Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen # 34 . . . 13 Things, I Assure You, I Don't Want To See . . .

1) Your drawers -- I don't care if they are clean. I don't care if you bought 'em off Ebay from Puffy or borrowed them from Madonna; I don't care if they're lined in silver and/or gold -- All I'm asking is that you pluck 'em up off the dang floor (ditto the dining room table, chandelier, etc.) before I come over and/or pull up your sagging or low-riding jeans!

2) Footage of you or any of your loved ones giving birth -- To be clear, any home movies containing surgical procedures, blood, gore and/or screaming (in the notable absence of a rollercoaster) I can very well do without.

3) Your corns, hammertoes and/or bunions -- If your tootsies look like they're coated in oatmeal or belong on a rooster, eagle, dragon or some other winged critter (mythical or real), please don't go barefoot or wear sandals around me.

4) Any of your removable body parts -- If any of your body parts come off or pop off, I'm more than willing to take your word for it.

5) Your nail clippings -- Were I into hoo-doo and looking to cast a spell or curse on your behind, your ole nasty clippings might come in handy. But since I'm not, dispose of them properly, please.

6) Your false teeth or your raggedly-looking mouth without them -- It's not often I prefer illusion over reality, but this is definitely one such case.

7) Your boobs -- Okay, unless you're nursing a child (preferably one under the age of 2) or you're experiencing a wardrobe malfunction, I really don't care to see your girls.

8) The sonogram image from your ultrasound -- I understand your excitement at your pending arrival, but unless the image is in 3-D or you're in the last month of your third trimester, I really don't know what the heck I'm looking at.

9) Pictures of you or any of your friends and/or relatives drunk or in the buff -- Fair warning, if you email me some mess like this or invite me to view such on your Facebook or MySpace page, you're putting our friendship in serious jeopardy.

10) Your a$$ crack -- Unless we're in an intimate relationship or for some socially acceptable reason, I find myself forced to change or clean your nasty behind, please spare me this trauma.

11) Anything a physician has removed from your body -- The sole exception being a child, of course. But gall stones, kidneys stones, warts, moles, tumors and other such growths . . . yeah, I'm really not trying to see any of that.

12) The excessive hair growing from your ears, nose, arm pits or covering your back -- Unless you've got paperwork verifying that you are indeed a Cro-Magnon, do me a favor and keep all of that stuff neatly trimmed or to yourself.

13) Any of your bodily waste products -- Really, some things ought to go without saying. But in the event that they don't, wipe your nose, flush the toilet and get thee quickly to the nearest doctor and/or shrink if the situation dictates such measures.

Well, are there any others you'd like to add? As long as you don't get too gross or x-rated, have at it (smile).

For those of you who don't know, sadly, the old Thursday Thirteen site and meme no longer exists. But a new crew has decided to keep the tradition going under a slightly different format. See Here for more info.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Now That President Obama Is 'The Man' . . . What Are Your 'Yes We Can' Plans?

So what's next?

Now that all of the cheers and tears have come to past . . . Now that all of the partying is over and the songs have all been written and sung . . . Now that Barack Hussein Obama has officially been sworn in as the 44th President of these United States and we've all claimed a bit of the historic moment for ourselves . . . what do we do next?

I'm saying, you do know there's still a lot of work to be done and even with all of his charisma, intellect, and unquestionable ability, President Obama can't do it alone? Really, isn't it time we stopped being the type of people who will show up for the party, but can't be found when it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work?

No, I'm serious. Did we not all nod in agreement when Obama said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for?" Well, if "Yes We Can" is ever to be more than a catchy campaign slogan, don't we need to take that next step and start asking ourselves, "Yes we can--what?"

Perhaps, like me, you've already done so. When the Obamas, as a family, made a point of getting involved in community service projects on the MLK holiday, I'm pretty sure they were attempting to set an example. But the truth is, some of us, my family included, had already made plans to spend a portion of the day engaged in such endeavors. It's something we've done for the past several years now.

Of course, the truth of the matter is, I was on the Obama bandwagon long before he even announced his candidacy. After reading his book, Dreams From My Father, something inside of me said, you know, this guy just might be The One (as apposed to That One *smile*). But it wasn't until I heard his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention that I felt inspired to go beyond thinking and griping about the problems that faced our nation and becoming more involved in some community relief project.

The task I've taken on is helping to feed the hungry. In recent months, I've been moved by a number of different articles that have detailed the on-going fight to end hunger. One article in particular told the story about a group of kids, who though enrolled in an after school hunger program, were writing in their journals about being hungry over the weekends. To me, it is both heartbreaking and a disgrace that any child in the United States (or elsewhere in the world for that matter) would spend a day, much less an entire weekend, hungry.

So, I figured since I'm in the grocery store a couple of times a week, anyway, why not pick up a something or a few things for someone else, every time I go? And that's what my guys and I have been doing over the past several months. We keep a box in the kitchen and once it's full of items, we drop it off by the local food bank. It's a small thing, but I think it makes a big difference in some one else's life as well as in our own hearts. And for me and mine, it's a step and a start in the right direction.

