The Little, Brown Handbook

One of my favorite books ever is The Little, Brown Handbook.  Practically, all the questions I have about grammar, and punctuation are in this book.  I’d say, it’s a must for every author.  If you are a writer, this book should be in your arsenal!

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

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Common Interview on the Breakfast Club

Take a look at wonderfully talented Common on The Breakfast Club. He talks about winning the Oscar, his aspirations of EGOTing (my 30 Roc fans know about that) and playing the Green Lantern.

He is just so charming and secure in himself. Humble, while still acknowledging how awesome he is. That is a beautiful combination.

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

TGIF!!!

Thank God It’s Friday! It has been a long week and I am so happy for the weekend that I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m in New Orleans, where yesterday the high was 84, but today it was 55. Still much, much warmer than my hometown NYC, where 28 was the high today.

I’m in this weird space of being seriously broke, for the first time ever, and being happy, yet very anxious. Anxious about being broke, but even more so about being happy. I kind of feel like, where do I get off being happy as broke as I am? It’s a mix of feelings sending me on an emotional roller coaster every day. We all have our ups and downs though, don’t we?

fireworks-animatedI’ve been smiling a lot, which makes wonder if I’m going crazy, which makes me ask, why does being happy enough to smile for no reason, equal crazy? Our puritanical society has really done a number on making us feel guilty about happiness. Or at least me. I’m trying to shake it, but I’ve been so deeply indoctrinated in it that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m stopping my own happiness. It takes a lot of effort. I’m constantly reminding myself, “It’s ok to be happy. Happiness is the right thing.” I wasn’t even raised in a religious fashion. It’s just growing up in Western society, the idea that life should be a struggle is all around us. It’s in the things we revere, like working while being sick, multi-tasking, saying yes, when we need to say no for our own health and sanity, staying late at work for a company you don’t own. There are a lot more examples, but those are at the forefront of my thoughts as I think about how much I don’t want to get caught up in corporate culture. I never want to again associate working for a company as being part of my identity. But that’s a topic for another post.

I’m happy damn it! LOL! And that is alright by me. No need for me to stress myself out about things I can’t control. With all of the things going on in the world to be unhappy about, just relish the moments that you are happy, whatever the reason.

As my friend Danielle says, there’s nothing wrong with having a case of the fuckitz.

Thank you for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Peace.

Psst… Yeah You, Giuliani – Your Slip is Showing

th (4)So, let me get this straight: Giuliani, a second generation American (neither his paternal, nor maternal grandparents were born in America), and son of a criminal, who served time in Sing Sing, is questioning how someone else was “brought up” and their patriotism? People in glass houses…. Someone could easily pick apart his family, if they wished, and disprove that he was raised to be loyal to our country. The man who left his wife for his mistress should tread lightly on topics of patriotism, or anything dealing with any type of moral standing. He, who switched from democrat, to independent, to republican, because the pay was better. He, who dodged serving in Vietnam, has the audacity to question someone else’s love of country?

This is not to say recent immigrants, nor their progeny, love my country any less than I or any other pre-American Revolutionary War descendants. But, he speaks as though he’s an uber American, who is somehow in the position to judge the loyalty, and love, of others, because his is the greatest patriotic love of all. As though he’s in some mythical position to say someone wasn’t raised in that one special, magical American way in which he was reared. Shall I go deeper? The sir name “Obama” is as American as the sir name “Giuliani.”  So, he doesn’t have a gun in that battle. One is no more, nor any less American than the other.  Loyalty and love lessons from a politician who publically disrespected his marriage vows.  HA! No, thank you.

Let’s be real: 9/11 saved his political career. He had already been laughed out of his senate run against Hillary Clinton. He was already dealing with the embarrassing details of his extramarital affair. Just because he happened to be the mayor during that tragic time doesn’t make him some super American hero. It was a matter of circumstance. He’s no more a hero than Ray Nagan. The heroes of that day would’ve been heroes whether he was mayor or not. Meanwhile, my president actually set up a mission and succeeded in killing Bin Laden.  I’d say that’s pretty fucking patriotic.

His comment about the president not going through 9/11 is a slap in the face to every American. We ALL went through 9/11 in one way or another. The effects of that tragedy rippled throughout the entire country.  He doesn’t own the patent on that pain.

This is not a topic I planned to address, because he made those comments just to get attention. But Giuliani, do you really want the American public to pull your skirt? I mean, your slip is already showing.

Thanks for reading!

Peace.

6 Ways to Make Yourself Feel Better Right Now!

thWQCMHPLHLife is harsh.  People are mean, and sometimes it seems like everyone’s aim is to break you down.  Don’t lie to yourself about feeling bad.   Acknowledge it, so you can change your situation.  All the things you need to be happy are on this earth. You may need to journey to find them, but ultimately, it’s all inside of you already.  We live in a puritanical society that teaches us, directly and indirectly that feeling good is a sin.  So many of us wallow in negativity because we think that type of sacrifice is what the Creator (by whatever name you call him her or it) wants.  I don’t know much about life, but the idea of helping each other seems to be the steadiest theme of life throughout the timeline of humanity.  We can’t get anywhere without each other.  It’s kind of hard to help others if you are trapped in a negative mental state.

