Be Quiet

Shhh! Be quiet!
Don’t let your voice be heard!
Don’t disrupt my bliss
by pointing out
that your house is on fire.
Don’t tell me about the arsonist
we both witnessed lighting the fire.
Hearing such horrible news
stresses me out!
Tell me what you plan to
make for dinner.
Show me a basket of kittens.
Pull up a chair,
pour yourself a class of wine,
and let me tell you how much money
I lost in the stock market
when that law abiding citizen
set your house on fire.
Hush now! Be quiet!
Don’t speak at all!
If you pretend nothing is wrong,
that burned out
shell of a home you have left
will seem quite luxurious.
You really should do something
about that, though.
It’s pulling down the value
of my home.
Shhh!! Be quiet!!
As a matter of fact,
why don’t you just
go away…
Quietly.

Photo source: https://leithincluan.wordpress.com/tag/derailing/

The Bridge to Freedom

Happy Thursday! Today’s #TBT piece is about the past. There are many who say we should forget this period of history because it was ugly and is painful. It’s important to continue to tradition of passing the stories from one generation to the next.

Nikewrites Blog

Grand-daddy always told us stories
Of his days as a slave and a share cropper.
To look at him,
You would never know
That he could be forced to submit
to someone who claimed ownership over him.
He was a tall, muscular man
Who walked with his shoulders back
And his head held high.
Proud.
Who could rule over him?
But it happened.
He was pulled away from his wife
And children,
Sold to another home,
Miles away from the ones his loved.
He was made to work in the fields,
In the heat,
With a sack to collect the harvest
Over his shoulder and his back bent.
He told us that the work was hard.
The overseers were harder
And would walk the lash across his back
Until his shirt was tattered,
And the flesh on his back opened up,
Leaving crimson stains
On the fabric.
He said,
“You…

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Maya Angelou

I needed a day to process the news that Maya Angelou passed away. Of course, I know that nobody lives forever, but it didn’t stop me from hoping she would always be around. I wanted to meet her and sit at her feet and listen to whatever wisdom she chose to bless me with. That opportunity is gone.

I regret that I wasn’t able to make it to the University of Delaware last year when she came to speak. I loved listening to her speak! She chose her words very deliberately. She didn’t rush. It seemed to me like she saw all the possible words she could use hovering in her mind, and would pluck the perfect word and drop it into her sentence. I marveled at her ability to say things in the most perfect way. She had a brilliant mind.

I read her books and poetry as a teenager and was amazed by her story. I thought she was bold and courageous. It takes a great deal of courage to share the deepest details of your life with people you know. It takes a greater deal of courage to share, not just to good times, but some of the darker times of your life with the world, in writing. That’s bold. (Memoirs are not an easy thing to write, especially if some of the key players in your life story are still alive!) I appreciated her openness.  I was amazed that one person did so much in her life. She travelled, she sang, she acted, she danced, she raised a child, and became a teacher. She was open to life! She LIVED.

I cannot recall which book the quote below was in, but I adopted it as a good way to handle life.

“Hope for the best, be prepared for the worse. Life is shocking, but you must never appear to be shocked. For no matter how bad it is it could be worse and no matter how good it is it could be better.”  – Maya Angelou

Her passing isn’t a total surprise. As I said, nobody lives forever. I’m glad to hear that she still writing, her mind was still working and she was still active until she passed. She lived, and I am so grateful for that.

Rest In Peace, Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Is My Child Next?

I’m sharing this post again. I received an interesting comment this morning about the picture I used. The verdict of ‘not guilty’ in the George Zimmerman case earlier this week has a lot of people either talking about race or trying to run from it. But in the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “Sometimes you have to call a ‘thing’ a ‘thing.’ That time is now.

 

Nikewrites Blog

Be forewarned: This post is not for the faint of heart or anyone looking for my usual happy-go-lucky post. I’m speaking as a Black Parent.

On February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death as he walked home. He wasn’t purchasing drugs. He wasn’t robbing anyone. He wasn’t a part of a gang. He was a straight A student, walking home from the store with a pack of candy and a beverage. A self-appointed neighborhood watch “captain”, George Zimmerman, saw a black male walking through HIS neighborhood and decided that the young man was up to no good. He followed him while he spoke with a 911 operator and shot the young man. He claimed he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense. The police took him at his word. As of the date of this post, he has not been arrested.

