Sunday, June 15, 2014

SUPERWOMAN: In Training....

Throughout the decades the "social roles" of women have flip flopped. And for black women, well, they have always been distorted. And that is a-whole-nother conversation for another place and time. But, what I have learned is this: Kim Kardashian, Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, Carol Brady, and Hazel the Maid rarely happens in the same individual, the same woman. And is even less likely to occur in a society where EVERY woman aspires to be Oprah.

     Only Chaka Khan can be every woman. For any other woman, that would either be a shock or a con. We REAL women have to be who we are, and in doing so, take care of the things that matter most. Rarely, if ever, will that be EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME.

     I have spoken to friends and family over the years about this. We each have our recipe for womanhood. I have compiled what I consider to be the best advice, but do admit, that sometimes maintaining everything on this list is extremely difficult, but try I must.

1. Put God first.

2. Keep your house clean (yes, even the laundry).

3. Keep yourself together at all times (and this means health AND beauty).

4. Pay ALL your bills, (even if you have nothing left).

5. Always save for a rainy day (Set aside money regularly that you do not touch).

6. Have at least 3-4 streams of income.

7. Have at least one outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks and one fabulous black dress w/shoes.

8. Own a perfect place setting for a meal for two (Mothers may wish to also have a perfect place setting for each one of her children) AND know how to prepare at least one meal fit for a king.

9. Choose a mate that is a friend, as well as a partner. Life is hard enough. A sound relationship should make both your lives enjoyable.

10. Never be too proud, shy, or ashamed to admit that you need help.

MY FATHER'S JEWELRY BOX - Another Odd Lesson

     I remember one year, for argument's sake let's say it was Father's Day (but it may have actually been Christmas...I don't exactly recall. I was around 12 years old). But I remember my father had expensive taste and for this occasion, I wanted to get him something that he would buy for himself. I searched high and low until I saw a jewel box, a wooden jewelry box with an antique car on top. THAT WAS IT. I had to get this for my father.
     I bought it and wrapped it and couldn't wait to see the expression on his face. To me, this was the perfect gift and I had already preselected the perfect spot for it, right atop his dresser. This jewelry box just so happened to be the perfectly matching grain of wood. 

     When I gave it to my father, he unwrapped it and said, "Oh wow! This is nice!"
      I said, "You like it, for real?"
      He said, "I love it!"
      But then he walked into the living room over to his bar that was chrome and had black smoked glass, and sat it on top.
      Now upset, I said, "What did you do that for? It goes on the dresser! I bought it to match your dresser!"
      He said, "It belongs on the bar."
      I said, "No it doesn't! It's a jewelry box!"
      He said, "This is not a jewelry box! They're coasters!" He then opened the drawers and showed me they had no depth, but were embedded with cork disks.

...And such is the depth of the daddy-daughter dynamic!
What does this look like to you?



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Just R.E.A.D. - Eartha Watts Hicks

     I wrote my novel, Love Changes, quite a few years ago. But I wanted to make the work literary. Urban, but with literary devices that could be dissected, analyzed, discussed and studied like works of Alice Walker, J.D. Salinger, Toni Morrison, and Franz Kafka. And then I wanted to include my poetry and the actual song lyrics from some of my favorite songs. I was advised not to do a lot of that...especially including the song lyrics and poetry. But I was driven by my passion for the work and the desire to see it exist...the way I would do it.
     Tomorrow, June 13th, will be the one year anniversary of the day I received the Just R.E.A.D. Award for fiction from the NYCHA branch of the NAACP. This organization deserves our support. To support this organization with volunteerism or a donation, reply by email to


     One morning my son, who was sixteen at the time, came to me. “Ma, I do not understand this poem and for homework I have to describe what it means.”
     I took a look at it and saw it was the famous one by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night." So I asked him, “What do you think it means?”
     He said, “I don’t know.”
     So I told him, “That poem was actually featured in the movie Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. They actually discuss the meaning of that poem in the movie.”
     He says, “Great! I’ll look for it on Netflix!”
     I said to him, “You can actually find that on YouTube. But before you do that, read the poem yourself three times and write down what YOU think it means. And then after that, you write down what the movie says. Be sure to let the teacher know that you saw that movie and in your essay, compare and contrast your thoughts against those points made in the movie and the reasons why you felt what you felt.”
      “Okay.” He skips away and returns about fifteen minutes later with handwritten notes written all over his poem.
     I asked, “Did you watch the movie?”
     He said, “No.”
     Now I asked, “What do you think the poem is about?”
     He said, “I think death, but that seems too easy.”
     I now say, “You are absolutely right! That poem is about death. You are a brilliant boy. Stop second guessing yourself. Sweetheart, sometimes the worst thing a person can do for you is to give you all the answers.”