#313: Quivering Leaves

Beach trees.
Saugatuck, MI

We stayed at a friend’s cabin in West Michigan last weekend, our first real trip since before pandemic. Though it was only a short walk to the lake, what was more memorable to me were the tall, thin trees surrounding the cabin’s back patio. I’d forgotten how it felt, I told Julia afterwards, to sit and daydream to so many quivering leaves.

Since coming back I’ve been spent my afternoons cutting, sanding, finishing, and installing (finally) some floating shelves on our bare kitchen walls. It makes sense in hindsight that leaving home brings new energy to improving one’s home; inhabiting other spaces reveals possibilities for your own. The double-coat of danish oil I’d applied cured yesterday and, after a month-long cooking and baking slump, I’m excited to make food again.

I recently wrote a post for SCBWI Michigan’s quarterly “Diversity Dialogue” about the pandemic, the protests, and resisting the urge for normalcy. You can find it here:

In trying to practice my own advice, I’ve been thinking about how to go about structural change when it comes to an organization like SCBWI, which has done a good job of putting persons of color on their board and speak and teach as faculty at conferences, but at the same time has a member base (at least here in the Midwest) that is still disproportionately white. Affirmative action scholarship programs eliminate one barrier of entry, but I’m wondering about another barrier – that authors and illustrators of color might be turned off by the prospect of joining yet another majority white space in the first place.

What are some best practices to make these spaces more welcoming? What are other organizations that have successfully diversified their memberships? I’m open to any ideas, learnings, and resources.

On a minor housekeeping note: Between our trips, home projects and emergencies, writing deadlines, and other commitments, I’ve inadvertently fallen into a fortnightly schedule for these newsletters, which strikes me as a more summerly pace anyway. So I’m going to keep it up. Weekends are for maintenance, I wrote to you earlier this year. I forgot that they’re also for perspective, which can be hard to find without distance, both physical and psychic.

See you in two weeks.