Bye 2019

This title comes courtesy of one of my younger cousin’s Instagram posts. And it really symbolizes my mood for the end of this year.

2019 has been a difficult and amazing year. Although I hadn’t been doing a great job of keeping up with the blog, from July on I had little interest in writing or focusing on blogging. I suffered another devastating loss but was also invited to lead a workshop on poetry and to return to an institution that I love.

I plan to do much better with blogging in 2020 and hope to get back to posting every week. In 2020, I will be focusing on creating new work(both fiction and poetry). Hopefully, I will be able to create in a way that eluded me for much of this year. I also hope to host a series of workshops and to expand my brand.

See you in 2020! Happy New Year!


September 2nd-They Reminisce Over You…


It’s been two months. And that feeling is still here. That void is still present. The ache won’t go away. Early last month, heard 93 til Infinity and immediately wanted to call you with it playing in the background. Tried to watch the Jersey tribute on the VMA’S and immediately burst into tears when O.P.P started. Then Latifah perfored U.N.I.T.Y and I had to stop;for my sanity and my face.

I’ve been here before, I know it’s going to eventually ease up a bit. But…I’m not there yet. The pain is still visceral, still throbbing and threatening. I am still trying to come to grips with all the things we’re never going to get to do again. All the laughs, memories and experiences are what keep me afloat. Most days. I’m going to continue to bask in them. Until we meet again

They Reminisce Over You…




Plotting and Planning

person writing on white book
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So far, this year has been one that has caused me to reevaluate my processes. It seems that another thing that I’d been failing to do so far this year was to plan my blog posts for the month and schedule them. Last year, I was committed to batch planning my posts which for me meant ensuring that I was posting consistently but also staying on top of what I posted and being more present in my blogging. Batch planning allowed me to pick a theme and stick to it (National Poetry Month, Black History Month, or even a regular month like July). Without that, I’ve found that it leads to sporadic posts with some months only having three posts which isn’t ideal at all.
Since I’ve started blogging, productivity has been an issue that I’ve worked on so that I am growing the blog but also growing as a writer/poet and curator of poetry. When I stumbled upon the concept of batch planning, it seemed like just what I’d been looking for and I enjoyed it. I know for certain that when I follow the tenets of batch planning that I am a better blogger.

I am more than halfway through planning for the month of March and once that’s done, I will move on to planning for April.



woman in white dress shirt holding blue permanent marker
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am a firm believer of speaking things into existence and although I have long been in love with the written word it never once crossed my mind to teach. I have a cousin, a close friend and a niece who are the primary causes of my current occupation. My cousin and close friend have been calling me “Professor” since I was in my early twenties. My niece made me create assignments for her from the time she was five until she was twelve; during the summer.

Before I started teaching, it was an all-consuming desire; especially once I’d completed my MFA. I mean what else would I do with that, anyway? By that time, it was on my life list of things to do: to teach on the collegiate level. The way that the opportunity finally arose was a bit serendipitous. I was on a local campus with some friends who were alumni and was introduced to the chair of the Language, Literature and Communication department. I initially began teaching online courses which I liked but when I started teaching face to face classes I was a mixture of nerves and excitement.  As I grew more confident in my teaching style, which was always laid back and conversational, I learned how to infuse the subjects that I taught with humor and a splash of current events.

I love teaching, I really do. I love imparting the information that I’ve spent so much time gathering. But I am no longer sure that my teaching needs to take place the way it currently does. In a classroom, under the constraints and dictates of others. Or from books that others choose. These days, I feel the need my own space to teach workshops unfettered. I miss teaching creative writing courses so much. And I miss being inspired by my student’s commitment to writing.

I want to be able to teach wearing a maxi skirt, off the shoulder sweatshirt and Timbs. Or in jeans, a bookish t-shirt and sneakers with my hair in braids. I want to encourage my students and expose them to as much as I can while also encouraging their creativity. I want to teach workshops in the community where I am not bound by limitations. Where I can adapt the topics and even the material that I use to teach. What I’ve come to realize is that I want to have a space where I can encourage growth and healing through writing and create my own workshops, hold events and mentor other writers.



