Category: Writing Challenges

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 10-A Fruit You Dislike And Why


I’m a foodie! I like to try new foods and new food combinations! But a fruit that I cannot stand, and do not like?

KIWI. (Don’t think of the Maroon 5 song!)

I don’t like how they look. How they feel or how they taste. I can’t. I just can’t! I think it’s because it confuses me.

It’s a furry fruit with slimy insides. I can’t! It’s gross! It’s a texture thing! I can’t, I cannot do kiwis! I can’t do fruit salad with them! I can’t do them hidden in something else! No! Do NOT give me Kiwis!

Nope. Nope. NOPE! Can’t make me!

[image from]


Thirty Days of Fire: Day 9- Your Feelings On Ageism

I am 37. I will be 38 in five months and fifteen days.

As of this year, I am two years away from 40. I am at the age where most of the world thinks I begin to max out. And to be honest? I have a fear of that. I have a fear I’m running out a clock!

My grandmother died at 84. In 2 years I’m at the halfway point of life and that is frightening to me. Then, I had this thought.

“Your own self is such a treasure.”

This is a quote from the utterly phenomenal Phylicia Ayers Allen Rashad.

In 2018, Phylicia Rashad turned 70. I began to think of my own mortality. I thought about what all she had seen, thought and began to think about my own life. I thought about what I had lived through and what I had to look forward to.

Ageism is discrimination on the basis of age. Moreover, it is the admitting that society doesn’t even know what to do with people of a certain age–especially women.

This society loves everything sleeker, younger, faster, prettier. Especially women. I thought about how pretty I wouldn’t be when I was 70. The lost of function. Loss of being desirable. The lost of dexterity. All I could think about was loss.

But then I looked at the women I admire and how age didn’t define them. I looked at Phylicia and how she’s still doing what she loves, along with Dihann Carroll and looking amazing while doing it! I looked at Shonda ‘Irunalladishere’ Rimes. I looked at Viola Davis. Both over 40.

I realized I had been speeding my life up without counting the wins. Without embracing the wins with the losses. I see my age now in view of what I have learned and what is next! I have learned to value days, moments and what I want from this life.

Age doesn’t determine my worth. I have learned that my own self is such a treasure.

37 years down. So many more to go!

[image from]

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 8-A Book You Love And One You Didn’t

As a writer, it is odd to talk about a book that I ‘didn’t’ like. I don’t make a habit of buying books that I don’t like. However as a bibliophile, I do have a couple books I would like to discuss.

As of 2018, there are 2 books that I can say that had that effect on me.

I cannot sing the praises of this book ENOUGH:

ELOQUENT RAGE WAS A BLACK GIRL WAR CRY! I loved this book because I have never had an author, especially a woman of color to bravely, fiercely explain just WHY I am angry! Where the rage comes from. I purchased this book on Audible in the Fall of 2018. I suicided* this book in a day and a half. I drank from this book like a fresh water well. I bathed in the knowledge of Dr. Brittney Cooper like I was swimming in the ocean! I wanted all she had to offer. I recommend this book to any young, gifted and Black young girl. It is a reminder that you have a right to be angry. You have a right to your voice, it’s power and to be heard. Get the book. Share the book. Make the ‘Crunk Professor’ famous!

A book I didn’t love (but didn’t hate):


I am an Anne Rice fan! I love the Vampire Chronicles, and this book? I wanted more story. I wanted more story! I thought that Claudia would have more to say. I wanted her to have more to say! I know this book is an adaptation, but as a fan of the series? I was left in lack and utter literary want.

I read book as the Kindle version. The artwork was amazing, it was so detailed. And all I wanted was more story. Claudia, needed more than those pages.



[image from]

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 7-What Tattoos Do You Have And If They Have Meaning

My mother told me I had to be 18 and out of her house before I do anything to my body.

I took that literally.  Ear piercings weren’t enough. I wanted a tattoo. I wanted something on my body that meant something to me.

When I was 23, I got my first tattoo. It is the Japanese kanji (lettering) for ‘phoenix.’ Why ‘phoenix’?   It means intelligence. Resilience. Beauty. All things I thought I possessed. I had come out of a 3 year relationship that almost killed me. I survived crazy portions of my childhood including a rape at 19. I survived my father dying. I survived suicidal ideations. I tell people this:  “I earned this Phoenix on my back!”

