my egusi soup, sans the iyan

the village

while we can accomplish much alone, there is something so life-affirming in asking for and receiving the help of those around us. this practice of community reminds us that we do not travel alone, but are 'many out of one.'

i do not forget that the stories i tell belong to all of us.


it is given

today, i am remembering that whatever we choose to create, the process of accomplishing it should be within the natural flow of life. whenever the 'doing' becomes arduous or stressful, perhaps we are swimming in the wrong waters.

in line with this, i have learned to ask for what i want. if i get it, i am meant to have it; if i do not get it, perhaps there is another path to be explored.

happy reading!

ode magazine makes nearly all articles from previous issues available for reading online. of particular interest to me is the africa issue from some time back. enjoy!


space as art

pseudo-independent commented on the photograph to the top right. that picture, as well as the others (so noted), are from my summer 2006 visit to nigeria. i snapped all of the photographs, and then applied various light/art techniques, using my computer's photo editing system.

my intention is to fill this space with the things that remind me of who i am.


i've completed the grant application. i'm thankful for the process, as i move closer to money for my work. over the next few weeks, i intend to prepare for next month's workshop, and continue writing.

meanwhile, i remember to breathe deeply, and smile often. this is my life, and it is good.


in various forms

in this moment, abundance is: friends who bring food, so that i can write, satisfied. today alone, i've been given a box of brownies and a bag of little red potatoes. food is a higher form of love.

i see you

i was checking out at the grocery store last evening when i spotted a friend i hadn't seen in some time. as we talked in the parking lot, she let me know that although she doesn't comment, she reads this blog often. i giggled--i too am a lurker on most blogs i visit. i imagine most of us are. it's quite alright. i feel your energy all the same.

on and on

above my desk hangs a list of things for which i'm most grateful:
19. that i remember to light candles
20. that i have brightly colored candles to light


how far?

as i continue reading this, i understand even more why the creation of thoughtful art requires engagement of the unfamiliar. a willingness to be with people, places, and things that live outside our daily experience. not merely noticing and commenting upon them, but flipping them this way and that inside our minds, long after they've gone.

like it is

my experiences have taught me to depend less on what is said or done, and more on the energy that is emitted. this vibration is the most dependable of things; it tells the truth where the mouth and hands might lie.


thread on skin

writing has deepened my interest in other art forms that seek to engage the senses--in particular: food, and music. i'm by no means a connoisseur of either. yet my appreciation of them, i think, makes me a much more sensitive lover of the written word.

at the underside

as i'm working on a grant application, i'm thinking that oftentimes, the money we anticipate is not the only gift. through the process of sharing who we are, what we do, and why we seek funding, we remember that we've lived many lives, accomplished more than we think, and have much ground to seek and receive support.

today, i acknowledge and appreciate the journey that has led me here.



who showed you this distant way
this way to são tomé?
i miss my home, my home of são nicolau
if you write,
i will write you back
if you forget me,
i will forget you
until the day of your return.

loose portuguese to english translation of sodade (a song of nostalgia), by cape verde's celebrated morna singer, cesaria evora. here is a live performance of sodade in its rightful language.


i admit i'm a young writer, early on her path. perhaps this is why i'm especially conscious of offering encouragement to fellow writers, no matter their status (e.g. published/unpublished, established/emerging, etc.). i've been blessed with much wisdom and support from a few writers, including those whose work i've long admired--i hope to be to others what they've been to me. those of us for whom the work is purposeful, understand in some way that we've chosen a path often fraught with negativity.

for the sake of my work and wellness, i decided some time ago to focus on my art and craft, and leave the madness to those who choose to engage it.


from this to that

"and this.
even this." chris abani, becoming abigail.

a novel opening i can't forget.

go slow

it seems much of our angst about where we are at this moment is based on our perception of time as limited or 'running out.' how quickly we reach a particular destination, i'm thinking, has less to do with our conceived time line, and more with the 'perfect' lining up of those things that will support us when we reach 'there.'


yes. i am.

today, two things happened that remind me that there are ways to be assertive, and self-honoring while maintaining respect for all involved: a conversation with a friend about international politics; an e-mail correspondence with a former colleague about tying up loose ends. when we connect to the heart of the matter and shift focus away from merely 'being right,' we reach mutual understanding.

my commitment is to this.


