Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Everybody is a writer" she said, "What with blogs, and anybody able to submit to on-line newspapers and magazines. What do you really do?"
My face fell, I literally saw red. "Freelance writing, copy-editing and some proofreading." I respond. "Aha, yeah so much better. You wouldn't believe how many grammatical errors I find reading on-line." I nod, smile and excuse myself.  
Really?! Really?! Everybody is a writer? I've been writing since I learned to write; I wrote my first poem when I was nine years old.  
Even when I was pursuing other interests, I always returned to writing. Writing for me is cathartic, invigorating and fun. It's also something I have to do. Everyday feels a little better when I write. Creative, fiction, non-fiction, narratives....all have a place in my heart. I feel most myself when I'm writing, and for someone who's probably never written a poem in her life to belittle left a bad taste in my mouth and a dagger in my heart. 
Everybody writes, but everybody is not a writer. True writers, are word smiths, artists.
I remember a conversation I had with an older gentleman several years ago (over a decade). He'd just read one of my poems, at the time I wasn't pursuing publication, he inquired about my career goals and why I hadn't chosen to write for a living.  He informed me that 'artists choose to be artists, they can become accountants, nurses, teachers... but to be an artist is a choice, not a career path but a destination in and of itself. '
Writing is not necessarily going to make me rich and famous, however it will and does make me happy. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Poet is not Poetic

A poet is not poetic

poets are the most un-poetical creatures

confounded and confused by their own minds

struggling to create,

not realizing it must come as freely as leaves to trees

A poet is not poetic

words come quickly, the wrong ones

in conversations with ones we admire or adore

besieged by thoughts

unbidden burdens to share a world of our own invention

A poet is not poetic

revealing wonders

unspoken yet frightfully implied

the secrets of hearts and heads

in black and white for all the world to see.


So what is it that you want? What’s your dream? A friend of a few years asked me those questions, and I didn’t have a proper answer. So I thought about it and said “Out of life, a home, a husband, a career that doesn’t make me hate people, or my life. Happiness. And I know happiness can’t be bought, but money can be used to make decisions and choices that add to or detract from our happiness.”

That’s not good enough she said. What’s your real dream? What gets you up in the morning and keeps you going through the day? Pure steam I thought, caffeine, the desire not to die…

I don’t know, I finally said, I don’t remember my dreams.

And that made me think of the Hughes poem, ‘A Dream Deferred’.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

And I thought about my dreams and my life and was more than unhappy, more than unfulfilled… I was diseased, distressed, angry and saddened more than any other time in my 30+ years. I cried, and I hate crying. I allowed my dreams to die, I allowed my life force to just disappear, unlike Hughes’ dreams mine disintegrated, dissolved, and died a quiet and slow death like cancer. And I hadn’t realized it until questioned about it. Why? How? When? When did this start? And why didn’t I realize it? And more importantly can I resurrect them? Can I be whole again?

Whole again...? Can we really be whole, when our dreams have died? Not the fleeting dreams of childhood, for ponies or puppies, for cookies and candy, but the life affirming, purpose driven dreams we…I’ve apparently ignored in favor of paying the bills and not starving. Can you recover discarded dreams?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I was interviewed twice, by a major insurance company. Two different department heads, both liked me and appreciated my honesty and candor. Honesty appreciated? Who knew?
(But I digress)
We'd finished discussing benefits, salary and were discussing work life balance when the interviewer inquired about my credit and debt histories.
**Imagine the sound of subway train brakes screeching**
His next words sent a cold chill down my spine. It's true, what we've been warned about, what we've been told to guard against by the credit card agencies, the banks, the insurance companies et cetera, et cetera. I was denied a job that was perfectly suited for me. My skill set, my personality, my temperament were all molded for this career opportunity. And yet I was not hired. I was told to keep in touch and contact them again when my debt was less than $1000. Hopefully within the next 4-6 months.
So explain to me dear friends, how am I supposed to repay my debt, pay my bills and save money without an income? And how am I supposed to earn an income if my debt is preventing me from being hired? I'm stuck. I don't have much faith in the lottery, but I do have a dollar and a dream. Does this mean I'm going to play? I don't know, probably not. I have a dream but I also have bills.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Rain

I had the privilege of growing up on the East Coast of the U.S.

During the winter months we don't usually have rain; we have snow, sleet, ice and frigid temperatures. Before you ask, yes I miss the snow.

However, I would prefer to visit snow elsewhere, than shovel it here.

After spending the past six winters of my life in the San Francisco Bay area I've grown unaccustomed to wind chill factors, snow, and freezing rain.

Rain in lieu of sub-zero temperatures has become a pleasure. The sights and sounds of a hard falling rain have always made me smile; a storm not big enough to cause major damages, but just heavy enough to wash the city. Just heavy enough to make the world feel clean again. Even though we know we'll never be clean again.

However anything that makes the Tenderloin smell a little cleaner is a blessing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Strong Black Woman"

Why have we allowed "Strong Black Woman" become a negative stereotype?
Or is it possible, "we" had nothing to do with it? Strong women in this society are admired, to a point. You can be strong, but not too strong. "Don't make waves" unless they help my agenda.

Why do we have to tread lightly? (that's the last water reference, I promise)
Why do women, especially women of color have to worry more about ruffling feathers and pushing buttons than men? And, no, I'm not implying men don't have to worry about these issues as well. However, when a man takes initiative or makes changes he's seen as assertive, proactive (yes, that word has been thrown about too much). If these same actions are performed by a woman, she's seen as aggressive, (yes, even in the 21st century) as overstepping her boundaries. Or worse her input isn't acknowledged and now that she's shouldered more responsibility if she doesn't continue to do so she's seen as lazy or not a team-player(yet another word/phrase heard once too often).

So what? Who cares as long as you know? Bull! Everyone wants to be acknowledged for their efforts at work, for their considerate acts with family and friends. Not everyone needs a parade, but a simple thanks or cost of living pay increase is always a good sign of appreciation.