Well, 2015 is wrapping up here folks and there are some things I want to share along my many discoveries and self reflections. Here we go:
- The power of blogging. – Blogging has to be better than buying a website these days! Blogging is like your own personal newspaper or public journal that links you to like minds. The connections I have met on wordpress have culminated into several speaking engagements and book sales around the world. Unlike social media sites, a blog requires work. You have to put in a decent and consistent amount of writing time and you must network with the audience you are trying to reach. Building this comradery can yield amazing results! Your Facebook friends/followers WILL NOT SUPPORT your work on a level that allows you to pay a bill or two.
- The saying, “Write what scares you” is true. – You take a chance with ordering a new dish at a restaurant. You take a chance in new relationships. So take a chance with writing the stories you are afraid to be linked to. The subject matter of my novel, The Town Dance, has frightened me for years. At readings, I speak about what I had to confront on a personal level for me to write characters with depth and meaning. Characters that ‘belonged’ in the story and not just placed there to move the chapters forward. The Town Dance has had an amazing year! In addition, my play, Hope’s Return, handles the subject matter of women in the military, a crime committed on base, the government cover-up and a small town African American family dealing with the mental illness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I took a chance with this material and it has paid off as big as I had imagined in my dreams.
- I like living in Atlanta. I must admit, it took over six years for it to happen but there are a lot of opportunities in the arts. Perhaps in the sense that there is still work that needs to be done for diversity within nationalities, gender and age. (then again, that’s probably everywhere!) The art funding is definitely geared toward younger poets who are taught slam poetry and older Caucasian writers. The quote, “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re art”, took me a looooong time to accept that. But over the past 13-15 months I have grown to like Atlanta.
- Acknowledgement of women writers still needs to be written in art and historical culture/documentation. Even the critical and independent male thinking minds are blind to this, or conveniently accept this part of patriarchy. A recent example I saw of this, there was a Black Lives Matter banner created that spelled out the names of the victims fallen from murder by the hands of the police and only one woman was listed. Instead of researching women to include, the list repeated with the male names.
- African American art is viewed as sociology or psychology instead of art. Instead of being asked on various creative decisions I made for my art, I was asked questions like, “is this due to your community?” “is this a result of your upbringing?” After reading more on the basic history of African American literature in western culture, the sensitivity of critique or criticism is still not where it should be as the literary giants before me have written the same observances.
- There is a desperate need for black book stores for all of the above reasons.
- There is a desperate need for African American book review groups/circles for all the above reasons. (Story Sellers Book Reviews coming soon!)
- The personal positivity movement has turned into a sensationalistic movement that is cultivating a strew of motivational speakers and life coaches. It is imperative for people to understand that avoiding or becoming addicted to a fantasy life of no turmoil stunts growth. In addition, naming life’s detours ‘negativity’ instead of lessons and self reflection stops/halts life.
- Ph.D’s do not hold the same creed they once did. Experience and activism can get you on the same panel discussions as PhD’s and persons in academia. In fact, trust is built through personal testimony versus book study (new age wave expectations); same as travel expert equals trusted experience. I believe their in depth studies are still imperative but the panels and workshops I observed over the past year in regards to art activism and community social activism had very few PhDs.
- The poetry audience is gone. No matter where I traveled, the audience was a unanimous crowd of other poets. The study of poetry 101 has been replaced with being a champion or being on a ‘winning team’. Poetry is seen as entertainment instead of art. In my opinion, the communication aspect is absent from the art form and it is a strategic political move.
Continue reading 20 observances i’m taking into 2016
I mainly use this blog for my poetry. Every so often I use it for blogs about family, etc but mainly I express my art that is poetry here. I have been, and will return, to a huge poetic presence for my blog during the creation of She Chronicles (March) and When We Arrived (April).
