To The Moon & Back

Have you ever searched for something on amazon and found something waaaaaay better than what you were looking for? I was looking on the site yesterday and found a real gem. I’m not sure why this showed up in my query, but it’s awesome. Take a look.

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It’s some sort of sticker (for $10). Cool, right? But that’s not the only thing. I dug a little deeper and found the mother load, jackpot of all things I Love Krystal to the Moon and Back.

Totes, shirts, hoodies, mugs, you name it. Y’all should probably get in on this. Who knows how long it’s gonna last. Clearly this is a gift that keeps on giving. So why not treat yo’self. Show all that love for the Krystal in your life. 🙂 Two the Moon and Back on Amazon.com

 

What I’m Thankful For

It’s Thanksgiving week and I have so much to be thankful for. I try to practice appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness everyday, but November really brings it out in folks and heightens my awareness too.

I’m thankful for you, dear readers. You have invested time and energy into me, my work, my newsletters, and my stories. This means the world to me. Thank you!

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I’m thankful for friends and family who give warm hugs, make me laugh, and remind me of the important things in life. You keep me strong and centered. You make sure I know how much I am loved and that I feel that love everyday.

I’m thankful for ghosts (…not the spooky kind) who show me where I have made mistakes and how I do not have to repeat those mistakes.

Lastly, I’m thankful for self. I have somehow managed, with all my clumsiness, anxiety, and depression, to keep on keepin’ on.

What are you thankful for? Feel free to share in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving.

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower The Opera

This weekend I went to see Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower The Opera created, written, and composed by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon .

The opera was auditory magic. Absolutely incredible.

 

It’s based on the 1993 Butler novel Parable of the Sower set in the 2020s where the society is collapsing because of a number of issues like climate change, greed, and inequality. At the center of the story is Lauren Oya Olamina who, with her ability to feel what others feel and sense, grows up in a “gated community”, but finds herself outgrowing the beliefs she’s been taught. When her community is destroyed she takes her new beliefs and sets out to rebuild.

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The Opera follows the novel closely and if you’ve not read it in a while or have never read it, you may find yourself a little lost during the performance. But the two acts capture the ideas of community and humanity with such intensity and emotion that anyone can enjoy the messages without knowing the text.

 

The music is lively and moving. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen or heard a story told so beautifully. Transitioning from near gospel to folk-blues to rock the music challenges the audience to listen deeply and even participate. I was singing and tapping my feet right along despite not knowing the words. I can’t wait for the music to be available. I highly recommend going to see this show if you can.

 

 

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Fall is my favorite time of year and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love seeing people get dressed up and, even though I don’t like to be scared, I can allow a little spooky for this day.

Halloween reminds me of being a kid. When else can you get free stranger candy and be applauded for being a little dressed up weirdo?

I remember once I was Woody Woodpecker.  My costume came with the plastic mask that barely had the nose and mouth holes cut out.  Almost suffocated. It was great!

In middle school my friend Cindy invited me to a Halloween party with a fun house. I most definitely put my hand in brains or something damn near identical. Amazing.

And I will never forget singing Witches Brew in music class. This song is so silly and I love it to this day. It might also explain why I’m not that great of a cook.

I’m dressing up… If I can get my act together. I still haven’t fully realized what I’m going to be as of this morning. I’m feeling nostalgic for sure, but I just have too many different ideas. Straying from my usual witch get-up has been harder than I thought.

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The first pumpkin I ever carved. 2009

Are you in the Halloween spirit? Leave a note in the comments describing your costume and I’ll try to guess who/what you’re dressing up as.

 

 

 

 

I Do What I Have To Do

I’m consuming a lot of media that is purely for no other purpose than to make me laugh or smile. I’m talking cat videos, puppy pics, cute animals, and other silly stuff that just makes me happy. I think I’m following about thirty pugs on Instagram (check out Chico Maru Pug, he’s an all white pug with a sweet face). I have no shame about it either. Because in these times, in these scary, unstable times I don’t want to feel as bad as  reality would dictate. For all the violent and negative things online and in life that can’t be avoided I have to have those feel good moments where I can get to a laugh ASAP. It takes up a little time to scroll through the feeds, but it sure does help me get through some of these hard days.

I’m also reading, reaching out to folks, and catching up on TV. (I’m so over Scandal, but I can’t not watch it.) I’m getting out of the house more and breathing. I know that last bit sounds strange, but have you ever just listened to your breath? Do it. Listen to your parts, check in with yourself. Is everything feeling like it should?

I made myself a  letter box that I fill with kind words and uplifting messages. When I feel myself getting too low to function or social media isn’t having the desired outcome I reach inside the box and pull out a letter.

What are you doing to keep on keeping-on? One friend of mine doesn’t look at any social media after nine o’clock at night. Another friend has upped her meditation practices. I would love to know what gets you through a hard day. Leave a comment below.

Check out this cool cow that thinks it’s a doggy:

 

 

 

What Books Make the Writer?

Did you ever read Bridge to Terabithia or Tuck Everlasting? What about The Phantom Tollbooth? Any of the Ramona Quimby books?

I did. I remember reading all of those books. While some of the details of what goes on in those stories are hazy, I remember how they made me feel. Adventurous, brave, curious. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to “do that”, create worlds and stories that readers just didn’t want to put down.

It’s funny. All I’ve ever wanted to do is write and I’ve managed to do so in some way for a while now.  I’ve been lucky, besides the time I got caught writing on the living room wall with a red lipstick, that my love of reading and writing has been praised and encouraged.

I know that I write because I truly enjoy it. I feel the most like myself when I’m actively putting words down to figure out what’s happening or could happen in a story. Writing is also therapeutic and healing to me.

But when did this love turn into the thing that I must do? When did it get serious for me? Was it gradually or all at once?

Recently the Lit Hub article The Books That Made Your Favorite Writers Want to Write came across my Facebook timeline. Writers like Sherman Alexie and Zadie Smith know the exact book that made them want to be writers. How cool is that? Something locked into place for them and they knew or decided that they wanted to “do that” too.

The last few days I’ve been wondering which book(s) made me want to write. Was it Ramona Quimby, Age 8? Onion John? Maybe a short story from the anthologies I read in high school. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, maybe? Was it poetry in college? Nikki Giovanni’s Ego-Tripping, perhaps?

At this point it would be nice to know what tipped the scales for me, but I don’t think it really matters.

I’m writing. I am a writer.

My Writing Group is Everything

I met with my writing group this past Sunday and it was wonderful. I’m always excited to connect with the members of the group because we get so much done. We share our writings, discuss the work, give feedback, and encourage each other.

I’ve been in other groups before, but none have ever felt as authentic and purposeful as this one. None have ever felt as Black, women centered, or queer. I’m not the only black person; I’m not the only lesbian. I don’t have to be one or the other or prioritize my identities. For that alone I feel like pumping my fist in the air and giving a “whoop, whoop” every month. And, it’s strange to say, this group feels writing focused.  I mean that’s the point, right? But I’ve been (briefly) apart of some writing groups that were more about dating than about writing and it was so disappointing.

Everyone in this group is smart, talented, and capable. We all want each other to succeed. Do you know how good that feels? Knowing that your sisters want the absolute best for you? That they want you to grow and improve so you can put out your best work? Maaan, that is some deep, deep love that keeps me inspired.

Essentially these writers save me from myself when I feel like my writing isn’t good enough. They encourage me, hold me accountable, and give me the perspective I need to see my work more clearly. I’m so thankful for all of the support.

Basically my writing group is everything. I love these black women writers!