Monday, June 25, 2007


I'm probably one of the few who wasn't too terribly miffed by the way the HBO series "The Sopranos" ended. But I'm also probably one of the few with a television, cable and working electricity who never watched a single episode of the series. It wasn't anything personal or even a matter of taste, I just never carved out the time required to watch an entire epioside and as a result find myself hooked.

In general, I'm not big fan of television. Given a choice I'd rather see a movie, go to a play, listen to some music, read a good book, talk on the phone, work on a writing project . . . okay, do just about anything other than plop down in front of the tube with remote in hand. Perhaps, in another post I'll delve into the reasons behind my lack of a TV habit.

The end of "The Sopranos" prompted me to think about the number of other popular television shows I've never watched as well as those I currently and consistently opt to take a pass on when I do sit down and snuggle up with the remote.

Some of the more popular shows (both old & new) I've never watched an entire episode of include:

1) CSI (nope, none of them)

2) The Flava of Love (after tuning in for a few minutes I realized that I gag too easily to ever be a fan of this show)

3) Miami Vice

4) Dallas (still don't know who shot JR and don't really care)

5) Beverly Hills 90210 (rich kids with problems have never interested me)

6) Frasier (sorry, I wasn't big on Cheers either)

7) Everybody Loves Raymond (except for me, I guess)

8) Judging Amy (just never made time to watch it)

9) Murphy Brown

10) Hill Street Blues

11) ER (don't like blood or hospitals)

12) Friends

13) The Fresh Prince (Will Smith's goofiness has always been a turn off)

14) Wayan Brothers (again, the goofiness factor turned me off)

15) Lost (Actually, I saw part of an episode and enjoyed it. But the 2nd time I tried to watch, I give-up midway through. I was too lost to enjoy it.)

16) Star Trek (Never watched any of the "new" ones. Of course, I enjoyed the original back in the day.)

17) Dukes of Hazzard (oh, please)

18) WKRP In Cincinnati

19) Cagney & Lacey

20) Family Matters

21) The Jamie Foxx Show

Oh no, this is hardly the half of them. These are just among the first to come to mind. I doubt if too many folks have a list quite as extensive as my own, but I'm sure there is something on the boob-tube that everybody and their mama seems to rave over, but thus far you've managed to avoid. If you feel like sharing your pics, or commenting on my list of "never watched" shows, be my guest.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

FOR ALL OF THE BOOK SNOBS AND THEIR CRONIES--The Book Snots, The Book Nazis and The Book Police . . .

I don't get BOOK SNOBS, in particular those who feel obliged to tell others WHAT and HOW they OUGHT to be READING. You know the type of people I'm talking about? The ones prone to shaking their larger than average heads, looking down their long, narrow noses (or wide and slightly flared nostrils) and uttering "tsk, tsk, tsk" if what you're currently reading doesn't make their list of "worthy" reads? The ones who treat reading as if it's some sort of fierce, life or death competition, and in turn have desginated themselves as both team captains and keepers of score? Yeah, you know who and what I'm talking about.

So, could somebody please tell me why these folks just don't get it? IMHO telling folks what they OUGHT TO or OUGHT NOT be reading is impolite and arrogant at best, and at its worst, fuels the type of lock-step mentality that leads to the banning and even outright burning of books marked by the "powers that be" as inappropriate.

Even though my own preferences in literature tend to lean toward "literary fiction" and I have an admitted bias for books that reflect the African American experience, I am, for all practical purposes, an eclectic reader. The books on the shelves in my own personal library will attest to the fact that I read a bit of everything--Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Jackie Collins, Hemingway, Kafka, Terry McMillan, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, Zane . . . Believe me, the list goes on and includes everything in between. And that's just for fiction.

At the risk of making a right proper A$$ out of U and ME (lol), I ASSUME most people read, as I do, for pleasure and/or enlightenment. I have no problem accepting that what pleases and entertains me and/or expands my knowledge base could very well gag or bore plenty of others.

