Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I got played. By an eighteen-year old. An eighteen-year old who was out to prove a point. Navigating college applications, acceptance and rejection letters, scholarships and financial aid has been the bane of my existence for months now. Since the day the boy was born I’ve had dreams and ambitions for him that didn’t necessarily mesh with the dreams and aspirations he had for himself. And that was okay because I was the MOMMY and I knew best and Mommy’s word was law.

There were three colleges the boy felt would be an ideal fit for him and his goals, all of them top notch institutions that any parent would be proud to have their child attend. Knowing my son as well as I thought I did I felt only one of them would truly be the ideal. As fate and the college-gods would have it, he was rejected by two and accepted by his Mommy’s first choice. Not only was he accepted but he received a substantial five-figure academic scholarship toward some extremely high out-of-state tuition. His Mommy’s dreams had hit the jackpot!

Of course I moved right into full bragging mode ‘cause Mommy’s baby boy had done damn good. I was gushing pride like a broken faucet gone haywire. Then a few weeks ago the boy announces that he’s not even sure he wants to go to college, believing that an alternate path might have been in his best interest. Mommy was not happy to say the least but hey, there was time for him to think it through. I understood his apprehension about leaving home for the first time. Being such a distance away from his family and friends. I understood and as he gave me the brief details of his alternate plans (which included a few community college courses, a job, staying home, forgoing the big scholarship, and maybe transferring to a larger university after two years) I said that I would support whatever decision he made trusting that he would make the right decision. Mommy’s decision.

Then he played me. Last night the boy announces that he’d decided to do the community college route and my reaction was less than favorable. I was like a wild woman on crack, fussing and cussing like I’d lost my mind. The boy retreated to his room in silence and I was left feeling disappointed and hurt. An hour later I realized I’d made a big Mommy mistake and I said so. I tucked my tail, dropped to my knees and apologized for my bad behavior, explaining that I’d allowed my disappointment to take control. I also told him I’d support his decision. I wasn’t happy about it but I’d support it. Then I poured myself a drink and wondered where in life had I gone wrong.

I cried on a friend’s shoulder this afternoon and took sound advice to talk to the boy again, this time being more passive in my approach. I was given some sound arguments to support my position and I went prepared to debate the merits of Mommy’s choice versus Boy’s choice. Ten minutes into my speech the boy starts to laugh, his head waving from side to side. “You’re so sad,” he says as he’s chuckling at me. When I asked him why, he said that it was time to let me off the hook. “I’m going to Mommy’s college,” he said. “I had already made the decision to give it at least one year,” he added as he handed me copy of his cancelled matriculation check. "I just wanted to see if you would really support any decision I made. And you failed miserably.”

And he was right. I had failed him even though I’d attempted to redeem myself after the fact. Then he said, “You need to trust that you raised me well. I’m not stupid or crazy, Mom. You didn’t raise no fool. I understand that opportunities like this don’t come along every day. I know that I need to take advantage of them when they do.” Then he hugged me and laughed again. “Gotcha!”

We had a great talk after that and what I realized is that I can let go. My baby boy needed to prove to me that I could trust that and that I could trust him and his decisions. And like he said, he might not get it right every time but he won’t get it wrong all the time. I’ve done what I set out to do and my baby boy is proof that I didn’t do too bad a job after all. He made a really good Mommy decision and he made it all on his own.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I haven’t been sleeping well lately and it’s starting to show. In fact, I’m starting to feel like the walking dead as I hover over my keyboard. I’m averaging maybe three or four hours per night. Friday night I didn’t sleep at all. Saturday night was better. I slept for two hours straight. I doubt that I’ll get into my bed before three tonight and I have to be up and out of the house by eight o'clock tomorrow morning. There’s too much noise clouding my head. My peace and quiet is being disrupted, the weight of it pressing harshly against my spirit. I’m running on borrowed energy and I imagine when it comes time to collect payment I may well have to steal something from Peter to pay off Paul.

Part of my problem is I’m cold. Summer weather came fast and hard, temperatures rising hot and humid. Other folks can’t take the heat and so I suffer under air-conditioning that blows ice twenty-four seven. I’m bundled under coats and blankets and I hate having to wear so much clothing inside when it’s 90 degrees outside.

I’m also restless. I need to sit still and I can’t. Clutter and static won’t let me relax. I keep thinking there’s something I need to be doing and I can’t for the life of me figure out what that something might be. I understand that I need to be making some important decisions but I can’t focus long enough to figure out one plan from the other, everything seeming to be muddled in my mind.

I’m tired. And I want to close my eyes. But when I do, I don’t like what I see. The past is haunting, clouding my rest with bitter memories of a time and place I’d rather not remember. And so I do not sleep. There is no rest, insomnia reigning supreme. Insomnia sucks big time!

