LET’S JUST GO WHERE IT TAKES US, OK?

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Scared to Death.

I don’t even know what day it is. In the age of quarantine and self-isolation, they all seem to bleed into one another. I’ve succumbed to the monotony of routine. Funny enough, I’ve been able to write, although I should be working on my #WIP-20 years in the making now. But as many of my writing comrades do, I make excuses, I procrastinate. For some reason, right before I set down to write, every single thing in the house that needs doing must get done at that moment. When I’ve finished doing all that needs doing, it’s too late -I’m tired. I’m defeated, but I always promise myself, I’ll get to it tomorrow.

I have been writing, just not for myself. While we’re here, let me take a moment to shamelessly self-promote. Check out some of my articles at moms.com. I’ve included a link to one of my pieces, https://www.moms.com/my-marriage-has-become-another-burden-to-juggle-during-this-time/ which should give you a clue as to what’s been going on with me for the last few months, and also what’s in store for the near future.

I’m a writer. I truly believe this is God’s call on my life. Who am I to resist that?

Who I am, rather what I am is afraid. I’ve been afraid my whole life and, as a result I’m $50,000 in debt. I’m afraid of failure; I’m afraid of success. I’m afraid to listen to that still small voice that tells me where to go, and like Jonah I flee in the opposite direction right into the belly of a whale-which in this case is a marriage that was doomed to fail, and unless I snap out of it, children who will not see their mother live up to her God given potential. It’s not fair to drown others around me-because I don’t want to go where I’m told. Or because somehow I think I know best. God knows, I don’t.

The old adage about the definition of insanity is not lost on me, I can assure you. For 46 years I’ve been doing the same thing-expecting things to change when I keep slamming my head against the same walls.

I WASN’T EXPECTING TO GO HERE, BUT SINCE YOU’VE COME YOU MAY AS WELL STAY A WHILE

I’ve probably mentioned this before…it’s a running theme. I’ve been unhappy forever, which is a consequence of what I’ve mentioned a few paragraphs ago. I also realize I’ve been pretty hard on myself, but that’s because I had/have no idea of my worth and I let others tell me what I’m worth and what I can do. Case in point: recently I was accused of plagiarism. As a writer, that has to be the worst insult. It’s like being accused of treason! Anyway, I stopped writing for a while until one of my beloved #WritingCommunity on Twitter told me to be encouraged; often the writing is so good that they belittle you by telling you it can’t be yours. I did some research into the publication, which hasn’t been around long, (I actually have more followers than they do!) and they have no idea what they are talking about. I realized then that I have to always write in my voice, and if that means no longer writing for them, that’s cool, I’d have more time to focus on nurturing my voice, and developing my skills. Of course, I can’t do it on my own, and that’s been a problem for me too. I have to be honest, I’m probably one of a few who couldn’t have been happier when social distancing and self-isolation became the new normal. I hate when people get to close-and check this out, my least favorite part of going to church was shaking people’s hands during the peace and all that-I didn’t want to do coffee hour and socialize with a bunch of people I don’t know…there I’ve said it. I guess that’s why I never regularly attended church (as much as the idea always appeals to me) or any other social group whose purpose it is to “connect.” How was anyone going to help me when I couldn’t even help myself?

See, I figure nobody understands me but me. It seemed when I talked, nobody listened, or interrupted, so I left everything to the page. I can’t be interrupted on the page. But then, I never wanted anyone to see what I was thinking. Nobody was seeing what I was writing. What’s the point? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I need approval, but collaboration is helpful…I can’t do any of this myself.

Now, where were we? Oh yeah, so I’m checking out how to create a podcast, which I intend to attach to my blog. I’ve been actually doing some research to try to make my writing/blog/ stand out. Problem is, when I learn something new, if I don’t use it enough, I lose it.

Yes. I get it.

Like I said, this is not exactly where I intended to go with this post, I had entirely different story to tell, but this is good. I’ve fleshed some stuff out, and it’s good.

In the meantime, check me out on moms.com. Oh yeah, and I found the writing prompts pretty helpful as well, which I was able to get into more before Covid 19 and Netflix stole my life, which brings me to my next goal, to read like I did when I was a kid. I read like my entire life depended on it, which I guess now it does. And as I’ve always said, a writer who doesn’t read is like someone who talks but never listens.