1. Start laughing

Don’t wait for a joke, or something funny.  Just start laughing.  Smile, then laugh.  Laughing feeds on itself, just like crying.  The more you do it, the more you will do it until you are in a fit of it.  If you feel too silly doing laughing at nothing, or if you are just not in touch with yourself like that, then watch something on Youtube.

2. Masturbatescreaming.eu

Don’t underestimate the power of an orgasm.  Sometimes getting one out will change your whole mindset.  It relieves tension, which gives you a better perspective on things.  Now, please, only do this if you are in the proper setting.  Don’t be like the woman in my novel Confessions of a Serial Masturbator, who did it on the train, at work and some other places.  Please be sure to spare the public of your self-pleasure adventures :).

3. Take selfies

I remember I was feeling super shitty one day, and I started taking pics of myself, because I wanted to see my saddness.  I hated the way my face looked!  It was depressing.  After a few pics I started trying to make cuter faces, so I’d have better pics.  Then I started making funny faces.  Soon I was feeling so much better. I’d cheered myself up by mistake.  It’s a very helpful tool for me.  You can also just look in a mirror and do the same thing.  Only difference is it won’t be recorded.  All things don’t need to be.

4. Draw or write something

Whether you think you can draw or not.  Doesn’t matter if you write well, or not.   We are made to create, so creating something, anything, will make you feel better.  It doesn’t have to be good, or big, or shared with anyone else.  Just put pen, or pencil to paper, or pull out your phone or tablet or laptop and get to creating.

galleryhip.com5. Listen to music

Obvi right?  But It’s not always in the forefront of your mind to do it. It’s one of the fastest ways to recharge your mind.   Not just any music, but music that makes you feel good. That makes your body move and forces you to sing along.  Some of my go to songs are:

Sucka MC’s – Run DMC

The Don – Nas

Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

Cult of Personality – Living Colour

Feeling  Good – Nina Simone

Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani

Crush On You Remix  – Lil Kim

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester

1 Thing – Amerie

Party Up – DMX

Nikka Costa – Like a Feather

That’s just a small cross section of the songs that immediately put a smile on my face, and make me sing and dance.  The full list is far too long and ever-growing for me to even attempt to list all of them.

6. Get one or a few go-to quotes

Usually, whenever I’m feeling down, it has something to do with me not living up to my potential in some form.  Feeling like a failure.  When I’m in that mental space, it can normally be traced back to me being afraid.  My fears stop me from doing the things I really want to do.  Fear of not having money to buy food, or to pay rent.  Fear of both failure and success.  Fear of change.  This quote is one of my favorite to help put life into perspective:

“Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

I’ve posted this quote before. Whenever I get scared, or doubt myself, it’s one of my immediate thoughts. I have a few of them. At this moment, this is my favorite.  I alternate as my needs change.  Yes, your mother’s quotes count!black_girl_thumbs_up2

I hope this is helpful to someone out there. By no means is a quick fix. These are just some ways that have proven helpful to me when I get into a funk. They lift my mood so I can proceed with life. To paraphrase Nas, we’re all in the grind.  That being the case, we all need to pick each other up when we can.  It’s hard out here for most of us.  But there is always opportunity to change.  Sometimes it takes baby steps, sometimes you’ve got to leap.  Life is a constant challenge.  There is always someone less fortunate, more fortunate or on your level.  We all need help and we all need to help each other.  We are created that way.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading!

Peace.

Say It Isn’t So!!! Jon Stewart is Leaving “The Daily Show”

th (6)By now, I’m sure the majority of us have heard the news – Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. There’s a lot I want to say.  Way too much.  I know he has to go live his life and do all of the other things he wants to do, like be with his family.  I know I’m being super selfish by wanting him to hold off on his other endeavors, so that he can keep speaking sense to the nation.  He is just so important to me.  To the country.  He takes so many people to task for their bullshit, and I just don’t know who will do that Monday – Thursday when he’s gone.  I’m actually kind of scared about not having his voice of reason amongst all of the other babbage floating around cable news.

