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Showing posts from 2017

Who You Calling Bougie?

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Recently, a friend of mine called me“bougie.” In case you’ve never heard the term, Urban Dictionary defines bougie,a hacked truncation of the word Bourgeoisie, which refers to the middle-class in Europe, as “aspiring to be a higher class than one is.”
Now, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been called bougie. And generally, being called bougie doesn’t offend me because it calls me out for daring to dream, for striving to accomplish something. I have, after all been called other, worse things. And I don’t particularly care much what other people think of me. But being called bougie does rather irritate me because it inherently asserts that I have no right to dream, to achieve, that who I was at birth is who I should be at death.
The word bougie seems to stem from a screwed-up thought process that defines a place for everyone, a place they must always remain. I remember as a kid, when I talked back, I would be told I was “out of place.” And that was often a punishable offense. The idea t…

It's Mother's Day and I'm in the Doghouse

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Mother’s Day. I know the drill.
STEP 1: Buy Card. CHECK. STEP 2: Sign card. CHECK. STEP 3: Mail Card. Aw, shit!
Now Meatloaf said, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, but he never met my mother. I’m in the doghouse for sure. Which, I suppose id better than ending up in the woodshed.
I would ask my brothers for help. But the youngest, Vernon, is the perfect son. He’s some sort of saint, I swear. (He takes after our dad.)
I used to go to my parents for Mother’s Day, but one year it took me 4 hours to get there and 5 to come home. I hate the George Washington Bridge!
So I started sending flowers to cover my absence. But there was always a debacle. One year, they delivered the flowers in a broken case. I called to complain and the florist sent out a second set of flowers—with NO VASE. I called to complain again. Yep, they delivered more flowers but no vase was to be seen. Another year, another florist. This time they delivered the flowers to the wrong apartment and as they had a signed receipt, they refus…

The Eagle Has Left the Nest (Carrying a Book)

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This morning at 2 am EST, after eight months, 61,000 words and eighty-three drafts, I sent my newest book to my editor at Beaten Track Publishing. I’m romantically inclined to say writing this book was a labor of love, but the practical me says it was just labor. Eight months is pretty good for me. Usually it takes me a year to write a book, though Unbroken only took nine months.
I am amazed I wrote 30,000 words in the last three months so essentially half the book was written in three months. Reading it though a last time this week before submitting it, I realized once again that the story I tell isn’t the story I sat down to write back in August. And months into the writing of it, I realized I had to restructure it because the way I envisioned telling the story—in flashback, starting at the end and working forward—just didn’t work for the story.
At first the idea of writing a different book and structuring it differently to my first idea, scared me, but this is my fifth book; I h…

Chiseling Out a New Book

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I had one of the most productive writing weekends in recent memory. 2,772 words between Friday and Sunday. Friday night, around midnight, I sat down to write. My husband had gone to bed, and Riley with him. Toby stayed with me in my office on the third floor. He never leaves my side. When I stopped writing, it was 1:30 a.m.
Saturday, the dogs needed walks, and I had errands to run and laundry to do. By the time I sat down to write it was after 4 p.m. The dogs, tired from our afternoon hike, fell asleep as I sat down at my desk. Everything fell away as I typed. The dogs woke and started whining. It was then that I realized I’d been “in the zone” for two hours and I’d missed their dinner time.
I’m not a very disciplined writer. My writing process is...chaotic. But it works for me. I don’t outline or create character bibles. My stories are more organic. I’ve heard sculptors say they didn’t create the sculpture, they simply freed what was already inside the stone. That’s how I feel about …

Celebrating Love: Remembering a Beloved Aunt

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Friday, January 20, 2017 was a dark day for many in our nation. For me it was even darker. Our beloved Aunt died last Friday. So while for many it was “The Inauguration of the Nation’s 45th President,” for me it will always be the day Aunt Terpe died.
Beloved aunt. Those words beggar description. She was so much more than that. She was a force of nature; she was unconditional love; she was a staunch advocate for those lucky enough to be loved by her.
Euterpe Cleopha Richardson was one-of a kind, as unique as her name.
Though, I never formally came out to her, she always knew; she was the first person in my family to implicitly acknowledge and support my gayness. She made me feel it was ok to be myself. She gave me advice, “Never move in with a man; he can move in with you, or you can move someplace together but never move into his place; that way he can never tell you to leave.” And this,” Never give a man a second chance; if he hurt you once, he will hurt you again.”
Whenever I sho…

A Writer’s Holiday

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Because of the way Christmas and New Year’s fell this year, I found myself the beneficiary of a nearly two week holiday from my day job. And I needed it, too. Between my commute, the job itself and the people I work with, I was seriously burned out. But because I am not good at being idle. I decided to make my time off a “writer’s holiday.” I’m seriously behind on writing my new book, so a holiday during which I could just write made sense. Of course, I can never just write—we had friends coming for Christmas, so cooking needed to be done, and the house needed to be cleaned. And of course, the dogs needed to be walked—and spending time with them was a priority since we both work all week, leaving them on their own a good bit.
I realized for this writer’s holiday to work I would have to be disciplined—something I am not naturally.  I set two goals for myself: 1) write at least one hour each day, and 2) write 1,000 words each day. Modest goals I know, but no sense it setting goals I co…