My ex-boyfriend had one on his left forearm in Chinese. For while, I debated on getting it. He told me that I shouldn’t (Pro-tip:  You don’t tell me what to do). But I went ahead and did it–my sister spoke Japanese and she confirmed the kanji.

If you divide my back into quadrants, my tattoo is vertical and in black ink. It’s drawn on me like a seal. Which is what I wanted. The needle on my skin was psychosexual. It hurt but it wasn’t a screaming pain like I thought it would be.

When I got this tattoo, I could see how people could be addicted to them. I have my next piece planned. The artist picked out. And a bestie to film it–because posterity.

 Besides I have 4 picked out, and before I’m 40 I’m sure I’ll have all of them.

 I’m a writer, after all.

Some things are just better said with ink.


[image from]

Thirty Days of Fire-Day 6: Someone Who Fascinates You And Why

A person that fascinates me? Just one? I think that person has to be Anne Rice.

I have been fascinated with her, by her, since I was 14 years old.


I am fascinated by her because she was born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien. I am fascinated because on her first day of kindergarten she told the nun her name was ‘Anne.’ I am fascinated by her because of the richness of her imagination. The fact she was born on Halloween. How sensitive she is and how her upbringing has permeated every part of her writing.

I am fascinated by her because she seems to be a unicorn.

Anne Rice fascinates me because her power, her prose is so unassuming! She has fascinated me by her words, seduced me into her world with pages. She gave voice to dark portion of my imagination–without apology. When I heard Anne Rice speak, I would have never thought something like Armand, Claudia or the legendary literary immortal Lestat would have come from her!  Anne looks like a schoolteacher!

Anne is fascinating to me because she is so unlike any female writer I have come across. Even my beloved Shonda Rimes. I respect her talent. I revere her imagination. And the prowess–I strive for. She’s a dark shero. And I love her.

Please tell her I said so.









[image from]

Thirty Days Of Fire: Day 4 (10 Interesting Facts About Me)

I’m a pretty grounded girl, with some quirks and perks. Here are some:


1.) I wanted to be a ballerina. At age 4, I loved to dance. And I still do. I love the way my body moved and wanted to become a ballerina. The only Black girls that I had seen dance was Janet Jackson and Debbie Allen (keep in mind, I will be 38 in June)! But I wanted to be a dancer. I made show of stretches and jumps and wearing pink. That was the color that I knew ballerinas wore. If I’m honest, I still love ballet. My sister gave me a DVD that displays the New York City Ballet work out plans. I sometimes put that on, and pretend I’m still that young girl.


2.) I wanted to study film at NYU. My oldest memories are of watching film noir with my aunts and father. I was fascinated by the process of idea-script-film. And I still am. When I was 17, I wanted to go to NYU to study English. But then changed my mind and decided I wanted to get a doctorate in film. I knew NYU had the best film program in the country (Spike Lee went here!). I’m still fascinated by idea-script-film process. As a writer, I have to be. I have a few books that I want to see as films. One of them is RUBY. You should get a copy. Click here.


3.) I love old movies. My favorite movies are Sunset Boulevard, The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not and The Maltese Falcon. I blame my parents. Growing up here in St. Louis, I was a fan and patron of Saturday morning cartoons! After the cartoons on the local network KPLR (Channel 11), there were old movies on after 11 am. When I would send Saturdays at my Grandmother’s house, I could stay in the room with the adults if I was quiet–and watched what they watched. This, more often than not, meant I had to watch movies that were as old as my Nana. But I am grateful for it. I loved it. I loved the glamour. The makeup and the stories. To this day, I adore a quiet day and AMC or TCM.



4.) I suffer from insomnia. In working nights, and being a parent, sometimes really throws my body clock off. From that, insomnia happens. It doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to, but in time of extreme stress, sleep in the first thing to go.


5.) I love to cook.  I love the Food Network. I invest in my cooking tools. Cooking, the act of putting things together that I can eat, is quite relaxing. I have come up with the coolest recipes because I (in a last life) wanted to be a chef.


6.) I had red hair through my twenties. Through my 20’s, I was obsessed with having long red hair. I found out the my maternal family had Irish roots, and some of the most powerful women in the Marvel Universe were redheads–so why not? I thought I was cute! My grandmother, mother and godmothers hated it. Sigh.



