Monday, December 13, 2010

Voodoo or Voodon't?

I keep promising to myself that I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis, but instead, I find myself sucked into Facebook and Twitter...and, well, work.

This past semester I've been teaching at three different schools: alternating mornings at Sophie B. Wright and Carver with the Bard Early College program and afternoons teaching creative writing at NOCCA. It's been quite an experience, and I enjoyed being busy for the first time in years, but I've also realized that working full-time means having to cut back on all the volunteer work I've become accustomed to. For the past few years, in addition to my own organization, The Sula Foundation, I've been on the founding boards of two other organizations. No more!

Another by-product of being over-extended is that it has made me more productive with the little scraps of time that I do have. And so, I've finally, finally managed to finish a book proposal I'd been struggling with--and a piece of that proposed book is currently online at Salon.com under the somewhat provocative title "What brought me to the voodoo priestess." And as might be expected, most of the comments, at least the early ones, are responding to the headline rather than the story itself. But, to answer some of the more serious questions raised: the gris-gris bag is considered a hoodoo tradition but this one was, in fact, made by an ordained voodoo priestess; my father's request for me to go to the priestess was not based in any belief in her practices, but more an attempt to convey the desperation he was feeling (also, he knew she lived next door); I didn't have the bag made immediately because I wasn't sure how serious anyone was--and later, I didn't deliver it in a timely because I live more than 1000 miles away from my parents; also, several visits were delayed due to illness (which is mentioned in the essay).

By the time I found a way of writing about this particular episode, I realized that it was really about my parents' relationship with each other, not voodoo. I think most readers understand that too.