Happy Birthday, Daddy…we love you….and miss you something AWFUL! Hard day for most of us…
Well, maybe not WORDS per se but when people are feeling beside themselves, it’s quite possible one of your words can put them on the other side of beside themselves. If you are brave enough to call yourself a writer, there are going to be times when people want to pin you down and beat you for your own personal truth. Once, I wrote this play in college that was about the two sides of myself warring with each other…only I wrote them as sisters because I didn’t want anybody coming after me with a short white bus while I walked down Nostrand Ave in the BK. So I write this play about one sister that settles down for a stable man and another who’s all messed up and holding out for her perception of the right man. Well, I had a great time tearing out my insides and putting them on stage but my roommates, who happened to be sisters, blew up like yellow volcanoes (they were mixed–black and white). “Sistaz on the DL” was the beginning of my playwrighting career (albeit, I’ll never show that play again since it’s soooooooooooo amateur) and the end of me being able to write without somebody getting all hot and bothered. Those two sisters cussed me out on the corner of Nostrond and New York Avenue.
“How dare you write a play about us!” They yelled at me. First, you don’t own the copyright on being sisters. Second, you both are certifiable evidenced by the fact that none of your roommates ever stay friends with you both.
We no longer speak, me and those sisters. They moved on. One’s back in the D (I’m from Detroit, in case I didn’t mention that) and the other had some famous rapper’s baby and now lives abroad with her new husband and other babies. And that’s sad that we don’t speak because I lost them over some dumb stuff but also over the fact that they resonated so much with my own personal demons that they assumed I was writing about them. I can’t imagine how often that happens to writers all over without them even knowing it. I mean we all write, somewhat, about what we know and who we know, even if it comes out way different than the initial muse. How many times have you seen a movie and felt so in line with the story or the character that you were angry or felt like somebody put you in the spotlight?
I’m not complaining about the writing life at all, mind you. It sucks looking at a blank page. It’s joyous when a story moves on its own. It really feels like some level of chemical induced euphoria when somebody else believes in your work enough to buy it, sell it or talk about it. There is an underlying burden of putting your own truth on the page and having somebody hurt over your views. Especially somebody you love. But these are the breaks of being an artist because everyone of us feels that truth enough to let it come out in our own talented way. If we didn’t, we’d be a bunch of mannequin monsters. What I’ve learned though is this: If it hurts, keep writing through it until you’re laughing or crying tears of joy.
No more hotlists. People get salty.
Last time I felt good: Sliding my jeans on this morning and not feeling like I was being tortured, text messaging Jen, laughing with Marcella, seeing Tasha walk by this morning and hearing Yaze be secure over some stuff that didn’t even concern him.
Last time life sucked a little: Remembering my dad’s birthday is tomorrow. And fighting with a friend this morning over his demons running into mine.
Hope on the horizon: Joy.
Happy Birthday Ang!
My first post. And it’s about a bunch of shit. But here’s the theme: what in the hot hell is going on?
First, this is the first birthday I’ve had where my dad isn’t with me. That sucks in so many ways because 1) he’s dead 2) he’s dead 3) he’s dead 4) his birthday is ten days after mine and he’s dead. It really blows when the last person you ever expected to leave first actually leaves first. You deal with the unpreparedness of life andblah blah. There really isn’t anything to say about that feeling that hasn’t been usurped by the cliche monsters but it still feels very fresh in my own life. My dad was supposed to walk me down the aisle this April. Now the wedding isn’t being postponed for other reasons (preparing being one major one, living in the hardest city ever is another) and I don’t mind so much because the idea of a wedding has changed drastically since we’re missing one of the key players here: Dad. Lots of people think weddings are for mothers and daughters but my wedding was more like a Dad tribute since my Mom’s joy will come with babies come out. I’d planned the walk, the pep talk he’d give me right before I met Yaze at the base of wherever (um, this is the part where I tell you that we didn’t get that far in the wedding plans because my Beloved Yaze is 29 years old and coming out of his Saturn Return—that’s another post all together if you don’t what that is), the dance we’d do after everybody had rubber chicken or instant mashed potatoes. I missed out on the part where the Dad watches his daughter start her adult family life. I know that parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids but it ain’t easy on this side of the game either. I love Yaze but, at this point, a wedding just ain’t the same. But thanks for the ring upgrade anyway, Baby. We will do the damn thing when it’s time.
Dad, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I started jogging because I remember you jogging and me riding my Pink Panther bike next to you. Yaze and I successfully rode to Santa Monica today from Koreatown mostly because I remember you talking about how you used to ride to Belle Isle in Detroit and that was INCONCEIVABLE to me. I am in search of what I can do to make you so proud that you come back to us. Remember how you caught that boy (”that boy”=Eli Elliott–we were going to be married as soon as he sold his K Car for a ring…That didn’t happen, thank Jesus) in the house after school when I was 16? All you had to do was to tell me that if I got pregnant, I would break your heart. That was the most effective birth control ever. Anyways, I keep pretending like one day I will be visited by you in ghost form. That idea comforts me. Kind of spooky, literally, when you think about it. You miss somebody so much that a haunting will suffice. It’s still difficult for me to drive at night sometimes because it reminds me of you constantly in the car. I most times cry while I drive, if I’m alone. I even listen to the Smooth Jazz station because of you and I hear you say “That’s a nice cut right there!” and I laugh because only you refer to songs as “cuts.” Only you could get me to sit through a song made by somebody named Boney James and it NOT be a blue song. Marcella says eventually it will get easier and when I realize you are with me always, I will not be so desperate to conjure up your ghost. We’ll see. And to Keem, Brandy, Uncle Mitchell & Nettie and Treva, I’m sorry I didn’t call this holiday. It was hard. I tried to keep moving to not feel stung but it didn’t work much. I feel like if I call, I just might start sobbing like a kid and that’s not gonna be fun for you to hear through your own tears.