Some of my closest and dearest friends live off a steady diet of romance novels. I can't stand formulaic romance, not to be confused with a good love story (smile). While I might, on occasion, tease my friends about their reading selections (as they do me) I don't judge or condem them for their choices.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that assigning specific and fixed weights and values to books leads to the "everything I read is great" and "everything you read is crap" school of thought. Sorry, I simply can't get with that type of "holier than thou attitude" when it comes to books. As if owning an appetite for the "so-called" classics or the NY Times Best Sellers, or the Oprah Book Club Pics or even the Pulitzer Prize Winners will automatically recuse one from being either an idiot or an ax-murderer.

Sure, there's a lot of stuff out there I won't read (like all of that hustler, pimp, ho, thug & gansta) lit or I read very little of (most of that I don't wanna be a freak, but I can't help myself type of stuff) or that which I for the most part consider a right hot mess (nope, not even gonna go there). And yes, there are quite a few books through which I've struggled, but only after determining ON MY OWN and FOR MYSELF that the book was worth the effort.

The world is too big and life much too short to get stuck plowing through pages of material that bring you absolutely no joy, particularly if you're only doing so because someone with a MFA, PhD or a talk show labeled it a "classic" or a "must-read." Besides, unless the person doing so is your parent (and you're still a minor, living up in their house), your teacher, professor or possibly your employer, they really don't have any business dictating what and how you read in the first place.

So for all you BOOK SNOBS out there . . . when you stumble upon someone who shares your reading preferences, by all means, go ahead and applaud. You have every right to celebrate. But please, when you bump into someone whose taste in lit and/or reading habits you consider "beneath" yours, try not to castigate, verbally assassinate or straight-up perpetrate, all right?! (LOL)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Torch showcases the poetry, prose and short stories of African American women. The journal's current call for submissions ends on August 31st. For additonal details go to

SisterPower is about to launch a new magazine. Check your newstands and bookstores in August. View a sample issue of the magazine HERE.

PMS: Poetry, Memoir and Story will publish a special Black women's issue in the Spring of 2008. Both established and emerging writers are urged to apply. The deadline is October 1, 2007. The poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers will serve as the editor of the special issue. See HERE (Niggerati Manor) for details.

The deadline for the Tennessee Writers Alliance 2007 Literary Awards Competition is July 1, 2007. The Alliance offers monetary awards ($500, $250 & $100) for short fiction and poetry. The contest is open to all, but requires a $10 entry fee for members and $15 for non-members. Additional details can be found HERE.

A Gathering of the Tribes Magazine is sponsoring a short fiction contest. The deadline is September 15, 2007. Publication in the magazine and monetary awards of ($500, $200, & $100) are being offered to the winners. A $10 entry fee is required. For more information, visit their site HERE.

The DeadMule: School of Southern Literature recently published a short story penned by my friend (and fellow former Memphian) FeLicia Elam. Checkout "Loretta Shine" HERE.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I recently finished two books, WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor and NO TIME TO DIE (A Mali Anderson Mystery) by Grace F. Edwards.

The latter, a mystery, was something new and out of the norm for me. I purchased NO TIME TO DIE at a Friends of the Library book sale while still living in Memphis. Actually, I acquire a lot of my books that way--library book sales, bookstore discount tables, etc. The cover on this one--a pensive looking African American woman wearing a hat slanted over her brow and with the "world famous" Apollo signboard in the background--drew me in. The inside flap's description of a Black female sleuth's search for a serial killer in Harlem further intrigued me. Even so, the book, like so many others, sat unread on my shelves for years. My thirst for something different is what recently led me back to the title. I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but, all in all, it was a nice diversion as well as a fascinating and truly horrific look into the life of an African American serial killer.

WISE BLOOD is a book I first read several years ago. As much as I enjoy Flannery O'Connor's short stories, her novel just didn't do a heck of a lot for me. Although I found the book rather disturbing, I didn't outright hate it. I think more than anything, I just didn't understand it. Funny how the passage of time can alter one's perspective. I'm still not in love with the novel, but I do understand it a bit better. Perhaps maturity, patience and a small portion of wisdom are to thank for my new level of enlightenment. To be honest though, the only reason I decided to re-read the text was because it appeared on a local book club's list. If nothing else, it's the type of book that makes for an interesting discussion.