Tomorrow someone will ask how I’m doing and I’ll lie. I’ll tell them that I’m doing fine. Makeup will cover the telltale signs of my insomnia. But I’m not sleeping and there’s something not fine about that at all.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Danita hasn’t had much to celebrate lately. She’s ending a relationship, a marriage that had lasted all of her adult life. Danita doesn’t regret her decision to let go of what’s not working in her life but she hates that she has to walk through hell to do it.

Both Danita and her husband agree that they should have let things go years ago, but children and responsibilities will do that to you. Keep you beating a dead horse even though you know the carcass isn’t going to get back up and walk no matter how hard you hit it. Danita had anticipated the road to divorce would be easy once the decision had been made but she’d forgotten about the abuse, the anger, and the frustration that had brought them to this place to begin with. Letting go of each other would seem to be the easy part. Letting go of their baggage is another story all together.

Danita had a rough weekend. The husband is hurt and angry with his lot in life and he wants Danita to hurt as well. The woman is tired of the battles that seem to never end, the screaming and the name calling that drains her energy and leaves her feeling as though she is only a semblance of her true self. She hates that she is being made to shoulder the man’s frustrations when she has her own to deal with.

Danita cries a lot, wishing for the day and time when all of it will end. Her tears come in spurts and waves, motivated by the degree of torment she is made to endure. She cries and prays that time will pass by quickly and they will soon find themselves apart from each other for good.

No one knows the hell that happens behind Danita’s closed doors. No one ever sees the hurt that’s still painted behind her stare. Danita never allowed the world to see the worst of her experience, the bitter fragments of a union that was destined to end before it even began. Danita believed that the truth of her mistreatment exposed to family and friends would have been worse than the daily trials of fire she’d been made to live. But she’s tired of pretending, no longer caring what anyone knows, desperate to find her way out.

Life is hell behind Danita’s four walls. But she has to walk through the fire for just a little while longer until she can see her way clear at the end.


A dear old friend had an art show this past Friday where she was exhibiting her new work. She hasn’t had an exhibit in one year and so I donned this too cute little black dress, got my hair did and nails done and I went to show her some support. Now, I’m attending this very high brow art exhibition, schmoozing with the big wigs, glass of champagne in hand, when my friend comments to the crowd gathered that I’m an author with a new book about to be released. And as expected one of the folks there asks me what it is I write.

“Contemporary fiction,” I answer. “I’m published in the romance genre.”

Well, this heifer, and I use the term only because I won’t be so rude to call the cow what I want to call her, rolls her eyes, grunts loudly and says. “Oh, Lord, my daughter reads that ‘trash’. Every time I see her with a book in her hand I’ve got to ask her what kind of ‘ghetto love mess’ is she reading now!”

Trash? Mess? Ghetto? What damn projects was she raised in to be passing judgement on someone else’s neighborhood?

Now, had I reacted in the manner I wanted to react I would have messed up my little black dress, my hair and my nails on her face but I was exceptionally calm and collected. I just smiled politely and said, “Mmm, I guess you don’t read much do you?”

“Not that crap,” she responded.

Crap? Oh no this cheap trick didn't!

To which I replied. “That’s too bad. You’d be amazed at what you’re missing because there is absolutely nothing ghetto, trashy, or messy about my love or the love I write about.”

This of course turned the conversation to the merits of contemporary fiction versus intellectual literature. After making the point that quality writing, no matter the genre, is still quality writing and that I’ve read some very intellectual literature that was the worse writing imaginable, I downed me two more glasses of champagne and excused myself from the conversation.

I don’t have an issue with what you want to read. Hell, I’m as picky about what I’ll read and won’t read as the next guy but I don’t immediately assume that what someone is writing is trash if I’ve never read them. I was offended by that bovine’s assumption that what I wrote had to be “ghetto trash” just because I happened to be a black woman writing romantic fiction. This person was not black which made her comments even more offensive. I had a mind to ask her if trailer park dribble was more to her liking but I didn’t. I really did act as if I had some home training. And I was eloquent and succinct in the delivery of my additional comments least she assume I ain’t had me no edumacation.

I can’t speak for other romance writers but I spend an inordinate amount of time defending the romance genre. The assumption that the quality of the writing is inferior and substandard irks the piss out of me, most especially when the individual hasn't bothered to even read the damn book before they go criticizing it.

I’m a writer. I happen to be damn good at what I do when I do it. You don’t have to like it or me. That’s your choice. It’s also my choice whether I call you on your ignorance or not. So beware the next time you want to challenge what I do. I might not have a glass of champagne in my hands or be inclined to be so nice about how I respond.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I am so loving me some Smokey Robinson! The man spins a mean piece of poetry, whether he's singing it, or not.

"The Black American"
by Smokey Robinson

Courtesy of

"I love being Black. I love being called Black. I love being an American. I love being a Black American, but as a Black man in this country I think it’s a shame
That every few years we get a change of name.

Since those first ships arrived here from Africa that came across the sea There were already Black men in this country who were free. And as for those that came over here on those terrible boats, They were called niggah and slave And told what to do and how to behave.