The Struggle

blur business coffee commerce
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my goals for the second half of this year aside from putting together my own collection of poetry is to develop some new works. I have been working on some new poetry, but it has been quite difficult. Writing poetry has always been something that comes easily to me. The words have always poured out of me, even after midnight, when I wanted to be asleep.  However, lately I have been unable to really focus on finishing new pieces. I have started at least twenty new poems that are currently sitting in various stages of development on my hard drive. I’m reluctant to call it writer’s block because I am writing but none of those pieces feel complete.

In the hopes of fixing it, I am toying with the idea of pulling out my old craft books and trying to create based on prompts. Or looking up prompts on Poets & Writers or another site. I’ve been trying my hand at different forms of poems in the hopes that they will spark my creativity. I have been looking at tanka, blues poems, epistles, and prose poems; next I may try found poetry. I’m hoping that focusing on different types will help me complete some work. I may just have to pause in trying to create new poetry and focus on some other type of writing until the words come back.

Please share any suggestions or recommendations that you think might help.


Thank You for Being a Friend

thank you heart text
Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw on Pexels.com


Since its inception this blog has been my safe haven, a place to share my writing and misgivings and the joys and pains of everyday life.  For the past eight years it’s been something that I could turn to as a way to ensure that I was creating and then I always had things to share because of my never-ending commitment to education. Since I am currently on a pause from classes, I have been struggling with what to write especially as I turn my vision more towards fiction. In many ways, this blog has helped me develop my voice in ways that degrees and multiple creative writing classes couldn’t. If you are a long-time follower of the blog, then you’ve read some of the fiction that I’ve shared here. I currently have one completed piece of fiction and two more that need editing and revision. I have a bunch of other stories that are in various stages of development. And I have this poetry manuscript that I am working to put together before the end of the summer so that I can pass it along to a few trusted readers to ensure that it is cohesive.

I like to think that over time, I have improved, not just in what I share but the quality of material as well. As this blog took on the feel of a portfolio of poems from other poets that I respect I began to feel more confidence as a blogger but also as a curator of works. So hopefully, that experience will help me as I try to collate my own collection.

I know this reads as some sort of goodbye, but it isn’t. It’s merely a thank you for taking the time to read whatever I share. I am not going to be stepping away from the blog, but I am going to take some steps this summer to get back to batch blogging in order to ensure that I’m sharing great and relevant material (including poems, fiction and rants).  You are going to see a bunch of different types a post at least once a week, but I will still be sharing all the normal writing things.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

rant, writing

Another NaNoWriMo Letdown

It’s official, I think I’m giving up on NaNoWriMo. Last year I attempted to come back after an epic meltdown in 2015 and a failure to compete in 2016. I had most of the story planned out and knew all of the major moments that would take place but…I just wasn’t interested in the characters. And some random person popped up and she threw the entire story off. All the way off! 

So as a way of still working during November, I went back to a story I’d started and shared with you before. Only to not have anywhere to go because I’d been focusing on the other story for quite a bit. Suffice it to say, I was a bit upset by this turnaround especially since I started out so well. 

In the intervening months, I had to think about whether it’s worth it for me to continue setting myself up for failure. And last week I decided that it wasn’t. I don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo in order to be a productive writer or to complete any of my novels. 

As of now, I am over NaNoWriMo and I’m okay with that. 


Ten Things I Learned from Planning a Literary Festival

I have some semi-big news to share! I alluded to this in my Rocky IV post and maybe one before. But I have been hard at work planning a literary festival. It is going to be in a small town in North Carolina but this was the litmus test for whether I would like to plan more events. I’m sharing the link to the site too just in case anyone is nearby or wants to share with others.


