I Am In Love

She makes me want to do better.

She makes me want to be better.

She brings a smile to my face and a deep longing for more of her elixir. I. Love. Her.

I told my husband that I am in love with a woman. He knows my penchant for falling in love. It is who I am. It is what I do. Love is woven into my being, into my hair follicles, into my bones, into my name, into everything which makes me me. Over the past two years, though, that which once came so easily to me has been difficult to reach. I have not been myself. I have been an echo, a shadow, an impostor of my true self. But just recently, I believe that I have fallen madly in love with a woman. I may have truly fallen for her.

Her voice.

Her inflection.

Her word choice.

Her language.

Her accent.

Her fierceness.

Her boldness.

Her courageousness.

Her strength.

Her beauty. That illuminates from the inside out.

Her fearlessness. Her ability to go deep into the places, the depths, the crevices that I can not.

I think I love her… or I am obsessed with her. The two look so similar. I guess it depends on one’s perspective.

She is my age. She is amazing. She is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I am not sure where I have been for that last thirteen or fourteen years but I have finally met the love of my life*. Last year, I was introduced to her via Twitter and decided to purchase her most recent novel, Americanah. So, I have had this book in my possession for close to eighteen months and I have just read the first chapter today (5.27.15). Over the last few months, I began to listen to TEDtalks on YouTube while driving home from work. I would listen to talks about life and finding ones purpose, about education, about love, about sex, about writing, about feminism, and about books to mention a few of the topics that peaked my interest. Last month, I listened to Chimamanda’s TEDtalk entitled, “We should all be feminists.” And that is when she began courting me. Yesterday, I came across a couple of her hour-long interviews about the book. As I listened to the conversation between Chimamanda and Zadie Smith, I could not wait to get home to hold my book, to feel its smooth pages, to dive in and to devour every word. I was so ready for it. Which was odd because, initially I was intimated by it. I looked at the thickness of the book, the physical weight and the weight of the subject matter frightened me. But yesterday, she embraced me with her soul and my fear dissipated.

When I arrived at my house, I raced to find Americanah not even to begin reading it, but just hold it in my arm, nestled close like a baby. But, it was not where I’d thought it to be…. And I tore the house apart searching for the book that I know I purchased. After a few hours, I became desperate and went online to find another copy. I did. I was that upset about not having the book in my possession that I was willing to spend more money to get another copy. I, first, considered going to my favorite Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy but it was after 10pm and the bookstore was closed. So, I put a copy into my online shopping cart along with a copy of White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Before I hit the purchase button, I sat still to calmly think for a moment about where the book could be, in what space did I “put it up?” It came to me in my calm. I knew where it was. Literally, I felt like a light bulb was lit over my head like in the cartoons. I ran upstairs, to the closet in the office/guest room and surely, I found my copy of the book right next to my college degree (TUMF! All my Temple Alum stand up!). I was so elated. And so very much in love again. I carried it around with me for the rest of the evening, slept with it by my side, took it to work with me, and finally cracked it open after work.

I finished the first chapter and started the second. I read with a pencil, as a reader and as a writer, and the first chapter is marked up. Not in a bad way but in a taking notes, ahh haa kind of way. One of my notations on page one is next to the sentence: Philadelphia had the musty scent of history. I’ll take it. I wrote: WE MADE THE FRONT PAGE! LOL!

I told my husband that I am in love with a woman. She sparked something in me. Helped me rekindle my passion for writing again. And I love her for it. I am purposely reading this novel slowly so my review will probably be written in the fall.

I hope I love Americanah as much as I love Chimamanda (or rather my idea of her ’cause I honestly don’t know her personally).

*Okay, the whole love of my life thing… not really… I mean, have you seen my grandboy?