And then master started trippin' and doing his midnight tippin', Down to the slave shacks where he forced he and Great-Great Grandma to be together, And if Great-Great Grandpa protested, he got tarred and feathered.

And at the same time, the Black men in the country who were free, Were mating with the tribes like the Apache and the Cherokee. And as a result of all that, we're a parade of every shade. And as in this late day and age, you can be sure, They ain't too many of us in this country whose bloodline is pure.

But, according to a geological, geographical, genealogy study published in Time Magazine, The Black African people were the first on the scene, So for what it's worth, the Black African people were the first on earth And through migration, our characteristics started to change, and rearrange, To adapt to whatever climate we migrated to. And that's how I became me, and you became you.

So, if we gonna go back, let's go all the way back, And if Adam was Black and Eve was Black, Then that kind of makes it a natural fact that everybody in America is an African American.

Everybody in Europe is an African European; everybody in the Orient is an African Asian And so on and so on, That is, if the origin of man is what we’re gonna go on. And if one drop of Black blood makes you Black like they say, Then everybody's Black anyway.

So quit trying to change my identity. I'm already who I was meant to be I'm a Black American, born and raised. And brother James Brown wrote a wonderful phrase, "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud! Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud!"

Cause I'm proud to be Black and I ain't never lived in Africa, And ‘cause my Great-Great Granddaddy on my Daddy’s side did, don't mean I want to go back. Now I have nothing against Africa, It's where some of the most beautiful places and people in the world are found. But I've been blessed to go a lot of places in this world, And if you ask me where I choose to live, I pick America, hands down.

Now, by and by, we were called Negroes, and after while, that name has vanished. Anyway, Negro is just how you say “black” in Spanish. Then, we were called colored, but shit, everybody’s one color or another, And I think it’s a shame that we hold that against each other.

And it seems like we reverted back to a time when being called Black was an insult, Even if it was another Black man who said it, a fight would result, Cause we’ve been so brainwashed that Black was wrong, So that even the yellow niggahs and black niggahs couldn't get along.

But then, came the 1960s when we struggled and died to be called equal and Black, And we walked with pride with our heads held high and our shoulders pushed back, And Black was beautiful.

But, I guess that wasn't good enough, Cause now here they come with some other stuff. Who comes up with this shit anyway? Was it one, or a group of niggahs sitting around one day?

Feelin' a little insecure again about being called Black And decided that African American sounded a little more exotic. Well, I think you were being a little more neurotic.

It’s that same mentality that got “Amos and Andy” put off the air, Cause’ they were embarrassed about the way the character’s spoke. And as a result of that action, a lot of wonderful Black actors ended up broke. When we were just laughin' and have fun about ourselves. So I say, “fuck you if you can’t take a joke.” You didn't see the “Beverly Hillbilly’s” being protested by white folks.

And if you think, that cause you think that being called African American set all Black people’s mind at ease…..

Since we affectionately call each other “niggah”,
I affectionately say to you, “niggah Please”.

How come I didn't get the chance to vote on who I’d like to be? Who gave you the right to make that decision for me? I ain't under your rule or in your dominion And I am entitled to my own opinion.

Now there are some African Americans here, But they recently moved here from places like Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Zaire. But, now the brother who’s family has lived in the country for generations, Occupying space in all the locations New York, Miami, L.A., Detroit, Chicago- Even if he’s wearing a dashiki and sporting an afro.

And, if you go to Africa in search of your race, You’ll find out quick you’re not an African American, You’re just a Black American in Africa takin’ up space.

Why you keep trying to attach yourself to a continent, Where if you got the chance and you went, Most people there would even claim you as one of them; as a pure bread daughter or son of them. Your heritage is right here now, no matter what you call yourself or what you say And a lot of people died to make it that way. And if you think America is a leader on inequality and suffering and grievin’ How come there so many people comin’ and so few leavin’?

Rather than all this ‘find fault with America’ fuck you promotin’, If you want to change something, use your privilege, get to the polls! Commence to votin’!

God knows we’ve earned the right to be called American Americans and be free at last. And rather than you movin’ forward progress, you dwelling in the past. We’ve struggled too long; we’ve come too far. Instead of focusing on who we were, let’s be proud of who we are.

We are the only people whose name is always a trend. When is this shit gonna end? Look at all the different colors of our skin- Black is not our color. It’s our core. It’s what we been livin’ and fightin’ and dyin’ for.

But if you choose to be called African American and that’s your preference Then I ‘ll give you that reference

But I know on this issue I don’t stand alone on my own and if I do, then let me be me And I’d appreciate it if when you see me, you’d say, “there goes a man who says it loud I’m Black. I’m Black. I’m a Black American, and I’m proud!

'Cause I love being an American. And I love being Black. I love being called Black.

Yeah, I said it, and I don’t take it back."

