Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baptism Backlash

So, today was the first day of my official godmother duty. The goddaughter is Catholic (actually, her father, Homeboy, is a lapsed Catholic and her mother, Homegirl, is down for whatever), so myself and her godfather had to join the baby's parents at their church for baptismal training. When Homegirl told me about this training, I expected it to be no more than instructions on where to stand on the day of the christening and who was going to hold the baby and where. Boy, was I wrong.

We get to the class five minutes early, but you'd think you were late from the way the session leader, Miss Christine, shot daggers at us. We rushed to take our seats as she fired out questions: "Why do you want to be a godparent?" "What's the role of the godparent?" "Why do we even have to get baptized in the first place?" She shouted out these questions at random. Of course, she got to the Godfather first and he explained that he was a Catholic, and he was devoted to Homegirl and Homeboy, as well as their little baby. He said he'd do everything he could to make sure goddaughter walked a straight and narrow path. Now, I just met Godfather before the ceremony and he told me he was an atheist. Not only was he an atheist, but his wife was wiccan, before she decided to be an atheist too. Yet somehow, he won Miss Christine over with his line of hogwash.

I was about to laugh until Miss Christine called on me. She wanted me to tell her why I wanted to be a godparent, my relationship with Homegirl and Homeboy aside. I stumbled through a few things on how I just wanted to be there for the baby when she grew up and stuff like that. When I mentioned I was a Baptist, a gasp came over the room. Then Miss Christine explained that the church only wanted Catholic parents to be godparents to Catholic children, but I could still do it, since Godfather was a Catholic. (Hah! If she only knew!)

Miss Christine mentioned that Homegirl's stepson also needed to be baptized and they needed godparents for him as well. Miss Christine eagerly nominated Godfather for the position. When Homeboy and Homegirl selected me as the godmother again, she was less then eager. "Well, I guess that'll work ...." she practically whispered.

After about an hour of enduring the Sunday School SATs and answering questions about sin and original sin, we learned that Homegirl and Homeboy were unable to get the baby baptized this weekend anyway. They got their dates confused and would be out of town. Plus, they just realized they needed to find a name of a saint to give to the baby and that would be read on baptismal day. So they have alot of work cut out for them.

Miss Christine was nice enough to give me some paperwork to look over while I wait for baptism day. I think she's hoping I'll be a full-fledged Catholic by then. Nice try, lady.

Photo from

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

!!!It's My Birthday!!!!

There was a time I got so excited about my birthday that I couldn't even sleep. The words March 24th just seemed to have that special flow to the, a flow that would get me all riled up. Sometimes, I'd look at my watch at 3:24 and make a mental note that it was my birthday. Of course, this was back when I was a kid. (Yes, I know I have issues)

The birthday excitement dwindled over the years. The one thing I do like to do every year is flip through the papers and find out which celebrities have my birthday (Mr. Roper and/or Mr. Furly from 'Three's Company', Star Jones, Peyton Manning, Allison Hanigan, Mase, Annabella Sciorra, Harry Houdini) and that's a list that grows every year.

For whatever reason, I was particularly excited about my birthday this year. I don't know why, there's nothing really special about being 32, other than being older than all the days on any given calendar month. But whatever, I checked my watch at 3:24 each day and told folks it was my birthday. Naturally, they looked at me like I was crazy. I went to New York for the weekend and had an AWESOME time seeing The Lion King and catching up with old friends. I took the entire week off and I'm spending it doing whatever the heck I want.

Today, I took myself out for sushi and went to the mall. While I was at the mall, I ran into this woman who was looking at me strangely. Then she came up to me and said I had beautiful eyes. She was a Mary Kay consultant and wanted to know if I'd be interested in modeling for one of her lines.

I paused because this brought me back to a painful college memory. A female friend and I were singing Mint Condition's "Pretty Brown Eyes" and she said the song was about her. I told her it was about me also, but she said that it wasn't about me. She proceeded to say that the song couldn't be about me, because I don't have the "pretty brown eyes" that she does. Her eyes are light, mine are dark. Even though this happened years ago, I still think of that whenever I hear this song.

Anyway, I said yes and gave the lady my telephone number. Maybe she'll call, maybe she won't. Either way, it was a good birthday gift for my self esteem. Hooray! Now all I need is a new wardrobe, and shoes, and a massage, etc etc etc.

(Photo from

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Broadway Bound

My birthday is coming up, so I’m doing what I like to do during that time of year: Get outta town! I’m heading up to New York City to see ‘The Lion King’, which I hear is one of the greatest Broadway plays of all time. The best part of the experience is that I’ll be like 10 rows from the stage!!! That and I’ll be hanging with one of my homegirls from college, the ultra fabulous La Bianca. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, here’s a vid. I spend my mornings flipping between the Today Show and Vh1 videos, which always give me songs/artists to obsess over.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rejection. It Feels Kinda Good This Time

I've been sending my short stories out like a mad woman, as I'm on that desperate hunt to get rich and famous. Or at least pay off my loans and live comfortably. Heck, I'll settle for something as simple as sushi and a massage.

Because I've been doing this, I've had my fair share of rejection letters. I used to have a shoebox with the words "HAKUNA MATATA" (it means 'no worries' -- Swahili) painted on the sides. I covered it with wrapping paper and taped all kinds of motivational phrases on it. Inside, that's where I kept all of my rejection letters. The idea was to keep the rejections locked up safely in there. Then, once I got a letter accepting my work, I'd look at these rejections and laugh. Ok, that's the nice version. I'd probably set the rejection letters on fire.

I've moved quite a bit since I had that box, but I still stock up my rejections. (I do save my winning letters too.) Recently, I submitted a short story to a website that posts fiction that meets their guidelines. I posted to them before and was rejected, so this time I sent something different. I was turned down again, but I'm not mad. Actually, I'm smiling a little bit. Here's the rejection letter:

Sent: Sat 3/07/09 5:49 PM
To: Strength C.
Dear Strength:

Thanks for submitting "Up the New Jersey Turnpike" to XYZFICTION*.
While this story doesn't suit our needs at this time, I hope that you'll
keep visiting the site and keep sending stories our way. As we update
weekly, we're always looking for new fiction.

Thanks again,
Jason Reynolds

PS- While we don't have time to respond to every submission in detail, I
wanted you to know that "Up the New Jersey Turnpike" made it through
several rounds of reading and impressed a number of our editors along
the way. As such, it'd be great to see your name in the inbox again.


So yeah, that postscript made a sista feel geeked. And don't you worry, Jason. I'll be blowing up your inbox, best believe.

*Note: Name has been changed