Look at ‘im

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We were on our way to vote on 5.19.15

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Raven and Ryan: A love story

I wanna try something. Today is step outside of your comfort zone day for me. Many writers and bloggers that I have connected with over the years know that I am very hestitant (and sometimes anxious and fearful) of sharing my work. The following is a small sample of a story I have been working on (for far too long) and plan to finish during the first quarter of 2015.
So, here goes nothing.. *squeezes eyes tight and cannonballs into the deep end*:

*written 11.09.13*
The ambulance ride was a familiar one. Stark white interior illuminated by severe lights. Just like the emergency room. The rough rocking back and forth. Constantly trying to hold your balance on the seat while, at the same time, trying to hold back your tears. Your own anxiety creeping up your neck to your face pushing against the vessels in your eyes. The pressure causing them to burst. Raven had a random thought about poor people and seat belts that forced out a small chuckle. The EMT looked up at her as he checked her mother’s blood pressure again.
“You okay?”
“Yes. Just had a.. uh.. a thought…anyway, how is she? Will we be there soon?” Raven knew the hospital route, knew that they had two more turns and to hit the roundabout before they arrived but asked to put the focus back on her mother.
“Her blood pressure is elevated but she is stable. We should be there in two minutes.”
Raven nodded and went back to staring at nothing. Her resolve settled over her like a heavy cloak. This was her life.

And so it begins… AGAIN (ROW80 update)

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Mondays are absolutely crazy for me. It’s my “duty day” at work which means I handle my issues and that of my team that may arise in the office. I barely get a chance to take a break and sometimes I have lunch when it’s quitting time. It is also difficult to turn off work and turn on the creativity. Sometimes I am so mentally drained that I can not figure out what to eat or to wear the next day to work. But what helps, beyond measure, is the continued support of the ROW80 community. Knowing that you all are out there in cyberspace, working diligently, creating, crying, fretting, and willing to share it all and be supportive of others… including lil ole me, well… where are the words for that? With all of my starting and stopping, you all have been there and in three years the community has grown exponentially but has not lost its essence which is what continues to draw me back. Life gets in the way. We start. We stop. We start again. And again.

Thank you, ROWers, for being right there. You all are awesome.

Especially our fearless leader, Kait Nolan.

She leads by example and continues to encourage even when her life gets “in the way.”

This round, Kait encourages us to challenge ourselves by focusing on improving a specific aspect of the craft and so I kept this in mind as I developed my goals for this round.

Goals: Round 4, 2013

1. Write everyday: I signed up for 750words.com a few years ago and have not utilized it to assist in my writing as much as I could have. I am putting it to full use to get into the habit of writing every day and having it become as second nature as breathing. I have allow life to get in the way a little too much. I will write, at least, 750 words every day.

2. Control my inner editor: I start and stop and reread and rewrite so much and have yet to finish a piece. I found an article that gave a few suggestions on how to quiet your inner editor. I will attempt one form each week.

3. Improve an aspect of the craft: Dialogue. I will conduct real world research at least once per week (AKA eavesdrop) and attempt to apply what I’ve learned “in the field” to my writing.

4. Reading: I purchased On Writing by Stephen King… finally! I will complete this book this round.

5. WIPs: I am working on my Philadelphia Stories. I will complete the Philly’s Finest section by the end of this round.

6. Business: My dream is to be a business owner. I am taking steps toward making my dream my reality. I will complete my business plan this round.

In my life…

I sat down to finally write this post and this Beatles’ song began replaying in my mind. This is a post that has been brewing for some time. Many months have passed since I last posted, really since I’ve last written anything of substance.

I have thought about the community that I’ve been welcomed into via the blogosphere and I have missed the interaction in my absence.  This year has proven to be extremely tough. I have been going through a marital separation and this stress is unlike any other.

My response to stressors vary but usually all come together when I put pen to paper. Yes. An actual pen filled with black ink on actual paper in a beautiful journal. It helps. I return to the basics when stressed so anything resembling a blog post has been buried in the pages of one of my journals. I was absent from my blog but I held on to my basics to get me through the rough times.

I have learned plenty about myself in these past few months. I’ve learned that I am more resilient than I thought I could be. I’ve also come to realize that my passion for writing, for expressing , for creating is still very much alive and no amount of heartache or heartbreak can quell that passion.

