Category Archives: Authors
Writing use to make things easier…today it doesn’t.
I’m reminded of all of the things he and I won’t get to experience and I remember all of the things that we did. It was tough being his daughter, but it was a privilege that I’ll never forget and a want that I’d love to experience again. I know he’s in heaven, and yes, that’s where he is, although he gave us and the world all sorts of hell, and that in spite of him not being physically here, I’m still his daughter. I just wish that I could physically see him and have him tell me. His last words were that he loved me—words that will never mean the same coming from anyone else. I’ll appreciate them from anyone and I’ll believe them from everyone, but the meaning that his last words to me meant…well, it just won’t compare. He spent his life saving others. I spent my life admiring him, sometimes resenting him, for reasons unknown, but I also spent my life appreciating him and loving him more than I ever knew. I miss him, I’m mad as hell that he’s gone. I knew he would leave, had time to prepare, but he was the strongest man on earth…I never believed that he would leave.
He was supposed to stick around, but he left— I believe of his own freewill because he’d suffered quite enough. This, this, does not erase the pain, this does not bring on a restful night’s sleep, this does not stop the tears from flowing as a type this…but it’s a start.
I love you, Pop. Rest well my dear…protect me.
Soo…is it weird that my manuscripts have soundtracks? No. I didn’t think so, because I know for certain that I’m not the only writer (published or nearly-published) that has these. (Insert sassy neck and eye roll) Thank you.
Today there’s no sexy pieces to relay because I’m not feeling very, you know, passionate, and after last night’s stink of a disaster into the foray of trying to express exactly what the hell I wanted to say, on the blank screen, that sat in front of me, teasing and taunting; I found myself wondering if the feelings that I had after, you know, not being able to write, were normal? I posed the query to twitter and a good writer-friend and newly published author of Goddess of Legend, Ms. Erin Ashley Tanner, answered with something that made me laugh and feel tons better about the mood and malady that had encroached upon my being.
Felt tons better.
Her response (see them here @erintheauthor or @licitrecidivist) lead to the aforementioned questions, book/writing soundtracks or playlists, do you have them?
Every manuscript that I have ever written (accepted and rejected) has a soundtrack…not because I plan on encompassing them into my marketing plan or the like (but hey, if there’s a sell there, then I’ll encompass my ass off), but because they absolutely help.
There are days when I’m in an extremely delightful mood and my story causes for sorrow, and no matter how hard I’ve genuinely tried to get to that sorrowful state, because yes, I have to be there, I have to become the hero or the heroine and experience the pain that I’m trying to relay, sometimes there’s even tears, I can’t get there by just wanting to. (long sentence, whatever, I’ll refer you to the unedited part of this blog’s tag line, thanks (more sassy next rolling and such))
The reason? I feel like if I’m crying then at that point in the tale, my (potential) readers should be too.
There are also days that I’m feeling a little down, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t buck up, and I really need to because at that point in my tale, my hero or heroine is about to experience overwhelming joy. And, I have to be there, I have to experience that joy that I’m trying to relay, sometimes there are even tears—happy tears in this case—and I can’t get there by just wanting to.
The reason? If I’m overwhelmed with joy by just writing these words, and if I can feel what the hero or heroine is feeling at this point, then my (potential) readers should be able to too.
There are times as well, when I’m feeling anything but sexy. Yes, you guessed it, I’m at that in the story where there’s some sexy time coming up, and damn right, I’ve got to be there too. I’ve got to feel what my characters are feeling and I can’t get there by just you know…wanting to.
The reason? If I’m pressing my thighs together, panting slightly, flushed, and my nipples are a tad puckered…then I sure hope like hell my (potential) readers are feeling some of the same things.
All of that to say, I have help with getting there and it comes in the form of music for most of this, the last one (feeling sexy and such) well, there’s a little outside help there, but that’s a blog for another time.
Music, music helps with a lot.
As mentioned in previous blogs, when I went off to college, I majored in Music Education and was there on a music scholarship, all of this before realizing that yes, I love music, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do, not professionally anyway. Anyhoo, during the two years of undergraduate course work in Music Education, which basically if you’ve taken these two years, you’re pretty grounded and rounded in the field, not to say that you don’t need the last two and half to make your professional studies complete, it’s just that, with these basics, you’re good to go.
