Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthcare for the people

Are we back in the 20s? The disrespect, denegration and dishonor directed toward this healthcare change is disgusting, and demonstrates how far we have not come. If I may be blunt, Barack Obama has gotten one thing wrong. By not addressing disrespect directed at him in the past, he has allowed the floodgates to be opened on a tidalwave of raw sewage racism and hate that I don't see retreating anytime soon. There were only six Presidents brave enough to tackle healthcare reform, and they were not so maligned as has been President Obama. Theodore Roosevelt 1912, Truman 1945, Johnson 1965, Nixon 1974, Ford 1976 and Clinton 1993.

The question now becomes with people like Palin telling citizens to "reload," what will be our country's legacy? Will we become Pakistan? Killing over any deicsion we don't agree with? Fighting because we don't want our neighbor to have the same coverage as someone else because they don't have the same economic footprint? It's a shame that our citizens are afraid of what equal really means. I recall a foreign man once saying he admired our government because when we lost a race, we did so with dignity and grace, whereas his country had not, in his lifetime, ever changed power smoothly. I fear we are here now. I watched TV Sunday and listened as a story was recited of a woman who was dying of a most heinous form of cancer. On the way to surgery, the woman was informed that her insurance coverage was being canceled. The Republican Senator waited a beat then said nobody healthcare reform. I wondered if we were watching the same show.

I recall a racist co-worker once saying for me to stay in my place. I promptly reminded her my place had until that moment always been where ever she'd needed me. I was the watchdog when patients became unruly, or whenever she became uncomfortable with someone she couldn't quite understand because their accent was a little too thick. My place had been whereever I was needed until I wasn't needed anymore. I remember the time she referred to my grandmother as a mammy. I thought, I got your mammy. My hands shook as I filled out the application for graduate school. I went and, my God, did I graduate! You know, she didn't have a degree at all, but she was of a hue and a mindset that allowed her to think she was better and entitled to utter such words of ignorance and stupidity.

My place, I've decided is in academia, on educational boards that help students make life-changing decisions about the direction of their lives. My place is to be a best-selling author, speaker, activist and storyteller. Someone who changes lives rather than squashes dreams. My place is to seek greatness because it is only in the quest to be the best that we find the real gems of what "might" really means. My place is where ever I want it to be. She couldn't stop me; only I have that power.

Just as I needed support from family and friends, so does our President. He didn't win alone, and we shouldn't leave him alone now. If you need healthcare, defend it. Speak up for it and make your voices heard. It's time to stop letting others act as if they are the only ones who care about what's going on in our lives. We're important, too. Your place is where you make it. Speak up for it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Helping Haitians

I don't know anyone who wasn't affected by the tragic earthquake in Haiti. I, for one know if my house had been shaken to the ground, and I was fortunate enough to live, I'd stumble around not knowing the first thing about how to live outside. I know a little about first aid, but nothing about how to make water potable, which leaves to eat, or which ones to stay away from. I'd be the first one trying to remember my Camp Fire Girl training--remember them? Riiight. We did way too much singing and not enough wound care. I worked in a doctor's office for four years, and I've seen my share of sad and even unsightly things. I'm not squeamy. I even know how to insert an IV, not that anyone wants me putting anything in their veins. Still, I'm all about saving lives and helping others. So when I read New York Times columnist Deborah Sontag's article, Countless Lost Limbs Alters Lives in Haiti's Ruins, it spoke to my heart. I, like a lot of you have kids, and if your kids were or are anything like mine, they have crutches. My son thought he could fly. Enough said. He had two pairs of crutches. My daughter played basketball and slid into a wall. I know it's a running sport. Years ago I had two foot surgeries. Crutches for us were like Christmas tree ornaments. Needless to say, we used them for the time we needed them, and now they're just dusting up corners. Someone can use them, and when I read Deborah's article it occurred to me that our cast off crutches could be someone elses blessing. So I decided to be proactive and have a Crutches and Cane drive for Haitians. I'd like to collect 500 pairs. The donation sites will be listed tomorrow on my blog, so stay tuned and thank you.

Just Being Me...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Am Inspired To Write

Blsitering white snow covers my grass today, undisturbed by feet or hooves or paw prints. I am inspired to write. It glitters like diamonds, and if I hold my head just right, I think I can see the pink diamond ring I lost three years ago, but I know a mirage when I see one, really? I would be the only one, but I am inspired to write. Ideas awaken me and i'm talking, I'm thinking when I should be speaking, I'm sleeping when I should be writing, I'm doing things when I should be doing something else. In a writer's world this all makes sense. Outside the writer's world I.....ok. I am inspired to write. That fifth cup of tea, that tenth mile, that tenth trip to the door to look at that white squirrel. It's all part of the writing process. I am inspired to write. I'm writing right now, in the other part of my brain. Grocery list, revising that synopsis, nip tucking that other book. I have a new idea. I'll think about it while I sleep.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Cure for Writer's Block

A fellow writer recently complained that she had writer's block and couldn't figure out how to overcome it. There are remedies for writer's block and they don't include waiting for muse to strike. It's not that I don't believe in muse. I do. However, Ga Power doesn't believe in muse and they want their money on time. Over the years, I've come up with my own remedy to overcoming my brain freezes.

