August 5, 2019
I woke up late this day. It’s not clear to me right now how it was revealed to me… I’m sure if I sat in mediation and thought about it things would come back. But, thinking about this day still make my nose sting. You know that sting that happens before your eyes water…
I woke to the news that Toni Morrison had passed. I was heartbroken. I felt like she left me, like she should’ve had someone call me to let me know she wasn’t feeling well. No, we didn’t have a relationship like that but… she had been with me all of my adult life and so I just thought… I guess I thought she would stay around like the books on my shelf. Am I making sense?
I had just been in contact with her production company this past summer for private screenings of her movie in Atlanta, “The Pieces I Am”. The movie that has the wings to change the process of writing just as her books change people as readers and thinkers. I had just bought her book, “The Source of Self-Regard” as my summer reading as I traveled. I…. cried. I just flat out cried. I, like the world, felt the energy shift. It went from powerful to immensely powerful with her transition.
On social media, I had seen several of my friends attend memorials and remembrances celebrating their artistic experiences with Morrison. I was speaking with a friend and expressed how I had not had the opportunity to mourn, laugh, share my love of Morrison in an intimate setting. She offered her studio space for “Tea with Toni”.
We got together and shared our favorite characters and passages from her books. I read from “Sula” and had time permitted, I would’ve shared my favorite pages from “Song of Solomon” when Milkman received his nickname. (that is some good writing!) It was so serene to be around other creatives who needed this space to discuss such an important literary figure, the Pulitzer Prize winner author, Toni Morrison. A genius wordsmith. The sole creator of language(s) for the preservation of humanity, communities and black women. She fearlessly showed the world our beauty. Shared with the orbits our sweetly spiced tongues.
Mother Toni, we see you smiling
we see those fingers pressed together for rhythmic snaps / grooving.
Thank you for everything and all!
More information on the author can be found at: pviljoen.wordpress.com
Woman, the struggle is real.
And you know it by the way you feel
Alone, bruised, beaten and battered,
Slapped around by life till your soul is tattered
Riddled with sores inside that don’t heal
Unless it’s with tears
Copious tears that cascade and don’t fade
Until you get still and feel we’re here
I’m the same as you
Sisters in mind
From Israel’s streets to Russia’s peaks
Listen to our voices
Truth be told we were molded from the same earth
Under cover of night till daybreak
Mixed and shaped
Held together with Euphrates and Tigress
He made a clay
Sprinkled some with cinnamon dust
Some with ground cocoa
Others with vanilla bean
But it’s us
Different, but yet the same
And I stand with you
Waiting to move with you
I Am You
But you knew that.
MLUV (pronounced Em Love)is a Radio Personality, Writer, Motivational Speaker, Event Host and Poet. She is the Host of her own weekly online Talk Radio Program/Podcast on the IBNXRadio.COM Network called “LiveLifeInThePURPLE with MLUV.” Committed to spreading positive vibes and encouraging all who tune in. “The Purple” is a poetic way of communicating the message that life is better when our thoughts, motivation and intentions are rooted in positive thinking. Inspired by research on the colors in the rainbow that revealed that of all the millions of colors in the rainbow, the ones that had the highest measured frequency were the violet spectrum, of which purple is a part. Hence, Live Life in The PURPLE. MLUV uses her show as a platform to give support to Entrepreneurs, Musical Artists and is a voice in the Mental Health Community. She aligns with people in the community who are serving those who suffer and interviews and promotes those who are sharing their light and love. She is a Social Activist and actively supports Local charitable efforts aimed at protecting Women and Children as well as Sexual Abuse, Human Sex Trafficking and Suicide Prevention and Homelessness and Recovery.
Current Projects- CEO and Founder of Purple Door Creations, LLC and www.R2isetheatre.org troupe member. Her first book of Poetry entitled “Thoughts From A PURPLE MIND”, The Poetry Of MLUV is in production.
Her debut CD is out on Bandcamp and available for digital download. Search for “MLUV” or “Sounds From A PURPLE Mind”.
