Category Archives: Books

A Writer’s Burden

To create; to retell; to represent the history of a people in literary form. The self-ordained griot.

Life is full of amazing encounters and unbelievable heartbreak. The writer writes. 

The man I loved married someone else. A story is born. 

The one who should love me the most, betrayed me. Sounds like a plot line. 

I must forgive the one who has never apologized. This is good stuff!

The burden: How real should I make it? What if people think that I am really writing about me? What if someone mistakenly thinks I am writing about them? 

Type the words. 

Everyday strangers sit across from each other at church with only a timid smile and wave between them. What if one of them actually says hello? Ensue rising actions, climax and 'happily ever after' or not.

I give the character courage and dialogue. The 'what-ifs' are brought to life. And so, I write. 

I hope someone finds liberation in seeing their untold story play out in black and white. 

The prom date that never was. The crush that did not notice. The loneliness of doing the 'right thing'. This time there is a second act. 

Romance. Heartbreak. Faith. Dreams. Second chances. It is all on the page and out of the heart. 

My novella has gone into the editing phase. I am really excited. In truth, I am sharing my story with someone for the first time. I cannot wait to share it with the world. 

Until then. . . Once upon a time. . .

What I Am Reading: Eat To Live

So I bit the bullet and got rid of cable. My big flat screen monitor, yes monitor, has been relegated to finding the weakly broadcast digital signal converted by some little black box. I need said black converter box because the great deal I thought I had found on a flat screen TV was just a good price on a monitor. *insert sad face*

Due to the lack of variety in scheduled programming and aforementioned weak signals, I watch PBS a lot. Partially because the PBS station magically always transmits. BUT there really is interesting programming on PBS. Having had my IQ diminished by addictive reality TV showcased on cable, it took a force of budgetary constraints to bring me back to my first love, PBS.

Anyone remember Sesame Street?

I digress.

I am watching PBS and there is a show featuring a Dr. Joel Furhman discussing how eating less to no meat can literally reverse illness. From my frequent blog rants, you guys know about my constant bouts with acid reflux. ARGH!

I buy the book and it is truly a revelation. Dr. Furhman warns about trying the veggie/fruit diet plan that he advocates  before completing the entire book. As I am reading, I am having some serious reservations about giving up meat until I read this gem about “pink slime” going unlabeled in our meat supply:

"The trimmings are heated to soften fat and spun in a centrifuge to separate the meat, which is then pressed and added to hamburger. A puff of an ammonia and water mix is used to kill bacteria." SOURCE

Don’t you just love the use of words like “carcass” and “puff of ammonia” used to describe food you put into your precious body?

Well, I do not. So back to Eat To Live. Great info, not so great recipes. Here is where my readers come in. Do you have any good meatless recipes? Something without a ton of unique ingredient would be helpful.

I am going to attempt to concoct one of my own, enchilada pie. If it works out, I will post.

Until then.

I Gave Up Cable, Now What?

Guys I have cut the proverbial cord – the cable cord. Saving money all over the place, which feels good. Have a whole lot of free time and less mental clutter. The challenge? Harnessing all this new found energy into something productive. 

I ain't gonna lie *no Fifty Tyson* I had some withdrawals. This past Sunday was the debut of the new Real Housewives of Atlanta. YET, I did not bow, I did not bend. I held my ground and surprise, my bank account is pleased. 

I cannot believe how much time I wasted on my reality shows. All of the time I could have spent working on my book. 

Yeah, remember that?

My mind is clearer. I abhor drama in my own personal life yet I had opted to allow other people's drama into my home for entertainment's sake. Surely real life has more to offer. In 2012, I am going to find out. 

SN: I have rediscovered PBS. They need the viewership, right? Ah, Charlie Rose, how I have missed thee!

Freeing myself of cable is the gift that keeps on giving. 

A Little Box of Favor

I found a box of books. No lie!

I was taking out the garbage and sitting next to the dumpster in a neat little box were about 8 books all clean and looking fairly new.

I have never read any of the titles. They include the following titles:

  1. A Love Noire by Erica Simone Turnipseed.
  2. Rhythms by Donna Hill
  3. Mr. Potter by Jamaica Kincaid
  4. Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou
  5. One Day I Saw A Black King by J.D. Mason
  6. Using What You Got by Karen E. Quinones Miller

This week is a blessing but the enemy is always trying to bring me down. Then God sends me a little blessing just to remind me that He loves me no matter what.

Roses, baby, roses!

I wonder what I will read first.

The Odds and Ends Post

I have discovered something about myself. I am greedy. Not in the sense of food or selfishly hording something but when I have something good, I want it all the time until I grow tired of it.

This is true in so many areas. If I go out and have a great time. I want to always go to the same place, have the same great time until the time isn't great anymore.

If I could learn to be patient and accept a slower pace maybe the good stuff could last longer.

Weird? I think so.

I found a great book, Jazz by Toni Morrison, at the book store for $3.00. I read like the first 18 pages and was amazed at the beauty of her writing style. She writes prose like poetry, very lyrical. I was reading and thinking. I need to really work on my novel.

My delivery guy has the cutest smile an the straightest teeth. Why does this make my suspicious. lol


Choices – The Old and Familiar or the New and Untried?

I became so frustrated with the lack of quality stories on TV and in the theater that I began to write again. I stayed at it and fully edited the first half of my novel. I began to fall in love with the characters again.

I think i know how I want the story to end. I need a little help from the few readers that still follow. If you had a choice between the man you have always wanted but who had not always wanted you and something totally new (but all good so far) What choice would you make and why?