In this new position that I find myself in, I am sharpening my focus. This isn’t an overnight one-hundred-eighty-degree sort of thing. It’s gradual and constant and it feels great. I’ve set goals for myself, not just for my writing but for my life, and am seeing them through to fruition. And it feels great. Fear is beginning to dissolve and my sunshine is beaming through.

I am beginning to do some of the things that I’ve set as goals in the past but did not accomplish them. I’ve been travelling more and getting a better handle on my finances. I’ve been trying harder at a healthier lifestyle. And I’ve definitely let go of so much stress. I actually feel lighter. I’m working on a few short stories and plan to have them done by the end of August. I’m moving. In previous posts I wrote about feeling stagnant well not anymore. I’m moving.

I think this song resonates with me because love was never the issue. It’s still there. It’s still here. And so am I.

In my life…

Another round

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I was not sure if I would participate this round. There is so much going on in my life that continuously thwarts my creativity that participating in this challenge would be… well, a challenge.

I am also tired. Tired of setting goals and not meeting them. Tired of allowing everything around me become more important than my own finish line. Sometimes other people’s finish lines become more important than my own. How does that happen? When I read others’ posts about reaching their 5000 word per day goal, I get a little sidetracked, comparing myself to those 5000 worders. I wonder how they can produce so many words in one day. Where does the time and energy come from? I have a full-time job, a husband, children, extended family, friends… Where do these people find the time, energy, and creative juice to produce? I would end up discouraging myself after a while and just stop trying. With a hectic daily life and comparisons to the 5000 worders, well, who needs this stinkin’ challenge?

Me.

And sometimes I think Kate writes her posts just for me. Today was one of those times. Kate’s post today was exactly what I needed. Most times, we know what we need to do for ourselves but just need to hear it from someone else. Thank you Kate. I know I should not be comparing myself to anyone else, that I should be focusing on the best me I can be, but I needed to be reminded is all. I needed to be encouraged is all.  I needed to believe again.

So, I’m joining you all once again in this quest to challenge myself.

Here are my goals for this round:

Write.

Write everyday.

Write for, at least, 30 uninterrupted minutes. Everyday.

I think word counts are intimidating. It has taken me several rounds to come to this conclusion. This is progress.

There are a couple of areas I would like to focus on: my blog, my poetry, and my D. Church story. So I will alternate. I will not assign days or hours or word counts to my writing.

I will simply write. (Simply write? Riiight.)

I need to be a better me. So, I will be a better me. I recognize my fear: endings.

I will write. I will finish.

Super Bowl Sunday 2013

Superbowl-2013Super Bowl Sunday…. means absolutely nothing to me. My interest in sports, overall, has declined dramatically over the years and with football I’ve always been on the fringe of fandom. Maybe because I played basketball and followed that sport at all levels of play. Even named my son after “The Human Highlight Reel.” (Basketball fans will know who that he is.) But, I digress…

Although, I hope Ray Lewis gets the ultimate retirement gift in the form of SB ring, Super Bowl Sunday, to me, means the same as last Sunday: do laundry, get housework done, get work work done, mentally prepare for work on Monday, and try to focus long enough to formulate a sentence.

My words have been missing in action over the past 2-3 weeks. Work has taken the forefront and has left minimal time to focus on writing so my January has been less than productive. Let’s recap:
– started the #sexyshred health and fitness challenge, via Twitter, with my sister
– my sister had a seizure
– my #sexyshred participation began to decline (I did not met my my -15lb weight goal)
– had qualifications for work, which is always nerve wrecking, (I passed but I may have strained/sprained my thumb in the process…long story)
– had training for work that required over night travel (just thought about this: I could have used my voice recorder during my two and a half hour drive to and from the training to work on my WIP!…next time…)
– had to work on other projects for people that I’ve partnered with in the attempt to build on several different fronts (some was internet research, some promotion and sales)
– AND I have reports due at the end of the month and the beginning of the month so that week that we transtion from one month to the next is ridiculously hectic and….drumroll please… I was locked out of my computer on January 31st! Because I could not get through to the help desk, my reports were late which threw off my February 1st reports…

Here we are, February 3, 2013 – Super Bowl Sunday, and I have to get ready for work… today. I’m on my way out of the door to work for a few hours the come back in and work on my February 1st reports.

