For a moment in time, I have to bring them back to life. Something in Austin changed this year. It was more than the pandemic. It was more than the protests and riots. It was more than any single one of us here in Austin. Something is just..different.
Even I wonder why I chose to come back. Why do I stay here?
It’s a lot of little things. A few big reasons, sure, but most of it can be summed up in tiny “God moments” I have all over this city in a day. Some of those big things though. Wow. Just wow.
My experience with Street Lit and the incredible opportunities it provided for truly diving into the art of writing is certainly the biggest of the big moments that hold me here. I keep hoping they will open Conference Room A again. I crave the insight of my fellows; Street Lit Guardians of the Galaxy. I need that smoke break on the sidewalk outside, and the fifteen cups of coffee during our totally informal yet somehow life changing sessions.
The link below is in response to an open letter that I wrote to Barry Maxwell, a dear friend and the founder of Street Lit. He’s off somewhere in the big wide world bringing more superheroes into our alliance of Guardians of the [Literary] Galaxy…but he sure left his mark here in the art of Austin. Thanks, Barry.
Awww…Shucks! on streetlitorg.weebly.com
Looking back on it now, I never would have believed how vital those weekly meetings in that crappy building with those crazy people (that I love so dearly) would be, and even now I wonder if I know just how much that meant.
By the way, they called me “Conference.”
There were so many of my alters that would openly announce themselves in this group. That’s just how close we all became. That’s how raw we were with our writing. That’s how honest we were with each other. My dissociative disorder was apparent and there was simply no point in trying to hide it from these people that were like family.
So, I included them. Instead of destroying my writing, it enhanced it. I didn’t have to write “around” who I was anymore. I just wrote through it. I believe that calling me Conference was just easier for them than trying to figure out which of the “me’s” was hanging with the group that day.
Clearing Things Up
Some weeks, Jenny came to Conference Room A and it was just Jenny.
And some weeks, Jenny showed up, but halfway through Natalya was brought out by something that someone read out of their own work, and then before the end of the meeting Clara had to pop out to remind everyone that she was just there for coffee. Oh, and then Jenny would be back to scan the book shelves one more time before carrying all 20 pounds of new books out on her back.
Other weeks, Angel would show up, and she wouldn’t talk much. Not because she was being rude or didn’t want to…she just didn’t know anyone there. She hadn’t spent as much time with these people, and so she didn’t have much to say. It’s so strange to sit in a room full of strangers you know– people you know you should recognize, but you just don’t.
It didn’t matter to Street Lit. They loved Conference. They still just love ME. Whichever me. Whenever. It doesn’t matter.
What’s in a name?
Part of The Hostile Takeover Project was to just be that raw and truthful in everything we did. So, I absolutely did start the blog under one name and change it back to my maiden name when it became relevant. It will probably change again.
And, yes, we do speak together sometimes (different authors as a “we” voice). Some things we post anonymously because the author prefers that, or there is a security threat that demands anonymity, at least for a while.
Then, other times, the “we” you read on these pages…it’s one body. It’s a single individual. Sometimes, “we” is me…Jenny. Without Street Lit, I just never ever would have had the guts to be me on these pages for you.
Thanks again to all of my Street Lit family and friends. You guys helped make me the writer I am today. Without you, I’d have given this dream up so long ago. I love you guys.