Thank you for listening. I’ll keep talking because I do have something relevant to say.

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TELL YOUR OWN STORY…

and you will be interesting…

I suppose I’ve been trying to tell my story since, well, as long as I can remember. Much of it, I’m too embarrassed to tell. I think this may be the reason I’ve been all over the place in terms of career paths, relationships, political and social ideals…it also explains the shows I binge watch. Anyway-no need to get into semantics, the fact of the matter is-as an artist, (don’t worry-I’m going to explain the pic I’ve posted momentarily) I can’t afford the luxury of embarrassment.

I came across a piece in New York magazine (November 26-December 9, 2018) while doing what most people do in the lieu when they are passing time-reading stuff I’d probably have no interest in if I wasn’t “ahem…handling business.” As a writer, I’ve always considered myself an artist-in addition to creating with words, I’ve always liked to draw, the desire was re-awakened during the undertaking of my second graduate degree-this time in childhood education. You’d be amazed at the underlying dreams and unawakened desires you have when you are forced to think like a child. When you are able to come face to face with who you really are and who other people thought you should be.

Don’t get me wrong-I have 7 year-olds. I want them to have a prosperous and successful future-I want them to do better than I have. I don’t want them to take expensive advanced degrees and circle the world looking for answers that were always revealed to them-but because of the expectations of others, they failed to realize. The end result is misery. I refuse that for my children.

The greatest threat to pursuing one’s passion is fear-I’ve always been a victim to it.

I want to break the cycle. All I’ve ever wanted to do is use art to say something. To get people to listen to me, because I wasn’t always the best communicator. It kinda pisses me off that I had to go $40,000 into debt to come to this realization. Hopefully, this post (in addition to that enlightening, article in The New Yorker,) will motivate skeptical, fearful creatives, that there is a place for them in this world and their voices are necessary. I just realized how important mine was and how I could use it…

THE DRAWING

Yeah..yeah…I’m no artist, but after buying those expensive drawing pencils and learning shading and all that, I figured I was. Rule number 1: Don’t be embarrassed: turns out I always had it in me and, again-there’s something I needed to say…

TOO STRAIGHT

The assignment was to come up with extremes and to draw a character to represent them. I came up with Too Straight. Here is her story.

Too Straight was always the center of attention, whether she wanted it or not. Her hair was bone straight, black and thick as the darkest night. Her eyes and mouth were straight too-dark slits that let in only what they wanted.

Too Straight was envied by everyone, boys and girls, adults and children-she was too everything; too pretty, too smart, too sweet, too well dressed, too well mannered, and well, you get the point.

Too found Straight life damned difficult. She found it difficult to maintain relationships-romantic and otherwise. Too straight could not bend.

As a result of her thin, straight lined life, she was unable to express the frustration she felt at wanting to bend, but being unable to. Nobody listened, nobody cared. Too Straight was too straight. It was her cross to bear.

Too Straight was lonely.

One night, sad, alone and frustrated, Too Straight wanted to walk. She found a straight path and started her journey. The stretch of road she chose was as black, the road as long as her hair. Finally she came to a place. She didn’t know where she was. But the door was open.

Too Straight entered.

She never came out.

A BEAUTIFUL DISASTER PART I

Sam read and re-read the email. She’d made a match! Finally. Her girls (and some of her boys) told her it was about time to get on Tinder–“hit it, quit it” bitch-they’d say. Easiest way to bet over heartbreak. Sam had been there, done that, now she was too old for that.

Yes. She wanted to get laid, but she needed more. She wanted someone to snuggle next to (God how she missed that) and to binge watch her latest Netflix obsession, without judgment. She wanted someone to stay a while, even if only for a short while.

That’s why she took the time to fill out the in-depth dating profile on this dating ap she’d stumbled upon called “Minder.”  Sam thought it was clever–the word play and all–it seemed that minder catered to the “thinking” crowd. Whoever they were. Sam had nothing to hide, well certainly there was always something to hide but…

Fuck that. She thought.  Fuck the lying. Fuck pretending. It was exhausting. Lying took up time she could no longer waste.  The shit was what it was. Sam had herpes.  She’d never had an outbreak since her she was diagnosed 20 years ago, and she’d been celibate since…him.

