A guest post from the talented and divine Sexy Grammarian: Offering one special writer a very generous gift!
. . . a note from the sexy g
I just have to do my thing because I believe in love.
My one winter in Boston almost killed me. A California girl, I tromped through the slush, snow, and ice, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the forefathers for putting down roots in an environment unfit for human survival.
But I loved the Bostonian attitude. When I arrived in the fall, one of the first cultural differences I noticed about the people around me was the seasonal small talk. Everyone seemed to be asking their friends, with sincere interest and concern, “What are you doing this winter?”
As a 20-something, living in a house full of hippies and working retail, the people I talked to were not discussing their winter resort arrangements. They answered with plans such as “I bought 30 jigsaw puzzles,” “I’m going to read War and Peace,” or “I’m going to learn to crochet.”
I learned in Boston that where it gets truly cold, folks need something to occupy themselves through the winter, to care for themselves, be in community, and better themselves. People find ways to survive and thrive in the darkness instead of hibernate and get depressed.
Facing the darkness of this new presidency, I find myself tempted by hibernation and depression. I realize, to take care of myself and be in community, I’m going to need something to do.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, I hear, just cancelled their upcoming European tour, making plans, instead, to tour the red states in 2017. This response to our new political regime inspires me.
I’m certain the 300 members of this particular chorus would rather play Paris than Peoria. I imagine the European tour they’d planned wasn’t just going to be world changing, it was to be glamorous, a chance for the chorus to rest on its laurels and show off San Francisco’s cosmopolitan, queer friendly identity to a world that could truly appreciate it. Instead, they’ll be visiting small towns where Trump-empowered American bullies may throw tomatoes, or worse.
But I’m not inspired by sacrifice alone. This decision acknowledges the power of their collective higher gift. The chorus has leveraged its particular strength and talent by redirecting their efforts toward the audience that needs them most. They are answering a calling.
“When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do,” Dallas said to me, offering advice in the tender, bleary days right after my wife’s father died several years ago. It’s good advice for how to behave around grief. Look around, roll up your sleeves, and make yourself useful. Do what you know. Do what you know to do. Do your thing. Answer your call.
Taking Dallas’s advice, I kept the sink clear of dishes. I stayed beside Helen as much as possible, knowing my physical presence soothes her. In the face of grief, it can be hard to know what to do. But we already do know what to do. Do what we know to do. Prepare food. Sweep floors. Pat hands.
So, what are you doing this winter? I’m not talking about the next 30-or-so days of this literal winter. I mean, what is your plan to keep from going mad in the darkness and cold of the next four years?
I’ll keep calling my representatives, joining protests, and writing checks, but like the Gay Men’s Chorus, I want to offer my own unique gift to this country. And since this country is about to get harder to live in for almost everybody, I want to support people who are already working to help women, economically vulnerable folks, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, queers, HIV-positive and disabled folks, and sex workers.
When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do. This is what I know to do: support writers. Better yet, arouse them, uplift them to do what they do, better and with more ease. Help them find their best process, refine it. Help them get their work out into the world.
So I’m seeking one writer for a free series of 12 private sessions in 2017, about a year’s worth of writing support. This writer’s work should have the potential to make a big impact on this country’s most vulnerable populations, and they should need my services for free.
And here’s what you can do: nominate a writer. Do you know an investigative journalist in a small town? A Black Lives Matter or Anti-Fascist Network activist with a story to tell? A refugee with something to teach us about living under authoritarian rule? I will accept nominations until Valentine’s Day.
Who is The Sexy Grammarian?
I’m Kristy Lin Billuni, writer, teacher, and collaborator in San Francisco. I coax writers into creating tight, juicy, scantily clad sentences and stories that climax. I cultivate sexy, bold, free writers in stimulating one-hour private sessions and for free on the Sexy Grammar blog.