I have recently been engaging more in the exploration of what narratives emerge as I make use of languages that are closer to my inner self than the English that I formally learned.
In these newer works, I am interested in exploring the traumas inflicted on the colonized body. What movements does the body go through in order to break free of those traumas? How does the colonized body find healing when it is constantly reprimanded, tokenized, devalued, objectified and still treated as a being of lesser worth?
I think of the narratives that have been attached to brown bodies and I think of how we rob these narratives of poison when we take them and make them our own. This to me, is the transformative power of story.
During the Amsterdam Sci Fi Salon, Adrienne Marie Brown reminded us of the power of the erotic and the power of desire, and I thought of narratives where the brown body’s sexuality is shamed. Where desire is labeled as sinful and unacceptable. I think of the power locked up in the shamed body. I think of what is released when we break free of those shackles and take full possession of our own skins.
It’s not that I am no longer writing in English, but that I have chosen to let the narrative take its forward motion from lines or words that I associate with home. It’s possible that this choice has no meaning to the reader, but to me who writes it, this choice reminds me that the narratives I’m writing are not of lesser worth. They are of equal value.
And if language is a thing that stands in the way, it also becomes a reminder of how the brown body is often viewed as an object that stands in the way.
Is it even science fiction anymore? I really don’t know and to be honest, I’ve stopped caring about labels as I find that labels are only useful for commercial purposes. Labels have a confining and limiting function, and more often than not they are exclusionary.
If we talk about science fiction that comes from the West, we already know what we are talking about. There are narratives that belong and there are narratives that are allowed.
But the choice to depart from what belongs and what is allowed is also a deliberate choice. It is a choice that says, what exists is not what defines me or my work. Rather it is the work that defines itself. It is a choice to embrace and move towards a different kind of envisioning the future.
What else can I write? What other things can I explore? What waits around the bend? Where is the true body of my story?
These are questions I ask as I continue on my journey.