Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Sunday Spin

1. Look at me. I'm exhaustion.

2. Exhaustion is having to read/study nonstop in order to take a big time test this weekend

3. Exhaustion is trying to study, while working non stop

4. But I'll get through it, 'cause soon as I write this post, I'm going to bed

5. And then I'll be up at 5 a.m. so I can do more studying and work on draft 3 of my own book

6. In my test reading material, I'm now reading Virginia Woolf's 'To The Lighthouse,' which is pretty good in a crazy, stream of consciousness kind of way

7. And for those of you who were paying attention to last week's #7, my favorite movie is The Last Dragon. (I've mentioned that before) Anyway, they're trying to remake it with Rihanna. I do like her, but I've got mixed feelings abut her playing this part. Ah well.

Have a good week!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I was always the type of kid that got into stuff I shouldn’t have. By stuff, I’m talking about books. I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t able to delve into my mother’s massive book collection. No subject was off limits – I read novels with their fair share of violence, cursing, sex and anything else that most folks want to shield from a kid’s eyes. But I was lucky to have a mother who was just grateful that I was reading, so she never censored anything I’d read.

So I was particularly young when I started reading Terry McMillan. At the time, she was the only contemporary black author around that I felt comfortable reading. Toni Morrison was too far over my head; same goes for Alice Walker. (things have changed and I’ve learned to love their work) I was more comfortable reading about the dysfunctional family in Mama, the on-again, off-again lovers in Disappearing Acts and the friendships in Waiting to Exhale.

Waiting to Exhale wasn’t my favorite Terry book; I thought it was just okay. But I was pleased to see it being made as movie and went to see it opening weekend, if I do remember correctly. Disappearing Acts was my favorite book – actually that’s in a close tie with Mama – and I still have the HBO movie version of the book on a VHS tape somewhere. I learned recently that Terry has written a sequel to W2E and that’ll be released this fall. ‘Getting To Happy’ will revisit the women 15 years from where they left off in the original book.

Let me just give that a big fat no. Albeit, I have an immediate bias against sequels that come like hundreds of years after the original (i.e. Back to the Future 2; Sisters & Husbands, the sequel to Connie Briscoe’s Sisters & Lovers, etc). I mean, if it takes the writers that long to figure out the plot, what makes me think it’s going to be any good? So already my expectations for W2E 2 are low, very low.

The thing about it is, I can’t think of many characters in that book with a storyline worth revisiting. Maybe Robin, who wound up pregnant and abandoned by her married lover, yet in the book was giving overweight Michael a second chance. (the latter was overlooked in the movie). Gloria (Loretta Devine’s character) seemed like she was getting the happy ending she was looking for and Savannah was being open minded about dating again. Bernadine (Angela Bassett) had started living with a new man (portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the movie). I wonder if a sequel to the book will mean a sequel to the movie too? Hmmm.

I’ve been proven wrong before, I’d be happy to be proven wrong again. In all honesty, I think W2E might have been the last Terry book I’ve read. I loved the movie version of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but I never read the book. I do remember that the movie helped me realize that Angela Bassett is THE TRUTH. Generally, cigarrettes gross me out, but I desperately wanted to smoke one with her when she set her husband’s clothes on fire. There was a lot of passion behind those puffs.

I do remember W2E being one of the few times back then where black folks were on the big screen and there was no gunfire. I enjoyed that. It was also the first in a long line of examples I saw of somewhat similar stories that portrayed black woman as being unhappily single because all black men are gay/on drugs/in prison/dogs/into white women/etc. I didn’t enjoy that.

But I’m interested in seeing what the new W2E will bring. Listen to Terry talk about it here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Sunday Spin

1. I didn't have to work my part-time gig today, so this has been my Overindulgence Day

2. That means I got 12 hours of sleep

3. I cooked and consumed a massive breakfast -- eggs, turkey bacon, oatmeal and tea

4. I also ate a massive amount of oatmeal raisin cookies on the Eve of Overindulgence Day

5. Now I'm forcing myself to go to the gym and study

6. March 6 is D.Day for me -- as in I have to take a comprehensive exam that is required for me to get my master's degree. Then I'll have to focus on that pesky thesis.

