another's work. And when the critique came for your work, feel free to defend yourself, but you'd probably be better to just take it in. Because of Renee's commentary I tossed fifty pages and a title. "Your audience should be able to pronounce your title." she told me. Fair point. In return I had a tighter twenty pages. Still don't have a new title for that novel though.

At the end of that writing course, we had an open reading at Diesel, a small bookstore in Oakland. For all of Amazon's great selection and value you can't have a local reading there, especially if you're not even published yet. Diesel let a group of folks trying to get there shit together have a reading. If that's all they did, there's no way they'd stay in business. When my homie Chris lane needed to hype his new zombie book (a must for those down with the genre or those who appreciate awesome art), his big launch? Yup, Diesel. So when I self published the first edition of the liminal people and I needed brick and mortar spots to carry it, I hit up two spots: the now defunct comic relief, and Diesel.

More than carry the book people told me they hyped it. Anytime I came in they told me how it was moving, they were interested in me as a published author, even though I had only done the book on my own. Every time I walked into diesel, I felt like a writer. Still do.

When I was a kid I worked/volunteered , ever so briefly, at a legendary bookstore in Harlem called liberation bookstore. It's my standard of a community owned bookstore; knowledgeable staff, awesome selection, bargains, the holy trifecta. Diesel has all three plus readings. My heart soared when I saw a former student of mine working there for a summer job once. It's a damn good spot.

But I haven't been lately. The last book I got there was a discounted copy of winter's bone over six months ago. $4.00! Meanwhile my amazon shopping cart has 7 items in it, though to be fair two of them are dj gear shit. Still though, I'm an ass for not backing up the spot that's backed me up. I'm out of taken right now but here's a promise Diesel: when I come back, I'm blowing some paycheck $ with you.

As you Renee, nothing but love my friend. Thank you for your commitment to the craft. You're an inspiration.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The limitations of positive thinking

Initially this post was meant to be A love letter/apology to Digible planets. I was disloyal during the period of the second album. See that first album, reaching, a refutation of mind and space had me giggling like a underage tranny who just got to meet Rupaul. Keep in mind this was waaay before the term black emo would have made sense to anyone, before people understood that not everyone had to be hard, hood, or hustling. Cats could be reaching. That album reached back to the heroin laced mellow of black urban think of the 60's without being retro, and infused it with a 808 type rhythm that let you bump it in your Walkman as well as your jeep, if you had such things. It was political, timely, smooth, and live. I got mad when Martin Lawrence made fun of them on def comedy jam. Those were my folks!

But then the Blowout comb came out. What had previously been a meditation on the inequities of abortion rights turned into full on quotes from chairman Mao, the referencing of every black person as comrades, and a nostalgic trip I was simply unwilling to take. I defamed them, I scandalized their names, I was that backbiter. I won't lie about it. I'm not a "positive" guy. I don't call other black people brother and sister. When someone calls me Black man, the funniest instance of this happening occurred when a dread dude was pushing his car down the street and yelled to me "Blackman! Help! ", I usually correct them with my name. I let the dude pushing the car slide, he had enough problems. It's not that I'm not proud or happy to be black, it's just that the positive shit seems a bit excessive to me. Plus it often glorifies the late 60's-70's as some mythological heyday when all dashiki wearing nettles could hang out together and effect social change through the use of blunts and revolutionary rhetoric. This ignores the realities of things like Kwanzaa being created by Ron Karenga, a known F.B.I. Informant. (Reason #22 why you'll never see my ass at another Kwanzaa celebration). See I told you I wasn't positive. What bugged me about the blow out comb was that it assumed a communal sense of nostalgia for that time. I don't like my albums assuming that much about me.

About five years about I listened to the blowout comb again. Wow! It's simply an amazing album. It's what dead prez wish they could think about and say rationally. It's how smart Common wishes he was (I know he's on the album but think of me as the anti-common. Nobody is that positive). It's black Brooklyn in the summertime, rum soaked Georgia peaches with powdered sugar and a touch of cayenne, and the mind of a 1st year black college student reading frantz fanon for the first time. It's political but it also sounds really good. The confusion for me back in the day was addressing it as a hip-hop album. Blowout comb is a jazz piece. You have to have heard a miles album to pick up what they were laying down and at the time I simply wast that versed.