He told her she had ‘magic’–pure gold between her thick thighs. She believed him too. The way they swarmed, and coveted her back then…  Despite the grueling trysts with stair masters, squats, and deadlifts, age was creeping up on her. Her currency had been devalued. Even though she’d been made to believe that her tits were otherworldly; she’d been told they would defy gravity until the end of time, until they had not. Not only her breasts, but her once taut, muscular thighs and biceps were overcome with cellulite. Her skin jiggled and sagged in places she could never have imagined 20 years ago, during her prime.  She’d always been in her prime.

Now, she was who she swore she’d never be. And she wasn’t even that old.

So, when he winked at her, instinctively, she winked back.  She could admit that he was too handsome to be on a dating site. What could he possibly want with her? It didn’t matter, he winked at her!  It had been a long time since she’d been winked at, in public or cyberspace. She welcomed the attention. 

After years of invisibility, it was a relief finally, to be seen…even by him.

It's Been A Long Time…

I shouldn’t have left you…those of you who know the lyric, can hear the beat. Start the head noddin’ start reminiscing about where you were and what you were doing when you heard it, and most of all…FORGIVE ME!

I could blame it on Covid-19 AKA coronavirus, but I’d be lying. If anything, it was an auspicious distraction-I haven’t been doing the writing I should be doing. However, I have been writing—time for the shameless plug–on two quite informative websites; moms.com and worldatlas.com. There’s no proof it was me on the latter, but I trust you’ll believe it-hence the reason I haven’t been writing. Seriously. I’ve. been. BUSY. Trying to get paid. Seems freelancing is my only viable option now considering what’s happening in the world right now.

Just my luck. I had so many plans for the next few months. I was prepared to make some major life-changing decisions. It’s true-man , well in my case, woman makes plans, God laughs.

I’d like to think He’ll let me in on the joke. It’s been 46 years now. Trust me. I’m not complaining-just saying, if it takes a pandemic…

Shit. I’m listening.

My kids have been out of school as a result of this emergency, which means I’ve been having to “homeschool” my boys. It’s been hell. Now. I have a degree in education but I wonder about those parents who may not have the patience to teach. It’s why they send their kids TO SCHOOL! I’m ready to ask my school for tuition reimbursement since I’ve been teaching for the last two weeks.

Then there’s the flip side: most parents aren’t equipped to teach lessons; some don’t have access to computers. Some lack patience. This is not to say parents can’t teach, but there’s a reason you go to school for this shit-and let’s face it, many of us- myself included, have been “helping” not helping our kids complete their class/homework when they start to break down, and act out from being locked down all day. The only form of social interaction they get is with each other and their father, shooting hoops, or bean-bag tossing in our 9 by 12 driveway since we can’t go to the park.

It’s not enough! We’re all already sick of seeing one another day after day, hour after hour.

The fear is real. Should it be?

Time for the strange segue.

Something I forgot to mention in my bio is that I’m somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. Ha! There’s a reason I didn’t mention it. You’d never read a word I said if you’d known that tasty little tidbit about me-would you?

Well, there it is, I’ve outed myself.

So I’m wondering could this be a bio-terrorism test gone awry?

Full disclosure: the conspiracy was not the intent of this post-it really should have been about how my “husband’s” snoring is among one of the many reasons I want a divorce.

I really wanted to complete the sequel to Mr. Golden Eye, entitled “Beautiful Disaster”.

No worries-that’s exactly what this thing is.

See you soon. Until then, be safe. Trust yourself. Don’t believe everything they say.

One last thing; I know this is a bad habit, but forgive the bad grammar or spelling=I write when the spirit strikes, or I won’t write at all, and trust me, the need to write far outweighs the need for immaculate grammar. I plead again-forgive me.

Like I said, it’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you. I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I’m hoping that this dope beat from one of the greatest MC’s to ever grace the mic, might earn me a little favor?

See you next time. Be safe.

Take a Rocketship

It seems as if your galaxies away…and being in Arizona, you might as well be.

Out in the desert. All we have are phone calls, memories and false promises.

I take a drag off a Marlboro light, stare into a particularly starry Bronx city night.

Wonder what you are up to tonight.

‘Nothin,’ you always say.

You never have much to say.

Neither do I.

What’s the point? I get it.

But.

I want to talk to you.

I miss you.

You’ll deny it, but I know you miss me too.

Cold and lonely desert nights don’t lie; can’t keep your secrets

You don’t have to hide. From me.

I know you. You know me.

