I just spent two weeks on my couch, staring at the wall, nursing a bad case of bronchitis, desperately trying to convince myself every morning that I was healthy again, and then falling over ten minutes later.
This was poorly timed. I had just asked the internet/universe for new clients (and it was delivering); I needed to promote and host January’s Queer Open Mic; I had to host, edit the audio recording, book the next guest, and kick off some written content for Deviants Online; there were a handful of loose ends at Genderfork that I was dropping the ball on (including a physical interactive art exhibit that we were sponsoring and needed to build); and there’s also a big sorta-secret dream project that I’m determined to kick off this year, and I had planned to announce it in January to find out who wants to help. But instead, I’ve been curled up in a ball, unable to think or do.
Pretty much all I managed to pull off in this time was gathering a few new (less linear) perspectives. Here’s one:
I used to write — poems, stories, essays, daily journal entries, thoughts on napkins, whatever I could use to spew ideas on. I also blogged almost daily here, and was thrilled by my ability to publish something to the whole world with just a click. My writing slowed when I got into building more websites “just for fun” — there’s a lot of creative energy that goes into getting the CSS and HTML, the content and audience, just right. And now I organize. My creative needs are met by arranging people, ideas, and spaces together like I used to string together words or snippets of code. The result is still a piece of art — something I can point to and say, “I did that, and it’s beautiful, it’s even more interesting than I imagined it would be, and it has an effect on the people who encounter it.” Only now the art is much more alive. It grows and changes and takes on its own personality and it needs to be constantly fed and nurtured to survive.
I’ll be honest: poems were way easier. They certainly didn’t care if I got sick.
About a month ago, when I was having a crisis of direction, I called my dear friend Melissa and demanded, “What do I want to be when I grew up, again??” She said, “Sarah, you’re a poet who raises armies and brings people together, and sometimes those poems look like websites.” And sometimes those websites look like armies. And sometimes those armies look like poems.
Genderfork was a photo-a-day project in which I posted photos from flickr to represent my unusual sense of style.
Genderfork is a community space for 13,000+ devoted readers a month, and it’s managed by a staff of ten.
Queer Open Mic was my writing deadline and my creative home — I went there to perform every two weeks for a group of friends in that tiny cafe, whether I was ready to or not.
Queer Open Mic packs 80 grateful performers into the back of a bookstore each month, and they thank me afterward for making them a home.
Deviants Online is a baby now, and I’m excited to see where it will grow.
And there’s this other big project that I want to talk about — it’s not ready yet, but it will be real soon. As soon as I catch up from being sick.
And my clients, I love you, and I love that you trust me to advise on your organizing — that music you play to your audience and the way you inspire them to dance.
I live for this stuff. I work to build and I build for work. I’ve been sitting on a couch for two weeks agonizing over how disconnected and depressing it feels to not be creating.
But one thing is loud, bright, and obvious from where I’m standing now: It’s gonna be a damned good year.