Writing at Be(come)ing Binahkaye

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photos by Renaldo De Silva

Because the word must have reach.

I have been writing all my life. These creations often emerge as fiction in the form of short story, but I am growing a collection of essays and narratives about my life and art. As with everything I create, boundaries, labels, language and identities must be deconstructed, blurred, made transient. The work must become fluid so as to enhance the possibility of my discovery.

Currently, many of my writing adventures are rooting their journeys in the development of characters for my first book of short stories. As the narratives fill in on the page, I find my imagination soaring. This story morphs; it becomes a play, then a screenplay, then a dance, then a lived artistic experience in public space, then a photo essay, then a…and on and on. Having reached a new space of maturity in my creative process, this instability stimulates me. A younger creative me would have been habitually frustrated at the constant change of venue for these characters. The journey of weaving threads of these voices and experiences into a story, of finding depth in each character through a variety of means has birthed yet another terminology in my cannon of self-initiated vocabulary. I call this element of my writing, “Embodied Character.”

dancing with youth in Carenage, Trinidad

dancing with youth in Carenage, Trinidad

I have always enjoyed documenting my dance work around the world. So many beautiful people have shared their space with me. Communed with me by some river, in some field, the back of an airplane, the side of a road. I find immense joy in chronicling what I call “humanity’s dance.” Over the years I have cultivated a practice of facilitating dance with people who don’t consider themselves to be dancers. People in prisons, rehabilitation centers, shelters, hospitals. People who have experienced traumas in the body and want to create healing and positive narratives in their bodies, spaces that may have once felt broken or violated. I also create specialized dance curriculum for schools, youth programs, and community development work. I love coming into a new space, fostering an intimacy with participants through movement and play, and uncovering fresh approaches to offering movement as an essential and strategic resource for enhancing dialogue, understanding, and happiness in our world.  Find these essays, reflections and stories from dancing with communities in “Dance Work.”

photo by Colin A. Danville

photo by Colin A. Danville

And then there’s me. Writing about myself, my childhood, my family, my body, my space, the mothers in my world, the journey of be(come)ing woman and mother, identities (the claiming, deconstructing, and/or abandoning of), development as an artist, relationships, partnerships, love, loss, grief, vulnerability, growth, challenges, wishes, dreams, irreconcilabilities, heart break, heart stretch–and all the matter in between. These manifest as ramblings, as essay, as memoir, as photo essays, as poems. Several years ago when I first attempted to write “my life story…so far” I created a term that I thought would encapsulate the inherent dance experiment that is my life. I called the epic tale a choreo-autobiography, as in the “choreography” of my life and the “autobiography” fusing together. However, the word “choreography” has never held strong resonance with me, so I am admittedly without a word for what this is at the moment. But for now the writing for these conversations with myself and about my process can be explored in the section “I am who I am.”

photo by Colin A. Danville

photo by Colin A. Danville

I love writing about my travels around the world. In “Journeys: Traveling To, Through & Away from Home,” you will find stories from my adventures experiencing people, community, movement and art in different places on the globe. Ghana, Trinidad, India, Indonesia, and places in the United States, some far, some near, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Laurinburg, Selma, Baltimore, and more as I document my interactions with these spaces and their people.

I am also beginning to gently explore my identity as a woman in a world that often attempts to define this phenomenon for me. I feel as if I am unraveling knots, venturing down a path through a dense, and at times dark, forest of possibilities, searching for a clearing, a home for my own dynamic self to exist. These unstructured inquiries will take on many forms in “Dismantle & Assemble: Experiments in Womanhood.”

Vulnerability empowers me, stimulates intuitive strengthening and enhances my capacity to be open and discover something new about myself in every moment. Vulnerability is challenging, and yet I have always known it is an imperative for my work and the way I want to exist in this world. One of my most vulnerable spaces is my own voice, which I think is a great contributor to why writing and movement expression from other parts of the body are such comfortable mediums for me. In a space of full disclosure, I admit that I am still developing the courage to speak my truth to everyone in this world. In “Transparencies,” I write unaddressed, open letters to people who may or may not ever hear these words directly from me. Wherever I am in my journey, I find something extremely liberating about writing to the person anyway. Sometimes it is written to a partner, a teacher, a former partner, a friend, a mentor, a parent, a family member, an ancestor, a stranger, a celebrity–sometimes the letter will be to me. This practice of anonymous exposure is so healing. Rather than bemoaning the imperfect truth that sometimes even I am afraid of what honesty might do, I can just write and acknowledge that I have done something. said something.

photo by Colin A. Danville

photo by Colin A. Danville

As I am now ready to pull back the veil on this work of be(come)ing Binahkaye, I am also journeying through the processes of be(come)ing a mother. Poems, essays, movement work, and stories exploring the multiple dimensions of this evolution are housed in “Motherhood.” I am beginning to explore, in depth for the first time, my layered experiences of being an invisible mother who is transitioning, after so many years, after so many losses, after so many discoveries, to a visible mother. I am also engaging in long conversations with myself about the mothering work illuminating itself as I prepare for birth, co-parenting, and life as a motherartist. I am opening up to this perpetually new process, sharing excerpts from my studies toward full certification as a doula (birth assistant for the mother), and research inquiries into all things birth, babies, mothers, families, alternative education models and anything else blooming inside the realm of my mothering work.

In “A Process Creative” I trace the continuums and beginnings that shape my experiences as a creative, process-oriented artist. I am very invested in the “how” and the “why” of my work. In this broad heading, I include essays, letters, narratives, and ramblings illuminating many different elements in the evolution of who I am be(come)ing as an artist.

In Liberated Booty, I share excerpts of past works and works in progress exploring my evolving movement theory and the ‘Booty Folklore’ dance journey. In the Categories  in the left column, there are also tabs for spaces where I have travelled, including Ghana, Trinidad, and Laurinburg, North Carolina (with more places to come as I add those stories.)

Thank you for reading (about) my writing. My words make me happy, and it’s an extra bonus to share them with you.

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