My sister turned 23 August 5th 2018. I spent time with family and friends in NYC the following week - connecting with my existing community there and building new relationships.
Ash Go, a filmmaker and activist who I met at Indie Grits Film Festival, took me to Bluestockings Bookstore, Cafe & Activist Center where I got the current book I'm reading: Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown
Popular opinion, but READING IS SUPER IMPORTANT. Especially in the age of scrolling and social media. I stopped reading for months, and coming back to it is super healing. Giving myself time to read and focus on a narrative is super helpful in my ability to focus on my own work.
Here's some powerful quotes from the book:
"You can't bring down a hundred oak trees bound beneath the soil. How do we survive the unnatural disasters of climate change, environmental injustice, over-policing, mass-imprisonment, militarization, economic inequality, corporate globalization, and displacement? We must connect in the UNDERGROUND, my people! In this way, we shall survive." - Naima Penniman
"THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST IS TO MAKE THE REVOLUTION IRRESISTIBLE" Toni Cade Bambara
"We are realizing that we must become the systems we need - no government, political party, or corporation is going to care for us, so we have to remember how to care for each other" - A. M. Brown
Reading books on organizing/community work is also really helpful for me as a Film Director - both in terms of what kind of stories I want to tell and how I hope and try to collaborate with people on films.
Also, FUCK AMAZON - Support your local bookstore!
In my last few hours in NYC, I found out that 2 friends in Atlanta passed away.
As I returned to Atlanta I felt I was returning to an emptier city.
Yet I found a city so FULL, so full of LOVE and JOY and BEAUTY.
LIFE IS ABUNDANT. TIME IS PRECIOUS.
Since then 2 more wonderful souls have passed this month. Mark G. and Matt Jones.
May they all Rest in Peace and Power.
August has been an emotional time.
I've found solace in my friends (and new friends) and my work.
(The most recent screening had a great turnout and was a co-curation with Yes Ma'am and featured all female-identifying Atlanta Filmmakers)
I finished a first draft of BIRTH OF PLEASURE.
I just re-watched the draft and was exited by new aspects of the film I didn't see before. The excitement gives me Faith - that this will be a Beautiful Film that can effect people at the Core. I'm getting feedback on it from friends and collaborators to figure out what works and what doesn't.
This project has been my creative obsession, for which I'm incredibly grateful.
I'm also learning some really good lessons- this is very hard work. Filmmaking is a CRAFT, and I'm continuing to pave my path forward.
Photos by Katy Beltran.