Lit Hang Suite media 912

  1. You can’t plan enough: I had a well-drawn out plan from the inception of the festival. A lot of those plans fell apart. Starting with the location and part of my author lineup.
  2. There will be setbacks: see above! I was scrambling over a month ahead of the event to find replacement authors, to change the location, and to build registration.
  3.  You will be surprised by who says yes: I was astounded by the authors who initially said yes as well as those who told me to let them know about my next event. Some of my favorite authors and some who I would have never thought to approach were willing to appear.
  4. It helps to have relationships with authors: I was amazed by the authors who agreed to participate and it helped me realize that I need to extend my circle and interact with more authors so that I can plan larger and better events.
  5. And other readers: As I was having my major freak out, I realized that I had never reached out to one of my Facebook friends who I’d had an immediate bond with upon speaking in the group of one of our favorite authors. As soon as I contacted her, she was ready to help however she could. And help she did! She suggested authors that I could contact who were reasonably close and she shared the information on her page which got it shared in other groups.
  6. Use local businesses: There are so many small businesses in my small town but one of them that I use frequently really paid off for me. They made my flyers and were willing to work with me in all of my craziness.
  7. Have a relationship with your library: I love my library so much and planning this event did not lessen that love. I was able to speak to the librarians about the event and to leave some smaller fliers for readers they thought would be interested.
  8. It costs money: I didn’t underestimate this but I was lucky enough to encounter a partner who was willing to share the costs for a donation to the local HBCU where I previously worked.
  9. Use volunteers: I was lucky enough to have former students who were willing to “work” the event for free admission and publicize it. I also corralled some of my friends who were willing to spread the word about it.
  10. It’s addictive: I’m already planning more events!



Rocky IV as Inspiration 

On Tuesday night I was feeling real low. Like Sophia in the store when she saw Ms. Celie but then Rocky IV came on and all of a sudden, I felt like I could take over the world.  Which is always a side effect of watching Rocky IV (for me at least). The downside to that is that when I watch the movie I get really excited. That means that I have to at least see the part where Adriane goes to Russia and who can sleep after that? Not this girl! So I was up until 1:00 am being excited about Rocky’s win. 

After that, I was ready to tackle the challenges that loomed before me. Except, for taking the GRE! 

Here are my top four moments from the movie and why they make me so excited.

“You can’t win!”: When Adriane says this to Rocky on the heels of Apollo’s death it simply shatters Rocky so he goes out to drive off his hurt and anger. Which leads to…

The S0thpaw plate: Proud lefty over here! When this movie came out no one could convince me that I wouldn’t have a Jersey plate with the same thing as soon as I got a car. Never happened! 

Philly: I grew up Philly adjacent then wound up living in the city for a bit. It is still home to me, in a sense, so I love seeing it on the screen in any movie but this one always reminds me that I was once inspired to run up the steps of the museum. 

Living in America: James Brown performing this song! Classic! 


I Promise 

Today’s post is a bit different and although I have it categorized as a rant, it really isn’t one at all. Okay, so I am sure that you all have come across other bloggers and sites specifically ones that are geared towards writers. Well, I am a huge fan of those sites. Simply because I love to learn and I love seeing what else is out there in the world. 

For those reasons I am on the mailing lists of many, many,many “writing clubs.” It could also be because I am addicted to worksheets. I think it’s a product of growing up in a certain era. Pinterest allows you to find so many useful writing tools and I love to have copies on hand to use as I develop characters, plots, and scenes and that’s usually how I come across these resources. However, one negative of belonging to these “clubs” is that they often lead to the new thing which is writing courses. Some of which are very pricy. I completely get why these services are offered and I know that there are people who want/need/desire them.

Let me just say that I am not bashing them at all. I know that there is a need and everyone shouldn’t have to enroll in graduate school to learn the skills they want. So, it is great that these services and classes are out there. 

But…that is not what I’m about. At all! 

So today, I am making the solemn vow that I  promise to never offer or sell you writing courses. I know, I know “never say never” but this is a near certainty. 

Here’s why:

1.) I teach writing courses for a living at several colleges and universities. This little spot on the web is where I find my bliss. I am not trying to merge the two unless it becomes absolutely necessary. 

2.) If you ask me for tips, I’m more than happy to share any and everything that I’ve learned. 

3.) I have an MFA and a MA in Creative Writing and English respectively and I am still crafting my own lane for writing. I know many people with neither who are brilliant writers and are more qualified to offer such advice. 

4.) As I continue to build my brand, I know the direction that I want to head in. Since I’m committed to publishing I don’t want to teach courses outside of my day job and workshops. 

5.) See number one again