A few months ago I had the honour and pleasure of having one of my stories included in the anthology “Black and Gay in the UK“. A copy of the book has found its resting place in our living room, and yesterday evening it found its way into my hands, as I found myself delving into one of its many stories.
Since its publication, I have found that I want to savour each and every story, like a delicious treat that I do not wish to end. And so, every now and then, I’ll pick up the book and reread a tale or discover a new one.
Last night, I discovered a new one and in the process I reconnected with the younger version of myself who longed to know that he was not the only one who felt ‘different’ from the other boys. That younger self who yearned to find a place where he was loved and accepted exactly as he was. That younger self who craved for connection and belonging.
As I reflected on the story and how it had deeply resonated with me on so many levels, I reconnected with the joy I embody when it comes to the telling and hearing of stories by fellow same gender loving people, as they navigate the ups, downs and everything in between of life. In that moment I felt this sense of gratitude to have been included in the anthology. I also remembered the force that almost got in the way of that happening – Procrastination!
I first heard about the planned anthology in March 2013, when a fellow Queer lover of stories forwarded me an email she had received requesting submissions. Her message simply read –
ADE – SYNCHRONICITY!!! PUBLISH YOUR STORIES!!!
We had been talking a few days earlier about how there were few books from the UK and Africa that captured the experiences of black same gender loving people. I immediately sent an email to the publishers expressing my interest in submitting a story and asked for the deadline. The email reply said that they were “… hoping to assemble material across this year, so roughly ‘within 2013’..”.
And so the months came….. and went…. and in October 2013, I got a reminder…. and nothing happened on my part. And another reminder came in January 2014. At that point I had a talk with myself – I reminded myself that this was a book that had the potential to comfort, teach and celebrate. I reminded myself of the power of storytelling. I sent something in a few months later.
I had the pleasure of reading an extract from my story at the book launch in October and that was a sheer delight!
A couple of other things have happened in the past 48 hours that got me thinking about procrastination.
I had been asked to contribute to another anthology, the deadline was last week and I got the first reminder on Friday – and I am yet to begin! And I guess even writing this blog is perhaps (hahaha) another sign of procrastination – after all, I initially came on the site to go through old blog posts to see which one I could submit for the anthology. I then noticed that I had not posted anything for ages (procrastination!) and decided to write something… and so here we are.
A few weeks before the publication of “Black and Gay in the UK”, the author Elizabeth Gilbert was having a Q & A on Facebook, as part of Super Soul Sunday. I posed the following question “Any tips on tacking procrastination when it consistently shows up during the process of heading the call?” She replied –
“Procrastination is just fear in its laziest disguise — fear disguised as sleepiness and inertia. Have a long, serious, respectful conversation with your fear. Explain that you are in possession of a precious human soul, and that you only have one life to live, and that you are on a mission. Explain it every day if you must. But don’t let fear hide in the clothing of procrastination, and keep you from your mission…”
I love that practice of “.. explaining it everyday…” Guess I forgot. And right now I remember. I’m sure I’ll forget again. But isn’t that the journey of being alive – that dance of remembering and forgetting.
I could go on, but guess I better get on with writing that piece – although I’ve just remembered that I need to get something from the grocery store! Maybe I’ll start tomorrow!
Do get your copy of “Black and Gay in UK“. It’s an amazing, powerful, educational and inspiring book, full of stories from voices that we don’t often get to hear from.