Warning- Langston Hughes 

As many of you know, I am a student. I am always reading, learning, growing and as a result I’m always running across new things. I love learning! For me, there is something almost nourishing about obtaining knowledge and while reading about Nat Turner this poem popped up. Now, in my opinion, this poem is in the distinct voice of Hughes but it’s also different and I love that. I love how relevant it was and still is. 

Sweet and docile,
Meek, humble and kind:
Beware the day
They change their mind!
In the cotton fields,
Gentle Breeze:
Beware the hour
It uproots trees!



So I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately because of what happened during last year’s event. I wanted to be honest with myself because I hate failure but I don’t know if I have it in me to try again. When I first found out about NaNoWriMo in 2010, I knew that I wanted to try it. Although it took three years before I got the chance, I really enjoyed the process the first two years and I felt enriched and empowered by the experience. Last year, I exploded in an inferno of pressure and a lack of commitment.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. -Benjamin Franklin

I have been trying to convince myself that I can dedicate the time and energy to tackling the event again this year but I simply have no drive. I have several stories sitting around waiting to be completed but have not made the move to work on them. I have even almost convinced myself that I can complete something by simply sitting down and writing almost every day without having NaNoWriMo as motivation. Usually, I have a notebook together, with the plot outlined and character sketches completed but this year I have nothing. Not even an idea about which story I would tackle. Almost two weeks from now, I should be ready for a series of write in’s but I’m just ready for apple cider, hot tea and snuggling up on the couch to read after work. And I have decided that I’m allowed to do that too.

Is anyone else quibbling over whether to participate this year? If so, what are your other plans?


Childhood-Margaret Walker

When I was a child I knew red miners

dressed raggedly and wearing carbide lamps.

I saw them come down red hills to their camps

dyed with red dust from old Ishkooda mines.

Night after night I met them on the roads,

or on the streets in town I caught their glance;

the swing of dinner buckets in their hands,

and grumbling undermining all their words.

I also lived in low cotton country

where moonlight hovered over ripe haystacks,

or stumps of trees, and croppers’ rotting shacks

with famine, terror, flood, and plague near by;

where sentiment and hatred still held sway

and only bitter land was washed away.





That October, they said

that time would lessen the loss.

They lied.

Because I don’t think they took into account that

you were my best friend, gave birth to me, talked to me

every day, even as you lost your breath.

They didn’t take into account that

I had never taken a breath without you.

How was I supposed to take another one

after losing you?


These days the pain is an ever-present ache

Arising unbidden…

Your voice is still in my ear,

Calling to me from wherever you are now.

The sound of your voice still rich and alive while

Replaying old memories like

A movie on the screen.

I still hear your laugh haunting me

Even as I feel you walking beside me.


The pain is still crushing when

I awake from a night spent with you because

I still see you in my dreams

Flashing the smile that lit up so many of my days.

Still providing comfort to me when I need you most.


I can still feel your fingers trailing over your tattoo, touching my shoulder and hair

Even now, you are still wrapping me in the warmth of your love.

The Collector



Time has softened me, the years of tears lapping at my previously

sharp edges have smoothed them into rounded spaces of comfort.

That I now cling to soothe myself in the rough moments

I have collected poems, pictures and memories from my past

and folded them into my pockets. I keep them close to savor;

To keep me together when life threatens to upend me.

I am various shades of who I used to be and who I’m supposed to be.

But even with all the changes, the losses, and the growth

A large part of me remains the same as before.

I still collect emotions, wipe away tears, dole out smiles and lend strength.

I am the link connecting us, blending from one grandchild to the next

Born of cotton picking fingers, griots and counselors.

Prepping for November



It’s almost that time again. November is right around the corner and I have been toying around with whether I’m going to participate this year after last year’s disastrous results. I’m going to discuss that in a later post but for now I want to talk about a few different preparation events/sources that are taking place this month.


Prep_tober is an event led by Rachael Stephen geared towards helping writers prepare for NaNoWrimo but more than that she provides resources that you can decide what to pay for. What I like about this resource is that it helps you get into the mindset for November which can be a long month if you’re not inspired. She also has live events in Glasgow this month which I think would be especially helpful since it’s reminiscent of NaNoWriMo’s Write In events.  http://www.rachaelstephen.com/prep_tober/

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.     –Confucius

Ninja Writers is awesomely amazing group that provided resources and workshops that will help you prepare for writing your novel. Shanta offers both free and paid workshops, a Facebook group and prompts that will get you in the mood to write and keep you writing. Right now the big thing is 31 Days of Being a Ninja Writer. Although I’m posting this late in the month I still suggest giving it a look. Every day, in your inbox you receive a suggestion, tool or idea to help you write for ten minutes every day. Ten minutes, how sweet is that?  http://www.whatisaplot.com/the-ninja-writers-academy/


Rachel Giesel’s Real+Good Writing is another resource that I highly suggest. She has a great blog posts and a wonderful library that you can access if you opt in to her mailing list. I cannot recommend this site enough. Rachel has also recently launched a writing workshop too. So be sure to look out for the next time it’s open. One of my favorite posts revolves around the Camp NaNoWriMo packing list which you can also use during November. The post includes links to other sites that also have useful posts for prepping for NaNoWriMo. http://rachelgiesel.com/


I hope these resources provide some help for anyone preparing for next month or simply to write a novel. I am still undecided but these sites make me feel as if I will be prepared should I decide to tackle NaNoWriMo again.



Don’t Let Me Be Lonely [Mahalia Jackson is a genius]- Claudia Rankine

Mahalia Jackson is a genius. Or Mahalia Jackson has genius. The man I am with is trying to make a distinction. I am uncomfortable with his need to make this distinction because his inquiry begins to approach subtle shades of racism, classism, or sexism. It is hard to know which. Mahalia Jackson never finished the eighth grade, or Mahalia’s genius is based on the collision of her voice with her spirituality. True spirituality is its own force. I am not sure how to respond to all this. I change the subject instead.

We have just seen George Wein’s documentary, Louis Armstrong at Newport, 1971. In the auditorium a room full of strangers listened to Mahalia Jackson sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and stood up and gave a standing ovation to a movie screen. Her clarity of vision crosses thirty years to address intimately each of us. It is as if her voice has always been dormant within us, waiting to be awakened, even though “it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, (and) through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech.”

Perhaps Mahalia, like Paul Celan, has already lived all our lives