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Be a part of Migritude's journey.
No contribution is too small - or too large. $2 buys coffee for a volunteer. $15 rents a rehearsal studio for an hour. $100 covers 2 hours of lighting / tech / set design. $500 helps fly Shailja to international festivals!!

You can also make a tax-deductible donation by check. Please email for details.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

20 hours: final pre-show posting

Everything listed, packed, checked, ready to load tomorrow morning.

Schedule drawn up; I know what I'm doing tomorrow from 6am until curtain up at 5pm.

The moon is one day short of full tonight.

I got an aerogramme from my mother today. And a gift from P, in London. And a glory of sunflowers, gerberas, irises, delphiniums, from my family, via my sister.

It's time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

44 hours: stay with what is

not what could have been, said my friend R in an email.

What is:

- full hamper of dirty laundry
- stacks of outstanding paperwork
- a dozen calls not returned
- two dozen emails to send
- pages of rehearsal notes to review
- still have to find the right wooden chair to use in the show
- still have to find a hair salon to french-plait my hair on Sunday morning. You'd be surprised how few places do that
- waves of tiredness at 8pm
- sudden pangs of doubt and second-guessing about what we cut and what stayed in
- moments of giddy exhilaration / disbelief that it's finally here - the premiere.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

the suitcase will be opened

says an article in today's Contra Costa Times, about Migritude, and Hecho en Califas.

The print edition ran a large Migritude photo. And there's a nice chunky quote from me at the end of the feature.


Sometimes you get tiny inklings - no more than intimations - that the universe is on your side.

Sometimes, a giant wave of serendipitous good fortune sweeps over you. The universe is not just on your side, the universe is embracing you and flowing around you like honey.

I just got a call, totally out of the blue, from my dear friend, Arshad Khan, Montreal-based producer and director of the documentary-in-progress,Threadbare. We feed off each other's work, each others' activist and creative visions, even though we only speak every 6 months or so. He's coming into Oakland this weekend. He'll be at the premiere on November 5th.

3 days: gives me butterflies

just to type 3 days.

My mind is like: No WAY! We canNOT be down to the last 3 days, the last 2 rehearsals, the final choices of staging, sound, costume.......

But I know I'm ready because:

* I'm actually excited about my friends P and A flying in from Minnesota for the show this weekend. 2 weeks ago, I was squirming with discomfort about them making the journey.

* I'm delighted by each fresh email I get from people telling me they've bought tickets. There's always a phase, before I'm ready, when this freaks me out, because I don't know that the work will be good enough to put out.

* I end each rehearsal ravenously hungry. And ready for a nap. Which means the work is coming through and using me up, and my body's in the cycle of pour it out, recharge, pour it out, replenish, pour it out.

* I'm surrendered about what isn't going to happen. That one extra level of sound engineering. Those really cool visuals we imagined on the Jewellery piece. That reworking of the movement on Swore I'd Never with Parijat, to make it cleaner, tighter, stronger.

It is good enough, I tell myself. It will go on getting better, but it's good enough. And I know I'm ready now, because I believe it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

4 days: collaboration

is the most exciting, expanding, terrifying, frustrating roller-coaster. When it works, it feels like being in love. The synergy that erupts when creative visions come together, when someone else's talent opens up new worlds of possibility for your own work.

Yet it's so fraught with risk. Miscommunication. Clash of visions and standards. Different working styles. Fears, judgments, insecurities.

The last 2 weeks have been filled with collaborative tensions and conflicts. With painful discussions, negotiations, collisions of I can't work like this. I don't want to continue, if it's going to be this way

I think we turned a corner today. Came through the final crisis with a new level of understanding and openness and commitment to the process. I hope we did.

Monday, October 30, 2006

You have been more than the tree we looked to

For my generation of Kenyan women, you have been a whole forest. And for generations of Kenyans to come.

I said that tonight to Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai, after she spoke in Berkeley. Her newly released autobiography, Unbowed, will be by my pillow every night this week. And in my backpack every day, to whip out during rehearsals when things get challenging.

Just had a sharp pang of missing

writing new poems. The last one I wrote was Drum Rider, in Zanzibar in July.

For a few minutes, I longed, fiercely, to be in that intensely happy urgency of walking without destination, putting down phrases, words, as they come through my body, hearing their rhythms in my brain and feet.

6 days: almonds and throat coat tea

are going to be my lifesavers this week.

Ayurveda says you should soak almonds overnight - one for each 10 pounds of your body weight - and peel and eat in the morning. They give you a huge chunk of the vitamins and minerals and healthy oils you need for the day. And they're delicious - soaked overnight, they turn plump and succulent, become something between fruit and nut.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

6 days: can't quite find words

to describe the space I'm in. Blog - challenged. So much happens, in my mind and in my external world, each hour of the day right now. I peg something mentally as blogworthy, and then it's swamped by a hundred other things, and by the time I get here, I'm a zombie.

The week coming up is probably going to be the most intensely demanding one of my life.

But I wanted to post something, for everyone out there who still clicks on here each day. Thank you for sticking with me through this.
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