Category Archives: actualization

A Week Late, Dollars Saved

I am re-posting this for those who have goals of leaving their full time going into the New Year. 

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Just like in the movie, “Donnie Brasco”, Al Pacino’s character knew what “get sent for” meant.  He had dinner with his wife, put his jewelry and money in a box and told her not to wait up for him tonight.  I knew my last day of employment was coming.  I could feel it.  I could sense the detached nature from the next level of management.  The comments of “I’ll call you right back” turned into “I’ll contact you in a few days.”

It had happened.  Just like the laws of nature said it would!  “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”  Six months earlier I had lunch with two of my colleagues and showed them copies of my poetry and short story book.  They were floored!  I went on to tell them that prior to me moving to Atlanta to take on my sisters children, I lived my life as an artist.  I felt relief as I confessed to them that I am a writer of many facets.  Now caring for a family, a ‘sure bet’ check is what I needed to settle into my new role as a parent.  During our lunch together I shared with them that I would be leaving our employer before the hectic holiday season arrived to once again pursue my life as an artist.  I showed them a countdown widget I downloaded on my cellphone that festively displayed how many more days I had left.  They were shocked but very happy for me.  I now had support from two women whom I admired and trusted.

I owed this same conversation with one of my managers who I’ve worked with since my first day with the company.  A brilliant talent and inspiring leader,  she worked her way through several positions in the company and excelled at them all.  I brought her copies of my book and shared with her that was the “real me”.  She was not surprised!  She told me she could tell I had something else to me because of my colorful emails I would send out to the team about contests, etc.  Since she had been with me from day one I wanted to let her know of my plans of leaving so she wouldn’t be blind sighted.  To my surprise, she had plans of leaving too!  As a matter of fact, I had to almost beg her not to leave before me and ask if we could agree to leave the same month.  Wheesh!  She agreed.

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My Reading on Saturday…

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I am reading this jewel of a book this morning for one of my classes. (ok… it’s Saturday so I am doing some work around the house so I have the audio on as well)

There are so many jewels that I am coming across in this text that I want to share some. Enjoy 🙂

“I learned to love my son without wanting to possess him and I learned how to teach him to teach himself.” – Maya Angelou

“I am convinced that people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.” – Maya Angelou

“Some entertainers have tried to make art of their coarseness. When they heap mud upon themselves and allow their tongues to wag with vulgarity, they expose their belief they are not worth loving.” Maya Angelou

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights. I maintain an attitude or gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.” Maya Angelou

I Kept It Simple and True

When I left the executive management world a few years ago, my goal was simply to find ways to stay creative and keep a roof over my head. This decision also involved me changing my career path in what some might consider, late in the game. After years of making an insanely, wonderful large salary, I began writing on more of a full time basis and substitute teaching in the public school system.

I tell myself the low pay was balanced with the daily rewards of working with young people and seeing them hit a happy plateau when they believed in themselves like I did. I guess I would say my philosophy in teaching was meeting the students exactly where they were and showing them the end goal everyday. And for three years I did just that! I worked with intent and passion, sharing my love for language arts and literature with 3rd and 4th graders. My respect for teachers and administration grew immensely. These are different times our kids are living in! Their access to information (and the lack of information) through the internet is a double edge sword. But I definitely have to say a huge challenge we are facing is the placement of charter schools that do not match the need or function for their perspective communities.

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then there is life…

I honestly don’t know where to start…

do I begin with –

my change in plans for grad school (just changing paths)

that I finished my next novel

that I have truly and sincerely fallen back in love with theatre

that my oldest is in her final year of high school and we are finalizing her college choices

due to school, I miss creative writing as much as I thought I would.

I love blogging. This is my way of staying in touch with the keyboard.

This is talking to words.

I know I haven’t touched base with you all in awhile, but

then there is life.

 

Re-Establishing my Journey

Years ago I decided I would not never become a teacher. I envisioned it as confinement. I am a creature of routine BUT I do not want one imposed on me. I always saw being an educator as someone who was doomed with routine and rewarded with low pay. That was not the life I wanted to live.

As time and the ancestors would have it, my poetry created a platform for me to engage my art at colleges and universities. Not just as the “entertainment” but additionally as an educator to young writers on the importance of preserving the black vernacular. My art eventually evolved to focusing on the feminine narrative. Encouraging the black feminine voice expressed and written from a holistic perspective and not just as a presence to move a plot forward. These discussions exposed two things, (1) I had more questions than answers and needed to do more research to educate myself (2) I was pretty good at this teaching thing.

My community knows me primarily as a performance poet and from the theatre. Both of these creative platforms allowed me to express undivided and intellectually intact. I had the company to be beautiful and the security to laugh at myself and others. As I immersed myself more with the writing community, plays and novels, I felt absent- invisible even. I was stifled with this feeling once before when I studied film at Howard University for my M.A. In screenplay writing, I didn’t have the company of voice, meaning the character written or represented on film, was not a bridged visualization of my existence as a woman. A black woman, a woman of color living in this country. My questions about the presence or the acceptance of what was represented as the black feminine narrative, now became a plaque of concerns. That was until I got my hands on Toni Morrison’s “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination”.

Continue reading Re-Establishing my Journey

Thankful for Toni Morrison

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“A literary artist of the first rank.”

“She delves into the language itself, a language she wants to liberate from the fetters of race. And she addresses us with the luster of poetry.”

Those words are from the Nobel Committee that awarded Ms. Morrison her Nobel Prize in Literature on this day in 1993.

Her acceptance speech spoke of ‘spreading like algae because this prize is being distributed to various regions and nations and races.’  Morrison shared this win with women, the mid west, the east coast and African Americans.  She is one of the reasons I am in love with pen to pad.  Why I love words to dreams.  Why I am courageous enough to speak my vernacular.

People do speak highly of my art.  And I have been used in some really nice analogies during introductions to stages.  And for that, I am thankful for Toni Morrison.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Danai Gurira!

Wait, whose birthday is it? Danai Gurira, from “The Walking Dead” and “Black Panther”:

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On my research journey, I am documenting and inserting any significant absence of information on women in theatre. See, not only is Gurira an amazing and versatile actress, she is also a playwright.  Her play, “Eclipse” was the first play to premiere on Broadway with an all female and black cast and creative team. (Yes, after all these years, we are still creating “firsts” for black people!) The play is set in war-torn Liberia and focuses on three women who are living as sex slaves to a rebel commander, and is about how they deal with this difficult situation. The play was inspired by a photograph of female fighters and their tale of survival.

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And as you can see the play starred the beautiful and talented, Lupita Nyong’o.

So today I salute Danai Gurira and encourage you to learn more about her and buy tickets to “Eclipse” if it comes to your city. I saw a production of it here in Atlanta and the story creates suspense and chills!

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Stunning! Danai Gurira