To say that today and the following days/weeks will be momentous is an under statement. They will be stressful, for some victorious, for others disappointing and even devastating. I went to bed last night feeling very different than I did four years ago. In 2016 I was excited, last night I was solemn and uncertain. This morning I slept in, had breakfast, and went back to sleep again – which was how I reacted to the first three months of sheltering in during the pandemic. Around 1:30 pm I finally pulled myself out of bed, armed with a plan for today that I had prepared last night. EXTREME SELF CARE is what I am focused on for today and the next several days. I plan to be gentle with myself, my husband, and everyone I come into any kind of contact with. If I come across anyone or anything volatile, I will avoid them – that’s the plan anyway. I have small projects to work on to help me stay focused and productive, but not overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am having my nails done and on Thursday a much needed haircut. Comfort food for meals if I feel like it, high quality CBD oil to keep me balanced, top shelf alcohol if the election results are not what I hoped and worked for. Finally, I encourage all of you to join me and engage in the two activities that have seen me through the most trying of times, beginning in my teen years and carrying me through to my sixties: LISTEN TO STEVIE WONDER and READ JAMES BALDWIN.
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Excellent resources, thanks so much!
Perhaps you have noticed that America is on fire. Perhaps you have noticed that people of color are disproportionately dying of Covid-19. Perhaps you are starting to realize that America has been heaping violence on Black people for hundreds of years.
Perhaps you have then wondered “What can I do?” but you are not on Twitter or Instagram or wherever the kids are (is it still TikTok?) so you are not privy to the many links and lists and ideas flying around. Be ye no longer unprivy-ed. Here are lists of lists. Share at will.
There are certainly many things that I have not yet seen, and new things popping up by the minute. Please please please, leave comments with links to other resources you know about. Not from the U.S.? Here’s a list of resources for our Canadian friends.
1. Give money for immediate needs — bail funds…
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The telling of this story is a dance itself. While it can be slow paced, there are abrupt stops and a change of rhythm, as if changing partners mid-dance. Sometimes seductive, sometimes frenzied, but each step and each move connected and leading into the next. The story is never tiring, but becomes so heavy it can wear the reader down, needing to take a break in order to soak everything in, just as a dance can tire the dancer to the point of exhaustion. But when the music starts to play again, up jumps the dancer, eager to continue, just as the reader picks up where they left, eager to fall deeper into the story. The characters are as rich as the language used to tell this story, and the story itself is one of both tragedy and triumph. This will be one of the few books I chose to read over and over again.
The beginning of this book intrigued me; I was extremely interested in the charecter of Mattie and mistakenly assumed the story would be told from her perspective – a slave narrative in the third person. Midway through the book Mattie makes a life changing decision and I was excited to follow her charecter through a new diretion, but sadly the author chose to drop Mattie’s story and go into boring detail of another charecter, Elizabeth, the child of the plantation owners that Mattie was charged to be a wet nurse and nanny. We follow Elizabeth through her teen years in antebellum Virginia, with all of the privledges afforded white families who owned enslaved African descendents. Way too much sugar coating of life on a plantation for the enslaved residents, and the implied innocence and naivete of the white women in the story is insulting, misleading, and inaccurate. While the reader eventually finds out what happens to Mattie, it is too little and too late, for my satisfaction anyway.
A great read! Texas Ranger Darren Mathews continues to find more mysteries to solve than the one/s he is originally assigned to investigate. I read this story slowly because I didn’t want it to end and now Ms. Attica Locke has left me wanting MORE! From the red dirt to the piney woods to the Caddo Lake and its bayous, this is pure East Texas gold. The characters come to life in such a way that I can hear and smell them. Some I want to shake their hands, others I just want to shake! Thank you, Ms. Locke, for bringing a great detective story so full of East Texas flavor that I savor for more.
When I learned the location of this story was in East Texas, I knew I had to read it. Darren, the African-American Texas Ranger, reminds me of a couple of my own nephews who grew up not far from the towns named in this book, one of them still living in the area and works in law enforcement. A VERY realistic portrayal of the ‘dance’ between Black and White and the law enforcement in this part of the country. The ignorance of these ways can be dangerous and costly, as was evident in the story. I finished this book just in time to begin book two of the series, “Heaven, My Home.” I would love it if a television program was created around this series of books, a modern day version of ‘In the Heat of the Night.’