We don’t have to lie to each other so

Why?

The desert is a metaphor

We both know you were never good for me, even though you were.

Everything.

I needed/want you to be and right now you are

Everything I need you to be.

Everything I want you to be.

I need to hear you tell me that

You can’t wait to…

…As soon as you…

And I believe you–But

The desert is a metaphor

For us.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING PROMPTS AND WHAT TWITTER HAS TO DO WITH IT

Twitter is truly a unique universe. You can go from having 1 follower to over 500 nearly overnight-all you have to do is jump on the bandwagon. Hey, I’m not complaining-it’s done wonders for my writing career. I haven’t been published; but through it’s many writing hashtags I stumbled upon a supportive #writingcommunity that’s been more useful to me as a writer than any workshop I’ve been to. And it’s completely free. Twitter keeps me writing. I must keep writing.

What does Twitter have to do with it? Read on.

642 Tiny Things to Write About
This little book has changed my writing life!

I found myself using the prompts as a catalyst for creating blog posts during serious bouts of writer’s block. I began tweeting these prompts and asking other writers to comment and add their ideas, the response was overwhelming and I gained a modest following. Like David Spade, I’m not really a numbers girl, I don’t need 1.5K followers, I’m just happy that there are people other than my family following me and “liking” what I tweet.

Today’s prompt: It’s college application time! Explain in one paragraph why you want to attend a historical black college.

Some prompts ask for one sentence, others two or three, or a paragraph. Sometimes you start out with one sentence but the floodgates burst open, and you end up with a rough draft of your literary masterpiece. But there’s no pressure to create a literary opus. You’re simply testing the limits of your imagination, which is crucial for a writer. I’m amazed by what I create when I allow my mind to go where it wants…

“Dear Admissions Director,

As a very white woman with blue eyes, blond hair, a perfect barbie figure and tons of privilege, it’s been my lifelong goal to attend a historical black college. You are probably wondering why. Of course, I know I’ll stand out-and that is the point. Black people can learn from me, as much as I plan to learn from them. I’m prepared for the backlash; black women will hate me because their men will fall in love with me. This is par for the course-necessary for the research I plan to complete during the course of my studies. To understand the negro, I must be the negro. (Figuratively speaking of course!) It is my intention to work and live among the natives, observing them in their natural habitat, recording their behavior for research, similar to how National Geographic documents wild animals in the jungle, searching for the best ways to communicate with them. I believe that immersing myself in the culture this way that I can advance the cause of racial reconciliation. At your school, while work alongside and learning from the negro, I will be able to speak for him. It is my goal to become the true face of post-racial America. Your school will help me achieve this.”

THE TWITTER CONNECTION

Ironically, this white woman is being celebrated as the first ‘woman of color’ at a historical white university.

Here’s a prompt: You are one of the whitest women in the world. You are being celebrated in the media as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color.” The actual first woman of color to graduate from Harvard Law School is a moderator at one of your political debates. How do you respond to her question: WTF?

Lila Fenwick became the First African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1956. She later led the United Nation’s Human Rights Division

And that’s what Twitter has to do with it!

GET OVER YOURSELF AND GET IT TOGETHER-RULES FOR 2020

The cigarette dangled between her lips while contemplated. As the smoke from the cigarette hovered into the air like a cloud she pretended she was the star in her own movie; beautiful, dangerous and effortlessly cool. The kind of woman that men offered to light cigarettes for and then whisk them off to exotic vacations. They would never know her though-it was part of her mystique and why men wanted her in the first place. Once they got to know her intimately, after a while she’d be reduced to a desperate, lonely girl with a filthy habit.

Of course smoking under cover of night, waiting until everyone was asleep made her feel ashamed-and stupid. Smoking? She knew the dangers. Her father smoked and died of cancer. What really made her mad though, was that she had to hide it. She was a grown-ass woman, if she wanted a cigarette, why shouldn’t she have one!

Standing behind the shrub under the porch, hiding like a scared kitten, she remembered she was the same age as her father when he got sick. She wore his old adidas jacket while she smoked. She knew it was a filthy habit. She couldn’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke but she lit another one and continued to puff away in the pouring rain.

Stop this train, I want to get off and go home again…
..

