Sometime around three a.m. on June 1st, I wake up, like back in my designer days, full of beans and images. You have to understand, just in the past week I have been guided in ceremonies to heal my relationships with my ancestors, celebrate my connection to defunct swamis, and have knelt bare-chested in a ditch closely surrounded by three raging fires, to name but a few of my spiritual adventures in North Carolina. So, whatever I think and imagine is bound to be outside my therapist/trauma intuitive/author/yogi box. So I’m lying there, inundated by images of Katja and myself wearing knee-high Docs on a white tandem bicycle with lots of lights. It’s unabashedly theatrical and outside of the literary norm.
By then I’m a little more awake and my consciousness is a little more focused so I deliberately think about the overlapping themes in our books. The cycle of violence figures large: Katja’s intragenerational emotional landscapes, whether it’s in her published book or the other two that are almost finished, are fractured by war and post-traumatic stress; my life and that of the nine women I chose to focus on in my book are pitted by trauma and the brutal impact of sexism, whether it is our own close encounters with sexual abuse or that of our grandmothers, mothers, or sisters. By now I see Katja perched up front because I have already decided she’s driving the bike, her presence dwarfed by our humungous maidenhead torpedo/bomb-type weapon shooting red smoke, and I’m sitting behind her with a gigantic phallus-turned-weapon towering behind me. We’re wearing black T-shirts branded in large white letters: Artist + Activist = Author. I know, I know—not really good enough ideas yet—but the message is loud and clear: we need to be out there, in the street, with our books, big visuals, pamphlets, T-shirts, and all we’ve got in terms of outrage and devouring love for books, writing, and literature.
I text Katja: “I have an idea. I’ve been up for hours. Can you meet for breakfast?” We meet at Easy Rider on College Street. When I’m done describing my night vision, Katja succinctly and summarily says, “This isn’t a marketing or promotional idea, it’s a movement!” What is it? Books for Peace? Hmm … By then we’ve brainstormed a website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts and whatever else the digital world has to offer. There’s so much to think about. We pounce on CraigsList and Kijiji, looking for a tandem bike. We have to move fast—it’s a matter of course—the maiden voyage and website launch will be during Pride Week, a mere few weeks away.