Making Art Is Making Love: Interview with M'kali-Hashiki
If you’re an artist or a writer in the Bay Area, you’ll want to indulge in my pal M'kali-Hashiki's upcoming Erotic Breathwork for Creative Folkworkshop on Sunday, March 27 from 1-5pm.
“I think the workshop will have tangible results for those creators who often find themselves stuck,” says M’kali-Hashiki. “For those who really wanna ‘pump up the volume’ on their creative juices and for those who either create their best work when sexually satiated or conversely only when they're celibate.”
I’ve attended another of her other erotic breathing workshops and learned a lot about how I breathe and how I could be breathing to heat up my sexual experiences. I’m always fascinated by powerful teachers who connect creativity and sexuality, so it’s a thrill to share this interview.
Kristy Lin Billuni: Let’s begin with you as a writer.
M’kali-Hashiki: I've been published in political journals, zines, and anthologies, but that was back in my "other life," as I call it, over 15 years ago when I was a cog in the “Non-Profit Industrial Complex.” Essays and articles about politics, sex, or the politics of sexual identity and expression. Most of my creative energy these days goes into my website, my workshops and presentations, my blog, and the backlog of ebooks I've outlined or drafted but have not yet finished. Even though I’m not an actor, performer, or playwright, I still consider the words I write for my presentations and my workshops to be a form of art. The magic that lies in crafting words on a page so that they have a pleasing flow and take the reader on a particular journey is the same magic that lies in crafting words so that they stimulate the tongue, the ear, and finally the brain (and okay, there’s more than a bit of the performer involved in leading workshops). It comes from the same internal energetic source. I’m currently working on merging the the more formal way I write with the more casual way I speak, to let the irreverence of my speaking style combine with the reverence for my subjects found in my writing style. And since I’m going to start vlogging this year, I expect I’ll develop a 3rd style unconsciously.
KLB: And what does it look like when you write?
MKH: Laptop in bed, definitely. When my creative juices are raging, I will literally sit in the same position on the bed for days at a time, stopping only to use the bathroom, to open the door for the take-out delivery person, and to sleep for a few hours. I "word vomit" and then go through as many drafts as I feel like I need before I get to what I consider the "polished" version. All of my current work focuses on my personal articulation of the intersections of social justice, sex, and spirituality and how that informs the services that I offer.
KLB: Tell me about those services.
MKH: My primary focus is on helping QTPOC and allied folk access their erotic energy to use as fuel for radical transformation: sexual empowerment, trauma recovery, embodiment, integrating sexuality and spirituality, or enhancing intimacy with lovers and partners. I do this through individual sessions and also through my Erotic Breathwork workshops.
KLB: Do you observe a connection between sexuality and creativity in that work?
MKH: Yes, I've had the unique experience of having musicians compose on my massage table during my hands-on work. I've had artists in my workshops describe how they feel "turned on" creatively by the techniques. I've tuned into the way my own creative juice links to how my sexual energy is flowing.
KLB: So you think making art is related to making love?
MKH: Making art IS making love. It's either making love to yourself or making love to the world, I can't really decide. Sometimes it’s just about getting out what is raging inside me and hoping it resonates with others, sort of public masturbation. Other times it’s about producing something that I want others to engage with, to be affected by, even if I don’t get to experience their reply or modification.
My creative juice is directly tied to my sexual juices: when I'm "getting it" regularly (especially when it’s *really* good) I can barely corral my creative energy, it’s kind of all over the place. When I can focus it (for example, writing an upcoming presentation), I can barely keep up with what's flowing out of me, which is why I use the laptop rather than a pen--my brain flows much faster than my hand can write. And if I get intellectually sparked into a creative bender, I’ll notice that it makes me horny.
To make deep, impactful art, to make a deep, intimate physical connection with another being requires many of the same things: intention, vulnerability, desire.
KLB: Can you talk about your inspiration for this work?
MKH: Audre Lorde's essay "The Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power" is my manifesto. All of my political and professional work revolves around her articulation of the erotic. While I think her gendering of the erotic is problematic given how we now understand sex and gender; her understanding of erotic energy as fuel, especially in terms of creative pursuits and political work, is visionary. It gave me the language to articulate the thoughts and feelings I’d always had, and encouraged me to share that vision with the world in a transformative way.
I love to talk to writers like M'kali-Hashiki about the messy, juicy, sexy process of creativity. Sign up now for her workshop, Erotic Breathwork for Creative Folk on Sunday, March 27. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for future workshops. To meet more writers in social media, follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Yearning to jump into the writer’s life yourself? My free ebook, Arouse Your Writer Self, will get you going. Want more? Private sessions with me are more affordable than you think, and the first one’s free.