Your contribution doesn't have to mimic ours. Your calling might be bigger or it might be something smaller. But I do think it's imperative that those of us who voted for and say we support the ideals put forth by President Barack H. Obama . . . Get Up . . . Go Out . . . and DO SOMETHING!

I've shared a bit of my plans and efforts. Now, what are YOU gonna do?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There's A New Blog In Town . . . Diversity Ink . . .

I'd like to take a moment and tell you about a coalition I was recently invited to join. A group of multi-ethnic and multi-racial bloggers, led and founded by one of my blogging buds, Malcolm (of Pop Culture Dish, Presented By Malcolm fame) has joined forces to produce a blog called Diversity Ink. The blog will address a variety of issues pertaining to race and with the hope of creating a dialogue between folks of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

In the first post, Malcolm shares a bit more detail about the groups' origins and purpose . . . "The Purpose of Diversity Ink."

Other recent posts include "White Privilege: Myth or Reality" by Pjazzypar and "Work To Be Done" by Marvalus.

If you get a free moment in the coming days, I hope you'll take a moment to check out the entire blog, participate in the conversation (if you are so moved) and help spread the word about the coalition.

It's a new day y'all. Let's make the best of it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Authors Behaving . . . Badly . . .

I'm always fascinated by what folks share with me upon discovering that I'm a published author. At the doctor's office the other day, a woman shared with me a story about a book signing she'd attended at a local bookstore. The popular author was one whose work the woman had enjoyed in the past and she was too tickled at the opportunity to finally meet this person in the flesh.

Unfortunately, most of this woman's good feelings about the author soured when she (the woman telling the story) stepped up to the table and handed the author her book. The author looked at the woman, frowned and said, "This book is old. I'm only signing copies of my new book today."

Well, the woman said she wasn't about to get out of line, grab one of the new books and get back in line again. So, she reached over, snagged herself a book and said, "Okay, sign this."

Rather than happily oblige, the author looked at the woman, frowned again and grumbled, "You haven't even paid for this yet."

The woman was like, "Dag, would you just sign the book already! I am not getting out of line just to pay for this and then have to get back in line all over again."

Well, the woman finally got her book signed. But she hasn't forgotten the experience and her feelings about the author in question are hardly what they used to be.

Granted, everyone is entitled to their own way of doing things, but had I been the author, I would have signed the old book and thanked the fan for taking the time to come out and meet me. Sheesh, isn't that what folks with common sense and good home-training do? Yes, I understand and appreciate the desire to make a profit, but sometimes it ain't about "short money," it's about the long-game and the big picture. Chances are, not only will that woman never buy another book by that particular author, but some of the other bystanders who witnessed the incident will in the futute, no doubt, keep their money in their pockets as well.

That's not the first story I've heard about authors behaving badly. And some of the behavior I've been privelged to see with my own two eyes, would truly be funny, if it weren't so damn sad. I'm sorry, I just I don't get these writers, authors, scribblers and scribes who've decided they're the best thing to hit the scene since barbequed chicken wings. They treat people any kind of way. They talk to people any kind of way.

I remember how much I used to enjoy this one author's blog. I'd never read his work, but his blog was funny and insightful, though somewhat edgy at times. Before I could go out and purchase a couple of his books, I read an exchange between him and a visitor to his blog. The author's comments toward the visitor were so mean-spirited and condescending and in a so much holier and smarter than thou kind of way, it was a complete turn-off. It's been over a year since I read the exchange and till this day, I still haven't read or purchased any of the author's books.

I mean really, people, we write books . . . most of us aren't out here risking life and limb in order to rescue folks from burning buildings . . . most of us aren't actively engaged in searching for the cure for cancer . . . not too many of us are capable of safely landing a plane in a body of water, much less walking across some without sinking.

So, for those of you still out there swinging your big heads through the clouds, and acting like folks are supposed to drop to their knees and fawn all over you when you walk into a room, get a damn grip and stop ruining it for the rest of us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

After The Dance . . . The Movie . . .

Before anyone gets too excited, perhaps I should take a moment to clarify . . . there are no offers on the table . . . no options are currently being discussed . . . and no directors or movie mogul types are currently leaving voice mail messages on my phone. I'm simply dreaming aloud . . . fantasizing, as we creative types are apt to do (smile).

Yes, like a lot of writers, I'd love to see my novel land on the big screen. But in my on-going discussions with folks who've read After The Dance, I've discovered that the actors and actresses I envision playing Carl, Faye, Nora, Scoobie, Cousin Squirrel and the crew, don't always line up with the ones selected by the novel's readers.

For instance, yesterday, during my teleconference with some of the good folks at the Raleigh Branch of the Memphis Public Library, it was suggested that Don Cheadle might make a great Carl. I was like, "Huh! Don Cheadle?! He's way too skinny and too, ahem, mature-looking to play Carl. LOL. My reaction was very similiar, several months ago, when a friend suggested Carl Lumbly for the role of Carl. Nuh-Uh!

