by on January 2, 2020

Posted in: Talk

Happy New Year!! I hope whatever kind of celebration you had brought you joy and happiness and love. This is where I spent my crossover, on this dimly lit porch trying to get the switch on Nights by Frank Ocean to switch exactly at midnight. Which, yea, is a little derived but I was making an alone moment special so hmph. My first text sent of the decade was “lol when I shiver and relax my muscles I feel my butt wiggle.”

For the past couple years, in addition to making Top Ten songs and albums lists, I have also been making lists of new ideas/concepts/things that reigned during the year and constructive criticisms. To celebrate the new decade coming in, I extended this to the whole decade and tried to capture all of the changing and learning that I have undergone. Ordering them is impossible, they all matter to me, they’re all connected, they’re all bigger ideas. But I tried to split each list into four tiers and then roughly order them. Bear with me, please. But this is what I have. A Top Nineteen playlist of songs from this year and Top Nineteen lists of reflection.

Hope your new year is starting off well.



– Self-creation (queerness, gender)
– Radical politics
– I am an artist. My art has value.
– Intimacy/Love
– “Bambara has spoken eloquently of how she was given permission by her [community] to daydream, to imagine, to know her work and to do it, to change and to take her time to learn how to practice her freedom daily. [People] take their time to do what they need to do to face up to what’s killing them, and others wait, instantiating a kind of self- and other-directed love that’s free of any kind of guilt over taking time.”1

– “People really matter the most…I can say for a f*cking fact, that I have prioritized people always. And I will not die regretting the way I’ve lived my life.”2
– Follow that black feeling in your gut.
– [Redacted]
– “But the work of the black revolutionary artist is also to create and preserve what was created before him… And if, in some gray and rushing day, all our black books are burned, it must be in my head and I must be able to drag it out and recite it, though it be bitter to the tongue and painful to the ears.”3
– Polygonal relationship formations

– Relationships are not permanent, nor do they need that façade to have value.
– Assemblage (as: the book, an artistic frame, a politic formation)
– Taking responsibility for my own needs, people can’t read my mind.
– Listen to what is at your core.
– Music

– Afro-pessimism (see also: theory as a way to understand myself)
– Maybe it is time to be done. Or at least that time feels close.
– competitive LoL


– Develop a political practice, even as you learn. If you want to know if you’re doing it right, work with other people, they’ll tell you.
– Be accountable, even if it’s hard.
– Art doesn’t need to have a coherent message embedded inside. Think/Feel beyond that.
– Decenter whiteness. Center yourself/your community/your needs.
– Communicate more.

– Don’t just think about making stuff, make stuff.
– Don’t let pessimism/nihilism define your worldview. Choose to act.
– “Live better than what is expected of you”1
– If you know you need structure, make it.
– Keep looking for what is really there (see also: Can you identify the feeling? What is the more interesting question?)

– Call your family more.
– Accept your own desires, they are not bad or immoral.
– Don’t be selfish. Give the way your actions affect other people real weight.
– Don’t be self-righteous.
– Jealousy doesn’t need to be squashed. Give it space, voice it, and move on. –

– You have more options than the ones you can see, act like they exist. (see also: Possibilitarians4)
– Don’t just cut people off.
– Be bolder about asking questions.
– Wasteful spending in small bunches is still wasteful, do better.

1Something more powerful than skepticism, Avery Gordon
2Michelle Kim
3Duties of the Black Revolutionary Artist, Alice Walker
4Circus of the Possibilitarians, Bread and Puppet

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