An Unabashed Writer

I pride myself on being an honest person and an honest writer. Why? Because when you are true to yourself and to everyone else, it makes life less complicated. I see no need to emulate anyone nor do I see the need to pretend to be something that I am not. Besides, it is not that serious. I was raised to march to the beat of my own drum and I am going to keep living my life that way. Does that make me a bad person? I would say no. Stubborn? Maybe. Different? Absolutely! Am I ashamed of that fact? You already know the answer to that…

Over the course of a year, I have built up a nice following of wonderful readers, amazing writers and awesome bloggers who appreciate my barefaced honesty for what it is. I am a shameless writer who is not afraid to write about the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I write what most people are afraid to write and I say what most people are too afraid to say; in real life and in the stories that I write. It is not about being defiant or rebellious, it is about discussing the obvious no matter how upsetting, how uncomfortable or how embarrassing it may be.

For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, you already know that sugarcoating is not my thing, but I do take the power of the pen seriously. I use these small copper brown hands of mine to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves and for those who are too afraid to speak for themselves. Now ask yourself, “Why on earth would I be ashamed of that?” Do not let my profile picture fool you.

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Until next time…

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: A Priceless Piece of American History

The Civil Rights Movement can be a very touchy subject for most individuals to examine and consider. Some find it difficult to discuss because the Civil Rights era is littered with racial injustices, horrendous crimes and countless murders. If you are African American you have no doubt heard of stories involving your own relatives who may have been treated unfairly, degraded or even murdered. I know within my own family I have had a lot of family members falsely accused of certain crimes and they had to pay a terrible price for somebody else’s lie. A good number of them had to pay with their own life. My maternal Grandfather who looked White had to fight most of his young life because he was accused of taking up with a Black woman, my Grandmother, even though he himself was considered Black according to the one drop rule. My paternal Grandmother who was a thoroughbred American Indian from the Blackfeet tribe was hounded most of her young life for taking up with a Black man, my Grandfather. As I sit here typing this blog post, the blood inside of me is beginning to boil because I know the pain and heartache it caused them and so many other minorities during that time. It is hard not to get angry when you sit and think about all the things they had to go through.

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I cannot imagine the horror, fear and pain most African Americans felt day in and day out. Their frustrations due to the injustices that mounted up against them day after day must have been a tough and a bitter pill to swallow. I had a lot of family members lynched and burned because they refused to be treated like animals. I guess that is where I get my stubborn, fighting spirit. My own family history just like your own family history can vary, but if you are African American just like me, the one thing we all have in common is the racial injustice our families endured during slavery and during the Civil Rights era. That is one thread we all share.

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That brings me to a priceless jewel that is residing here in the city of Birmingham and that is The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a museum full of artifacts and authentic pieces of American history that shows the raw truth of what went on before, during and after the Civil Rights Movement. Two things that stood out to me and touched my soul was the stained glass from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four little girls in 1963 and the front part of the bus from the Freedom Riders bus bombing in 1961. Chills ran up and down my spine at the sight of it and tears began to well up in my eyes. It was a breathtaking sight to see and tourists that come each and every day relay those very same feelings. It is hard not to get choked up when you see something as powerful and resonating as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  It makes you stop, think and appreciate what the Civil Rights era did and what it largely accomplished.

If you have never visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, you are really missing out on some tangible pieces of American History. It is not about living in the past, it is about learning from it, growing from it and appreciating those who fought so hard for equal rights, racial equality and justice. Ask yourself, “Am I living my life in a way that pays homage to those who suffered at a great cost so I can have the life that I now have?” Only you can answer that question.

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Until next time…

Questions from Readers (Part 2)

Since I embarked on my writing journey two years ago, I have received a number of emails from readers alike inquiring to know more about me. I am never alarmed when I receive these types of emails because I want readers to get to know me and my reasons for the stories that I write. Although I may not respond to each email right then and there, I do make a point to respond as soon as I get a chance. Sometimes it may take a while before I respond, but I never allow any email I receive to go unanswered. I am grateful for every email I receive and I look forward to receiving many more. With that be said, let’s get to it!

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  • What made you want to become a writer? My love for writing. I love penning stories and poems for other people to read and I love writing the unexpected. My books are a lot like my blog, you never know what I will write or say next.
  • Who are your favorite writers? Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison and Lorraine Hansberry.
  • How would you describe your writing style? My writing style is a mixture of descriptive and narrative.
  • Are you a full-time writer? Currently I write part-time, but I can assure you that I am getting pretty close to becoming a full-time writer.
  • Did you go to college? If so, what college did you attend and what did you major in? I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham and I received a Bachelors in Health Administration and a Minor in Health Education.
  • Is there a subject or topic you would oppose to writing about? No. No topic is off limits to me.
  • What is your favorite food? Japanese.
  • What is your favorite color? Turquoise.
  • How would you describe your personal style? My style ranges from casual to sporty to bohemian. Heels, makeup and lipstick are not really “my thing.” To each its own.
  • How would you describe your personality type? I have a very strong personality, but I am Type B all the way.