During that time, I was afforded the opportunity to learn about different styles, genres, etc, and how they affected and effected the soul. All that I learned is true. It does and it can change you, and I’m thankful for that experience because knowing that, knowing that all I had to do was pop in a CD, plug up the iPad/iPod or what have you and tune to a piece that’ll change my psyche has helped tremendously in my writing.
Because when I’m delightful and I need to cry, (especially if it’s a scene of reminiscing about a bastard that’s broken my heroine’s heart) I can pop in Melanie Fiona’s And It Kills Me or Monica’s Ring The Bell and get those tears flowing, not because the songs actually makes me cry, but those song take me back to a place where I’ve been, and that place makes me cry.
Because when I’m feeling a little down and need to buck up, I can queue Beyonce’s Get Me Bodied, or Check Up On it, Brandy’s Sitting on Top of The World, Biggie’s Hypnotize (don’t ask why these songs make me happy, but they do, I guess it’s because they’re all fun) or Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, and then suddenly, I’m up dancing and feeling loads better than before.
Because when I’m feeling not so sexy, I can pop in, Bed, by J-Holiday, Tamia’s, Can’t Get Enough, Trey Songz’, Neighbors Know My Name, Wale Feat. Juicy J and Nicki Minaj, Clappers (Don’t ask), and the next thing you know, I’m seat-dancing and having sexy thoughts. Lots of sexy thoughts.
All of that explaining and such, because I wanted to know what your soundtrack is, if you have one (because I think it’s dope if you do, definitely leave it below in the comments or tweet me), and if you could tell from mine (see below) what my story is about….just curiosity and also fulfilling my pre-new year’s resolution of blogging everyday. Also, I think that with each new project, I’m going to post what I’m listening to.
1. Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire
2. Beyonce – Best Thing I Never Had
3. India Arie – Brown Skin
4. Neyo – Can We Chill
5. Jay-Z – Encore
6. Beyonce – Get Me Bodied
7. Gyptian – Hold Yuh
8. Ryan Leslie – How It Was Supposed To Be
9. J. Holiday – Bed
10. Rihanna Ft. Drake – What’s My Name
11. Nat King Cole – When I Fall in Love
12. Rihanna Ft. Mikky Ekko – Stay
13. Toni Braxton – He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me
14. Nelly Ft. Avery Storm – In My Life
15. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
16. Tamar Braxton – Love and War
17. Kelly Rowland – Motivation
18. Ryan Leslie – My Addiction
19. Ludarcris Ft. Diamond, Trina, and Eve) – My Chick Bad (Remix)
20. Wale Ft. Chris Brown and Fabolous – Pretty Girls (Remix)
21. Brandy Ft. Chris Brown – Put It Down
22. Southern University Human Juke Box – V.S.O.P. by K. Michelle, arrangement
23. Beyonce – That’s How You Like It
24. Morgan State University Magnificent Marching Machine – Do it
25. Elizabeth City State University Marching Sound of Class – Couple of Forevers by Chrisette Michele, arrangement
26. Elizabeth City State University Marching Sound of Class – War (Vikings’ Version)
27. Elizabeth City State University Marching Sound of Class – Love and War by Tamar Braxton, arrangement
28. Tinie Tempah Ft. Emeli Sande – Let Go
29. Tinie Tempah Ft. Kelly Rowland – Invincible
30. Wale Ft. Tiara Thomas – Bad
I totally wanted to link the YouTube versions of these songs, but I promise you that I don’t feel like it, so just look them up yourself, if you have a chance. Anyhoo, so tell me whatcha think?