Where are my ROW80 goals in all of this? I’m still sifting through the haze of my life right now. Work has become a dense fog…but here goes…

NEW GOALS:

READING– I’ve a couple online book clubs/reading challenges over the years but never truly became involved. One of which is Mocha Girls Read via Goodreads. Well this month’s selection is Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden and I have it in my possession.
My goal is to read this novel and participate in the discussion this month.

WRITING– There are so many topics I want to write about that they sometimes cause a traffic jam in my head. I truly want to finish a piece of writing but I keep coming up with new story lines (just came up with a new one in the shower: Open For Business -this is a working title). Also, I have to tell myself that it is okay to include non-fiction as “writing.” In the past, fiction has been my word count focus, my measure of whether or not I’ve “written” anything in a single day.

I want to start a writing program for girls in my area. My goal is to complete my proposal this month.

I’ve also come to realize that my life, right now, does not allow for daily writing but I can set a weekly word goal…

My weekly word count goal is 1000 words. I will measure my week from Sunday to Sunday.

HEALTH AND FITNESS

I am inconsistent with my participation in the gym. Honestly, I don’t want to be inside. I’ve found that I get my best results from running… outside. My goal is to get back out on the running trail on Kelly Drive 3-4 days each week so I have to get the proper outdoor running gear. Again, my week is from Sunday to Sunday. Also, slowly but surely my old eating habits are returning. I have to consciously decide to treat my body better by not pumping it full of junk (although junk tastes great sometimes!)

GUILTY PLEASURE

Thursday evenings belong to me. I watch Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal faithfully and cannot comprehend anything other than those two shows from 8:30p-11:30p on Thursday nights.  I’ve also found one more show that I’m now hooked on: House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. It’s a Netflix original series and it’s so good! The best thing about it is that you can watch all of the episodes whenever you want… no waiting until next week to find out who dunnit! I know, I know, I could use that TV time to be writing.. or working.. or working out.. or doing laundry.. or a number of other things but hey, I don’t. And I’m fine with that so you should be too!

New Goals? Already?

images (6)My A.D.D. does not care about Rounds of Words or a resolute New Year.

My A.D.D. does not care about schedules or goals or word counts.

My A.D.D. is a 3 year old hopped up on Lolly Pops running up and down each nerve axiom.

So, here I am, posting new goals only a week into Round One of 2013. I tried to hang in there but all of the sitting in front of my computer typing a sentence then almost breaking the backspace button to rid the world of that crap is just a bit much. And way too unproductive. I have to put that WIP away for a while. I broke a few rules with that piece. Like the one where you are not supposed to read what you wrote the day before. Ummm. Yeah. So, I was advised not to do that the day after I did it. OOPS. Plus, I have not come up with a good enough hell to put my MCs through just yet and I’m to that point in the story where shit-must-hit-fan.

I am giving myself an early do over. On one of the many blogs I peruse (sorry I forgot the name. when I find it I will give her props) the ROWer sets weekly goals. I’ll try that this week and see if that’s a better fit for me.

Writing:

I will complete one short story this week. Word goal: 1000

Exercise:

Work out at least 4 days out of the week.

I’m starting with a full plate: working full time with a schedule that can change without notice, an important qualification to pass this week (I get so anxious! UGGGHH!), a household complete with husband, children, laundry, etc., and a few partnerships that require some of my time to work on outside projects. I didn’t set any reading goals for this week because I have an event and that qualification to get ready for so the above goals should be enough for this week.

Pray for me.

(BTW… I’m self diagnosed A.D.D. but I’m probably spot on with my analysis. LOL!)