This is one of my first attempts at nonfiction which is not my favorite genre. This is something that I had been trying to write since late 2012 but never managed to write until I took a class last year. I am still trying to tweak it but I am sharing a bit of the piece today.


When asked about myself, I have often led with the fact that I am a mama’s girl. I have always taken pride in being my mother’s daughter. And in the moments on October 11th, 2012 when our family found out that her death was imminent I felt as if I had been struck. The idea that I would end 2012 without her was like a physical blow. I remember bending over her and saying that I wasn’t strong enough to live without her. I didn’t know how, or whether, I would be able to exist without her. She was my first best friend, my confidante, and the barometer against which I measured myself. Although she had spent our lives together raising me to be strong, independent and an individual.

My mother was seventeen when I was born and sixteen when she became pregnant with me. Our closeness was partially a result of that short gap between us and partially because of who she was. I was always inquisitive so I knew when I was fairly young that I was at my mother’s graduation and by the time I was thirteen, I knew that my mother didn’t have to give birth to me. My mom was her parents baby, as the youngest giving birth to a child as a teenager would cause her to forfeit her dream of being an architect. Although, she didn’t become an architect, she wanted me to accomplish all of my dreams. From her hospital bed, she proudly told her respiratory therapist “my baby is working on her second Masters.” She always made sure to let me know when she was proud of me and when I could do better. Our closeness does not mean that she wasn’t a parent to me. She was always, first and foremost, my mother but she wanted me to know that I could tell her anything. When I was in the third grade, I got suspended from school for one day for throwing a workbook at a classmate and cutting his neck. I remember waiting for my mother on out front porch in East Trenton, New Jersey with trepidation. I can clearly recall thinking of all of the things that I wouldn’t get to see once my mom killed me for getting suspended. I would never become a teenager, never have a sweet sixteen, never go to college or get married. When she arrived home from work, she sat beside me and asked what was wrong. I told her in broken sentences what happened earlier in the day. Her response, laughter. “You hit him in the neck? But you can’t throw!” she said between tears. I sat there stupidly looking at her. Here I was thinking that I would never see another day and she was laughing.




Today is my mom’s birthday. On a day where I usually give myself permission to do nothing and care about even less I have gotten dressed and am doing something that I never do on July 24th. I’m working! While I am trying to be a big girl please enjoy this piece that I wrote earlier this month just for today. 

I am an emotional reader in the way that many people are emotional eaters. In fact, when I am grieving all of my friends have to remind me to eat. Reading is the way that I escape everything. Especially grief. In the days after her funeral, I lay on my best friend’s couch and read. How apropos that this month’s Poets and Writer’s would feature a piece by Edwidge Danticat titled “The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story.” Edwidge Danticat whose Brother, I am Dying had me raving to my own mother about her brilliance. Whose Breath, Eyes, Memory was the basis for the title of my MFA thesis and whose inclusion of Haitian Creole was one of the justifications for my use of vernacular in said thesis. Which my mother sat in her bed and read; telling me how awesome it was. 

In the article, she writes of her mother’s death and when I first read it I recalled my own battle with writing after losing my mom. The article reminded me of my own search for any written thing by my mom in the weeks after losing her. I wanted those last bits of her. But now I realize that I have them. I am all the parts of her.

If you have a chance please give the article a look and if you haven’t read any Danticat; definitely give her a read. 


I’m Gone Be Alwrite

writing scrabble

For a while, Kendrick Lamar’s song “Alright” has been playing in my head. The chorus is a mantra for me some weeks as I remind myself that I’m going to be alright. Today, I decided to do a play on his words and say that I will be all write. Because as long as I can write then I will be alright. This weekend has been jam packed with one of my favorite things, writing. I have picked up a couple of writing obligations which I am super excited about but I also had to finish a piece that was especially difficult and one that capitalized on the emotions that the earlier piece stoked.