7.) I am a huge Anne Rice fan. I think my fandom with Mrs. Howard O’Brien Rice (AKA Anne Rice) had to have begun once I had seen Interview With a Vampire. I had watched the movie because I was so in love with Tom Cruise (Your judgement is irrelevant). From that movie, I was fascinated with her. I drank up anything her imagination had to offer! I love her mind, and am trying to get to her masquerade birthday party to see her before she leaves the world. I’m currently going through Ramses The Damned:  The Passion of Cleopatra. I highly recommend it.



8.) Shonda Rimes is my hero. The fact that Shonda Rimes exists is a reminder that Black women can and do everything. I am excited about Shondaland, and maybe one day creating my own. I think that Shonda is brilliant, savvy and honest. I love her, because I see myself in her. And maybe, just maybe, if I push the hustle forward, I do the same thing.



9.) I quote Shakespeare and comics in casual conversation. ‘Oh what fools these mortals be!’ I love the Baird. I think Shakespeare is brilliant and necessary. I was thrilled to know that there are words he created that were folded into the English language. I use the phrase ‘hugger-mugger’ frequently (this is phrase found in Hamlet)! And when I am around fellow Baird nerds, elevated language is the norm.



10.) I’m happily tattooed. I got my first tattoo at 23 (It is 3 kanji that means ‘phoenix.’). I sometimes forget its there! I also have 4 more planned to get. When my mother saw it while I was giving birth to my oldest daughter, she asked what it meant. I told her, “If you can read this, you’re too close.” She believed me.






[image from]

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 2 (Earliest Memory)

As creative as I am, my earliest memories are a blur. My earliest memory is being carried by my father. That one is the most vivid.

I was about 5 and my father was taking my baby sister and I to our maternal grandmother’s house here in St. Louis. He had to go to work and my grandmother was going to watch us. I remember he was carrying my baby sister in his arms. I had on a puffy purple Oshkosh coat and wanted to be carried up the stairs to her front door.

I remember him picking me up, sister secure on his right side, and scooping me up as if I weighed nothing. As a parent now, I know how hard that was for him. And how heavy kids are.

I remember how deliberate his steps were. How measured. How he kept us safe. How, in retrospect, that act of acknowledgement and love sustained me. I remember the color of my grandmother’s brick house. I remember how tight I held him.

From his shoulders was the safest place in the world. Thirty years later, I found no other safety. I can see now, it was when I raised my tiny arms, and he picked me up, I was indeed a Daddy’s Girl!

And I’ll never have another.

[image from YouTube]

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 1 (Five Problems With Social Media)

Image result for day one


As a writer, and a generally nosy person, I love social media! I can share info. I can announce new projects, and post new work. As great as social media is, it has it’s drawbacks. Here are some:


1. Exposure culture. As a writer, one of your jobs, your abilities even, is to people watch. As a woman, I am learning what it’s like to ‘hold something to yourself.’ This means not everyone needs to know your business–and not everyone needs to know the business you know. I cannot stand exposure culture. Some things are better left handled off screens, and face to face. Or not mentioned. There is a reason therapists and journals exist. You don’t have to put everyone on blast. You really don’t. Class is still an option.


2. Feeling as if you’re missing something. I often take breaks from social media. Sometimes the noise from all the people that I follow gets to be too much (see problem 1). And I step away for as much as 90 days. But I ‘peek in’ every so often to see what’s going on. I hate feeling like I’m missing something. I hate feeling like people can’t just call me or text me. Social media sometimes feels like people, human interaction, is becoming more and more of an option–or unnecessary.


3. The inundation of other people’s crazy. Social media is not a journal. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A JOURNAL. Not all 5, 50, 500 or 5000 of your friends need to know you and bae broke up again. That your kids are getting on your nerves. Or the struggle plates. No! No one really cares! Tell Jesus get a nap an do better!


4. Subliminal messages. As a writer, this is ridiculous. I am guilty of this from time to time. But now? I block and delete. My patience and time are valuable. If you need to get at me, call me. Don’t veil your comments. That just makes me think you’re scary, and still wouldn’t confront me if you had to–or need to. Do Jesus.


5. Ex-partners following you. I have gone out of my way to make sure my exes couldn’t follow me. I have searched names, nicknames and done a preventative block because I don’t want the problems. I don’t need the problems. It’s bad enough some exes remember my phone number! But you wanna invade my personal space too? No, no ma’am. Preventative blocks are an vaccination from social media. I swear by them!


Social media is wonderful. Just make sure you make time for real life too.


[image from]