Happily Ever After

I wrote a first version of the ending and I was hesitant to let the character have it all. So I ended it two ways – one in which she does not get the guy of her dreams and one in which there is a cliff hanger. Someone told me, "Hey this is your story, why can't the girl have happily ever after." The truth is I do not know a lot of happily ever afters.


Could I create one? Would it be worth the read?

Ugh!!! Now you see my dilemma.

How To Spot An Angel

I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR while driving the other day and learned how to spot an angel.

Terry Gross, the host, was replaying older interviews she had had with Maurice Sendak, the author of Where The Wild Things Are.

Sendak has an interesting life story. For example, his father was the only surviving member of his family. The rest died in the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Sendak was a sickly child during the 30's growing up. His parents feared he would die. He had had pneumonia twice, plus illnesses that we are now immunized against. Well his father and mother would dress him in all white so that if an angel would come to take him away. They would mistake him for being an angel already and leave him there.

Sendak said that his father once told him that if he stared out of his window and did not blink he would see an angel. He told him if he succeeded that he was a very lucky boy.

Sendak tried to stare but his eyes would hurt so much that he would eventually blink.  Well, one day he kept his eyes open, even though they hurt really bad, and he said that is when he saw it. He described the image of a being in all white moving in slow motion from the left to the right pane of his window. He screamed, his father ran in. Sendak explained that he had seen an angel. His father responded, "You are a very lucky boy."

I wrote previously of my angel experience. Have any of you experienced a supernatural event that you care to share?

A Raisin in the Sun – The TV Version

Sean Combs aka P. Diddy won a NAACP Image Award for his role of Walter Lee in the TV production of A Raisin in the Sun and drew some criticism. You know the whole rapper/actor thing. Before we get into that, a little background.

Lorraine Hansberry wrote Raisin in 1959 at time prior to the civil unrest of civil rights marches and Dr. Kings assasination, six years before her own death to cancer.

This story occupies a unique niche in time when African Americans were still trying to pursue the American Dream the old way; working hard and hoping their efforts paid off for them and their children. Civil rights legislation would later ensure that that hard work was met with measurable progress.

The original stage production in New York 1959 showcased Ruby Dee as Ruth Younger and Sidney Poitier as Walter Lee. If I only had a time machine! That would be something to see.

There has been criticism of the 2008 version, much due to Combs being cast as the anxious Walter Lee. Granted, Sean Combs is no Sidney Poitier, but I think he did a good job. My girl, Audra McDonald, played Ruth Younger. She is so my role model. I want to be a classical singer/stage actress too.


Although some of the material is edited from the original, the TV version does justice to Hansberry's intent. A Raisin in the Sun is timeless saga of the triumphs and struggle of a family trying to advance in tough times.

Speaking of timeless, Phylicia Rashad, love her!


P.S. I still have the actual written play on my bookshelf.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered. . .

. . Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enough is a choreopoem written by Ntozake Shange. This play started as a series of poems written by Shange, that organically grew through performances and additions into the work of art that eventually made it to Broadway in 1976 earning numerous awards including an Obie and a Tony.


In college, my theatre class performed this play as series of excerpts. For class, I performed The Lady in Brown Toussaint L’Ouverture piece. Unfortunately, for the actual performance, I was relegated to narrator for the Lady in Purple ‘Sechita’ piece.

All of this probably makes no sense unless you’ve read the play. The cast of characters are seven women named for the spectrum of the rainbow.

The play begins:

Lady in Brown

sing a black girl’s song

bring her out

to know herself

to know you

but sing her rhythms

carin/struggle/hard times

sing her song of life

she’s been dead so long

closed in silence so long

she doesn’t know the sound

of her own voice

her infinite beauty

she’s half-notes scattered

without rhythm/no tune

sing her sighs

sing the song of her possibilities

sing a righteous gospel

the makin of a melody

let her be born

let her be born

& handle her warmly.

Goldberg_ag88083341_150x200_2 India_arie

Whoopi Goldberg was to bring a revival of this play to Broadway this fall but one of the producers pulled out. It was to star India Arie. Let’s hope it sees the light of day. I really want to see it, ON BROADWAY!!

I hope to one day play The Lady in Purple instead of a dumb narrator.

Pam Grier’s New Book – I Wonder Who’s In It?

Pambew_3I am a fan of women of the ’70s era. It was a time when black women were in starring roles of films absent of lace-fronts and full of style. Pam Grier, the queen of what has become known as the blaxploitation era, is still 35 years later, making moves.

Currently, Grier is penning a memoir due to release in 2010. Being dubbed Sex Goddess of the Seventies, NY Magazine, 1975 and one of the 50 Sexiest Stars over 50 in Modern Maturity Magazine, 1999(Source), speaks to her longevity and relevance. It also makes her 50 film career an interesting tale.

Even modern day divas imitate her on-screen persona, from Rapper Foxy Brown to Beyonce Knowles character Foxxy Cleopatra in the Austin Powers Goldmember. (2002)Coffyclear  

She has been linked romantically to the late Richard Pryor and Kareem Abdul-Jabar. I am interested to know what her book will reveal. My questions:

How did a woman of African American heritage break into the business in early 1970’s? What type of hardships did she face? How did she cope with her sister’s death from cancer and her own bout with the disease? How has she faired financially over the years?

And yes, less serious but interesting nonetheless, what stars has she dated?  I guess I’ll have to wait until 2010 to find out.

P.S. These pictures are for all the guys who think I post too much TJ Holmes

                                   Pam_grier_collage_2   Pam_2