Smokey Robinson - Def Poets, 3rd Season May 16, 2003 (c)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I breathe him in, the air between us our only link for the moment. I crave his touch and tell him so with my eyes, a gentle caress that flutters along the length of lashes I bat in his direction. He only smiles, saying nothing and saying everything in the look he gives me back. But his arms remain tight to his sides, not a finger reaching in my direction as I long to be held. Laughter teases the curve of his lips and I remember the touch of my mouth against his, the warmth of his kiss sustaining and joyous. I can’t help but wonder if he can see what I feel and cannot say, if he knows the words that line my heart and warm my soul. But it is not the time or the place to be held and touched, the moment far from perfect. But perfection is the scent of him that warms my spirit and nourishes my soul and gives me reason to believe that in the end it will all be well worth the wait and so I breathe him in. I breathe him in, inhaling love that lingers like life in the air that links us. I breathe him in because for the moment, it’s all I can have.


I’m not gonna lie. I love me some reality TV and every one of my shows seems to be in finale mode this week. The little speed skater guy took the crown on Dancing with the Stars but can’t a soul fault Miss Laila Ali for her stellar performances. Girlfriend was dropping it like it was hot, burnt, and overcooked the way she shook and shimmied the goods God gave her on that dance floor. I’m ready to climb into the ring and take up boxing if I can get my curves to look half as good as her curves.

Then of course there was the American Idol spectacular tonight. Jordin Sparks took the crown and I collected on my bets. I’ve been saying from day one that folks shouldn’t underestimate that young lady. She was a fast learner, growing every week until she found her comfort zone, then she truly let loose with her vocals. That infectious smile and the fact that she appears very comfortable and confident with her not-a size-two frame made her a standout for me. She was just cute as a button! I also loved the fact that Jordin believes she was raised in a “normal” family with her mom, dad, and baby brother because y’all know don’t everybody see nothing normal about her very white mother and very black father being in a long term, loving relationship.

I did however get the rest of the voting off wrong. I would have laid dollar to a dime that Jordin and Melinda Doolittle would have battled it out in the finale and we won’t even start on Sanjaya. I do however predict an extraordinary career for Melinda. The woman is exceptionally talented and I have no doubts that she will go far. I’m less confident about Lakisha Jones though. She’s a talented woman but she doesn’t fit the American ideal of black beauty and we all know how America feels about its’ ideal. I do however see her enjoying her fifteen minutes like Jennifer Hudson and I personally hope she has me eating my words sometime in the future.

Was it me or did American Idol snub Ms. Hudson tonight? Not a mention of her accomplishments as Clive Davis was singing praises for all the other idol successes. And every time the camera panned in her direction, girlfriend did not look happy. Me wonders if her recent comments about what Idol did and didn’t do for her didn’t garner some backlash.

I was about ready to have a fit thinking they’d snubbed Ruben Studdard as well and then he brought his cute self on stage and sang. Voice is still as smooth as a fine cognac with his teddy bear self. And he wore a suit. Brother looked like he was ready to come out of that suit too, but he sure ‘nuff looked good!

And for the record, I’m not buying that Paula tripped on a Tulip, dog or no dog. I’ve tripped on my mutt many a dark night sneaking into a room, and out, and I ain’t never broke my nose. Cracked a lamp once but the body parts remained intact. Paula need to change her brand of wacky weed ‘cause the stuff she’s smokin’ now ain’t doin’ her any good.

Idol’s back in January. Until then I’ll enjoy the third season of Hell’s Kitchen with maniac Gordon Ramsey. The man is crazy but he cooks a mean Italian squash ravioli with caramelised hazelnuts and fresh parmesan. Then there’s HGTV’s Design Star 2 ‘cause I love me some home decorating and of course, Run’s House, just because. And of course I can’t forget the Real World Las Vegas Reunion...don’t ask.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The black romance community is mourning the loss of one of our own. Renowned author, Katherine D. Jones passed away unexpectedly on June 17, 2007. I never had the opportunity to meet Katherine in person although we exchanged an email or two over the years.

She was very much a kindred spirit, sharing the same journey that I was. She was a wife and a mother and an author trying to keep things balanced as she held tight to her sanity and her humor. She was a woman of amazing grace and those who knew her personally have shared wonderful anecdotes on the kindness and the generosity of her spirit and her heart. Katherine was charmed and loved and the wealth of her extraordinary talent abounds in the romance novels she gifted to us all.

Katherine's husband posted a banner on her website that reads: Live Your Life...Follow Your Dreams...There Are NO Guarantees. We would honor her memory to do just that.

Katherine is survived by a loving husband and two adoring sons. She will be missed dearly by a host of sisterfriends, authors, and fans.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I watch a lot of movies. Some of them are really good. Others are extremely bad. And every so often there is one that moves me so deeply that I can't get it out of my mind. Constellation, written and directed by Jordan Walker-Pearlman is one of those movies. It is just a brilliantly touching work of art.