Most of you already know that Trayvon…

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Remembering MLK, Jr

44 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated. We have come a long way in the area of race equality, but we still have so far to go.

Nikewrites Blog

I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook keeping up with friends and family. I also keep up with some of my favorite celebrities and public figures. Last week I decided to check out Dr. Cornell West’s fan page. He posted several announcements in support of a youth leadership conference, hosted and organized by his good friend, Tavis Smiley. There was one question in response to the post that is often asked of black leadership when these types of conferences are called: “Is there going to be some definitive strategy and planning or a bunch of talk about our “glorious” past?”

I tried to walk away from the question, but I couldn’t. This question annoys me every time I hear it. It reeks of laziness and complacency. I posted the following statement in response:

50 years ago there were leaders who shared a vision and guided the masses to…

View original post 578 more words

The Bridge to Freedom

Grand-daddy always told us stories
Of his days as a slave and a share cropper.
To look at him,
You would never know
That he could be forced to submit
to someone who claimed ownership over him.
He was a tall, muscular man
Who walked with his shoulders back
And his head held high.
Proud.
Who could rule over him?
But it happened.
He was pulled away from his wife
And children,
Sold to another home,
Miles away from the ones his loved.
He was made to work in the fields,
In the heat,
With a sack to collect the harvest
Over his shoulder and his back bent.
He told us that the work was hard.
The overseers were harder
And would walk the lash across his back
Until his shirt was tattered,
And the flesh on his back opened up,
Leaving crimson stains
On the fabric.
He said,
“You are free-born,
Don’t nobody own you,
Don’t nobody control you,
But you.
I bent my back
All those days
In the sun,
So my back could be a bridge
For you to walk across
And find freedom.
I thank God,
How I thank God,
That you are free!
But don’t you go on believing
That freedom stands still.
No, no,
You have to keep walking towards it.
You keep walking.
And make sure you bend your back,
Make your back a bridge
So your children
can cross over
To the new freedoms
They will one day see.”

100 Black Authors

Keep your eye on Faydra Fields’ profile of 100 Black Authors! My book is counted among the 100! Click the link below to see the books and authors being profiled. This is a great way to find books to expand your African American Literature collection!

Faydra, Thanks for your support!

http://afamhistoryexaminer.com/fresh-faces-in-black-books/

Black woman reading

Profiles in African American Literature: Octavia Butler

• Born 1947 to Laurice and Octavia Butler and raised in Pasadena, California
• Her father, a shoe shiner, died when she was very young, her mother worked as a maid. Octavia was raised by her mother and grandmother.
• Diagnosed as dyslexic, Butler began writing at 10 years old to escape loneliness and boredom.
• Octavia Butler is a graduate of Pasadena City College, 1968. She also attended California State University, Los Angeles and UCLA.
• After attending workshops like the Writer’s Guild of America, West and The Clarion Science Fiction Workshop in the 60s and 70s, Butler sold her first science fiction stories: “Crossover”, “Childfinder”, and “The Last Dangerous Visions.” The latter two stories were never published. Butler credited these two workshops for giving her the most valuable help she received with her writing.
• Critics commend Butler’s treatment of subjects not typically the focus of science fiction storylines such as: sexuality, male/female relationships, racial equality and contemporary politics.
• Frances Smith Forester says, “Octavia Butler is not just another woman science fiction writer. Her major characters are black women, and through her characters and through the structure of her imagined social order, Butler consciously explores the impact of race and sex upon future society.
• Titles by Octavia Butler include: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Bloodchild and Other Stories, Clay’s Ark, Fledgling, Imago, Kindred (which I read and LOVED), L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future (co-authored by Kevin J. Schwartz Anderson), Lilith’s Brood, Mind of My Mind, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Patternmaster, Survivor, Wild Seed, the Evening and the Morning and the Night, and Seed to Harvest
• Octavia Butler earned the following awards: Nubela Award (1984, 2000), Hugo Award, Best Short Story (1984), MacArthur Fellowship (1995), PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing.
• Octavia Butler died on February 24, 2006 outside of her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. Some accounts state that she fell in the walkway of her home and struck her head, while other reports suggest she suffered a stroke, and died as a result head injuries sustained in a fall.