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My mini book from Seth Apter's class

I was just getting back to blogging in the spring. And then on top of the pandemic, George Floyd was murdered right in public by a police officer, and the crumbling world caved in. I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything that wasn’t Black Lives Matter or mask wearing. Nothing else seemed important. I spent a lot of time (still do, just not exclusively) on social media sharing things to try to help, to try to spread the word about what was happening and maybe ways to make changes.

Talking, sharing, protesting, writing letters--it's important work we have to keep doing. But I was sinking in on myself more and more every day, and I didn't know what to do. And then a class popped up-- Seth Apter’s Mini Book Madness. It was so inexpensive, and the books were delightful, and it was easily accessible. I signed up. I started my book in class and spent days finishing it. I was so in love I bought supplies to make more books (which hasn’t happened yet, but I have my stuff, and it will). I felt a little more like me. I felt a little calmer, a little more focused, a little less constantly enraged.

Right now doing our art, making things, creating may seem pointless. Worse, it may feel selfish.

Right now, our art is necessary.

Stopping and later recovering from this pandemic is a long-haul thing. Continuing the fight against police violence and racial injustice and inequity is a long-haul thing. That means that we have to figure out how to do all the work on these things at the same time as we are having lives. And that means taking care of ourselves and doing the things that buoy us up and help us keep going, that help us keep hope and help us bring light to ourselves and others.

There have been articles and posts about this already. I’m not saying anything new. But I feel like my blog is something that people read in quieter times, so maybe the words will sink in a little easier. Or the ideas might sink in from repetition. In any case, I just wanted to say it out loud.

Living our lives, making our art, doing our creative work--it’s important. We have to have a full and thriving world to move back into once we fix these crises. We can’t build that world or keep it going if we burn ourselves out. 

Next time I’ll talk about some small ways to get back to your art if it’s a struggle. For now, just remember that you can do it for just 5 minutes, you can do it badly, you can just spend time sorting supplies. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Now, go make something!

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I feel a little awkward and uncertain about putting this out there. I don’t know if this is mine to write. But this is what I’ve been thinking about and working on for myself the past few days, and I feel like it’s important, so I’m sharing.

Antiracism work must be folded into our everyday lives. It must become part of normal. We go about our days, work, cook, clean, do our art challenges, fitness challenges, read some antiracism and justice and equity articles or books or social media, share, donate on payday. Make this normal. Make it what you do. Make it sustainable for the long haul. 

Things you can do to start making it part of daily life:

  • Join book clubs that read and talk about antiracism and equity
  • Join online groups that talk about antiracism and equity and actions
  • Follow BIPOC social media accounts that do the same
  • Regularly shop from Black-owned businesses
  • Follow BIPOC artists and creatives
  • Read BIPOC authors

There are others out there writing about this, about things we can do to do more and keep things going. Find them, read them, do the things. Keep the change happening!

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