Vive Sine Paenitentia
Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Tags: Arts, Beyonce, ECSU, Emeli Sande, Erin Ashley Tanner, J-Holiday, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Morgan State University, Music Education, Nicki Minaj, Sex, Soundtrack, SU, Tamar Braxton, Tiara Thomas, Tinie Tempah, Toni Braxton, Twitter, Virginia State University, Wale, Writing Playlist
So…yesterday I went into a thrift store. Reason? My super awesome spawn has this thing about finding old shit and making it new. I dig her. And if she wasn’t mine, you know outright, I would lobby like you wouldn’t believe to be her friend. She’s pretty damned dope that way. Anyway, while she looked for the old shit to make new, I did what I always do (you heard me) anytime I’m in a place with used books. I perused the shelves and this time, I happened upon a book that was a three-in-one deal by Author Felicia Mason, who I learned after a little research when I got home resides in my home-state of Virginia. I was super stoked by the find because one, I had never even heard of her, two, I love to find good books at the thrift store, library sales, wherever. The shelves of the bookcases throughout my home are lined accordingly, and there is no shame there (yeah, don’t you go judging me, you bastard. I buy new books as well, so suck it. Ha!). Even though I own a Nook in just about each generation, with the exception of the Nook touch, I still like flipping the real pages to a novel.
Anyway, the point is, I like finding good books for cheap. Whatever. Like I said I buy new books too, but cheap good ones are the best.
(ASIDE) Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like, a “That’s what she said” line would be perfect after the latter part of the last sentence. *Shrugs* Whatever, it was funny to me.
Anyway, there’s other shit that I’m thankful for as well, and that’s the ability to have patience. The ability to stick with and too my guns, the ability to not give-up when all signs pointed to giving up. Yeah, I’m thankful for that. The decision to write seriously wasn’t one easily decided upon (see other entries, and no, I’m not linking them because it’s Labor Day fools and that’s too much work) however, once the decision, no the need to do this was so overpowering, I poured most of my all into it. The end result was a summer or researching, reading, re-writing, re-inventing, emailing, postal mailing, questioning, querying, and not sleeping wondering if anyone else out there in the world would believe in my stories, my work as much as I do, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for the world. Why? Well, it’s because I received approximately twenty-three Nos to one YES. Now, tell me which one matters the most? Yeah, you guessed right. So, I’m thankful for the Nos, I’m thankful for the doubt, and I’m thankful for the tears and fears, because without them, without the deterrents, that one yes, wouldn’t amount to shit. Best YES of the year…and really after that, does aything else matter?
The moral? Fuck them No’s, your yes will come. Write-On! (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that sentence is PERFECT.)
~Vive Sine Paenitentia~
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Note: This is a happy post, which means, it was only spelled checked and I don’t have the ability at the present moment to give a whole damn about the grammar. Consider this free-writing, and if you don’t…kiss my sass.
I’ve been cooped up sick for the last three days. I’ve spent a lot of time tweeting, texting, no talking because I sound like a damn fog horn, but communicating with the outside world nonetheless. In this brief moment of quarantine, I’ve learned a lot, but the most important thing was that, I’m a pretty good liar. When asked the question of “How are you?” casually by anyone during these last few days, my response has been, “Great! How are you?”
Didn’t I say I was just home sick for the last few days? Yes, and that’s the truth, so why was it that I couldn’t just say to these cats that have asked a simple question, “Dude, I’m ridiculously ill at the moment.”
What’s so hard about being honest with that?
My initial response would be nothing. The analytical response would be, because you’ve been so use to telling people what they want to hear, you’ve never spent the time or thought telling them what was real.
This is a problem.
Cool your jets, I’m getting there.
It’s a problem because, I pride myself on being a straight shooter. A shooter that pulls the proverbial gun from the holster and shoots straight from the hip, but with the aforesaid realization, it turns out that I’m completely wrong. I think I lift the gun with my none stable hand, aim it off to the side, and hope to miss. I’ve done no one a service by this, if anything a grave disservice.
I should’ve said “Hey, idiot, that hurt me.” when it hurt.
I should’ve said, “No, I don’t like this.” when I didn’t like it.
I should’ve said, “You’re wrong,” when I knew you were wrong.
I didn’t, thus the disservice.
My answers were, “No, I’m okay.” when I wasn’t. My answers were, “Oh, I think it’s all right.” when it wasn’t. Lastly, my answers were, “Maybe you’re right.” when clearly you weren’t.
That sounds a bit like a sickness.
