Reflecting

A few weeks ago my family had a discussion about our goals after dinner. So I grabbed a pad and pen and we each made a list of our goals for 2017.

I’m not going to restate them here, but while enjoying my cup of coffee at the same table today, img_5697I was reflecting on them. I remember being very impressed with my son because his goals were so simple but were things that I have been speaking to him about.

That let’s me know that he listens and it’s a reminder of the importance of being intentional – in parenting for sure- but also as I go about my day.

Im often thinking of my cart before my horse. I’m often planning in my dreams and not focusing on the day to day nuts and bolts…the steps to get to the places that I want to be.

Dont get me wrong, I have accomplished quite a bit and I’m moving in the direction that I want.

But every year, I reflect on things in preparation for the new year. I’m always thankful for my blessings, my family and friendships. But, the older I get, I find that my desires and end of the year thoughts and plans are eerily similar to previous years. While that reassures me that I’m on the right track and that I’m in tune to my passion, it is a reminder that I have let a few years go by still doing the building and planning in my head while not always building those things in reality.

I don’t have any New Years resolutions. I do have a few new short term goals. I want my family to write our goals down every year, or every six months.

And more than ever, I want to check some things off my list.

 

Books on Books on Books

So an old friend sent me NPR’s Guide to 2016’s Great Books.

I started looking at the list and got so excited!! If you are thinking of buying me a gift, please peruse this list. My birthday is coming up šŸ™‚

Check out theĀ Book List

I’ve already started compiling my list of books to read over the next few months. I plan to start writing book reviews too. So look out for that. I have a few on the blog already.

Happy Reading!

books

Dreams

So last night, I dreamt a whole novel. Each scene played out vividly. Ask me if I wrote it down?

So here I am at work trying to go through my dream and write down what I can. It was a good story. I use to do that with poems during my most prolific writing period. I could be driving from work and a whole poem would sprout in my head. By the time that I got to my destination, I would have worked out all of the kinks.

Admittedly, that prolific writing period was a long time ago. But thanks to school and Nanowrimo, I feel like whatever was there is still there. If that makes sense.

As for Nanowrimo, I got in almost 9,000 words. Way short of 50,000. Now, that doesn’t count all of the papers and stories that I wrote in my two classes. I was very distracted in the month of November. It was my first time trying Nanowrimo (I’m committed to trying again next year) and I’m proud of myself for trying. I don’t even want to continue what I wrote for it, but I do planĀ to keep the characters, research and story arc. I want to do something with it.

I have learned to keep writing. When I was in boot camp for the Navy, I had to jump off of a diving board. I had never done it before and I was scared. Beyond scared. But I didn’t want to go home. So I jumped. I kept telling myself that I could do it. And the whole time that I floated/swam I kept telling myself that I could do it.

I’m going to use that to push myself and continue on toward my goal of finishing my novel by the end of 2017.

I can do it.

I can do it.

I can do it.

 

NaNoWriMo – Conquering Fear

So I have this hesitation to call myself a writer. I always use the phrase “aspiring writer”. I know that it stems from fear.

I have an uncontrollable urge to write – I’ve always written poems, essays, blogs, letters. But because I had never finished a novel, I just couldn’t bring myself to refer to myself as a writer.

I’ve been in a writing program for the past ten months now. I’ve learned a lot about the craft. I’ve finished some things – two children’s books, numerous essays, and quite a few chapters towards a couple of novels that I plan to finish.

And that is the Holy Grail, for me. A finished novel.

Enter NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a mad dash towards a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30th. I learned about it a couple of years ago, when I had no intention of even trying. Last year, I thought about trying but I didn’t have the courage to start.

This year, I’m jumping in. I’m filled with excitement and mostly fear. Hopefully, I will finish. I will surely try.

If you’re interested, it’s not too late to sign up. EnterĀ here. If you want to add me as a buddy, I’m entered asĀ underthera.

Juggling

img_3402-2Picture this –
First, I start with being a wife and mommy. Then I add student and writer in the mix. And then I add in a full time job. Easy, peasy.
I am wife, mommy, employee, writer and student.
jugĀ·gle
Ėˆjəɔəl/
verb
gerund or present participle: juggling
  1. continuously toss into the air and catch (a number of objects) so as to keep at least one in the air while handling the others, typically for the entertainment of others.

Sometimes It Snows In April

imageI am still in shock and mourning the passing of Prince.

His music seems to have always been here. And he has so much music that I can’t even get through all of his songs that I have in a day…especially when I repeat songs that I can’t get enough of.

He represented so much to so many people – freedom, self awareness, genius. He was at once personal and mystical.

He seemed to be the type of person who was himself….regardless of societal norms, constraints, definition.

He was a musical genius. In the soundtrack of my life (and there is one…always playing), there is an abundance of his music, music he produced or music he influenced. Prince is woven in throughout that tapestry.