All of this has come about because of my new love for Shabazz palaces, butterfly's Seattle based project that is simply ripping shit up. It sounds way more D.I.Y than either of the Digible albums, and as a result sounds more true to that original sound. Without competing for vocal time, my man is able to let his lyrics bounce off the beats and tempos his drum kits and machines lay down. Plus the tribal moles and guest vocals on his tracks just makes me want to get in the car and just drive in the dead of night pumping both seven song albums over and over like I'm some teenager who just woke up to the idea that blackness can be beautiful.

So this is what this post was going to be. Then I did a little more searching on the break up of Digibles. Looks like the group fell victim to the same 70's B.S. that many of the political movements of the time did, namely not compensating the women equally. I can't get into too much of the politics of it because I don't know them. But now even Digibles got a pall cast over their legacy. It makes me sad. Maybe the fam can get back together. Ya'll are like Voltron. Individually fascinating, together, unstoppable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BUY IT!!!!!

My Awesome book

is available for pre-order here

You should buy it before the groupies snatch up the 1st editions. If you're an editor, or write a blog or such and you're interested in an advanced copy. Leave a link to your work and contact info in the comments section. If we're a match you'll get a pre-proofed book.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trying to say something new about OFWGKTA

The niggerati still haven’t gotten fully up on the juvenile rambling of the LA black skater Archetypical macks. No doubt accusations of adolescents and immature masculine performative posturing will be leveled, and maybe it will be well deserved. But a couple of week ago I was having dinner with Kamau Patton and he came out with the first new real question I’ve heard about these cats in a while.

“You think they’re channeling that old school gravediggaz type shit?”

For those of you that don’t know gravediggaz was the nightmare side project of RZA (If you don’t know who RZA is GET OFF THIS PAGE NOW, FOR REAL!) ,Prince Paul, and two other cats. Fat team up, right? Exactly. It was dark, scary, not ok, mentally unbalanced type stuff that spoke to some of the psychological WTF! that black kids were enduring everywhere. Imagine the Geto boy’s My mind is playing tricks on me vibe for an entire album. Yeah. Like that.

So Kamau’s assertion was more than viable. It’s a question informed by Tyler’s lyrics. His “Therapist” is a reoccurring character on his racks. Mad references are made to fantasies of duck tape, butt rape, huffing glue, and mixtapes (Sorry just had to rhyme it) And Tyler does run shit in an early Rza sort of fashion.

But even then I couldn’t buy it. Peep the video below and remind yourself, this is a hip-hop show.

First off, Hodgy beats, the younger scrawnier one, is straight dominant off that shove! Love that kid. But peep that whole vibe. From the predominantly white crowd to the small bit of Tyler’s song that you could actually hear. It’s all more hardcore than horrorcore. It reminds me of one of the second all black hardcore show I ever went to. Other cats from L.A. n fact. I refer to Fishbone of course.

So I had to disagree with Kamau. And as we are both boisterous New York cats of some age and stature it got loud. But we grown and realized it’s not an either/or situation but a both/and. What I can say definitely is that I haven’t this excited for hip-hop for a while. I‘m glad everybody got over being gangsta, but I was scared cats were going to be taken that Kanye route for a while, or that backpack to the club type shit again. But when see kids at the mosh pit starting songs of like ”Got all the black bitches mad cause my man bitch Vanilla/She trying to get her groove back like Stella…When it comes to the perception of your shit I’m Helen Keller…” know the ascent of the I don’t give a fuck afrogeek as truly begun.

Wrote the above a while ago. Yesterday I read the New Yorker article about Earl. He’s the band’s lost member. The New Yorker found him. He wasn’t lost. But he did have some striking similarities to my generation, and so did Tyler. To wit, Hey, grown ass black men. IT’s not your fucking kids responsibility to find you and form a relationship with you. Whatever the hell happened between you and that woman there’s a young black male out there who has a target on his back. He shares your blood. That means you bear some of the responsibility of teaching him how to navigate this world. If you choose not to, I don’t give a fuck if you’re a poet or a convict, you don’t deserve the title Man. Yeah, it’s a title. Yeah I said it. Got a problem with that, come see me. It’s retarded how happy I get when I see a black man hanging out with his kids. And its retarded how few times I see it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


We're back. With the new book coming out, pressure for some kind of black geek anthology, and the need for a general place to rant, figured it might be time to come back to what I love. Folks are still commenting on the Black emo post, WHICH WAS FOREVER I know people are still reading this bad boy.

