I went to a wonderful talk last night organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance on reclaiming feminisms at the grassroots. The inspirational speaker, Sandra Moran, spoke about planting. The first part of creating something new is developing an idea, planting a seed. To do that, you must reclaim what is yours and decide that territory will be where something new can grow.
She mentioned 5 types of “territory”:
1. Your body; 2. Land; 3. Nature; 4. History; 5. Memory
This past year, I’ve been deeply engaged in reclaiming my territories of history and memory, and I’ve done that through writing and reading. As I continue to revise my play, Tree of Seeds, I’m continually uncovering new connections to my Parsi history, especially that of Parsi women. This article in particular, about Indian suffragettes in England, struck a chord with me. The first play I wrote (and produced in the 4th grade) told the story of a suffragette who organizes women to march for their rights, and is ultimately killed.
Knowing the history of my people, makes my art more relevant and vibrant. As I reclaim this territory for myself, I can populate it with new knowledge, resonance, and meaning.
What task, what activity could help you to reclaim one of these territories for yourself? It doesn’t have to be something public, but the simple act of doing something new will lead to regeneration and new revitalization.
This year I’ve decided to write as much as I can. I’ve started a novel and a TV pilot.
T.V. writing is leading me to fun and whimsy.
Yes, my TV pilot is about an undocumented teen growing up in Queens, but it is a half hour sit-com filled with humor and a light touch to explore a heavy reality. I’m learning to go with the joy of using my mind and writing what comes.
The novel writing is the most personal writing I’ve done in my life and is giving me insights into how I see the world, how I see my own story. I am looking at hurtful memories, crying while I write, and then writing some more.
So what might you want to reclaim for yourself? Which territory do you need to access and repopulate with your own power and brilliance? Start something, use the talents you have, it will undoubtedly lead to a bigger and more hopeful world!