Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Stuff of Life

Shit happens to good people. A year ago my niece-in-law had an aneurism and was first rushed off to the Crawford Long Hospital then on to Emory University hospital where the surgery was performed. Cynthia happens to be a person I simply like, because to she is likable. Over the years of her being married to James, my nephew, I’ve mostly lived away from Atlanta. But I’ve come in and out to visit even living there for a brief time 1998-99. Back in ’91 Cynthia and James plan to marry in the fall. Mama died in the spring of that same year. And though I loved James a lot, the need to escape Atlanta and Daddy was much stronger. Yet I always felt heart sick that I’d didn’t stay for the wedding. Cynthia was never cross with me about not attending. Though before I left she said, “I wish you could be there but I get you have to go.” I left Atlanta for California on a hot fall day. A lot of fall days are hot in Atlanta. And the day Cynthia had the aneurism it was hot. Heat didn’t cause the aneurism doctors don’t really know why. But they suspect some of us are born with smaller blood vessel than others. And at birth, unaware, we are born with factors that may cause this condition—it nobody’s fault. I like to think that stuff happen in our lives because we simply are alive and I’ll take the muck that happens in life over death any day. This street art photo looks nothing like my niece-in-law Cynthia but it is a representation of what I've imagined a head feels like after it's been cut.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Creativity de-mystified

These days I’ve found myself with the old African proverb, “She who teaches also learns,” flowing through my mind as I contemplate helping others and myself on the creativity path.

It’s interesting even though I’ve spent many years in and around creative environments i.e. teaching art, working as graphic designer, architectural draftsperson, editing curricula in Children’s Television and presently writing fiction, I often feel the difficulty inside myself to simply allow myself to be. And not feel compelled to explain my creative motive, my creative existence to those for whom creativity is a nebulous blob. And while I feel everyone can add creativity to any job there are many for whom being creative is for children and adults who haven’t decided to grow up.

Usually these folks that I’m introducing the creative process to are new friends, or friends of friends who’ve over heard me say, “I’m a writer.” This simple stated fact makes most questions the ends and outs of writing.

One small thing I do to support my creative life as well as my sanity is I’m learning that these folks are mostly curious, and while I not always in the mood to answer I’ve learned to use these opportunities to practice delivering quick pitches. What is your book about? It’s a coming of age novel about growing up and coming out the South. And there it is.

Boom, mostly this satisfies the average person. I add more if it is appropriate. But I’ve also learned to change the subject, deflect if I don’t want to engage that person any more or just want to change the subject. In the past I felt (sometime still do) the need to answer all questions. But I’ve discovered what I need most is to take care of my creative spirit. It’s also fine to say, “Well that’s my summary for tonight, what about you? What do you do that’s creative?” And let the other person say or runaway from the subject. Sometime they literally run away! That’s great too.

Small things are truly worth trying. Recently I’ been reading Steven King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. And I’ve introduced back into my writer’s life writing four to five days a week and getting in touch with the characters of my second novel. I’ve tweaked it for myself in that I write for at least thirty minutes. And while I’d love to come up with the thousand words a day that Steven suggests for beginners, I’m more focused on the regularity of writing consistently. Often I write for two to three hours, which I find, is plenty. Still one day I’d like to write the two thousand words Steven puts I everyday but for now I’m good.

Red roses aren't a mystery just filled with beauty and creativity

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Era

I don’t consider myself a religious person but I have taken it upon myself to prayer for Barack Obama, to consistently imagine a lavender light of protection surrounding him at all times. I've taken this on because of the nay sayers and the ones that wish him harm and ill will. Sending that positive lavender light can only help.

Baaa-rock Hasein Oooobaaama, what a great name, it rolls off the tongue nicely.

My mother Susie Mae Beasley, would be ecstatic over his presidency, she passed away in 1991 at the age of 73. In her day she’d seen some changes. From the disappearance of white only water fountains, to gaining the right to vote, to Dr. King’s raise, rule and ultimate assassination. Onto the growth of the black middle class, to black mayors like Maynard Jackson and Andy Young running Atlanta to Arsenio Hall's talk show. Mama thought Arsenio was the bomb, the best since slice bread. At night she’d stay up late to see at lest see his opening monologue. Often touting, “Now he’s somebody.”

If mother lived to see Senator Barack Obama become President Barack Obama it would have made her happy to know that somehow in ' 65 hosting the student group SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) in her living room, like countless others, aided in the birth of the black middle class, the voting rights act, southern black mayors, and the first American president that looked a lot like those colleges students protesting from over forty years ago.