wherever it's found

yesterday, i woke up needing confirmation that i am 'on path'. last night, the wisdom of a fortune cookie: "life is a series of choices. today yours are good ones." i hope.



some time ago, i realized just how much i enjoy the sight and sounds of water in nature. some day soon, i intend to live within a short driving or walking distance of a beach. meanwhile, i have a small indoor fountain that symbolizes this love. we can have much of what we want; if not in the form we'd hoped, then perhaps in another that is satisfactory. and of course there is joy to be found in what's already here.



jamey of urban conjure woman recommended i read carolyn see's making a literary life. i've just begun reading, and already, i'm in tears from cracking up! it's quite a mind that thinks up these things.


what i am learning

i gain the loveliest insights--what some call 'aha!' moments--in conversations with friends. yesterday, in the company of a dear, wise woman, i came to a deeper understanding of this: a life lived in neutral can't quite reach its greatest potential. being overly cautious, or 'straddling the fence' so that we might appear pleasing to all, tends to result in a blandness--a sameness--that defeats who we truly are. even more disheartening, we squander energy which might be invested in exploring our uniqueness, fighting our real selves.

as relates to my writing work (really, my path as a whole): i am recommitting to a boldness that reflects my truest voice.


the ones i've loved

on books:

well-written: the writer has carefully chosen and placed each and every word; and the way these words are put together creates a certain rhythm and tone unique to the story.

a complex main character: one with a rich, layered interior life; whose thoughts and observations i think about months, and years later; and who by the story's end has had to make some decision critical to her transformation.

i am thinking we are drawn to that which we hope to create.


in the thick

i've had a lovely couple of days. absorbed in that good way--'showing up' (a phrase i've heard spirit-minded writers use lately) for my writing work daily, if only to keep the words company. as i write and rewrite, the story continues to unravel. and sometimes, so do i. this is good; i am in this to be in it.


the gift of choice

today, i wrote in a bookstore cafe. each day this week, i intend to write at a different spot in town. i am grateful for the freedom of movement, and that at any moment, i can choose something else.


piece by piece

the state of our physical environment is often a reflection of our internal state. filling our physical space with unnecessary things, indicates we are unclear on which way to go. as our mind is cluttered, so are our surroundings.

although i've long practiced minimalism in my home, my computer space--online and offline--has been overfull, and quite disorganized. so, some months ago, i began the reorganization process, with my e-mails: i deleted messages as far back as five years, and created streamlined folders for those i decided to keep. releasing old messages--the people and ideas they represented--allows me to make room for my current trajectory. last evening, i rearranged all of my writing documents in a way that supports my present intentions.

this morning, i have greater clarity.


when to act

i am sure of what i'm leaving behind, but uncertain of what i'm embracing. i am thankful for knowing when i don't know, and allowing myself to just be until i do. i've found that inspired action--grounded in a kind of peace--more likely results in what i want, than action taken in fear, in a moment of uncertainty. and so, i wait.


reentering the world

the way we spend our first waking minutes sets the tone for the day:

in the past, i'd wake up, and immediately do something--turn on the morning news, or check e-mail. lately, i've spent my early waking minutes being, in complete silence. this latter approach, i've found, is more peaceful, as it allows me to reflect on the previous day's lessons, the night's dreams, or whatever else i choose. free of external noise, i can then intend how the new day unfolds.


the magic of time

before and after,
with five weeks in between.
with time, it all changes.


what shall we do?

martha southgate's recent article in the new york times on the paucity of 'visible' african-american literary fiction writers (really, writers of color as a whole) is generating much discussion:

tayari jone's post on the article has encouraged some thoughtful responses (including additional commentary by martha southgate), and jenn brissett of a bookseller's tale makes additional points.

my thoughts: each of us has a role/responsibility in these matters. as a lover of literary fiction, i regularly buy and read works by writers of color; as a black/african writer, i write, send out my work, and trust that my voice has a place; as a growing writer, i share my journey and experiences with other writers, especially those similarly situated--offering support and encouragement when i can .

with care

last evening, i began reading this. i read prose more often than i do poetry--perhaps this explains the attentiveness with which i am approaching this collection.

a well crafted poem, i think, is like that fine drink that is to be sipped slowly, and swirled gently. and even then, it seems the work isn't done; i want to look again beneath each layer, then go off to reconsider the meanings of phrases and line breaks.


the turning point

i began reading khaled hosseini's the kite runner late thursday night, and finished it early saturday morning--some time after 3am. (a warm thanks to black girl lost...in a book, who gifted me with this book while we were at vona.)

it's been some time since a novel evoked such pity, sadness, and anger in me, for each of the main characters, and at various stages in the story.

the kite runner is about that unflinching love, the one captured in hassan's declaration to his friend, amir: "For you a thousand times over." and it is about the betrayal (and eventual redemption) of that same love--beautifully told, skillfully layered: "I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan...and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran...I actually apsired to cowardice, because...[n]othing was free in this world."

these lines stay with me: "And suddenly, just like that, hope became knowledge. I was going to win. It was just a matter of when."

i am wondering: what precedes the transformation of hope, from possibility to certainty?

writers of color

some books that sit on my shelves (click image to enlarge).


the truth of it

on an early morning conversation with a friend:

she related that last evening, the instructors of the week two "voices" workshop shared their writing journeys. she had this to say: 'so much of this process is not about the writing itself, but about the person you are becoming.'

how divinely true.


the affirmative word

at the beginning of the "voices" week, we were charged with the creation of a collage that would capture a bit of who we are at the present. over the last year, i've created a growing affirmation board (which is now posted on my refrigerator door)--a free-flowing collection of images and words that mirror my deepest intentions.

this past week, i was drawn again to a style that involved a seemingly random--but likely divine--placement of words. the multicolored hand at the bottom is "God's hands" all over my dreams.


altogether unique

on the "voices" workshop experience:

it's a different love, the kind formed between those who come together for an experience centered on hopes and dreams. it's not intoxicating like romantic love, or inevitable like familial love. it's a love whose need binds through time--the kind that makes us recall with fondness, no matter how messy the details.

when it's time

uncommon experiences tend to ignite the process of transformation. within the last week, i've committed to changing these:

my signature (the current one does not encompass my full name); the font in which i type manuscripts (even the look of words on the page, matters a great deal); my non-professional sign off (the universal "peace & much love" is broader than i'd like).

a week in pictures

i've had quite a week at the voices of our nations arts foundation (vona) summer writing workshop (university of san francisco). i'll share more as the days come. above: some pictures of lovely san francisco.