life imitating faith

i read somewhere that the way in which we handle 'lane changes' on the road, says much about our practice of trust:

there are those who first signal their intention, check for an opening, and then move to another lane. there are others who first check for an opening, signal their intention, check again to be sure there is indeed an opening, and then finally move to another lane.

i trust there is already a way; i only need ask.

on their shoulders

i feel for the day's energy, and plan my activities in alignment with it. this brings a certain ease and flow. today's energy is quiet solitude.

a list of "africa's 100 best books of the 20th century," compiled by the zimbabwe international book fair association. it's perhaps not definitive, but certainly a good resource for those of us with an interest in african literature. enjoy!


before dawn

in the next month, i have much work to complete, and a major decision to make regarding my writing. this morning, as i was sharing my plans with a friend, the following came to me: as we are in that space where much is going on, and decisions seem unsettled, we're in truth, on the verge of clarity. the answers emerge only through the murkiness--how else would we know?

spirit farmer

there are some artists, some songs, some melodies that haunt and fill the recesses of the soul: oliver "tuku" mtukudzi's album, "tuku music."



lately, it's come to me again and again that things don't remain in limbo indefinitely. eventually we move in one direction or another. i think what determines which way we go is where our present energies lie. right now, am i thinking, feeling, and doing in the direction of my dreams?


first lines

i've been preparing the first twenty pages of my novel to be workshopped at the voices of our nations arts foundation (vona) summer writing workshop. the deadline for uploading our work is today, and i've met it. i'm in the novel group with zz packer as instructor--truly looking forward to working with her and the other writers.

the editing process reminds me that writing is very much about the present moment--the story becomes new again, and again.


embracing resistance

i wouldn't make my way to the treadmill. so, i took a walk in the park. the track was empty, except for a woman taking pictures of a blooming white flower tree. she affirmed for me my ongoing thought that it may be time to leave this city--she too has discovered her art and thinks there is more elsewhere. i love my present space, but am not attached to it.

renaissance gal



"if you don't like what you're feeling, change the thought."--s. woldman. i regularly check in with myself to find out how i'm really feeling. today, i asked whether i like how i show up in this world. yes, i really do. i am writing myself, and it feels good.


three nights ago, i finally watched stranger than fiction. the writer's use of the word 'interconnectivity' to describe the theme of forthcoming work, reminded me of what excites me most about writing: the expansiveness of layers within narrative; and the way people and things interweave.



within the last two days, i've received unexpected discounts that significantly reduced the amount i 'should' have paid on two separate items. just as i was marveling at this flow of abundance, i came upon a dime, and then a quarter in my condo parking lot. money arrives from many sources.

there was one

6 of my 7 tomatoes are ready to be picked. this one holds on to green. here is to enjoying the fruits of my work.

for this

last fall, as i read through julia cameron's the artist's way, i was saddened by the discussion of artists who are unsupported in the pursuit of their work. since committing to writing, i've been blessed with loved ones, strangers, acquaintances, and colleagues who have been tremendously generous with their spirit, time, money, and wisdom.

even my mother--who awaits the 'rewards' of her child's ivy league degrees--lets me know from time to time that she understands i am doing what i am meant to do. "i've always known," she'd said. i've come to understand that there is little more important to the writer than the encouragement of her surroundings.

this morning, i am grateful for the firmness of loving hands.


something new

today, i added a 4ft. something elephant's ear to my patio. i'd been eyeing this plant for some time as i walked to and from the gym. i wanted it, and somehow believed it was already mine. an angel dug it out of the ground and brought it to me today. i potted it in a clay container, and placed it next to the widening bamboo.

i can see one of its three leaves through the sliding glass door. even the space inside (especially the space inside) has changed.


says who?

yesterday, i read this on poet cherryl floyd-miller's blog, and it's still with me. as a young writer, i'm fiercely protective of my art and the knowing i am meant to do it. it is why i'm here. yes. i've long known that each of us is meant to use who we are to serve this world in some meaningful way. who we are meant to be while here, i trust, rests with each of us in divine partnership with our creator. life purpose is the most sacred of endeavors; its discovery and fulfilment (thank goodness) is not at the discretion of anyone. not friends, family, lovers, colleagues, critics, reviewers, editors, publishers. this i know.


like any other

the city has become quieter as the students head home for the summer. several days ago, i noticed that my tomatoes had begun to change color: leafy green to various shades of orange. we're still under a smoke advisory, as the winds from the wildfires blow in from the north. two loaves of my famous whole grain banana (sometimes oatmeal added) bread sit cooling on the breakfast bar. i'm waiting for the curry to finish cooking so we can eat. it's a good day.