Now that I’ve brought the room down with raw heart material, let’s move on to another “hot hell” moment. Why does Vivica Fox look like a mannequin? It’s bad when you can unprofessionally list the services you can identify on her body: botox, cheek implants, breast implants, a possible face lift. Ms. Fox, I have to say that you look like you can cuss somebody out in a second so I won’t come at you too hard. But I have to say that you ain’t looking natural enough for me to give you props. I’m sure you’d work your ass off for a part though. You still got the ghetto-ness on your side and that’s cool. However, neither white or black women look cool when somebody looks like they got frozen like Hans Solo. I cried when Hans got frozen and I’m crying now. Goodbye, Vivica. You were the bomb. I hope you tell your Robo-Cop replacement that you need to be just as fierce in Babylonwood.
Another “hot hell” mess: Nick Cannon. Dude, if you really said that you’re out to try some white girls now, I really hope that your career doesn’t tank in addition to your sense oozing out of your head. White girls everywhere should walk up to him and pop him in the head. You know this means he thinks you’re easy. That you don’t respect yourself enough to give him grief when he ain’t acting right. That’s basically what that means. You know what’s really fun? Watch “Drumline” with a professional drummer and ask them what they think. I can tell you one thing, Nick. You ain’t Denzel in “Mo Better Blues.” No Bleek Gilliam status for you.
Another “hot hell”: Jill Carroll. Can somebody please make sure this reporter for The Christian Science Monitor gets home? Even Muslim groups want her home. Do you really think that you’ll get your female prisoners back because of one hippie liberal Christian white lady? In case you didn’t notice, our president is born again via some evangelist who walked around the country carrying a cross. He basically believes that Christians are really rich, white and Texan. Everybody else is ripe for Hell. So, I would probably go after somebody Bush cares about if you really want to accomplish something. I’m not sure who that would be though. My ultimate advise is to not kidnap anybody. It doesn’t seem like it does much for your cause. Whatever that is. No good PR at all if you can’t tell what somebody wants to accomplish.
This being my new blog, I’m going to try to make this work for me and not just be verbose and put some words on strangers, loved ones and associates.
Last time I felt great: Yesterday, at the Ethiopian vegetarian spot on Fairfax, I gave the waitress my coat because she said she liked it AND it’s California and I surely didn’t need it. Her face made me feel…light. Random acts of kindness are way better than obvious acts of kindness. Next time you’re walking down the street and you see somebody’s meter about to run out, see how you feel after you put some change in there. Addictive. And if it’s a black Suzuki Sidekick with the bumper sticker “Black Nerds Unite” (thanks, P&J at Exittheapple.com for a great car accessory), well then, I’ll thank you later.
Last time life sucked: going up this hill on Olympic near Avenue of the Stars this morning. Even with Yaze talking me through it, that shit hurt. But Yaze and Dad help so I can’t complain. I could be starving or be married off.
Current art projects: I’m writing a novel about Brooklyn in the 90s and the poetry scene (if you knew me then, don’t be scared! You won’t recognize yourself, only your actions). I’m also writing a romantic comedy in the British vein since those are mainstream but funny and literary enough for me not to feel like I’m selling out my soul. I’m also trying to get the momentum behind me to shoot my first short. Oh! Me and Vasanti are doing a play reading series here in LA. Email email@example.com if you want to know more.
Hot list: Jen Andrews for her heart and for rocking Sundance, Marcella for just being and finding the humor in the fact that I literally almost ran into Kevin Carroll yesterday, Kevin Carroll for being the same, Yaze for being a really great life mate, Ari for being like 100000000000-0 in basketball (I might be exaggerating but that’s okay), Eve for being an easy friend to stay in touch with, Jessica for the, ah, addition, Jean for the line, Inge for being Inge, Mom for continuously trying to grow, the Cosby Kids for just being, Yvonne just because I’m glad we always find each other, Kathleen for getting me to blog, Tracie Thoms for WORKING IT OUT in Rent and just in general, Ted because he believes in my words taking flight one day, Kerry because she won’t ever out of favor with me, Kristin because just because, Jenn Mattern and family because they are long distance inspirations, Kei, Giulia, Kristy and Karen–my Universal Girls, Ang who is ride or die on the real, LaTasha and Wendy for being newbie monsters, my new boss because he’s human and good, Sarah and Allen because we are siblings separated at birth, Kamilah because she is HARDCORE, Mr. Harris because he is frank and sweet, Ms. Harris because is like the breath of the day, Keem and Brandy Joe for being family, Uncle Mitchell and Aunt Nettie for carrying dad’s love for us, Treva because we are lucky you are Dad’s partner, Maritri for what she carries around with her, Bea thanks for being open to growth, Ka’ramuu thanks for being a walking stage, and well, there ya go…
Now my Oscar speech won’t be so long and you won’t be at home going “What in the hot hell is she talking about????”