Keep those questions coming! Until next time…

No Cause to Complain

It is so easy for us as humans to find a reason to complain. We are all guilty of displaying this less than desirable trait at some point in our lives; some more than others. Usually when any one of us complains it is out of anger or frustration regarding something that we have deemed as unfair, unjust or harsh. Think about that for a second. Granted, in some cases one may have a legitimate cause to complain, but then there are those cases where one has no basis to complain.

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Some individuals have a habit of complaining about almost every little thing. They always seem to gripe about someone or something. These individuals see problems in almost everything and find faults with just about everyone or everything. For these types of individuals, they unfortunately see the negative in almost every situation and in some cases they see most people as the problem.

I was raised to think twice before I complain because it may not be a cause for a complaint. Nine times out of ten I do not have a valid reason for me to complain which is why I rarely if ever complain. Some things you just need to keep to yourself which is why I am tight-lipped about almost everything. My tough as nails Father’s motto was, “Don’t complain unless you really have a reason to.” The ROCK in our family, my Mother, had a rhyming saying that went like this, “Think twice before you complain and then ask yourself what is there to gain?”

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Some of us compared to others are extremely fortunate even if we may only have a little. There are millions of people going without food, water and shelter and if you ask me, they have a bona fide reason to complain. Yet, if you had the chance to meet some of them like I have, they hardly ever complain. They are too busy trying to survive while trying to help others. Complaining is the last thing on their minds.

At the end of the day, it is all about perception and how we view things. If we took the time to think twice before ever complaining, we would see that most of our causes for complaint are null and void.

Until next time…

My Writes

I have always said that my one dream job is to be a full-time writer. Although I am not a full-time writer at this time, I take my responsibility as a writer seriously. Writing, for the most part, provides me the opportunity to write stories that will not only entertain, but also impact lives. When someone stumbles across my blog or reads one of my books, I want them to be enlightened by what they have read. I want my blog and books to leave a footprint on their minds rather than fade like the wind after they have read it. If my blog posts or books fade from a readers mind immediately after they have read it, then I am not doing my job as a writer.

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A sincere hope of mine is that my blog and/or books will inspire others to write. The world needs more writers who are not afraid to write from their hearts or speak their raw truths. No sugar coating is allowed in my writing style no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times. The way I see it is this: The story you have inside you may inspire a life or save a life. No one can tell your story but you. So why should I be ashamed of the things that I write? I write for a purpose and I write what I write on purpose.

Until next time…

REFLECTIONS

Good Morning and Hello to you all!

On behalf of this Sunday’s blog post, I wanted to take the time out to reflect on my journey as a writer. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing. I love being alone with my own thoughts and I enjoy spinning those thoughts into intriguing stories. When I first set out to write my debut novel entitled Poka City Blues, I had no idea where that journey would lead me. I have always wanted to pen a story about my parents’ life because to me they are such amazing human beings. My mother and father has conquered many storms, overcame a number of tragedies and they have a will power that is unmatched. I was excited to sit down and write Poka City Blues, but I did not expect the range of emotions that would eventually come with it.

Writing is one of the few things in life that brings me great happiness, but I soon learned that when you are writing a story that is personal and close to your heart, that it can also lead to bouts of depression.  I have no shame in admitting that I cried a number of times and experienced a range of moods as I wrote Poka City Blues. Why? Because I knew that some of the things I was writing about were in fact true. At times I was conflicted and there were times where I became flat out angry. Nevertheless, I kept on writing because this was a story I felt I needed to tell.

Fast forward to a year and a half later and I have no regrets in regards to my writing journey. I have received a number of emails from readers who were inspired by Poka City Blues, I have met a number of fellow writers, authors, poets and bloggers who I have been able to relate to and I have been on a roll with my writing. I am about to publish my second short story entitled Underneath the Pecan Tree and I could not be happier. The best advice I was given as a child was to keep on writing because I was often told that I never know where that journey may lead me.

I love writing, I absolutely love being a writer and this is a journey that I hope will never end.

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Until next time…

Just Be You

We live in a world where most people are afraid to be themselves. They feel pressured to fit in because of the fear of being left out. Instead of being the person they truly are on the inside, they pretend to be this other person on the outside. Why do they do that? The answer is simple. They want to fit in. Societies as a whole has grown accustomed to judging people and making people feel inadequate or unworthy if they do not think, dress or act a certain way. Some can be brutal. Just imagine the number of people who have spent or shall I say wasted their lives striving or trying to be something they are not. I myself cannot imagine living a life with that much of regret.

I find it alarming how so many people are changing their outward appearances just so they could look like this person, that person or the next person. News Flash! Being someone other than yourself is not only pretending, but it is lying. One of the worst things a person can do is lie to themselves. If a certain individual or group of people cannot accept YOU for being YOU, take that as a hint that they are not meant for you. There is no need for you to change who you are because I guarantee you they are not going to change for you. Living your life and being who you are is one of the greatest joys in life. Life is much more enjoyable when you are freely being yourself. I wake up every morning just being me and let me tell you, I would not have it any other way. When I wake up every morning, I do not think about how I can fit into this group or that group. I wake up every morning striving to be the best person I can be while being a positive influence on others.

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Individuality is amazing because there is so much of beauty in being different! Be you because you are Be-You-Tiful!

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Until next time….