Mantra: “POSITIVITY, ITS A MOVEMENT BABY!”
Join the Purple Movement and listen to LiveLifeInThePURPLE with MLuV on IBNXRADIO.com
iHeartRadio- Live Life In The Purple
IG:MluvWall & livelifeinthepurple
applaud Her broken heart poetry
then pass Her a notepad and fresh ink
She dies when rape is spoken of so desensitized.
Like a chipped fingernail or
wrecked car She can call and get
a claim number for
It doesn’t get renewed!
She just let it get used and disown its’ power
so next time he wants to
or break her back
or dig in dem guts
It won’t hurt
She chose to be one of the “unreported” stats.
I confronted my homophobia.
I re-defined my definitions of rape.
15 years later, I wrote The Town Dance.
PURCHASE AT The Town Dance Paperback and Kindle
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.” -Toni Morrison
As a young girl, my mother had to chose what utilities she would keep on and which ones she would let go to keep my sister, brother and I fed and clothed. Phone service NEVER made the “stay on” list and gas service was optional during summer months. Cable television was not discussed in my home because we only had two televisions and they were black and white. (yes, color televisions were available and no I won’t tell the year or my age). My escape was reading. The easiest series of books to find in sequential collections at thrift stores at the time were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. And I read them all! Continue reading a Higher Re-Education Program (Writer’s Edition)
Many people who say they want their work, writings, critiqued really don’t. They just want to include your stamp of approval on it. They want to include you in their circle of same friends, same crowds and same stages where they receive recycled applause. Unfortunately this will keep them exactly where they are, using their art as a part time hobby and working someone else’s dream full time.
The only thing safe in this game is your vision. What you ultimately want your work to be regarded as or categorized as. The voice or narrative you want to represent is the only thing you can control. But that is the opportunity with most writers. They don’t know who/why they are writing. It’s as if everyone is falling into the “I write for therapy” “I do this for me” reasonings. I don’t believe that. In fact, you will have a hard time trying to convince me of this. What I do believe is that due to a lack of reading and developing of worth or value for oneself a lot of writers cannot express why this art form has become so tangibly easy for them.
Before I could perform on stage or even write my own work, it was required that I read and memorize the literary greats that had come before me. I had to memorize and know the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, etc BEFORE I was allowed to share my own work. These were my dues so to speak. I am finding that nowadays writers are simply encouraged to write and express. “Write what you feel and then get on stage and kill it!” There is no base, no foundation. Just quickly constructed brick walls and rubber windows. Then artists stand hostage inside defending everything they write or perform.
Specifically poets often ask me how to be a full time artist. I always ask them to identify another poet who is working FT in their craft. Some of the usual responses are Saul Williams and Nikki Giovanni. Well, Saul lives in Europe and makes an incredibly living from his music and Giovanni is an educator and speaker in addition to poet. So I ask them to give me someone else they could contact to be a mentor for their poetry career that ONLY does poetry. I am still waiting on responses from the majority of them. See, this art thing is medicinal. It is not an individual thing. If your mantra is, “I do this for me” you’re on a paved road, a safe path with lots of company and acceptance. Not the wild road to discovery with silent strange faces and a million “no” responses. With that being said, poetry cannot be isolated. Poetry is the word. Poetry is the color of the sound. Poetry is the taste of the wind. Poetry is an integral part of the seven sciences connecting to “it all”. This understanding is how FT artists sustain.
I don’t know any FT artists who at some point do not incorporate education into their lifestyle as a workshop facilitator or speaker. But what are they talking about? They are talking about that base and foundation from which they developed their art from. They are protecting the vision, establishing the livelihood of their narrative. They are doing something most poets/writers cannot do these days.
So what are you saying? I’m saying, you need to read twice as much as you write. You need to study. You need to know your art form and the cause behind it better than anyone else. You must let go of the criticism that will come with your art and be more concerned with the status of the people holding together the foundation. With that knowledge will bring a security and confidence that will open doors and opportunities to you as a writer/poet.