Since 2012, writing has become therapeutic. It has been the number one way that I’ve expressed my emotions and the inner workings of my mind. One of the worst parts of having writer’s block is that it stifles my creativity and also my ability to purge the surplus of emotions that flood my system daily and weekly. I remember once having writer’s block so bad that I felt sick and wasn’t sure why until I realized that I wasn’t even reading. That’s when I knew that there was a serious problem. This week, I wanted to force myself to write as a way to combat being overly distressed.  I am trying to force myself to write through the roller coaster of my emotions as a way to prevent some sort of emotional short circuit and it may be helping but what I know is that writing is therapeutic for me. I hope to share a few new pieces of poetry with you over the next two weeks and possibly some new fiction.

Have any of you written as a salve for your emotions? Or as a way to purge?


Another Acquisition



Along with the secretary that I wrote about a few months ago, I have been wanting to acquire a vintage typewriter for a long time. Much like my extensive secretary hunt; I searched Etsy, ebay, yard sales and antique shops in the hopes of finding one. My grandmother had the amazing advice that I search the latter two in hopes of finding the perfect one.

   I had my mind set to pay the expensive prices for one that I’d stumbled upon on Etsy or one on chairish; those ranged from $170-$350 but…a couple of weeks ago I had the strongest feeling that I  needed to visit my local Habitat ReStore. I did and picked up a few things but was still just rambling around when someone came in with a donation and I heard the magic words “old typewriter.”

  Needless to say, I jumped right on that asking the clerk if it would be for sale that day. Yes, I was ready to buy it sight unseen.  That’s her, my beauty! I snagged her for a GREAT price and although she doesn’t work right now I am still the proud owner of a cast iron typewriter.


2013 Out…

happy new year

As we wrap up the end of 2013, I plan to dive into the latest Alexander McCall Smith No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel and celebrate all that I accomplished this year.

Although I didn’t create as much fiction this year as I intended I am exceptionally pleased that I managed to maintain such a presence on the blog. I also accomplished quite a few of my writer’s resolutions one of which was to participate in NaNoWriMo. For the most part, I have set my writing goals for 2014 and look forward to expanding my horizons as a poet and a writer and hopefully taking a break from being a student (finally). I also hope to curb my never-ending addiction to books but that’s probably not going to happen.

As always I just want to take the time to thank those of you who take the time to read or subscribe to the blog.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and thanks again!


My New Motto


This was sent to me by a loyal reader and an amazing friend in Maine. I immediately fell in love and went online to search for my very own bumper sticker. It turns out that Cafepress has versions but not exactly like the one above. Apparently the owner of the one featured here purchased hers at a local store in Maine. I will be getting mine in July.

Part of the reason I love this bumper sticker is because I happen to truly believe that reading and intelligence are sexy. I also love the way I look in my glasses; I know that I feel intelligent and sexy while wearing them. I think that I am a good writer because I am a voracious reader. It has been one of my constant companions for such a long time. I loved stories before I could read for myself, at the age of three, and I’ve maintained that love all these years. It’s why I am such a dedicated writer.

So enjoy your sexiness, readers! It’s a beautiful thing.


My Literary Travel Wish List

chaucer lit

paris skyline

The September 2011 issue Writer’s Digest featured an article “Great Travel Destinations for Writers.” I loved it because I was instantly inspired by the list and their reasons for each city. I love to travel so I decided to create my own list. I simply added Charleston and Ireland to their list but it makes all the difference. I grew up in the shadows of New York City and have been there numerous times but never for anything writing related so I hope to change that soon. I have also been to New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah. I wrote in each city and I will follow the suggestions of Writer’s Digest about places to see or book to read before visiting again.