I take comfort in the outpouring of grief seen on social media because I know that we are all experiencing that grief and the fear at the loss of such greatness.

Music is so important! Prince is music is Prince.

I keep seeing the movie and hearing the song Purple Rain over and over now. I will never forget the first time that I snuck and watched it as a little girl…it was like watching something forbidden and sacred at the same time.

But Under The Cherry moon is what I keep going back to most. And the song Sometimes It Snows In April seems so appropriate.

“I guess he’s better off than he was before. A whole lot better off than the fools he left here.”

 

 

Ruby – Book Review

I recently read a book called, My First Novel – tales of woe and glory as edited by Alan Watt. It is a collection of writing experiences from published authors. In it, I read Cynthia Bond’s experience writing Ruby. It was intriguing.

Then I saw that Ruby was on Oprah’s Book Club. Now, I love Oprah. I love books. Oprah’s Book Club is a wonderful thing. But I have had a couple of regrets with it. I’m talking to you One Hundred Years of Solitude! I hated that book!!

But I digress.

Ruby is a heartbreaking and horrific book. Yet it is also profound and moving at the same time.

The book tells the tale of Ruby Bell. She has returned to her hometown of Liberty, Texas. She left for New York city in the 1950’s and returns to the small, hateful and judgmental town and faces her past.

There is also Ephram Jennings. He has been in love with Ruby since he was a child. Ephram is a grown man who lives with his older city, Celia. Celia is an orderly, cooking,Ā strong-willed, “church mother” elect woman who has raised Ephram since the committal of their mother and the death of their father. Ephram calls her “mama” and pretty much does as she and the town expects.

Ruby is not liked by the town. She seems crazy and is a woman of ill-repute. She’s been had! A lot. Spirits are drawn to her and she lives in dismal conditions taking care of her spirit children and receiving food from a local woman all while being haunted and terrorized by an evil spirit.

This is a story of redemption and redemptive love. Ephram struggles against the will of the entire town, his church and his strong-willed sister Ā to try to be there for Ruby.

Cynthia Bond’s writing will make you think of Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston and maybe even Alice Walker. Her prose is beautiful. She can really turn a phrase.

However, there are times when I was reading this and thought of Stephen King. You know how his novels feature a small town with underlying evil things, people and secrets that all converge because of some circumstance that brings about a fight between good and evil? That’s how this novel felt to me.

The further you read, the more haunting it becomes. There were a couple of times that I had to put the book down because I was either terrifiedĀ or the scene was so horrific that I recoiled in disgust.

Yes, this book contains disgusting things. There is abuse, child rape, voodoo and murder. There is some gruesome goings on in the town of Liberty!!

But again, there is also redemptive love. There is one line in the book where Ephram tells Ruby “If you can bear to have lived it, I can at least bear to listen.” Ephram’s ability to listen and actually see Ruby really warms the heart.

It also reminds me of all that our people have survived. All of the undiagnosed mental health issues our community faces and all of the secrets that our community contains.

Again, this book is horrific. But if Cynthia Bond can bear to have written it, and she discussed how hard it was in the book My First Novel, then I could bear to read it and testify to its greatness.

But make sure you read it in daylight.

 

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Fight- Daily Prompt

Fight

The last daily prompt that I participated in was with the word Drop. I wrote about dropping negative self talk. The word fight brings on that same thinking. There is often an internal fight that we are struggling with.

Every day, whether we are aware of it or not, we make choices. We act in response to situations and emotions and there are times that we lose in the fight to be our best self Ā (at least that is what I am trying to do).

There is a saying that I like – When you know better; you do better! But I can’t tell you the number of times that I lose in the fight to do better…things that I know I should be doing.

Stop drinking pop!

Exercise 3-5 times a week!

Write Daily!

Work on my novel!!

Plan my families meals for the week!

These are examples of fights that I often lose with myself. These examples are really simple but they illustrate how easy it is to get off track with things and of me not be my best self.

It is a daily fight

A Great Day

It almost feels like Christmas. Today I received wonderful gifts. I’m already exceedingly blessed but today just makes me thankful for all of those blessings!

First my son came home from school and recited the poem Dreams by Langston Hughes. I was very proud of him. He is growing so fast. It reminds me that time flies and these precious moments are Fleeting.

Then the doorbell rang with my Essence Beauty Box filled with goodies and a box of books – Ruby by Cynthia Bond and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

I have finished all of Octavia Butler’s books and the have just started on Citizen – An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine and Men We Reaped, a Memoir by Jesmyn Ward.

I will be happily reading!

I am also in my last week for my first two classes in my writing program!

So today’s great day serves as a reminder that life is also great.

It’s easy to get caught up in things that are going wrong. I’m hoping that my great day can help someone to remember to focus on what is going right. Always acknowledge those moments. They are fleeting.