When the beloved Carmel Boxer (Gabrielle Union) passes away, her entire family returns to Huntsville, Alabama to celebrate her life and legacy. As the Boxer family comes together for the first time in many years, revelations of Carmel’s painful past begin to force each person to address their pent up emotions and true feelings for one another.

The story chronicles the lives and loves of an African-American family in the deep South as they are forced to come to terms with a tumultuous past marked by an unrequited interracial affair. The film explores the way in which the family patriarch, Helms Boxer (Billy Dee Williams), must confront his demons amidst the changing racial fabric of society and his own family. Constellation explores the redemptive power of love and spotlights the importance of honesty and the bonds of family loyalty.

There were some outstanding performances from the ensemble cast that actually brought me to tears. Billy Dee Williams, who I thought was the next best thing to white bread growing up still possesses that quiet, sexy charm that made me fall in lust with him in Lady Sings The Blues. He does the brooding leading man aptly and although I think it's past time he updated that hairdo of his, he's still aging quite nicely. I'd still do him in a heartbeat. It also didn't hurt that they showcase his talent as a visual artist in this film. I'm a sucker for great art and I think Williams' paintings are extraordinary.

The talented Zoe Saldana plays the youngest daughter, Rosa Boxer, and I don't think there's a woman around who hasn't felt the angst Rosa feels as she deals with the death of her beloved aunt, the chasm between her and her father, the pressures of a cracked romantic relationship, and just the infinite struggle of trying to be a woman holding all her stuff together when the walls are falling down around her.

Gabrielle Union as the beloved Carmel delivers some of the most emotionally sustaining lines that have ever been written. For me, there were some classic comments that will forever stay in my head. I particularly loved when she said, "It wasn't love that put any scars on me. Love itself, doesn't do us any damage. Every scar we get, we get from walking away from love. And I guess, whatever you walk away from, you can walk back to. If you got enough heart."

Hill Harper, Leslie Ann Warren, Melissa DeSousa, Rae Dawn Chong, David Clennon, Ever Carradine, and Clarence Williams III round out a cast who conveyed more with facial expression and body language than they did with their script. In fact, it was fascinating to witness so much being conveyed through so little text.

Clarence Williams III is truly a gifted actor whose talent has never been given the accolades the man deserves. In his very brief cameo appearance he left me shaking with anger and rage and crying for the sheer pain you knew he had to be experiencing.

The movie is now out on DVD. If you have an opportunity, please watch it. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I had an unusually rough week. It was an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows like I've not experienced in a very long time. I was so moody that I could barely stand to be in the room with myself so I can only imagine what other folks had to be thinking.

Never having been a woman who needed or wanted a lot of attention, I found myself desperate for it this week and there was absolutely none to be found anywhere. I was struggling with some issues and feeling like I had no where to turn because the people I would normally rely on were too busy dealing with their own stuff to be bothered with mine. And so I turned to that one thing that has yet to fail me - my writing.

For as long as I can remember writing has been my greatest comfort. Manipulating phrases and paragraphs and spinning the sliver of a thought into something eloquent and coherent is the most soothing balm I could ever wish for. Words are so powerful, so magnanimous that they energize and empower my spirit like nothing else ever has.

Yesterday was a particularly good writing day. I locked myself away from the world and just allowed my mind to do what it needed to do. It allowed an old story to progress, to build into something more than I had imagined for it and a new story to unfold and take shape. Late in the evening I had to pull myself away to tend to some responsibilites and I did so reluctantly, anxious to get back to my computer and the beauty of my words. I was still writing when the sun came up this morning.

This week will be a better week. I found insight and direction, letting go of every ounce of frustration that had been haunting me. All of my stuff became someone else's story and then I could see it for what it was and more importantly for what it wasn't. Writing has never failed me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Miranda’s not seeing straight. In fact, her vision is so skewed it’s a wonder she hasn’t been declared legally blind. She blames everyone else for her bad choices and girlfriend has made some seriously bad choices. The first penis that broke her heart left her with a child and no support. She was only sixteen at the time. He was well in his late twenties. I’m still wondering why he didn’t do some quality time in a state penitentiary since she was fourteen when they first became involved, but I’ll leave that alone. For now.

Penis #2 came via an Internet connection. He had her instant messaging so fast that she lost her mind, moving herself to West Virginia to claim her a man. She left her child behind for someone else to raise, so not only did her baby lose his worthless daddy but his mother as well. But hey, love requires sacrifice, or at least that’s what Miranda would have us all believe. Wasn’t until she became pregnant with baby #2 that she admitted her sacrifice came at penis #2’s insistence. He wasn’t interested in being no baby’s daddy, not even the baby he’d donated sperm for.

But giving credit where credit might be due, penis #2 stepped up to the plate once little junior was born. Actually got a job, paid some bills and plotted out a future for his new family, minus baby #1, of course. Now at this point, Miranda’s vision had begun to seriously blur, focus drifting in and out. Desperate for something yet to be identified, she took up with penis #3, a penis who was broke, unemployed, and disabled but apparently still able to rise to the occasion.