I wish I could thank Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff in person for always speaking up and letting me know that there are white people out there who actually get it.  I have tears in my eyes as I write this, because I am really going to miss his comedy, his interviews and most of all his commentary.  I’ve been watching The Daily Show, since back when Craig Kilborn was the host.  I can still remember how excited I was to find out Jon Stewart was going to take over.  Not that I saw anything wrong with Kilborn, but I’d watched Stewart on MTV, and when he had his late night talk show, plus I really enjoyed his standup.  He took The Daily Show and made it my go-to source for news.  Between him, and then later, The Colbert Report, I remained up to date on news topics from sources I could trust.  They had no reason to manipulate the truth other than for laughs.  The world can be a vicious, evil, terrible place, so I don’t watch the news.  But I watch(ed) their shows.  Their shows tackled the news with more grace than the so-called “real” news shows.

th (7)Larry Wilmore has proven to be a great replacement for The Colbert Report.  I wish it was on for an hour.  His is more of a talk show.  We still need The Daily Show for its news style format. I wonder who is going to take over?  Or, will there even be a Daily Show anymore? Will an entirely different show take its place?

At the moment, it all seems to be up in the air.  In the meantime, I’m just really sad about this news.  I can’t say enough how much I’m going to miss him.

Thank you, Mr. Stewart, for standing up for the American people on so many topics from crooked politicians to Ferguson.  Thank you for your fearlessness, and your desire for the truth.  Thank you for speaking for those of us who don’t have a mic to be heard.

I wish you the best Jon Stewart.  We still have you for a few more months though.  I’m sorry that I won’t be able to go to your show to watch you live.  Maybe by some miracle I’ll be able to get tickets.  Or maybe you’ll do some more stand up and I’ll be able to catch a show.

I wonder if he knew how important his voice would become to the country? Amazing the things we can do.  He is definitely an inspiration. Don’t get me started on all the careers launched because of this show.

Thank you for reading.

Peace.

Review of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”

Kendrick Lamar just killed the game with the release, a few hours ago, of, “The Blacker the Berry.”  From the title I thought I was finally getting an ode to dark skin women (HA!)  But this was just as good.  Better.  “I’m African American, I’m African, I’m black as the moon/heritage of a small village, pardon my residence. Came from the bottom of mankind/ my hair is nappy, my dick is big my nose is round and wide/you hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture…” WOOO!!!

I’m not sure if he said, “heritage” or “heretic”.  It works either way.   I’ve listened to this song several times over the past two th (4)hours.  Not since the 90s have I heard a rapper go the fuck off with raw pride about his blackness.  I take that back.  Not since Styles P’s “I’m Black”.

His bravado, his confidence, his pure grandiloquence is just…it’s quite sexy.  How old is he again? He’s over 21 right?

I loved the way he freaked this track.  It’s not a beat that I even like, but he murdered it lyrically, so much so that he made me like the beat.

He spoke truth in each line of every verse.  Straight up no chaser, he articulated what I and others feel with no apologies.  Things we say, but no one hears us.  He has the platform and he used it.  “I’m black as the heart of a fucking Aryan/black as the name of Tyrone and Darius”  Son, you’re killing me!  And the coup de gras…  the part that sat me back was his last verse which he ended with “…so why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gangbanging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite” LOVE IT!

He goes from showing the pride, to calling bullshit on whites and blacks.  The hypocrisy of us being mad about others killing us, but then killing each other.  Get it Kendrick!

th (5)To know me, is to know that I don’t subscribe to the term “black on black crime.” Not until white on white crime is equally addressed.  People commit crimes against those closest in proximity to them, which is usually someone of the same color.  But, I definitely acknowledge that since we have an active populous of not all, but enough, whites who hate, fear, loathe, envy, and despise us, that we need to be more humane with each other, since are quick to be inhumane to us.  We’re not going to make it if we keep damaging each other.

Every minority that’s come to this country has had unity and that’s why they make it.  The biggest difference between us and them (which is the difference that makes all the difference in the world) is that they chose to come to this country.  They decide to leave their old world and come to this new one, still with their languages, culture and customs intact, and they use those things to their advantage.  The descendants of Africans enslaved in the Americas did not have that luxury.  We are descendants of various nations that were thrown together and forced to integrate in the face of an oppressor who could care less about our varied heritages. Our languages, cultures and customs were ripped from us, and thusly we developed the truest American culture, African American culture.

Ok, I went deeper into that than I intended.  But that’s what great art causes. Deep thought and long conversations. And make no mistake, this is a work of art.  This is hip hop as I’ve always known it.  An instrument of great thought, emotion and vainglorious verbal slapping.

I can look past that king of NY thing, because when I hear him, his lyrical excellence garners my respect.  The things he says in this song makes me want to put aside every silly disagreement, and just build.  That’s some powerful stuff right there.

I anticipate his new album.  Between this, “I”, and his performance on SNL, I just can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.  He gives me that anticipatory feeling I have whenever I know Nas is dropping something, which is the biggest compliment any rapper can get from me.

And I’m glad he didn’t go to the Grammy’s especially since he won.  I remember when the Grammy’s wouldn’t even let the rap acts on the show.  That was a fat middle finger, with a “rotate on it” stamp.

It’s a little after midnight EST.  I need to get to bed before I write a novella about this song.

Thank you for reading!

Peace.