It started simply enough.
I spent May back home in New York City- arthead hunting. Basecamping with nuns, I was on a rigorous schedule of praying in the early morn, eat, out the door by 8am and on task wherever the work was being done by 830 am, back in the convent by 4 to eat, 6 at the latest, No technology after 4pm.
It was tightly budgeted, brutal in that way Virgos bizarrely love. Job hunting nonstop on both coasts, Grant submissions, gig applications, future local residency spot interviews, side summer gig call backs, spot research work for the Globalboho Guides, stacks research for the next layer in the chronic universe, #grievechronicddaydropzone campaign design, production and placement, plus shaking down a certain comically bemused film production team to let me work with them while I was there to absolutely no avail… Everyday had a tight window. The convent life was just the kind of structure needed to do what had to be done- which was to suss out whether or not this summer was even Meant to be spent back home.
I absently knew in Sedona last summer that I’d be back in NYC around the end of April from outside the grid, so there was no pushback from me when it lined up as such. Pure #enjoytheride. Must admit it was tougher than I’d imagined it’d be, but necessary. So much stuff got completely resolved finally having the gumption to take both Globalboho and Grievechronic back to where both projects got their marrow and lifeforce and ensure that the place responsible for my even developing the skill-set I have to run around globe-trekking like I do by the seat of my arthead pants took its rightful place in the flow.
…but a surreal thing that occured while I was home was that I wandered into one of my equilibrium spots in Manhattan- Pearl River Mart[ No, I didnt allow myself to go to the art supply section…I’d still be there, I’m sure lol]- and ran into an exhibition they had up regarding the Delta Chinese. My heart ripped out of my chest and splayed itself across the wall with such force that I had to explain to the people present what was afoot.
Part of why I embrace this whole gypsy thing so effortlessly is that I am well aware it is in my blood, by both force and choice. I’ve spoken about the weird genetic splicing in my bloodline that went down in the first two decades of the last century. My grandmother, born in 1916, was of Black, Irish and Chinese blood. Her husband, born in 1909 was of Native American and Black blood, both by choice. By all standard historical accounts my grandparents should not have even existed, yet here I am. But it’s the matrilineal line that the Chinese blood comes through that has been oddly instrumental in the way my entire arthead arc has played out.
It was an aunt on my father’s side of the family who threw me into my first art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art- a mommy & me style Chinese scroll painting class for 3yr olds with whomever was wrangling them for the day. Back in Cleveland 20+ years later on the other side of my happily finding solace in Japan more than any place on earth, shyly eyeballing China, she’d asked me “…what the F is up with you and Asia?” & I pointed absently at my mom’s mom and my aunt crowed “Oh my god!Her eyes!”…as it officially registered.
Here’s the thing. There is a group of Chinese Americans who are referred to as the “Delta Chinese.” They are called this due to settling in the Mississsippi Delta region of the country after coming To “Gold Mountain” aka America during the Gold Rush, primarily through San Francisco. When that work dried up, they began working on the railroads, working their way east. After the civil war and the end of the railroad boom, they stayed in the south, taking the place of the newly emancipated Black Americans on the plantations for menial pay and similar treatment that the slaves had just been freed from. The CLOSEST you got to any references to this period in History class coming up was a paragraph on the “Yellow Terror” in the south and a crudely insulting cartoon. But they remained in the south since then. And went through allot of the same bullshit that Black Americans endured, racism-wise. The brunt of the families are based in Birmingham. Every once in a while the NYT would do an article about the Delta Chinese. But I didn’t need an article. My grandmother was my primary babysitter growing up, A stoic Jehovah’s Witness by the time I portaled into earth, Virgo born to a Virgo, looking out after a mercurial Virgo grandchild as both parents worked. And life HAS absently proved this but I truly believe Virgos listen to Virgos in a way that others kind of gloss over…and other Virgos know that instinctually, so we tend to say more to each other than to Anyone else. She was my first experience of that…because she entrusted me with the story of her Mom’s family- which just happened to be Chinese. If they’d been Senegalese, I’d know their tales as deeply. That was just her Virgoing. I found out as I traveled for Globalboho that I knew things the brunt of her own kids hadn’t retained, except for the generational gypsy.
blah, blah, blah. Point is…all those blood tales already gird some wild stuff afoot in the next round of my scifi. It’s the reason I’ve been clamoring FOR China for years, art residency-wise. But it was standing in that art exhibit, chest on fire because That was the Chinese blood that roars in me that set about a strange set of Globalboho events- even for me.
See…part of the NYC gear-up included an option to travel to New Zealand for an art residency- aiming hopefully for now- this July[ & I AM getting to go- hooray- just later!]. After seeing the show, San Fran started requesting my presence. San Fran had been avoided for Globalboho not due to being unsuitable, but because it is a prime research port for the next layer of books, and until I finished the first ten Grievechronics, I couldn’t go there or my virgoan brain would explode. But I finished those books in April. So the NORCAL yoller was real. I still headed back to Venice for more interviews, submissions and the like, but God had me applying for things up and down the entire coast of CA as I went, Cast your bread upon the waters style.
The ONE gig that came through?
…Right where I need to be to research. On a ridge planted with invasive Eucalyptus, overlooking black sand beaches, ten minutes from spots that factor into both the very real tales my gramma told me and the crazy assed dark fantasy riffs I’ve built upon them in the research and character development already in place within Exile, Empathy and Eternity[ books 11, 12 and 13], drafts already half complete. In an enclave consciously flooded with artists on a seasonal basis, but as a receptionist in a local spot smack dab in the midst of it. Paid supplemental gig to make whatever comes next in the arthead life come true. With housing and writerhead workspace.
…my first night here I woke up at 3 in the morning to the sound of a typewriter clacking away. There is no typewriter in my space. But whatever frequencies writers jammed to in the past where I am are apparently pleased to make my acquaintance lol. Possibly the best spirit welcome ever.