7. Did you hear that Terry McMillan has written a sequel to Waiting to Exhale, and it will be published this fall? And did you hear about what they're trying to do to my favorite movie of all times? If the answer is no to either one of these questions, best believe I will be providing my thoughts in upcoming posts.

Now it's off to the gym! Have a good week everyone!

Monday, February 15, 2010

"These Hips Are Magic Hips ..."

I was saddened to hear about the death of poet Lucille Clifton recently. Poetry is very hit or miss for me. Generally, I enjoy it, alot, especially when the writer is the one doing the reading. But I don't go out of my way to read poetry collections (Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni and Georgia Douglas Johnson are the exception) or attend readings. This could be a side effect from a few years before when I thought I was dropping in on a brief spoken word event, which, instead, turned out to be THREE HOURS of someone screaming, then whispering their words. I'm still recovering.

Anyway, I was familiar with Lucille Clifton because she lived in my old neighborhood. However, I wasn't exposed to her poetry until maybe a year or so ago during a fiction class. My professor gave us a copy of her poem 'Here rests', which basically summed up her sister's life and personality in a few lines. The poem resonated with me because in some ways her sister reminded me of my Aunt BG, who is now in a nursing home raising all sorts of hell. (Let's just say that one nurse learned the hard way about telling my aunt to put out a cigarette.) Here's the poem:

here rests

by Lucille Clifton

my sister Josephine
born july in '29
and dead these 15 years
who carried a book
on every stroll.

when daddy was dying
she left the streets
and moved back home
to tend him.

her pimp came too
her Diamond Dick
and they would take turns

a bible aloud through the house.
when you poem this
and you will she would say
remember the Book of Job.

happy birthday and hope
to you Josephine
one of the easts
most wanted.

may heaven be filled
with literate men
may they bed you
with respect.

With poetry, I'm a big believer in hearing it READ by the writer, versus reading it yourself. So here's some audio of her doing a 'Homage to my Hips', which is where the title for this blog post was taken. But don't stop there. Please check out 'Miss Rosie', 'Blessing the Boats' and 'Wishes for Sons'. And take a moment to see her in action. Rest in peace, Miss Lucille.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Sunday Spin (or, The Ice Age Is Melting)

1. Apparently, I'm not the only one who was hit with cabin fever this past week

2. Every place I attempted to go -- Potbelly's, IHOP, the mall, anywhere even NEAR the mall -- was jam packed with wall to wall people.

3. I guess that snowstorm helped us all realize what's really important

4. Money, and spending it

5. The large crowds were enough to sway me from spending a significant amount of cash

6. Let's just say I managed to eat well and watch Four Christmases, which I thought was hilarious

7. Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Quiet Storm (or All My Single Ladies ...)

When news spread that my region was going to be hit with a record-breaking storm, everyone crowded their grocery stores, gas stations and prepared to lock themselves in with the bare necessities. God forbid you be trapped inside without toilet paper. Or eggs. Or popcorn. Or movies.

But then an even bigger fear arises – what are you going to do, if you are trapped inside *gasp* ALONE??

A few people asked me what I’d do during this period, since I live alone. Was I going to stay with my parents, establish a bunker with some friends? How would I survive? Just fine, thank you very much. And here’s how you can too.

So, All My Single Ladies, listen up. Here’s how you to can make the best of being inside by your lonesome as the Snowtorius B.I.G. knocks on your door:

-Remember the important things:
Look around and realize that you have everything that you need right there, most importantly, POWER. That means you can blast Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae, your Bob Marley 3-disc collection as loud and as often as you want. Who’s gonna complain? Let’s face it, your neighbors are too busy shoveling, having sex, beating the hell out of their kids, or screaming at each other to worry about the noise you’re making.

