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Artist’s Way 3: Week 6

Artist’s Way 3: Week 6
Just me and a trail on Governor's Island for my Artist Date.

Just me and a trail on Governor’s Island for my Artist Date.

Like I neva left…

Week 6 of the Artist’s Way is called “Recovering a Sense of Abundance.” Maaaaaan. Le sigh. So, those of you who really follow my blog like that, know that it’s been mooooonths since I’ve updated my latest Artist’s Way progress. This weekend, I finally decided to really get back in it and get back to posting about it.

This morning, I made my morning meditation about abundance and then I went on Instagram and a friend had posted about abundance. Then when I got back on task with AW, the topic was abundance. Message much? Ha!

Julia Cameron spoke to me in this chapter when she said “Making art begins with making hay while the sun shines. It begins with getting into the now and enjoying your day. It begins with giving yourself some small treats and breaks. ‘This is extravagant but so is God” is a good attitude to take when treating your artist to small bribes and beauties.”

This past weekend, I bought myself a bouquet of flowers for my dining room table (as usual) and I spent Sunday afternoon on my Artist Date at Governor’s Island. They have a whole section full of hammocks for people to use. HAMMOCKS!! So friggin’ awesome. There’s also tons of historical stuff to explore, the beautiful views (Hello, Lower Manhattan) and there happened to be an art fair going on this weekend too. Good stuff!

Abundance indeed.

Good week.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Grandma’s Wisdom

Grandma’s Wisdom

A note from Grandma about boys. Smart lady. Funny too.

A note from Grandma about boys. Smart lady. Funny too.

 

Today is Grandparents Day. Yeah, I know. I didn’t know that was a thing either. I was just put on to this a few days ago when I got an assignment to cover a Grandparents Day concert. (It was an amazing night, by the way, and I’ll post links to the piece once it’s up.)

But, once I became aware of this awesome day to recognize the grand parental units, I got a case of the sads. My beloved grandma passed away this past August. She was a hoot and I really miss her laugh. I now have no living biological grandparents. I do still have a step-grandfather though. Like my blood relatives, he’s also a great storyteller. I’m pretty sure my grandmother just snorted at that last sentence. 

Besides countless memories and fabulous taste, my grandmother also bestowed upon me a ton of handwritten letters and cards over the years. I have a nice little stack here. So, as an exercise in doing something productive and positive with grief and to show you how awesome Ms. Geraldine Gray was and as a bit of encouragement for you to go call/hug/write your grandparents– below I have compiled a few choice quotes from Grandma’s letters to me. Enjoy.

 

On Boys

Demetria, do not do the “nasty” while you are in Atlanta with that ole boy. Love, Grandma.

I was a student at the University of Michigan at the time and I had a long distance boyfriend at Morehouse. I was headed down to the ATL to spend my spring break with him and that was her advice to me.

 

On Marching to the Beat of My Own Drum

How does that drum beat sound that you march to? I know it’s not “uh one and uh tow and uh three, etc.” I think yours is “uh five and uh 13 and a 48, etc.” Right? (smile) Seriously though, I’m so in awe of you and very proud of how you live and seem to enjoy your life. Have fun!!

She had just found out that I was going on another international trip. What a way with words, right?

 

Subtle Shade

Thanks for the sweet Mother’s Day card. I wish you had come over, but I’ll see you soon. Love Ya, Grandma

My grandmother was really, REALLY good at throwing subtle (and not so subtle) shade.

 

On Postal Safety

I have $20 for you. Your mother advised me not to put it in a card anymore. So I have it whenever you come over. Ok?

Grandma was thee best at sending birthday cards. Unless your birthday fell on a Sunday, you could be assured that a card from her was in your mailbox on your birthday. She did this not just for her kids and grandkids, but other relatives and friends as well. She must have sent out cards just about everyday. Literally. Oh and she totally kept putting cash in cards too. I guess she just listened to my mother that one time.

 

She Knew She Was Loved

I am truly speechless. I want to be gracious about the wonderful gift you sent me and though I am very appreciative of it, the words on the card were really gifts as well. I was especially happy to learn that you have kept the letters and cards I’ve sent you over the years. Those words made my heart swell.

I had sent her a birthday gift with a card attached. She liked it. :)

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Love

 

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Create for Dr. Angelou

Create for Dr. Angelou

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I am not saddened by the death of the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou. She lived a long and glorious life. Her passions led her to careers in singing, dancing, acting, writing and education. St. Louis, Cairo, Accra, New York, Winston-Salem and Stamps, Arkansas are all cities she called home at one time or another.

This is a woman who knew Malcolm X personally, who counted James Baldwin as a close friend, who reminded Tupac of how important he was, who spit a few words on a Common track, who chopped it up with Dave Chappelle in an epic interview and who was bestowed one of the country’s highest honors by the first black president of the United States of America.

This is not a person for whom tears are appropriate, unless you have tears of joy for experiencing the creativity with which she graced the world. Dr. Angelou left us with so much to love and ponder. There are approximately 1, 898, 347 brilliant quotes from Dr. Angelou floating around online and in books on a variety of subjects.  But at the core of her work, she often came back to themes of love, self-care and community support. She was a beacon of encouragement and inspiration to millions of people

Dr. Angelou will not and can not be replaced.

