Hi! I’m checking in, after many months way. As I wrote back in the winter, I’ve been taking time off from Whole Heart Local, my trusty blog and web home since 2011. There are a number of projects in the works that I’m pleased to finally have an opportunity to note. Several are writing projects, several relate to paid-work (read: jobbity-jobs), several more are straight-out wanderings, and at least two aren’t mine. Several + several + several adds up to A LOT, hence my continued absence at WHL and well as MIA hours of sleep. My mom, and maybe somebody else, says “you can sleep when you’re dead!” and, while I might not go that far, I’ll admit that I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish recently.
Edits: Intermediate Fiction Novel
Those of you who know me personally, or have met me and asked what I’m writing, will recall that I’ve been plugging away at a novel featuring a 12-year-old, Halloween, and a zine. As I wrote in a blog post for my Fellowship, at 13-years-old the manuscript has out-aged the protagonist. Nonetheless, I’ve got stacks of colored index cards, notes, writer’s critique group edits, and Scrivener’s document files at the ready to make good on completing yet another reorganization/revision. Stay tuned.
Edits: Other Manuscripts
You can read more on this blog’s Writer Page, but suffice to say that there are a number of other projects idling on the runway for when the above novel manuscript achieves lift-off, in whatever form that takes.
Fellowship: Writer’s Room of Boston
Early in 2018, I applied for a Fellowship at the Writer’s Room of Boston. Writing space is something I’ve long struggled to obtain –especially space near to home. I was honored, grateful and excited to be awarded the Ivan Gold Fellowship for 2018, which means I’m able to access a quiet, retreat space in Downtown Boston, shared with paying members of the room and other Fellows. So far, I’ve been utilizing the space at least twice per week and it’s making a significant difference in my productivity. Equally important, the Fellowship has raised the profile of my creative writing endeavors in an increasingly overcrowded schedule.
An requirement of my Fellowship is to pen WROB blog posts, check ’em out:
Community: Boston Writers of Color
This Facebook group, supported by GrubStreet, is comprised of writers in the Boston area. Even though I’ve only been able to make it to one IRL event, meeting other writers of color in my vicinity and learning what they’re working on, struggling with, and achieving energizes me. I’m following and participating in an effort called the Rejection Joy Tally, where people send in notice of their rejected submissions. Related, I attended a Submit-a-Thon event back in March, where writers of varying ages and backgrounds gathered at Grubstreet to submit work to publishers, contests, journals, etc., as well as work on projects to shine them up submission-ready.
Community Liaison at Agassiz Baldwin Community
I know that some in the Interwebs-sphere believe that I’m a librarian because I endlessly talk about books, reading, and libraries. In fact, I am not. (I did work in a library during my teen years.) As is the nature of nonprofit work, my role at Agassiz Baldwin Community comprises many disparate elements. My title, Community Liaison, I tend to oversimplify as “writer and charmer” or, even “I talk to people.” I primarily organize and support a nearly 50-year-old neighborhood advocacy group, and secondarily manage long-standing community events; ‘master’ several websites; and, more recently, provide facilitation and communication supports. What I deemed a job for a decade looks more and more like a “life-style.” It’s completely bizarre and unpredictable. I love it.
Associate, Essential Partners
I started attending workshops and training at Essential Partners, then Public Conversations Project, to gain skills to help me better serve the Neighborhood Council (see above.) Several years passed and I got in deeper with the EP crew –showing up to pretty much any free learning opportunity they hosted. In 2016, I was invited to take part in a pilot apprenticeship program and BAM. To my surprise and absolutely no one else’s, I’m now officially working with EP as an associate. What am I doing, people often ask? With my super-impressive colleagues, helping people and communities develop the skills and knowledge to successfully engage across difference. (Also, this winter I got to work with two very different communities in NYC and Wyoming –so yeah, there’s that. #wander!)
Not sure how to describe this yet as it’s a thing that’s happening almost without my calling it forth. ☺??!
Mentor for Institute for Nonprofit Practice
I was invited to mentor a Community Fellow student at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. My bright, skilled mentee and I met a few times during the winter and spring and discussed what I’ve learned working in the nonprofit sector for over a decade, as well as both of our early community building experiences. It was hard to imagine what else I might offer to someone who is already so well prepared to stride forward and lead. In that paradox of imparting knowledge and insight, I gained as much as I shared.
Learn more about the Institute: https://vimeo.com/230456427
Fan Fiction Theatre
Although my affection for fan fiction is apparently never dying, I myself am not really an author of such. Except . . . I am? Or, was! At age ten I wrote a poem in the voice of Samwise Gamgee and kept it because it turns out I’m an excellent archivist of my own work. Good thing: that poem came in handy for the Fan Fiction Theatre, a fun and hilarious event hosted by The Ladies of Comicazi, a volunteer-run “community devoted to consuming, critiquing, and creating comics and pop culture.”
Check out the LOC blog for a full recap of the event. In brief: I read two poems to the great amusement of those gathered. The opportunity for old work to find new value and an audience was a treat.
The Human Library
The Human Library is an event that I’ve been itching to host in some form or another, so I jumped at a chance to participate when I saw Cambridge Community TV and the Cambridge Pubic Library had collaborated to run it. The goal of the event, originally out of Denmark, is to challenge prejudice by bringing people of different identities together to learn about one another. “Readers” are invited to check “Books” out for a specific amount of time, and precautions are taken to ensure that the experience is safe and pleasant for everyone. I signed up to be a “Book” and my description was:
Title: Writer, Wanderer, Friend . . . Radical?
Excerpt: Meet Phoebe Sinclair – writer, wanderer, friend and radical. She is ready to discuss her experiences growing up during the “colorblind” 1980s, and also to talk about natural hair, fresh food warriors, and the Nation of Islam.
About seven people (some in groups) checked me out for 30-40 minutes each, and I engaged in conversations about what it means to be a radical (which, admittedly, isn’t a title I normally claim); what I write; and most intriguing to me, what it means to wander. I’m still thinking on the experience and would definitely do it again. Cherry on top, I “checked out the book” that is the new Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. Fascinating.
Participating in the Fan Fiction Theatre spun several other opportunities for me to get my wander on. One was being a guest on Paragraph’s Lost. Host Tim Hewitt and I chatted about my high school self and I read several poems that I’d written during those years. Tim’s impressively apt episode description: “Phoebe makes strides to stay an individual while balancing two high schools and a library gig. Parents magazine proves invaluable.” Take a listen.
I’ve also been a guest on the fun, funny, and insightful Ladies of Comicazi Podcast, sharing reactions to the movie Avengers: Infinity War, with particular attention to how Marvel movies’ treat female characters. Take a listen.
Literally, my partner’s projects. Although I’m not directly involved with David’s music endeavors (I cheer from the sidelines), I’m including them here because GO DAVE!!! and also being exhausted vicariously is 4realz.
After a year of band and song development, Double Star has launched and will soon be playing on a stage near you (in greater Boston.) Self-described: “Double Star fuses female-fronted alternative rock onto a chassis of R&B inflected punk. With their emphasis on vocal harmonies, effected guitars, catchy melodies, and R&B rhythms, they recall The Clash, Belly, Big Star, Liz Phair, Ramones and Indigo Girls.”
Like ‘em on Facebook to catch ‘em live!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As Music Director for an outdoor performance of my favorite Bard comedy, David teams up with a Double Star bandmate and other area musicians. The show is being produced by Theatre@First, a volunteer community theatre based in Somerville, MA. Performances continue to the end of June 2018, and you can learn more on their website.