-Shovel, girl. Shovel: The first day of the storm it was myself and two other women shoveling ourselves out of our parking spaces. Mr. Bad Element walked by several times to tell us we were doing it wrong, that it would take forever and to make fun of our shovel technique. Yet by the time he returned from the liquor store, he and his drunken entourage of delinquents marveled at how much I cleared off of my space while their cars remained immersed in the white stuff. Yeah, my back, leg, arm and a region in my left hip/lower back/butt cheek are sore, but Mr. Bad Element was shamed, and that's all that matters.

-Never forget that you’re a lady: That’s my golden rule. No matter how much snow has fallen, I have remained true to my fashion plate status. On my first day of working from home, I was dressed in what I call my sexy outfit. I’m talking about my wife beater (I know I shouldn’t use that term, but you’ll just have to forgive me. I have cabin fever), blue leggings and white head rag. I showered, then switched it up to my Detroit t-shirt, BLACK leggings and RED head rag. Today, day two of working from home, I’m wearing gray sweatpants, a fuschia cami and NO head rag. Gotta keep it interesting. And sexy. Also, remember to shower and/or bathe often. You’re only as good as your last stick of deodorant.

-Don’t crack under pressure: After days of being indoors and only being able to socialize with your neighbor – and your cat, who may or may not be tired of you, depending on his mood –you may feel the heebie jeebies settle in. Just the other day, I was in my bed trying to get my beloved pet to play with me, but he just sat there and stared. I was hurt. I put on my glasses and realized that I hadn’t been talking to a cat, but a box! Which leads me to my final point ….

-Never let the snow turn you into a slob: Seriously. If the laundry must pile up, keep it in the hamper. Don’t spread it out on the floor into intricate piles that you intend on handling. Those clothes you plan on sending to the Salvation Army? Pack em up, don’t leave them on the floor simply because you paid way too much for that coat you boat in the ‘90s. That’s not vintage, bitch!

*Steps off of soapbox*

I hope my guidelines help. And rest assured, this epic blizzard will be over soon, despite *gulp* a forecast of even more snow this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll leave you all with the same desperate plea I shouted to my mother after she left me for my first day of day care: “GET ME OUTTA THIS DAMN PLACE!!!” Hopefully you all won’t give me the whoopin that she did.

Photo from

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It's My 4th Blog Day!

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the day I started this blog. And what a coincidence, Sade's latest album made its debut today as well, almost as a blog day gift to myself. Hooray!

So aside from listening to the Soldier of Love cd constantly (get it, it's worth it! she kills me with every track), I'm sitting here watching the snow fall. Yes, I'm still in blizzard territory and yes, the white stuff is putting a hurting on all of us mere minions. It started snowing after work and it has let up a little bit now, but it's supposed to get worse in the morning. I've already decided that I'm working from home tomorrow, if I even work at all. Of course, my car made that decision for me, since it's stuck in it's spot. Fun. And right now, all I can see is the driver side mirror of the car parked next to mine, since that one is almost totally covered in snow.

Anyway, such a wild and crazy way to celebrate being four years old! I know I haven't blogged much this past year, but I'm slowly trying to change. Thanks for sticking in with me for these last four years. Something tells me that 2010 is gonna be a great one!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Movie Alert: Temple Grandin

Like anyone else, I have my biases. There are times I feel strongly about one thing or another and I can't really explain why. For example, I cringe anytime anyone uses the R word (shame on you, Rahm). I tend to avoid movies where celebrities are playing someone who is mentally challenged -- haven't seen Nell, I Am Sam, The Other Sister, just to name a few.