First, I recognize that sometimes I'm just tired. We all need to rejuvenate and rebuild what's been worn away, and the organ we neglect the most is our brain. We can't see our brain as we do our feet or hands, therefore we take the least care of it. It isn't until our head hurts that we even consider giving ourselves a break. Just as we bathe our skin, clip our fingernails and do whatever is necessary to take care of our eyes, we should also take even better care of our brains.

Second, when overcoming writer's block, you must recognize that it is often because the coffers are bare and must be refilled. I buy magazines and newspapers and read a whole weekend away. If the library allows you to check them out, do so and save yourself some money. I'll hit the Redbox, rent a bunch of dollar movies and immerse myself in stories I didn't catch in theatres.

Finally, I go on a field trip into the malls, stores and coffee shops, and I eavesdrop. Writing is a solitary occupation that keeps us isolated from people. But when you're in your own little world, you miss out on the answers to life. Even if I don't find exactly what I'm looking for, I do open the passageways for free thinking to take place. I can then move past where I'm stuck and go back later, and the answer will be there waiting for me.

There is a cure for writer's block, you have to be willing to go out and find it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Brand New Me, Brand New You

I was watching The Monique Show, and India.arie, one of my most favorite singers performed, and I felt blessed to hear her. She expressed her doubts when writing this new album, her fears and concerns about her career, and how she had harnessed that energy and poured it into her music. I really understood her feelings of indecision, but wanted her to know how her music feeds us. She can't quit. I wanted her to know that she's among friends who share her walk. That we derive something uplifting and wonderful from her music.

Last night, I had a book chat with fun and spirited bookclub, LiveLoveLaughBooks, and we had a great time. They had insightful, complimentary and intelligent things to say about The Perfect Seduction, and they left me with with a powerful understanding of why it is I sit at my desk and type all day long. In March, it's been eighteen years of manuscripts, rewrites, publishers, editors, galleys, computers, hard drives, floppy disks, flash drives, photos, bookcovers, pens, notebooks, ink cartridges and brain cells. Eighteen years and I'm still here. So what's next? More books, of course. I still have ideas. Good ones too, and that's what readers want. That's what I want to give them. That's what I bring to the feast.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brand New Shoes

Well Ladies,

I have the most amazing announcement in the world!! For those of you who don't already know, I graduated with my MFA in Creative Writing in August. Yep. Two and a half years of hard work paid off and I earned a degree I initially never dreamed existed. Who gave degrees in something you loved? Reading? Wow. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. Not for a second. Reading isn't easy. Reading like a writer is far less easy. Literary reading is even less easy. Along the way I lost some things. A little innocence, a little naivete, a stratosphere of pain...and so many tears. I gained a new perspective on life. During this journey one of the things I loved the most were the rolling hills of Wroxton, England and the Fairleigh Dickinson Campus. On that campus I stumbled and fell, got up and walked again, and loved every second of it.
Georgia was no better. Offering challenges that threatened to fell me for good, but God has a way of moving every obstacle, and when He says enough, that is it.

I wanted to wear heels to graduation, so I needed to consult an expert. I went to New Jersey to the home of my dear friends Lori-Bryant Woolridge, her husband Craig, and their daughter shoe maven, Eva. Early on L's husband excused my frightfulness with one word "niiice," and beat a hasty retreat to rarely be seen again.

Ever-patient Lori, and sixteen year old Eva, taught me hip-tucking techniques to walking in heels, balance and poise. By the end of the evening my toes were in the permanent flexed position, but I was ready to see Nina Foxx, the shoe--aficionado and fellow student friend, and to graduate.

I wore those four-inch heels to graduation and throughout the night, and I was thrilled. I made a graduation speech and I didn't cry. Not that day. I feel my mom smiling when I think about what a great accomplishment this is for me and for our family. I have one graduation picture to share. I'm the rather slim-footed girl in the black shoe, then there's Nina and Lori!

Now it's time for me to take that next step. I've got to find some new shoes. . .

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Brand New Me

There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to give up things, and it's that time for me. I've loved Georgia for so long. Raised my children here and nurtured and cultivated my life in this state that I've claimed as home for more than 20 years. But I feel the need for a change. It's as if the great state of GA has put her not so soft shoe up my butt and said sister, get to moving. This change has been coming for quite some time. I love my career as a writer, and it's mobile, something else I enjoy. So, friends, family, readers. Where's the best place to live for an intrepid writer who needs a place to call home?