Miranda apparently had the bigger set of balls when she moved penis #3 in with her and penis #2, the trio living amicably together. Apparently Miranda wasn’t lacking penis because it didn’t take long before baby #3 arrived kicking and screaming for some attention. Penis #3 claimed the child, moving Miranda and her two youngest babies from one end of the US of A to the other. Baby #1 was still left wondering whatever happened to his mommy and his daddy.

Miranda sees nothing wrong with the direction she’s taken herself in. All’s well in her small world because she’s got herself a penis who’s serving her well. Miranda can’t understand why her folks are having a problem with her and her issues. Asking my opinion didn’t help her much either. I recommended she get herself some new glasses so she can see straight. Miranda wasn’t interested in hearing that she needed to grow the hell up and act like a woman with an ounce of sense. She’s only twenty-four and she needs to get herself together before she’ll ever find herself a real man. She’s made penis her first priority though and all else is damned. She needs to think about her children and let all that penis go, but dick’s got Miranda so blind she just can’t see it.


A therapist person told me once that I needed to fully own my emotions. It had been my nature to push my feelings down deep inside to deal with them as I saw fit and only when I felt it absolutely necessary to do so. All that pent up frustration and bottled aggression made for some quality writing and so it served me well. The stories that were manifested from all that anguish will soon be shopped around after having received some very favorable responses from their initial reads.

Taking heed to the advice that I’d been given I opened myself up, facing my issues head on. For the most part that opening up was quite liberating and has made from some interesting moments, hard frank discussions, and an occasional confrontation or two. Unfortunately my writing has suffered.

It hit me today that not only did I open myself up, but I’ve also been wearing my emotions on my sleeves. This has left me exposed and vulnerable. In fact, I can’t remember when I felt so susceptible, and to be honest, I’m not liking the feeling at all. All this emotional stimuli has had me distracted and unfocused, and my writing reads like pretty pink cotton candy - all sugar and fluff. Sugar and fluff is great for a quick high, but once you crash and burn there’s not much else left behind.

I’m finding it necessary to rebuild some thick walls around myself. I think it’s past time I retreated back inside to reclaim my muse. I’m sure if I gave it some thought I’d be able to find a happy medium but I’m not seeing happy too clearly right now and I’m not much motivated to give it any serious thought. I need to return to the dark side for a while. I need to write and I’m not much interested in it being pink or pretty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


An acquaintance asked me for a favor. What they wanted required more of my time and patience than anything else, but I was struck by this person's assumption that since I'm a writer that I could complete the task with relative ease. "You'll know what words to use", is what was said to me. This acquaintance would be surprised to know that I really don't. Most times I don't have a clue what words would be the right words to say or use. In some situations I am so fearful of saying the wrong thing that I tend not to say anything at all. Even worse, I have an annoying habit of being so careful to chose the right words that the message I hope to convey gets completely lost in the translation.

Right now someone I love dearly is going through a trying situation with family. And I am struck by the fact that I don't have the words to convey how much I want to be there for them. I'm not sure what I should say or even if I should say anything at all. But I want to do something, to be of some help, some how. I have asked repeatedly if all is well because I'm not sure what else there is for me to ask without my getting into business that isn't my business to get in to. I'm looking for the right words because I want this person to understand that I'm here for them to lean on, no matter what. That all they need to do is ask and no matter what the time of day I will there for them without fail. But sometimes finding the right words isn't always such an easy thing to do.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


My mother was a woman with rituals. There was a place for everything and everything had it’s place. Certain behaviors were expected and to go against the grain of her expectations was not an option. We ate dinner religiously at four o’clock every evening, exactly fifteen minutes after my father arrived home from his day job, finishing no later than five o’clock before he had to depart for his night job. And she cooked every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner without fail. There was no takeout, no fast food, no nothing other than what was put on your plate or in your lunch bag that you would finish without fail. She did all this while working both a factory job and doing day’s work on the side. I didn’t understand until I was well into my teens that her doing day’s work involved other people’s children and their dirt. Mom did all of this, bowled on a league team and played softball like a professional during the spring and summer. With a schedule that would rival any working mother’s, my mother never missed a parent-teacher conference, a recital, or any other event that would have left my sister or I disappointed. And the woman was even a Girl Scout leader for a brief period of time.

Saturday mornings were reserved for cleaning our house. We’d start at seven o’clock in the morning and finish when the last speck of dust was polished and shined away. My sister and I would begin by cleaning our room. We would strip the sheets from the beds, vacuum the carpets, put our assorted knickknacks away, and insure it would pass Mommy inspection least she start dictating the how’s and what’s that we had missed. When all was done, little sister got to empty the trash cans. I got the upstairs bathroom. When porcelain sparkled to her satisfaction, we three headed downstairs to finish off the living room, dining room, kitchen, and half-bath. The very last thing to do would be the mopping of the kitchen floor. Mind you, laundry was being washed during all of this because those dirty sheets had to be put away before the day was done.