I read a tweet recently by a young woman who I follow, and I have no idea who she is, I caught a quote of hers by a retweet and curiosity led me to follow her to see if there was more witty banter where that came from. Anyway, the basis of the quote was “be yourself and not who you think they want you to be.” It wasn’t until about the middle of this post that I realized the reason for that little phrase hitting me so hard, and that was because, I absolutely needed to read that. I’ve been too busy pleasing you, that I haven’t spent enough time pleasing me. So long trying to do what I thought you wanted me to do, not enough time doing what I wanted to do.
When, in the process of living, had I decided that my feelings, wants, needs, didn’t matter? Well, I suppose that during this exploration of all that I am, I’ll gain the answer. In the meantime, however, that’s a bit to chew on. Plus, I need to wrap this up, because the Bugs Bunny with the red hairy monster thing is on, and that’s my favorite, and that’s the truth!
Vive Sine Paenitentia
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Oh yeah…have any of you found yourself in a similar situation, if so, I’d love to hear it…and I promise you won’t find yourself in one of my future stories….well maybe not yourself, but I can’t promise I won’t liken a character after you! Just saying! *Shrugs shoulder*
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~Rosa Parks
See, here’s the thing…fear is a bitch in heels.
It’s the one intangible force that can stop any and everything it chooses, better whatever thing chooses it. For a while, I chose fear because it was easier to own that, than to own responsibility, obligation, moral validity, values, humanity, and any other adjectives that fits the synonymic phrase. I fancied myself for many years, a pretty brave girl—one would have to be to still dream when her dreams should’ve been deferred—but it turns out that I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was.
The lack of bravery came in the form of caution.
I wanted to be cautious not to overstep boundaries, not to do something that would rub the grain, because being raised in a household that celebrated realism and not romanticism that’s what I was told…well, at best, led to believe. There was a path that one followed; grow up, graduate high school, off to college—graduate, get a job in the majored field, find a respectable husband, get married, have kids, live stably.
That was the formula.
I didn’t follow it per se, but I put forth good effort.
And that was the rub.
At every turn I failed; sometimes miserably, sometimes successfully.
It wasn’t until recently that realized that I kept on with my recidivist-like antics because I wanted to, I sincerely wanted to swim with the current, but there was a part of me that just couldn’t.
It didn’t feel right.
It wasn’t who I was.
But, I didn’t act on the feeling, I acted on fear. Fear was what kept me trying to do what “they” said and trying to do what was “right” and “good” but it was to no avail.
The current called, I answered, and have been struggling to stay afloat every since…and I’m completely freaking happy.
As Ms. Parks, stated, “Once one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear, knowing what must be done does away with fear.” So true, Ms. Parks. So true.
There was a reason that reading made me happy, there was a reason that my English and Lit classes were my favorites and it had nothing to do with wanting to teach it.
It’s the reason that when I hear a new word, I get tingles.
It’s the reason that I listen to people’s conversations and hope to turn them into a story.
It’s the reason that people intrigue me, not in the wanting to be friends sort of way, in the you’d make a good character sort of way.
The reasons why I idolize, Tony Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Darrien Lee, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemmingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Sandra Cisneros, to name just a few—there’s so many more—but it’s a reason for this, and the reason is, the written word. It’s sexy, it’s provocative, it’s erotic, it’s nurturing, it’s a feeling, it’s a untouchable emotion that only others like me could identify with, it’s the reasons, that I just couldn’t follow the rules.
And for the first time in…ever, I’m okay with that and I’m not afraid.
I’ve spent too much time wondering how the mentioned iconic authors spent their time before writing, while writing, after righting, and never once, NEVER ONCE, had I imagined that they spent it in fear. Perhaps there was a tinge of something that every author I’m sure gets when they send a new work out into creation, or perhaps there was a tinge of something before they were published wordsmiths, but I can’t imagine for a second it was fear. And if it was, then that’s the type of scared I’d like to be. That scared led to great stories, like The Bluest Eye, Girl, Sweet Dreams, Whispered Promises, Been There, Done That, The Bell Jar, The Invisible Man, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Dust Tracks on a Road, and The Family of Little Feet. These author’s and stories have been published, sold, viewed, and reviewed by millions and yet that’s not the reason that I idolize them, or the reason that I have to be who I am, it’s because these stories have stayed with me and I haven’t been able to leave them. They mélange of authors have published many more, but these stories made me want to be in the world they created.