I am a full time artist so I have to write, perform, submit for festivals, sell books, facilitate workshops, speak on literacy, etc. I have tried other jobs and honestly… I didn’t give my all. I didn’t commit nor did I care as much as I do when I am creating art. So forgive me for not being as present as I have been in the past… I’ve been writing!
As you know, I wrote a novel that is doing AMAZING! I have book signings lined up for it. I wrote a play that was 1 of 40 chosen from a selection of 332. It will be produced November of this year which now gives me the title of Professional Playwright. And now I have compiled a book of poetry and prose entitled, “yardwork” that is available now in paperback and available for pre-order on Kindle. “yardwork” is a compilation of writings from mid 2009 to now. And I hope you will grab a copy and enjoy 🙂
I saw this today and had to share it with my wordpress family! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂
It is great to be included in a listing with other authors! Check it out:
Women of the African Diaspora
Black Female Authors
Get your copy of my new novel, The Town Dance, today!
Purchase an Autographed Copy!
Purchase from Amazon
Purchase the Kindle Edition
One of my favorite all time poets is Haki Madhubuti. The genesis of this post came from a conversation I had with Nikki Skies where we both discussed how much Madhubuti’s work meant to each of us. Aside from being one of the most prolific poets in American letters over the last 50 years, Madhubuti is a Professor, editor, activist and publisher. Considered one of the most prominent writers from the Black Arts Movement, Madhubuti has also published books by Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Sterling Plumpp, Pearl Cleage, Dudley Randall, Marc Lamont Hill and Mumia Abu Jamal. He founded Third World Press in Chicago in 1967 and they continue to produce books to this day.
For most of Madhubuti’s literary life he has been associated with Chicago. Originally known as Don L. Lee, he changed his name in 1974. Madhubuti has won more awards then there’s space to list. In addition to three honorary doctorates, fellowships from organizations like the National Endowments of the Arts and National Endowments of the Humanities, Madhubuti was named Chicagoan of the Year from “Chicago Magazine” in 2007. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa.
Continue reading The Necessity of Haki Madhubuti -Guest Post by Mike Sonksen
a one winged butterfly
can’t hug the beauty of the sky
or appreciate the explanation of cocooned space
tilted perception / informed maps leading to thick trunks of charter oak trees
then, approached water and surprised morality
with no handicaps
or beliefs in group thought.
I always had two wings
but learned to minimize the height of my flight
using only one / was taught that, learned that, saw that
always feared being a full beauty
outside of informed adjectives
I enjoy the mirror of the swim
with both wings
Today we are in the UK at Carole’s Book Corner promoting The Town Dance! If you haven’t read the synopsis yet, go check it out. If it’s your cup of tea, buy a bag to take home to enjoy later. Well, you know what I mean… buy the book 🙂
This is day three for the release of my debut novel and the response has been amazing! People are full of conversation after reading the book because of the story. Let me explain…
When I began research on the top of same sex assault, all erotic/exotic stories and topics came up during my internet research. This presumably has to be the thoughts that come to mind when people read the synopsis. It is assumed to be about lesbian rape or an assault between two lesbian women. It is not. Nor is it an erotic exploit on two women sexually engaged. It’s not a fantasy It’s a story loosely based on a friend’s experience with same gender assault and breaking her silence some 15 years later. If it happened to a friend of mine… it has happened before and thereafter. I took a risk and chose to write about it.
Get your copy
Autographed Paperback of The Town Dance
The Town Dance on Kindle
The Town Dance from Amazon (CreateSpace)
Today I’m a featured author at Born To Read Books
Enjoy an excerpt of The Town Dance while you’re there! And by the way, launch day for The Town Dance ranked #180 for kindle buyers in the Literary Fiction/African American genre. Not too bad for a self published indie author 🙂
Order Your Autographed Copy from me
Purchase Kindle or Paperback from Amazon
Purchase from Barnes and Noble
“How dare I resent the man who taught me how to pray when I know people who never had a father in the first place, so thank you.”
“I was raised on stories of return and that hope is still alive in my father’s eyes.”