Anyhow, People often wondered when we first started this what exactly did we mean by black geek? I think Donald Glover makes it plain. Fucking love this guy. Saw him live. As my girl said "His songs make me think he needs a hug and some pills." I agree. I also think that's what makes him the archetypical afrogeek. Along with his dancing in this video.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Please circulate widely...

The Departments of Music and African American Studies at UC BERKELEY invite you to a special event:

Open the Unusual Door:
a reading and talk by science fiction author


science fiction writer
author of Midnight Robbers and Brown Girl in the Ring
winner of the Aurora Award, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, Gaylactic Spectrum Award
Finalist for the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award

128 Morrison

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The book is done!!!

Come on out OCT. 3 to Comic Relief in Berkeley, California to celebrate to release of "The Liminal people" my new book! From 7-9, Drinks, music, and food, all will be provided. Hope to see you there.

Comic relief
2026 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704-1117
(510) 843-5002

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why can't I stop laughing?!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Am I wrong to like the pirates?

Ok, I’m not just saying this to be counter…whatever, but this pirate thing has been a blown a bit out of proportion.

First off, real talk, if those pirates looked like Johnny Depp, American would have been cheering for them, no matter who they jacked. That’s just the realness.

Second of all, brothers are from Somali. Yes, Somalia right next to Ethiopia. Remember when people used to send money to Big tittied Sally Field so she could save the darky babies in Ethiopia? Well, the Somali’s were starving as well, only no big tittied white ladies gave a shit about them so they starved. I’m not surprised that the ones that grew up don’t give a rat’s ass about international property.

Third, From what I’ve read these “pirates” used to be fishermen until the same international community that put a bullet in their brains started dumping everything from old tv’s to toxic waste off their shores. All the fish went dead and the Pirate nation was formed.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m glad the merchant marine dude got back safe, ad the navy SEALS did what they had to do, but we start getting into major trouble in tis country when we point fingers at the bad guys just because we don’t like what they do without asking why they do what they do.

Also, for real, a life boat versus the USS Wreck-a-nigga? We all knew how that was gonna end up.

They probably did too.

Monday, April 06, 2009

In point of fact, I know longer feel like an Afrogeek.

My comic book reading has gone way down. I no longer care who wins in the latest battle between the x-men and the dark avengers, though secretly I hope its Osborn’s crew. How sick is that?

My movie preferences now lean more towards foreign flicks and documentaries. Secretly I wish the Waltz with Bashir guys would just go around the world using flash to and personal narrative to make all wars personal and beautiful.

Even my halcyon remembrances of jungle and drum and bass are giving way ever so slightly to, I know this will be offense to many, my love for the clipse.

But fuck it, Rick Rubin is producing their next album so…

The moniker of Afrogeek no longer feels like it fits. It seems one of those childish things one puts away as they get older and more secure in themselves.

“So is that it? IS Afrogeeks officially over?”


If I were to follow the lead of the comments on this blog I’d call it Black Emo (Peep the comments. I mean its ridiculous) and have a devoted group of followers. But that’s not where my heart is.

Were I after the controversy I’d follow up like a few other cats and trace the post racial United States we live in. I mean Obama’s elected, right? What’s the worst that could happen? And while that stuff interest me, its not all consuming.

In truth, Nothing is all consuming for me right now. I’m doing a lot. Afrogeeks will be where I share some of that. Pictures, for instance. Music, Mixes, My book, coming out in July, political thoughts, reflections on the legalization of Marijuana, frustrations and joys of teaching health education classes as well as religious histories of drugs, hypes for friend, disses of enemies, all of it will come on here.

Part of the reason of the lack of post over the past year or so has been this sort of need to feel pure about what I post, to make sure it appeared to the afrogeek audience. I’m not so much giving a shit about that anymore. And I don’t want to go through the trouble of starting a new blog. Friends and foes alike know to find me at this url. No need to disappoint. SO this is me, doing me.

Got a problem? Go suck a dick on the real, all ya’ll reckless tongue waggers.

P.S.-I need a tight web designer for my book website. Someone highly versed in flash and relatively cheap would be wonderful. Hit the contact me if you are that one or can point me in that direction. IF you’re not the one but hook it up I’ll hit you back with a “Don Draper doesn’t care about you” t-shirt. Or a “I’m beginning to doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion” shirt.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The crumb trail starts here

Tunes to read the liminal people by.

The Liminal people is my novel, which will be out within the year. Listen and prepare