I’ve always been someone who struggles not to silence herself.
I fought a little internal skirmish in trying to decide whether it was “worth it” to post anything about my VONA experience, when I felt sure my words would fall flat. I fear trite words, over-generalizations, and cliches in describing such a profound space. But I am a learning writer, and you can’t grow without falling flat a few times.
Besides, that’s what VONA is all about, isn’t it? Risking. Learning. Growing. I knew I had to say something to mark it’s completion.
VONA/Voices is this crazy, beautiful experience where writers of color from all over the country, and the globe, come together to create, talk, share, and live in their identities as worldbuilders and conveyors of spirit. My tribe this time was speculative fiction.
It hit me like a truck, absolutely leveled me, to understand for a few precious days how much we as writers of color have to say. You forget, when you read and see only the bestselling POC authors that there are actually way more than one or two narratives on any particular trauma, issue, identity, you-name-it story. There are infinite narratives, in fact, because every single one of ours is different.
I feel humbled. I feel graced. I feel like I’m in a whirlwind right now trying to figure out how I want to move forward with this beautiful gift of being a part of, being seen, being heard.
I’m especially thankful that VONA piqued my curiosity again about my own work, at a time when I’ve been struggling with the weight of the daily grind, and with losing sight of my “why.” I’m reminded that I do this because I want to get to know myself as a writer. I want to hear and fall in love with my own voice, and I want to be part the conversation and community of others looking to do the same. We build something bigger and stronger together.
To be honest, I’m still spinning. It’s going to take some time for me to settle back into my fiction practice, my self-care practices, and my routines. But I think that’s what I need to do ultimately — pour this energy back into my writing.
After all, it’s the way we move.