She knew with each inhale and exhale exactly what he must have been thinking about his life. Why he was so unhappy. She was thinking the same things too. At that moment, she understood why people took up smoking in the first place. Watching smoke escape into the air and the accompanying buzz was a sweet release. But of course, sure as shit, as fast as you inhaled, exhaled another mess of problems entered your mind and before you knew it, you’d smoked a whole pack of Marlboro’s.

She thanked God she hadn’t reached that point yet, but she was pretty damn close.

She wanted to leave and she didn’t want to leave. She was afraid. She was a creature of habit, living the same life for thirteen years-comfortable. It was no longer comfortable for any of them. Especially the kids. Their constant arguing was affecting the boys. Her youngest asked why they were married if they were so mean to each other. Good question. Thing is, as miserable as they were making one another, they were both creatures of habit and procrastinators. And they were dependent on each other.

She knew she had to be the one to make the move-and she was finally ready to go, but she was unemployed-no job, no income and yet another complication. Staying would be the death of her. She had taken up drinking to cope, now smoking? She shuddered to think what might be next…

After his cover of “Black Magic Woman,” was over, a Carlos Santana look-alike with dark, wild curls sat next to her at the bar and smiled sheepishly at her. ‘We would have beautiful children…’ Yes. The attention she received far outweighed the risk she had taken. She wanted to be seen.

At the end of the night, the locals drove her back to the hotel but of course it could have gone another, drastic route. She could have been kidnapped, sold sold into sex slavery-or worse. No one knew where she was!

Only God.

By His mercy and grace she’d lived to fight another day. She knew that. Yet, it wasn’t enough. She was still out here swinging-not landing any punches. Struggling.

She wasn’t even living paycheck to paycheck. She prayed for at least that-it’d been well over a year and nothing. Since He had yet to reward her diligent faith, prayer and unconditional trust which He promised he would, she began to lose confidence putting her faith into those things which provided immediate, tangible satisfaction. She was losing the fight-wobbly on her feet, tired of fighting and waiting so she prepared for the inevitable TKO.

She’d been thinking of her father often. Especially after her grandma’s recent death. Both of their lives became significant to her after their deaths, which caused her to think of her own mortality. And time.

She wondered if she could carry the torch grandma had passed with confidence-fulfilling the legacy she achieved through diligence, blind faith and humility? Grandma knew nothing of pride. She just did what she had to do without thinking about it. She had so much. When Grandma was her age, she owned properties. She did it alone.

Or would she succumb to the fear of failure that prevented her father from stepping out on faith, to make changes or take chances that would have led to happiness rather than the stomach cancer which eventually killed him. She was killing herself softly and slowly but she couldn’t die knowing there was a story inside of her dying to come out.

She’s never been good at keeping promises or making resolutions. Not that she didn’t want to keep them-she just couldn’t. This year, however, she figured it might be a good idea to make some-especially since most of the decisions she’d made to this point deemed her an insane person. It was time to do the opposite of what she’d always done and expect a different result.

Happy New Year. Happy new me

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s New Year’s day 2020. A little after three am. She refuses to begin this new year (or end it ) defeated, the way she’s done for 18 years-the length of time she’s been living in New York City. For 18 years she’s been ‘writing.’

She’s afraid. Her mind is her greatest opponent-heavy weight champion 46 years in a row and counting.

Time’s running out. Money’s running out. Life’s running out…

I KNOW. I SAY IT EVERY YEAR …

Tomorrow isn’t promised. Of course her father’s untimely death taught her that. Yet, for years writing pads, tools, books and magazines find themselves stacked in one of three piles on her kitchen table. There’s the ‘I’ll start the post after one more episode of ‘insert current tv show binge; currently it’s Schitts Creek.. Then we have the I’ll definitely work on that chapter tomorrow pile, and finally the ‘who you kidding? You’ll never get through this shit’ pile. Of course, that pile is the biggest.

TOTALLY RANDOM LAST PARAGRAPH, THOUGH NOT REALLY THAT RANDOM

Lately, as a writer’s lift/ writing prompt I’ve embedded samples of the songs that behave as my muse (courtesy of Spotify). Today, the songs playing while I wrote, re-wrote and edited this post were serendipitous.

Just because it won’t come easily, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try…
Take me home

As far as resolutions go-while the fight is inevitable in this industry, I must remember who the enemy is. I will give myself credit for for the work I get done (like finishing this post!) rather than punishing myself for what I haven’t accomplished…yet.

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