Then the fun began. We cleaned house with the stereo blasting on loud, singing at the top of our lungs to old school soul, classic R&B, and Motown. Mommy loved herself some Motown. By the time I was six-years old I could tell you which male crooners knew how to beg a woman out of her clothes and which ones only thought they could. I knew the secrets of the clean-up woman, the other woman, and women who had a do-right man and didn’t know they had it so good. While the kitchen floor dried, me, Mommy, and little sister would suddenly become the Supremes, microphones held just so as we karaoked ourselves until we were karaoked out. Back then cleaning house was pure bliss.

My baby boy and his father surprised Mom and me with tickets for a Mother’s Day concert this afternoon featuring The Manhattans, The Dramatics, and The O’Jays. The Manhattans had me up on my feet waving my jellyroll. I was tripping down memory lane as they sang It Feels So Good To be Loved So Bad, and I won’t even tell you what I did to the man in front of me when they sang Kiss and Say Goodbye. The Dramatics kept me movin’ and groovin’ while I thought about taking a walk In The Rain and Mama lost complete control of her hips with What You See Is What You Get.

Then I lost my religion. I was too through when Eddie, Walter, and Eric went through their repertoire of baby-makin’ music. Mom was so focused that I couldn’t resist leaning in and whispering ‘don’t you go home and make no babies now!” Thought I would wet my pants we laughed so hard. I was amazed at how easily she and I revived our girl-group sway, finger’s snapping right on beat as we rocked to the left and the right, doing our side-to-side shimmy. As we left the arena, Mommy was grinning from ear to ear talking about her good time.

My Mother’s Day was pure bliss.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Although there is no denying the paternal presence that hovered over me as I was growing up, I have to acknowledge the gathering of women who helped raise me. I was definitely raised by strong women beginning with my grandmothers. Both were unique, headstrong, fiercely independent women who had a major impact in my young life.

My maternal grandmother, the late Lillie Mae Addison, was a woman I try diligently to emulate. She was a gentle spirit, full of kindness and grace. An exquisitely beautiful woman who raised twelve children and many a grandchild. Late in life she decided she wanted an education and she put many a college professor through their paces to get one. Her family was her stronghold and she sacrificed much in her life to give to them. She lived a long and full life and her influence in mine continues to inspire and move me.

My paternal grandmother, Musethal Fletcher, was a force to be reckoned with. Granny girl could move mountains with one look and she has never been one to bite her tongue about anything. She is well into her late eighties and she’s still here kicking up a fuss about everything and nothing. I am very much my grandmother’s child and we both laugh, not knowing if that is a good thing or not.

My mother, Corrine Fletcher, readily acknowledges that I was a child from hell. I have often said that I would not have wished a child like me on my worst enemy. I admit to challenging the woman in ways that were probably unimaginable to her and not only did she endure but I’m still living to tell the stories. Her two daughters are her pride and joy and we know it. Despite our banging heads more often than not, she’s been my rock through many a storm and I know that where I am today is largely due to her presence and influence.

I also had two godmothers, Mama Sarah and Mrs. Thomas, who regaled me with do’s and don’t do’s growing up. They have been my strongest supporters, each of them encouraging and nurturing me as if I were their own child. It became a ritual for my sisters (biological and best friend) and I growing up to surprise our many mothers with an outrageous Mother’s Day event. These extravaganzas ran the gamut from simple dinners prepared by our own hands to weekend’s away to stay in a five-star hotel. Sometimes I reminisce back on some of the earlier things we did and I just shake my head at our teenage gumption. We became challenged to out do ourselves each year. So much so that after that weekend at the Willard Hotel in Washington we couldn‘t begin to think of what next. Eventually, time, distance, and our respective lives took some of the pressure off with extravaganzas giving way to cards in the mail, casual lunches, an occasional dinner and a requisite gift from Wal-Mart.

Of my “sibling” trio I am the only one who has given birth. I have raised six children, successfully, and I know beyond any doubt that had I not had good examples to emulate, I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I did. My sisters are both educators. They help raise more children than I would ever want to, facing challenges in today’s times that make most of my mishaps seem like child’s play. I do not envy either of them. I do give them much credit for doing what I know I couldn’t. And I appreciate that their abilities, as well, are largely influenced by the Moms who showed us all how.

So to each of you, I say thank you. I love you all dearly. I value and appreciate your wisdom and the life lessons you instilled within me. Happy Mother’s Day to you and to every woman who has cared for and nurtured a child as if he or she were their own.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I hate having those knee-deep conversations where the truth leaves you feeling out of sorts. I had one of those recently where I had to admit that my delusions of grandeur weren’t necessarily everyone else's delusions. In fact, it became clear rather quickly that the other party was in no way thinking along the same lines as I was. It was one of those moments where I walked away trying to figure out exactly where I’d taken my wrong turn and how I could have been so blind. One minute I was like a helium balloon waving high up in the sky and just like that I was deflating fast.