Travel Destinations

1.) London- This is my number one ideal destination, not as a writer but a traveler. I want to see 221 B Baker Street, Westminster Abbey, take the Literary London Pub Walk, and visit the British Library.
2.) Paris – I am not a fan of Paris, I have never wanted to go. Not even the recommendation of one of my favorite authors could change my mind. However, between the movie Midnight in Paris and some pictures from my favorite blogger I’ve decided that I need to visit. Hemingway, enough said!
3.) New Orleans*-WD suggests visiting the French Quarter; which I have seen but I plan to stay at the Hotel Monteleone next time or at least to visit Faulkner House Books and Galatoire’s Restaurant. And to immerse myself in seafood, beignets, and a couple of shrimp po’ boys.
4.) Venice- Much like Charleston this is a sentimental, romantic selection. I feel like Venice would inspire me to write beautiful prose and poetry. I just want to roam the city absorbing its ambience; I can absolutely imagine myself eating gelato and people watching outside a trattoria or riding the water bus.
5.) Charleston*- This is probably my favorite city in America. It was on my list of Southern cities to see and it did not disappoint. I am inspired by the city, by merely strolling down King Street or looking at the pineapple fountain or eating at Jim & Nick’s (The Pink Pig). I love to write there and that is enough for me.
6.) Savannah*- It turns out that I have seen almost all of the things on WD’s suggestions for Savannah including a haunted walking tour, walked around and dined in the historic district, saw the Mercer House, Flannery O’Connor’s house, and window shopped on River Street. So I will have to find some other literary sites to visit or mark this spot off of the list.
7.) Boston & Amherst- Boston is a literary city. I added Amherst because it is the home of one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. I plan to walk through Beacon Hill, visit Boston Athenaeum, and possibly visit Walden Pond. I would also love to visit the house where Malcolm X lived with his half- sister in Roxbury because he recounted his life there in his autobiography.
8.) New York*- As I said I grew up with frequent trips into the city but I would totally be a literary tourist on this trip. I plan to walk Greenwich Village, visit Washington Park and Bryant Park, The Plaza Hotel, the Schomburg Center and Striver’s Row in Harlem, and of course the New York Public Library.
9.) Rome- Of course I want to see big tourist items but I also aim to see the Keats-Shelley House and I want to take the Angels& Demons tour if it is still up and running. I will gorge myself on pasta, wine, and gelato.
10.) All of Ireland- I have an Irish surname (supposedly) and I’ve always felt closely ties to certain aspects of the cultures so for me Ireland is a must see. A quick list of things I’d love to see courtesy of literary tourist. In Dublin: guided tour of the William Butler Yeats Exhibition at the National Library. Literary Pub Crawl. Dublin Writers Museum. Limerick: the Frank McCourt Museum; I would love to see this as a lover of history and to look at the photos. Kerry: Seanchaí Visitor Centre. I just finished reading The Parish and the Hill and am enamored with Kerry so this will be the perfect time to see the place where the characters originated.
11.) San Francisco- As a poet, of course I want to visit City Lights bookstore and the surrounding neighborhood. I also want to eat (a lot) so I will visit the Vesuvio Café as well.
12.) Key West- I have had the chance to visit several times and I keep putting it off, so hopefully this summer I will check this one off. I have to see Hemingway House, eat and drink at Captain Tony’s Saloon and the new Sloppy Joe’s. I also plan to organize a tour of other literary landmarks.



stack of books

“Lie to yourself, lie to them, but don’t lie to me.”
-The Scribe

The above quote is something that I often say to my friends. It just means that even when they think they’re being honest with themselves (and me) that I can see through it all.

Well, I have lied to myself, causing me to lie to my friends. In the heat of a moment of burnout I stated that at the end of the year I was going to take a break from my Master’s program. After all I just completed my MFA at the end of 2011, the degree was conferred in 2012 then I started a PhD program which I hated. So in March of last year I applied to my current program. Throughout the past year, I kept reminding myself that after 18 credits I could stop and apply for teaching positions. So when one of my friends mentioned that I was suffering from burnout I agreed. I then told her that I was going to take a break and decide if I truly want to pursue a PhD in English. However, I just spent an hour planning my classes for next year.

I know that it sounds like I’m addicted to education.But I can stop anytime I want; I really can.