But the other night, I was laying in my bed waiting for my dosage of cold medicine to kick in, when I stumbled upon the HBO movie, Temple Grandin. In it, Claire Danes is Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who overcame her disability to attend college, earn a master's degree and a phd. Her specialty was animal science and in the 1970s, she helped farmers develop a more efficient way to slaughter cattle. She studied the animals and realized that in alot of ways, they were like her and there were certain things about the existing process that freaked them out, long before they were killed.

It's amazing that the entire process of slaughtering the animals didn't bother Temple. But she said "I'd rather be slaughtered than have my guts ripped out by a lion, if it's done right."The real Temple is now a professor at Colorado State University and has written several books about autism.

Overall, it was a really good movie and Claire Danes did an excellent job. The movie was also inspiring, because this was a woman who had a door (there's a recurring theme with doors in the movie) slammed in her face each and everytime, but she remained determined. All of us could use that perseverance from time to time.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Yes, I'm Alive

It's been a busy few months. One that's been filled with working, writing, tweeting, facebooking, working, writing ... and all of the other stuff that does not include blogging. Sorry that I've been neglectful ya'll. In short, I've been doing great and 2010 is off to a great start. Here's a longer rundown of what I've been up to:
  • Writing: I'm up to draft three in my new novel. The pieces are slowly coming together. I think I've found a title and I've finally committed to names of some of the major characters. Maybe it's just me, but naming folks is one of the hardest parts of writing for me. I guess that's just cause I feel like names and nicknames should have meaning. *shrug*
  • Reading: I've become totally obsessed with the Clan of the Cave bear series. I finished book one quickly and nowI'm approaching the end of book 2, Valley of the Horses. There are six books in all, and thanks to my obsession, I own all six!! And I hear that the writer will be releasing another book sometime this year. Hooray!
  • Tweeting: Yes, I've discovered Twitter. But I'm more of a Tweet watcher than a tweeter myself. The thing I like to do is follow celebrities on there, because I just often imagine what there lives are like. I'm following Erykah Badu, Aisha Tyler, Questlove from the Roots, Rainn Wilson, Chrisette Michele, etc. Erykah Badu has the most entertaining tweets by far, like -- "Whose baby is this, on my chest? Oh yeah, it's mine."
  • Facebooking: Yes, it's that website that I both love and hate. I love catching up with old friends, but all the site is is a high school reunion 75485748 times a day. On my friends' list, there's been what I've dubbed a 'love war' in the status updates. One friend is going through a pretty nasty divorce, so each day there's an update about that. On the other spectrum, there's my madly in love friend. He recently got engaged, so each day I have to hear about his Beloved (yes, he calls her by a pet name that's similar to that) did this or that. She calls him Smooches (again, a name equally similar) and responds back in love haikus. It's interesting.
  • Bobbing my head: I continue to keep my cd collection up to date, and I've been waiting patiently for the release of !!!SADE!!!! But I've been enjoying the latest releases from Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, Mariah Carey and Corinne Bailey Rae. My buddy Tbyrd hipped me to St Germain's Tourist cd, which has several smooth tunes.
  • Shoveling: My region of the world was hit with a massive snowstorm recently. I'm talking 20 inches and up. Although I enjoy the snow when I'm tucked safely inside with no place to go, the fact is that eventually, I will have a place to go, and in order to get there, I need to shovel. Ugh. But it was a true bonding experience for myself and my three or four other neighbors who came out to get the job done ahead of time.
  • Being neighborly: I had the pleasure of shoveling beside my favorite neighbor, I'll call her Dana, because I don't know her name. She has a little girl and she's the only other single woman living in my building. We've commiserated when Mr. Bad Element moved in, and made subsequent complaints to management. So I couldn't help but laugh when Dana was shoveling her car and Mr. Bad Element walked in the path she just shoveled. She gave him a firm cussing out and told him not to even THINK about walking anywhere near where she just shoveled. He grumbled, but he listened. Tee hee. He deserved that and so much more. But more about him later.

Anyway, that about sums up my life story at the moment. Be sure to tune in next time when I'll be sure to add more blogging into the mix.

(Photo from )