Okay y'all, as much as I admire the talents of both Mr. Cheadle and Mr. Lumbly, neither one of them would really fit the role of Faye's charming next door neighbor. I think folks are paying way too much attention to the characters depicted on the cover of the book and not enough on how those same characters are actually described in the book. In After The Dance, Carl is described as a man in his early 40's, tall, dark, bearded and with a former athlete's build.

The guy who fits my mental image of Carl is someone a number of you may have never even heard of . . . G. Garvin, the good-looking Black chef who has written a number of cookbooks and whose show "Turn Up The Heat" airs on TVOne. Yes, I know he's not a trained actor, but Mr. Garvin not only has the right look, he has more than enough of the Southern, down-home charm needed to properly pull off a Carl.

A couple of folks have suggested Jennifer Hudson might make a good Faye. While that's not a bad choice, even though she seems kind of young for the part. Were I given a real say in the casting of After The Dance, my first choice for the role of Faye would be Jill Scott. Yep, I think Jilly from Philly could more than handle the role of Faye and she definitely has the look.

A friend who lives in the Cleveland area suggested Jill Marie Jones (who played Toni on Girlfriends) as Nora and I actually think that's an excellent choice. This same friend ( I think she must have led a past life as a casting director) suggested Mel Jackson (who played in Soul Food, the movie, starred in the last season of Living Single and in one of my favorite movies, Uninvited Guest)as Scoobie aka Chef Venard Payne) and I absolutely adore that selection.

When one of the fellas from the Renaissance Men's Book Club at the North Branch of the Memphis Public Library suggested Flava Flav as Carl's Cousin Squirrel, I nearly croaked! LOL. No, I'm guessing Chris Rock's little brother, Tony Rock (from All of Us) would make the perfect Cousin Squirrel.

Well, those would be my picks, but what about you? If you've read After The Dance and you feel like sharing, tell me which actors and actresses you'd like to see playing some of these characters. Also, if you know how I might get in touch with the agents or managers of any of my selections, hook a sister up with the info so I can send them a book! Okay, a girl can dream, can't she? LOL

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Old School Hip-Hop . . . Favorites

Believe it or not, one of the things I miss most about living in Memphis and Cleveland, is the opportunity to watch VH1 Soul. Since, in recent years, I've pretty much given up on trying to listen to the radio, VH1 Soul is where I typically hear all of the latest R & B and Hip-Hop releases and checkout the accompanying videos.

Best of all, with VH1 Soul, I can get my urban music fix without having to listening to a bunch of ignorant talk and pseudo-intellectual babble in the process. Unfortunately, my cable provider here in Charlotte doesn't offer the channel (BIG SIGH). So one of the the activities I enjoyed the most over the holidays was sitting for hours on end in front of my parent's big screen TV and zoning out to the vidoes, musicial count-downs and documentaries on VH1 and VH1 Soul.

One of the shows I caught on VH1 (which we do get here in Charlotte) was a count-down of the top 100 greatest Hip Hop songs. Talk about an enjoyable trek back down memory lane. The show made me think about my own list of favorite old school Hip Hop artists. I thought about saving my list for a Thursday Thirteen post, but there were way too many to limit to thirteen. Besides, something tells me the Thursday Thirteen crowd isn't really into Hip Hop, old school, or otherwise (smile). So, in no real order, here it is--

Lori's List of "Old School" Hip Hop Favorites

1) A Tribe Called Quest

2) Da La Soul

3) 3rd Bass

4) Arrested Development

5) Digable Planets

6) Eric B. & Rakim

7) Queen Latifah

8) Mase

9) Dougie Fresh

10) Salt N Pepa

11) Big Daddy Kane

12) Heavy D. & The Boys

13) Public Enemy

14) MC Lyte

15) TLC

16) PM Dawn

17) Brand Nubian

18) Digital Underground

19) Bell, Bev, Devoe

20) Chubb Rock

21) Yo-Yo

22) Grand Master Flash & The Furios Five

23) Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

24) Lauryn Hill & The Fugees

25) Scarface and The Geto Boys

26) Tupac

27) Biggie

Do we share any favorites? What other old school hip hop artists would make your list?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What? It's 2009?! Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hey, I know I'm late (smile). I just wanted to let you all know I'm still around. I had a great time in Memphis. There's never enough time to see everyone or do everything. My apologies to those I didn't find time to call or visit. I'll catch you on my next run through town. Some of y'all I'm kicking to the curb in 2009 for not even making a half-a$$ attempt to say, "Hey," to a sister. You know who you are (LOL).

ANYWAY, as always, I enjoyed plenty of Memphis style barbecue and blues. I experienced a number of sad, funny and profound moments, some of which I hope to share in the coming days. Also, I've been assessing what worked well for me and what didn't work so well over the last year . . . not only as it pertains to writing and publishing, but relationships too.

I'm a big believer in the line of thought which suggests that if you keep doing the same dang thing and getting the same dang results, perhaps it's time to try a whole new approach (smile). So look for me to do a bit of stretching and house-cleaning in 2009. That's my only resolution for the new year. What about you?