Early in this endeavor, in the spring of 2012, a friend asked me what I hoped for Spook. In a hot rush of excitement, I told him about wanting to complicate how we understand ourselves, of expanding what its means to be Black or Latinx or Queer, of what it means to be Native American or an Immigrant.
I talked about Toni Morrison and adopting her notion of self-authorship — “Write the book you want to read,” she has said. I spoke of Fire!!, of literary heroes past and present — Wanda Coleman, James Baldwin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paul Beatty, Lucille Clifton. I shared with him my desire to carve out a space for ascendant voices, overlooked voices, a space for voices looking for a voice. I yammered about creating a home — a sanctuary — that mirrored the dynamism and the funk, the whimsy, the sweat and bone of artistry born of the Black Diaspora. I wanted Spook to be blackness itself — omnidirectional, vast, uncontainable.
Then and now, the meat of the mission remains. To paint possibility. To dance thunder from our hips. To cry and heal and break — openly and unapologetically on the page. To dream and agitate and question. To be weird. To be vulnerable. To be true. To always be true.