This man, Jay Reeves, is a THIEF! At the recent IABE conference in Des Moines, he was caught, on camera, stealing a shop owner’s purse. He lied to police and the conference coordinators, and then tried to change his story once he discovered his crime had been recorded. Please be careful with your personal property if you see him at other conferences or book signings!
With the 4th annual IABE just a few weeks behind us now, I feel the need to talk manners once again. We had an author steal a purse on camera from a shop owner at the mall. Now the cops have settled everything, and I know I said I was over it, but fact is my buns are still burnt by this. A grown man stealing on camera, then trying to lie further to the police and us. Needless to say, here are a few things authors should keep in mind while attending events.
- DON’T STEAL. 99% of venues have cameras now and film doesn’t lie. Especially if you go out of your way, on said film, to reach under a desk and grab a bag. While, walking away from a crime like this, especially don’t look through the bag as your running away.
- Don’t Leave Early. I get family…
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What an incredible journey! I began reading this book in a similar fashion I enter the ocean, beginning with dipping my toe in the water to gauge the temperature. I slowly but surely enter the water with both feet, steadying myself, and begin to wade out as my body adjusts to the power of the waves. When I am confident I can handle the current, I dive in head first and begin swimming out as far as my energy will take me.
As with the ocean, I took my time, reading the first few chapters carefully, unsure of how powerful a story this would be. I waded slowly through most of the first half of the book, reading only a few chapters each day, even skipping a day or two. Midway through I was ready for the deep dive and read with a vengeance. Like the ocean, this story is powerful; it will take your breath away, and your soul if you aren’t careful. And much like the gentle lapping of the waves, James’ words lull you into a false sense of knowing what comes next, until the horror hits you from behind and swallows you into its powerfully brutal tale of life in 18th century Jamaica. As you drown in the violence, confusion, and sorrow of the circumstances of enslaved people, a breath of fresh air saves you – in the form of women who posses a knowledge and power not of this world.
By the end of the story I felt so battered that I did not think I would survive the ending, but in the last few paragraphs this brilliant storyteller throws out a life preserver, allowing the reader to float back to shore, not only relieved they have survived, but grateful for the experience.
This was not the story I was expecting! Take a little Old Testament mythology, add in the Divine Feminine, some good old Mother Earth paganism, a few scenes of lesbian erotica and then read it after washing down a couple of peyote buttons with a bottle of red wine. Yep, that is what my experience reading this story felt like. The character of Naamah is someone I aspire to be before I leave this life – unpretentious, completely honest with herself, and as authentic of a person I have ever come across – in person or in literature. Sarah Blake has done a masterful job of sharing her image of the mother of humanity (post flood), as well as defining the kind of partner/husband she pictured Noah as being. In fact, I loved these two characters so much I almost wish I believed the ancient fable. Life on the ark is described from Naamah’s perspective as the ultimate caregiver to both her family and the animals, and it is quite a refreshing outlook. The reader is also treated to the magical adventures of Naamah when she is OFF of the ark as well. If I say anymore it would include spoilers, so I will conclude with a strong recommendation to read this book if you are hungry for a mystical fantastic story.
Janet Fitch is an incredible wordsmith. The language in this book is so beautiful, I found myself rereading several passages just so I could experience the beauty of her writing over and over again. The plot itself was captivating as well. As a woman who had my own very complicated relationship with my mother, I could identify with Astrid in many ways, although I was spared the horrors she experienced in foster care. I found myself nodding in recognition and understanding of the brilliance, beauty, and selfishness of Ingrid. I wondered more than once if my own mother would have been capable of murder given the same circumstances. My mother was enough like Ingrid’s character that I could relate to Astrid, and I could definitely see myself making many of the same choices Astrid did had I been thrown into her life. Both Ingrid and Astrid felt like people I already knew quite intimately, but Fitch’s writing still lead me places I didn’t expect the story to go and revealed sides of the mother and the daughter that I found surprising. A painful story that I couldn’t get enough of and I was sorry when the book ended, I wasn’t ready to let go of either of these women.