In The Bluest Eye, I identified. I never wanted a baby doll for the sake of having a baby doll, I wanted one because apparently that’s what I was suppose to want. I envied the protagonist for having the courage to feel what she wanted and not what she thought she was supposed to.
In Sweet Dreams, I wanted to leave my thoughts/dreams in a journal, in a cab, and have someone pick them up and want me because of them…oh yeah and I completely immersed myself into learning the Garifuna language— like the heroine, oh and planning a trip to Belize. In Whispered Promises, I wanted my knight in shining armor to be gruff and tough but tender like the Hero. Too, I love the name Dexter and I can’t shake it.
In Been There, Done That, I wanted to believe that life gave you do overs even when in the first go ‘round you got it right. Because of Mrs. Lee, I do believe that.
The Bell Jar showed me the emotional inside of a young woman coming of age, when at the time of reading this tale, I was coming of age as well. My parables don’t compare to hers, but it was refreshing to have the ability to understand. Though Ms. Plath is no longer with us, I certainly appreciated the work.
The Invisible Man, made me laugh…wait before you judge me, I meant the first chapter of the book, known as the Battle Royal made me laugh. The reason being was because I felt like an idiot for having such an audacity to be afraid when there were people of yesteryear that looked like me that faced adversity far worse than “To write or not to write,” and there I was at the time deciding what type of career I wanted.
I chose wrong then, but thanks to the like of Girl, by Jamaica Kincaid, I’ve made the turnaround. In that short story/poem, it was there that I learned to be the woman that I was going to become, anyway.
In The Short Secret Life of Francis Macomber, I laughed as well, the stupidity of Mrs. Macomber and Francis was overwhelming, but the lesson was ridiculously great. I won’t bore you with what I learned, because Hemmingway is definitely a topic for debate. There are several things that you could take away from the tale and perhaps on another post, we’ll delve into it, but for now, you can think of what you’d like to say when I present the court with MY truths.
In Ms. Hurston’s, Dust Track on a Road, I was for the first time aware that I should be proud to be colored. Black. But not downtrodden because of it. Not that I was ashamed or down before, but until that tale, I hadn’t fully embraced it, now, I’m too busy sharpening my oyster’s knife and I’m so very thankful for the idea brought to me care of this wonderful work.
And in The Family of Little Feet, I understood all too well what those high heels meant to the little women in the story and I identify all too well of just what those high heels propels us—women—to do in life. <That’ll be up for debate a little later.
So you see, these stories did something to me personally, touched something inside of me and hasn’t let go and that’s why I can’t, I can no longer allow fear to keep her herculean-like strong hold on me. I need with a vengeance that rivals the neediest to be in that number, not because of the success, not because of the fame, not because of the money, but because I have stories to tell, and I’m proud to say that I’m no longer afraid to open my mouth.
I now own the responsibility and obligation that I have to inform my little one and ones to come that it’s okay to do what you REALLY want to do.
I now have moral validity and values that life has given me, and with that, I’m able to relay to you real characters that are well aware of the human process…I hope.
Vive Sine Paenitentia
Res Ipsa Loquitur
As for the other shit:
- What the hell is going on in the world…Lena Horne is dead? Seriously, these old cats are dying left and right…RIP Mrs. Horne, I absolutely adored your work and my favorite until this very day is “Stormy Weather” listened to it with my grandmother (RIP baby doll)
My favorite quote by Mrs. Horne: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
2. What the hell else is going on the world…Bus Driver’s letting kids duke it out in the yard of her house.
This whole earth is going to pot!
Tags: Arts, Battle Royal, Been There Done That, Belize, Dust Tracks On a Road, English Lit, Ernest Hemmingway, Failure, Fiction, Girl, Harlem Renaossance, Invisible Man, Jamaica Kincaid, Lena Horne, Oyster's Knife, Quotes, Ralph Ellison, Rochelle Alers, Romance Authors, Rosa Parks, Sandra Cisneros, Sweet Dreams, Sylvia Plath, The Bluest Eyes, The Family of Little Feet, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Tony Morrison, Whispered Promises, Zora Neale Hurston