and there's more

i'm developing a deeper awareness that whatever we encounter daily (thought, word, deed, person) is meant to be, whatever purpose it serves--at times that purpose may be great; at others, small. the encounter is always significant though<--this is the exciting part!

as applied to the writing process: i am understanding that however i write, whatever i write, whenever i write, all make the story what it's meant to be. i trust the resulting work says a great deal about the process that led it here. i am on purpose and this is good.


on a dime

i took a spontaneous drive out of town early this morning. within ten minutes of deciding to go, i had brushed, showered, and headed out the door. the spontaneity of my decision makes me think of this city, and my willingness to leave it when the purpose it serves has passed. about two years ago, i came in search of something: i'm finding my truest voice here. now, i think elsewhere, something more awaits.


like flowers and plants

a few weeks ago, while watching television, i came across something i continue to think on. the voice-over said: "what we starve dies; what we water grows. what are you watering or starving in your life?" i so believe in the philosophy that we attract more of what we give our attention to, or more plainly, 'what we focus on expands.' still, something about the water/starve dichotomy made me think of this energetic process in more 'real' and 'immediate' terms.

in particular, it made me consider my close relationships: my intention is to water only those that are (or hold the potential to be) joyful, healthy, respectful, uplifting--and all of these things reciprocally.

that i am

i'm not in the habit of setting new year's resolutions. on january 1, though, i knew what it is i was to work on for the remainder of the year: i would practice caring less about what others think. more affirmatively: the only approval of myself that i seek is that which comes from me in partnership with my divine source.

this year has already presented several opportunities to put this affirmation to practice. in some cases, i struggled; in others, i went with the flow; in all things, i have emerged with a deeper knowing of who i am. i am continuously putting an end to those (person, place, or thing) that do not affirm me. i am nurturing those that do.

in this moment, i know i am a woman coming into herself.


the art of things

a few minutes ago, i was looking at an online photography gallery. while the images were well-shot, well-framed, and clean-lined, i couldn't find the story within them. i looked through the entire gallery, and not once did i connect with an image. this makes me think of writing and the perfection of form. a piece can be nearly perfect in terms of its structural and grammatical composition, and still, the story might be missing--perhaps the artist is in hiding from the truth of the art. artistic truth is not so tidy and linear.


and even in this

i watched spider-man 3 last night, and took away this: our unwillingness to forgive others indicates an unwillingness to be self-forgiving--that is, we allow little room for the self-imperfections that are the natural flow of life. and to forgive others, we must first forgive ourselves. the process of forgiving ourselves for the (real or perceived) mistakes we've made, allows us to appreciate just how human we truly are. this realization, i think, leads to a better understanding of the imperfections in others, and in turn, frees us from the past.

wisdom is held in all things...even spider-man.


on time

i'm thinking about our resistance to trying something different when the approach we've taken so far, has been ineffective. what hinders change is the feeling of regret about how long we'd been committed to a course that would ultimately not work as we'd hoped. there is guilt over whether we could have/should have done something else, sooner. this regret or guilt keeps us stuck in the past, unable to see the possibilities within the present.

the truth is that when we do the best with what we know (who we are) at a given moment--no matter where we're led--we can trust that all is well. the journey remains timely.


it's like this

(photo source: VCOM)
last evening, after a walk in the park, we drove downtown. we sat outside a favorite coffee shop. we talked about the day, and watched: the night owls on their way to something or someone; the bright light of the state theater box office across the street. we linked fingers, and just sat. this morning, i am thinking: love is loving through stillness.


this or that

i am discovering that: i am more and more in tune with the flow of things to come. i know this because lately, i have been intuiting things before they occur. as i'm able to sense what is to come, the question is whether i react to it with love or fear. i choose love.


as we are

this early morning, an acquaintance needed my help, and so i was in her company. within a few minutes, her ways of thinking became evident: "[everyone] is a taker; i've become a target for [so-and-so]; [this-or-that-person] is out to get me; [everything] always goes wrong for me."

as a firm believer and practitioner of the "we are as we think" philosophy, i listened, and (hopefully) offered support, without engaging her beliefs.

my ongoing intention: to love and honor others in ways that are loving and honoring of myself.