Over the past several days, I’ve read (and enjoyed) quite a few of these “year in review” blogs/essays and it got me to thinking. What did I accomplish in 2016? Where did I fail? I realized that I had many more successes than failures, and that made me feel pretty darned good about myself. I also realized that there were a few times where I fell short or was disappointed by others. First, an overview of the major accomplishments:
- 2016 was the year that I co-edited and published my first title, Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction. It was a collaboration between my publishing house, BLF Press, and Resolute Publishing. I learned a lot about being an indie publisher, but I learned much more about myself. I absolutely love what I’m doing right now, and I plan to be around for a long time. My publishing mentor Lauren Cherelle called me “hella ambitious” and I think she’s right. There’s no limit to what I think we can do. Can’t is a white racist word.
- I co-founded the Black Lesbian Literary Collective with Lauren Cherelle. We realized that we needed to establish a non-profit support system and resource for WOC writers, as well as a more official way to continue our collaborative work independent of our respective presses. We are currently co-facilitating our first writing workshop, we just finished production on our second title, Solace: Writing, Refuge, and LGBTQ Women of Color, and are reviving our podcast, Lez Talk Books Radio (LTBR) next month. We also started Serendipity, (my word of the year), an online literary journal for LGBTQ writers of color, and The BLLC Review, which aims to review titles by Black lesbian authors. We’re busy, but we feel that this is a necessary work. I’m so thankful that I met Lauren two years ago, and that we’ve embarked on this journey as collaborators and co-conspirators. Folks often claim that women can’t work together, but that is a lie of grand proportions. It’s all about a shared vision and mutual respect. We have a plethora of both.
- BLF Press was featured in two major media outlets, Huff Post and Ms. Blog. I’m deeply grateful to Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque for her thoughtful and generous articles on the press, Black feminism, and lesbian literature. Our meeting was serendipitous; she walked by my table at the Outwrite Book Festival in Washington, D.C. this summer and struck up a conversation with me. That conversation led to a request for an interview, and the rest is history.
- I completed my first collection of short stories, A Failure to Communicate, which will be out on January 10, 2017. I’m both elated and terrified.
- We bought our dream home.
- I’ve been able to see my family several times this year. My parents are getting older, (as am I), so I try to see them as often as possible. This year, that’s been monthly. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep that up next year, but I’m certainly going to try.
- I traded my old car for a new one (related to the previous point). I’m within driving distance of my parents now, and GiGi (my old car) had over 120,000 miles on her. It was time.
- I’ve left my “petty pants” at home more often than not.
Ok, so now for some of the failures/disappointments:
- Like most of the folks I know, I was horrified that he who shall not be named was elected president this year. I guess I was a bit surprised too. Not that the racists and homophobes were voting in droves, but that so many folks deliberately chose a know-nothing imbecile over their own interests. America.
- I had to resign from the board of directors of a non-profit organization that I strongly believe in. I won’t go into details here, but I learned that in order for an organization to grow/succeed it must be able to take a critical look at its processes and make changes when necessary. Micromanagement and lack of communication can be a death knell.
- I started working out. Then stopped. Started again. And stopped. I’ve got figure out how to do better.
- While I read lots of books this year, I failed at my goal of 50 books. I’m pretty sure I purchased more than 50, but I suspect that’s a different failure…
- I still haven’t accepted the fact that Prince is gone. Maybe next year.
Overall, it’s been a pretty amazing year personally and professionally. I’ve decided not to worry so much about the things I can’t control, focus on being the best me I can be, and try to lift up as many other women as I can. I hope that 2017 proves to be better than we expect, and that most, if not all of us survive.