Friday, May 16, 2008
Dear MaComere: Dream Come True
Yesterday, J, my number one comadre, insisted that I stall my strawberry picking adventure in order to cradle her for a 10 minute nap. Powerful woman that she is, spirit healer that she is, listener for another world that she is, I trusted that there was something divine in her whine. I waited. After the nap our mailman knocked on our door with the first package that I've ever had to sign for since we've lived here. And inside were copies of the book you see above the literary journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. MaComere. The word MaComere has no real translation into English...its translation into Spanish would be mi comadre. It is the way women in the French influenced Caribbean name the women who the grew up with, the woman who they tell everything. It means best friend, comrade, sister in everything. To say it literally we have to invent a much needed phrase "my co-mother". Since Audre Lorde said "we can learn to mother ourselves," I believe that MaComere means the way we learn to mother ourselves together.
It is no coincidence that this journal came yesterday in the midst of a period (surrounding Mother's Day) where J and I are struggling with how our relationships to our mothers and their challenges and our difficult memories of their frequent desperation impact each of us and our relationships to each other. It is not a coincidence that this came on a day that I was blessed to sit and talk about how/if we can remember what our grandmothers know with sisters who have been partners with me in the creation of UBUNTU arts--- a comothering process of nuturing, healing, and making space that has forever transformed me and our community and what it means to respond to sexual violence. It is no coincidence that J needed a little mothering in the minutes before the package arrived.
And indeed it is divine that the piece I wrote, a blue airmail letter between myself and my mother and grandmother, between myself and the Caribbean women writers and scholars who have made me possible, between myself and the mother daughter granddaughter characters of Dionne Brand's novel At the Full and Change of the Moon, with footnotes full of overdue shout-outs to my fellow travelers in a graduate seminar on Negritude arrived when it did . Two full years after the scheduled publication...but you know...Caribbean time stretches to dream for those of us living dispersed. It arrived in the mail after I had stopped expecting it, like many of the mother/daughter letters that inspired what I wrote.
I'm honored that my piece appears after (or anywhere near!) a poem called "Hook"
by Olive Senior (THE Olive Senior) about mother's and daughters trying to catch each other through letters and clothing and loss. It is a miracle that my work appears alongside work by Olive Senior and Pamela Mordecai and Ramabai Espinet women whose books sit on my shelf, who I studied for my prelim exams who make me cry and think about everything differently when I hear them read outloud. I am honored for my words to sit beside theirs. Women who have been helping me mother myself even if they don't know it. I am honored that the women who create and recreate the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (the only academic association that actually feels like home) were generous enough to give my words space, and to insist that my thoughts about diaspora and gender were important and useful to them...those women who given me critical definitions and terms to use, those women whose academic and creative work has reminded me that we exist. Women who have been helping me mother myself intentionally and with love and grace. Women who are always right on time, regardless.
And it is no coincidence that you are reading this on a blog that is made worthwhile for me by the reading eyes and open hearts of everyone, but especially radical womyn of color, comothers with me in a transformed world. Gratitude overflowing.
Thank the Lorde for comothering and the possibility of being reborn together. (And thank you!)
Check out the journal here: http://www.macomerejournal.com/issues/008.html