Despite my feeling a little discombobulated I understand that no matter what the situation or the relationship, when there is one ounce of doubt, that’s a big red flag that needs to be addressed. If you’re confused and unsure, trust that there’s some little voice sitting on your shoulder whose advice you might need to heed.

In my case, intuition is screaming loud and clear that I need to take a big step back to give other people the space they need to reassess their position and commitment. Now, I fully admit to not wanting to do that. I’m more than ready to forge ahead and let things be however they intend to be. But I also understand that not everything is about me or what I want. In my case, my walking away may very well be in the best interest of folks I care about and that in and of itself is enough for me to do what I may have to do.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I've been searching for all the right words to tell you what's in my heart and my head. I wanted you to know and understand just how much you mean to me. How excited I am when we're together. How much it hurts when I can't be with you. You complete me and I was already whole. You've become that large fraction of myself that would be empty and cold were you not here. I feel extraordinarily blessed when we are together. I can't thank destiny enough for bringing you into my life.

I adore you. I relish your intimacy, the sweetness and delicacy of your kisses, your touch and all the pleasure it gives me. You are everything I have ever wanted in my life. You have given me a feeling of fulfillment that no one else has ever given me before, like nothing else in this world ever can.

With each day, each shared moment, I want to bring you the same joy you have brought me. I want to give you the best of who I am and all that I could be. I want to walk by your side and be the source of your good feelings. I want to lavish you with affection and attention. I want to be the fountain of your virtue and your joy.

I've been searching for the right words, the best colors, the most exquisite poetry, and engaging pictures to explain everything I am feeling for you. And I finally found three, perfect words to say what I wanted to say.

I love you.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Quit bitching! No one said life was going to be a piece of cake. There were no promises that everyone was going to love you or even like you so stop boo-hooing when they don’t. Life’s too precious and just too damn short to sit around bemoaning the fact that stuff ain’t going your way. It ain’t going my way either but I’ve chosen to focus on what does work rather than what doesn’t.

Since there’s no shortage of advice out here to help you be better, live better, try harder, and do more, take some of that advice and put it to use. You’re responsible for you. There is no one else out here responsible for you and your happiness. So, get over yourself. You’re the only one dancing at your pity party and your reality is that no one else is really interested in partying with you.

You blame every wrong thing in your life on your sex, your race, your weight, your job, your education, or whatever else floats your boat at the moment but bottom line the blame lies totally with your attitude. Negativity breeds negativity. I’m not down with your program if your program is only going to make me feel bad about everything and about nothing. Tap dance on that stage all by your lonesome.

Since no one else will say it, I will. Your attitude sucks. You’re miserable and you’re making everyone else around you miserable as well. Be angry if you need to be but don’t get an attitude if the rest of us don’t want to be miserable and angry with you. We all have our own drama and issues to deal with. We don’t have time for yours.

So, you can make a choice to live well and be better, or not, but ultimately you’re the only one who can make that decision for you.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It's hot outside. Close to 90 degrees if not hotter. My kind of weather. For some reason, the day, the heat, just the mood wafting through the air reminds me of that 1970's song by the Starland Vocal Band, Afternoon Delight. It's one of those old catchy tunes that if you ever knew the lyrics to it, you can easily sing right along if it were to just start playing on the radio. Remember....

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight.
My motto's always been; when it's right, it's right.
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night.
When everything's a little clearer in the light of day.
And you know the night is always gonna be there any way.

Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight.

Thinkin' of you's workin' up my appetite
looking forward to a little afternoon delight.
Rubbin' sticks and stones together makes the sparks ingite
and the thought of rubbin' you is getting so exciting.

Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight.

Now, my thinking of that song and humming it all morning long doesn't have a darn thing to do with anything at all. It's probably one of the most random thoughts I've had today but I can't get it out of my head now. Then again on some unconscious level I could be craving a few hours of wild, unadulturated, buck naked, done lost my religion, sex. Could be, but since it's an unconscious thought and I don't have to lay claim to it, I'll just deny it has anything to do with me at all.

While trying to navigate a new story line I asked a friend what was the craziest thing he'd ever done to be with a woman. He pondered the question for so long that I wasn't quite sure I wanted to hear the answer. Then he laughed and said something about crawling up under a house but he wouldn't elaborate. It would seem the moment wasn't pretty and the memories a whole other animal that didn't need to be disturbed.

The craziest thing I've ever done to be with a man was move to an island and marry him. There's little that's fascinating about that, nothing like pushing the envelope in the back storage room of one's place of employment or the front seat of an automobile parked at the airport. I've had some very interesting answers to that question but my own wasn't one of them. I'm sure that's a good thing and then again I wonder. Maybe that's why I can't get that darn song out of my head.