Thankfully, due to the welcoming and dazzling light of her spirit, she has touched numerous current and future world changers. I claim today as a day to celebrate the life and contributions of Dr. Maya Angelou and to utilize and hone my own skills and talents for the betterment of myself and the world I occupy.

Ashé.

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Love

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 5

Artist’s Way 3: Week 5

 

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“A Subtlety” by Kara Walker

Week 5 is titled “Recovering a  Sense of Possibility.” It’s basically about nurturing yourself as an artist and getting rid of the 8,000 excuses you have for not feeding your creative spirit. A lot of times we feel pressure from other people and ourselves to be “selfless” or to just stay on the 9 to 5 track and nothing else.

Cameron is not suggesting that everyone ditch their day jobs to become underwater basket weavers, but she is suggesting that everyone should pay attention to and cater to their inner artists. You don’t have to quit your job, but you can buy an easel, a canvas and some paint. You can take a salsa class. You can create a bright orange accent wall in your living room. Let your inner artist be fed and be great. Get rid of those excuses! There is no upside to keeping roadblocks.

A quote from Collete in this chapter was my favorite for this week. “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”

For my Artist Date I went to see Kara Walker’s amazing art installation called “A Subtlety.”  It is a sphynx-like figure of a naked black woman made of 80 tons of sugar. This incredible artwork is housed at the historic Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. The original structure was built in the 1850s and the factory was at one point refining more than half of the sugar in the United States. I knew about the factory’s existence (the sign is one of those NYC icons), but I did not know how old it was nor that it was such an integral part of the sugar industry. The curatorial statement was very enlightening.

A construction crew will be demolishing the old factory soon to make way for a new development, so Walker’s work is an elaborate adieu and a not so subtle way to finally acknowledge the labor and lives of the people who worked those sugar cane fields. If you don’t know anything about slavery, sugar cane fields and even post-slavery sugar cane field work, please do Google that.

This was perhaps my favorite Artist Date so far this year. Walker has a brilliant mind and the layers in this art installation are numerous and each worth a thesis. I’ll have to come back and do a seperate post with all of my thoughts on this work. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to go see “A Subtlety.” It’s free and it’s open every weekend until July 6th.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Creativity

 

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Book Review: ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book Review: ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I enjoyed Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s smart, engaging and contemporary. Adichie introduces readers to Ifemelu, a Nigerian who moves to the United States for college and eventually moves back to Nigeria for love and other things. Her high school love Obinze is in that “love “category even though he is married with children.

Adichie tells the story in third person limited omniscient, toggling between Ifemelu and Obinze. She tackles a lot of issues and perhaps most prominently, the perspective of an African immigrant in the extremely racialized US society. Ifemelu learns what it means to be “black” and what American blacks and Africans think the difference is between them. There’s funny stuff, serious stuff, thought provoking stuff and stuff that will seem like a mirror for you.

The novel offers a complicated love story and a very fleshed out central character in Ifemelu. I found myself staying up late just to read what happens next, which is a clear indication of a good book.

I definitely recommend Americanah for book clubs, contemporary novel courses and just general pleasure. You’ll be invested in the characters. I’m looking forward to Adichie’s future work.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Entertainment, Reading, Reviews

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 4

Artist’s Way 3: Week 4

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Week 4 is about recovering a sense of integrity. Yes, ma’am. The crux of this chapter is right here:

The snowflake pattern of your soul is emerging. Each of us is a unique, creative individual. But we often blur that uniqueness with sugar, alcohol, drugs, overwork, underplay, bad relations, toxic sex, under-exercise, over-TV, under-sleep–many and varied forms of junk food for the soul. The pages help us see the smears on our consciousness.

Alla da truth is right there. I’m using this space to document and not really go in depth, so I won’t speak on what parts of that paragraph really struck me personally, but it definitely did.

Moving on…My Artist Date was going to a local artist supply store in Harlem. I got a super cute new Moleskine notebook. I also went to Staples and got a new pack of pens. I’m kind of particular about pens. I write hard (I’m intense, son) so I need pens with a nice rubber grip. Anywho, It was nice to me immersed in all that artistic awesomeness and my notebook is super cute.

 
 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 3

Artist’s Way 3: Week 3

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Week 3 is all about recovering a sense of power.  Good stuff here. Cameron talked quite a bit about anger and how to use anger in a positive way. I got angry a couple times in the past couple weeks and I expressed that anger in such a way that I had to apologize to the folks on the receiving end. So, it happens.

One quote from this weeks’ reading that I really enjoyed was from Goethe. It reads: “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”  Well said. Or like Nike said, “Just do it.” You’ll never do “it” if you don’t make that first step no matter how tentative it is.

For this week’s Artist Date, I attempted to go and buy a new notebook and some new pens, but my mission ended up a failure because I embarked on said adventure on Easter Sunday and stuff closed early. Womp, womp. So, my Artist Date became the walk there and back. The picture above is from my travels. Reminds me of a song from my adolescence. “The red, the black and the green. With the key…”

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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