The book I'm currently reading is, ALL AUNT HAGAR'S CHILDREN, a collection of short stories written by Edward P. Jones. This is the first time I've read any of Jones' work and already I'm a fan. As I stated on black girl lost in a book's blog, I feel like I really do know these characters . . . I've met them somewhere . . . if not in this life, then perhaps in some other. The first story in the collection, "In The Blink Of God's Eye" read like one of my grandmother's tales of Johnson Sub (the 40 plus acres in Memphis, TN my daddy's people once owned and called home). This book is, for me, truly a treat and I find myself re-reading sentences, paragraphs and passages if only to savor their sweetness once again. In Jones' work I am able to experience a bit of what drives me to read and write in the first place--the indescribable joy (and music) of a story well-told. I also feel in Jones' work an appreciation of the Black Southern Experience that sadly, far too many "colored folks" (yeah, I said it . . . meant it too) from NY, LA and the Midwest appear to lack.

The books I'm probably gonna read next include, among others, another Edward P. Jones title for sure. I'm thinking his first short story collection, LOST IN THE CITY, will probably be my choice. I've heard lots of positive comments about the collection and since when given a choice between a short collection and a novel, I generally opt for the stories, it's pretty much a done deal.

I'm also interested in taking a look at REDBONE:Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta by Ron Stodghill. Initially, I was kind of turned off by the title. Just to give you some background, a guy I knew during my college years tagged me with the nick-name "Dirty Red." So, as you might imagine, something about the term conjures quite a bit of negative imagery for me (LOL). Anyway, I stumbled upon an excerpt one day, that changed my mind about reading the book. Based on the writing alone, I'm willing to give the book a try, even though the Amazon reviews I skimmed appeared to lean toward the negative.

The other title on my list of "future" reads is a book I started last year, but never read beyond a couple of pages, WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE by Tavis Smiley. I didn't put the book down for lack of interest, I just got busy and sidetracked by other things. I'm still very much interested in knowing more about the "makings" of Mr. Smiley and since my old book club in Cleveland is taking on the book, I figured I'd buckled down and join them.

So, what are you all reading? What have you read that you'd recommend? What's still sitting unopened on your nightstand, on your bookshelf or at your local bookstore that you'd like to read? Also, any comments on my reading lists are welcome.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Okay, I'm sure by now you've heard about the 11 year old kid who killed the 1,051 lbs and 9 ft long wild hog somewhere deep in the Alabama woods, right? Well, I'm sorry, but it sounds like a whole bunch of BULL to me (LOL).

My own dear hubby insists its true, if only because he heard it reported on NPR. Oh, Please. That story has HOAX stamped all over it and that photo looks about as real as Lil Kim's, Michael Jackson's and Joan Rivers' faces spliced together.

But okay, for the sake of arguement, let's say the story is true. So, is this GIANT HOG some kind of random freak of nature, or does he have a big ole swoll pack of brothers, sisters and play cousins stomping around in those woods somewhere? And if the latter is true, how come we're just now learning of their existence? If nothing else, wouldn't we have at least SMELLED those jokers by now?

My other questions are about the kid and his proud papa. Who in the world goes hunting in the woods with a .50-caliber revolver? I'm saying, if that doesn't put the capital "B" in 'Bama, I don't know what does (LOL). I read one report that said the kid attended school at some Christian Academy. Well, good for him. But I'm pretty sure chasing a giant wild hog, who hasn't done zip-dang-squat to you, for three hours through the doggone woods and then busting a cap in said hog, umpteen some times, isn't something you'd necessarily want to file under 'Things Jesus Would Do.'

Of course, I could be wrong. But just in case, I'm filing this one under "Stupid Stuff" and "Ignorant Mess."