Breaking the Lock of Writer’s Block


As a writer, one always encounters a bit of writer’s block. I am a cyclical writer; when inspiration hits I am writing. I will plot characters, write dialogue, plot the story, or nearly write an entire poem in one sitting. I know other writers who say that they manage to avoid the bonds of writer’s block by writing every day. I am not that kind of writer. Although one of my goals is to have a daily word count, I have not yet accomplished that goal on a daily or even weekly basis. I do write a lot on paper though but I don’t normally count that.

Lately, I have been experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Not because I don’t have ideas or dialogue or even want to write but because I am not committed to forcing myself to sit at the computer every day. I write for class of for this blog but it has been a bit harder sitting down to focus on my fiction.

So this week I decided to do a post on how I deal with writer’s block or when I just need to jumpstart my writing since I am always striving to come up with new ways to spark my willingness to sit down and write. I hope these are helpful and please leave a comment if you have any tips that you find successful.

1.) Writing Prompts. As a student of writing programs I was introduced to Brian Kiteley’s 3 A.M. Epiphany and 4 A.M. Breakthrough. These books are wonderful; I cannot tout their helpfulness enough. I guarantee that you will find a prompt (or several) that will encourage you to write. These books stay on my bookshelf in arms reach so that I can always have help in fingertips reach.
2.) Revamping a Character. Change it up. I have had characters change on me from their inception to the moment when I start putting their story down. I have also had characters change mid tale. This happened to me in a class when a story was being workshopped and several of my classmates read the story and a got a different feel for the character than I’d intended. They thought she seemed gruff and a bit condescending. That was never how I wanted her to be so I immediately began to rewrite some of her dialogue and her interactions with other characters.
3.) Start Small. One of my favorite short pieces started from writing prompt so what I mean by starting small is to give yourself a word count. I am a new fan of flash fiction but I always shied away from it before because I couldn’t imagine writing an entire story in 300 words but the beauty of starting small is that you can always expand the piece; perhaps by inserting chapters or starting a new chapter or making it into a series.
4.) Expand a Situation/Real Life. I am always getting ideas from my life or my friends lives. I honestly believe that my friends are in my life to give me something to write about. No matter whether it’s comical or serious; they always provide a story for me to tell. Whether from a small encounter or a situation that you want to reimagine use that to start or plot a story.
5.) Take a Movie Break. Now I don’t mean stealing ideas from movies; I would never advocate stealing someone else’s hard work. What I’m talking about is taking an idea from something or twisting a concept. I just recently got an idea from watching Stepmom, which I think is a great movie. My idea turns the concept on its ear and I hope to showcase some of it here soon. What’s a movie that you could tweak?
6.) Let them eat…whatever. I am a huge fan of authors like Diane Mott Davison, Joanne Fluke, JB Stanley, and Laura Childs. As a foodie, I love books that incorporate recipes or have characters who create mouth-watering dishes. In reading those books I feel like I am able to combine two of my lifelong loves; eating and reading. It makes me feel like the ultimate multi-tasker. If you have a favorite recipe or dish think about what type of character would have created the dish or base your character off of a family member, if the recipe was handed down.





Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
-Edgar Allan Poe

I think that I have mentioned before that one of the items on my 2013 list of Writer’s Resolutions is to attend more literary events including book signings, writer’s conferences, book festivals, and readings. For me it is important to socialize as an author, not just to network but also because being a writer is such a solitary existence.

Yesterday I attended a poetry reading at a local bookstore. The event was part of the celebration of National Poetry Month and it was wonderful. I was especially motivated by another poet there. She was 83! An 83 year old poet, and the wisdom and beauty of her poetry was simply amazing. She covered a wide range of subjects in her pieces and I can only hope to still be alive and creating at that age.

I read a couple of pieces and although the crowd was small it was a great experience. My courage was bolstered by makeup and my word nerd t-shirt. So I am already looking forward to doing it again and possibly putting together my own poetry reading soon.

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend.