Watch. And Pray.

It’s not like there’s a lack of things to talk about. I just haven’t been sure I want to or I want to yet.

Some of that is because I have learned so much about the power of social media through having found a thriving, articulate community of people to hear and by whom I feel my identity – or aspects of it – reflected. Most people would probably never think I needed help speaking up but then I think people mistake hearing your voice ever with hearing it all. There’s plenty the world has succeeded in making me self-conscious to assert. Plenty of times I didn’t want to go through the work of replying to something unacceptable because I knew that the attention would be given to my response (with words like “here we go again”) and not to whatever caused MY “here we go again” moment – here someone goes undermining my beauty, worth, intellect, love, faith and identity as a Black woman.

And I’ve found so much – so. much. – relief in scrolling through my timeline in those times and “hearing” these people speak. Because the truth is, I have a right to not engage every time. Often, I think of Toni Morrison’s genius commentary on the work of racism:

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

Sometimes I will exercise my right to be heard, to respond, etc. Sometimes I’m not having it. Just like the woman who tweeted that a male scientist at her convention commented that her attire was not appropriate (let’s not even) – and then so many women responded by affirming that her outfit WAS appropriate. This is our socialized response, no? Not “You do not have the authority to make such a claim/approach me in the first place” but defending the outfit in question. (And I know, for myself, part of the reason for that type of response is also born out of a desire to let the other party know that I know s/he’s wrong. Hashtag: Just so you know. So it’s not like I don’t get it.)

But sometimes, as when a deserved artist wins a National Book Award for the first time, I (a) know that one of these people I admire will speak and I will read it and be able to breathe deep because someone gets it and someone spoke and that means I have the validation everyone who takes it for granted wonders why I need and I (b) am unsure how best to support the artist. Does she want another thinkpiece to come up when her name and win are googled? Does it bother her at all? (Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe they’re best friends and while she wishes he hadn’t spoken that way in mixed and streaming company, she knows his heart. Maybe he thought he was making social commentary on the ridiculousness of antiquated stereotypes – yeah, that one’s a long shot but remember when I said we’re socialized to give anyone but us the benefit of the doubt?)

Then there’s times when a new tv show comes on – particularly one with a problematic or at least confusing title – and it is everything you hoped it would be and you feel for the first time in a long time like the audience. You feel this way because instead of being about the gaze, it’s actually about things as we see and experience them. And it doesn’t have to be perfect just because it’s one of few, and did I mention it’s that pressure to be the perfect representation for a varied and diverse people group that demonstrates the problem with white-washed broadcasting.

Then sometimes kids give interviews and ho-my-word, I don’t even think I can do this one. Because they’re kids. And despite the fact that they are basically the embodiment of what I can only assume would have been one of Dr. Marvin Monroe’s social experiments (what happens when you are tragically wealthy, do not engage in agencies of socialization such as corporate schooling, are “trusted” by your parents enough to make and immortalize your own life choices as a pre-teen who will have one of two options going forward: a really painful period of realization during which you are haunted by your nonstop public declarations and images – or – refusal to undergo said very-public process and therefore stay the course and just…just be horrible) – it’s not fair to anyone to have such an exhaustive record of these years.

Or what about when part one of a two part adaptation of a third book comes out and people are so upset over that concept – which apparently and seemingly has been done unnecessarily before but this isn’t that time and it isn’t those books and it was so good and I’m not sorry that we might actually lose friendships over this discussion because you will NOT badmouth MOCKINGJAY PART 1.


I Keep Saying I’ll Blog

Three Things Which Are True:

(1) I’ll never stop badmouthing George Orwell. *

(2) Never.**

(3) I’ve got work to do. (Wonderful, wonderful work.)

*I’m not saying my sentiments are new to you or this blog. I’m not even saying that’s the best article on the matter, it’s just the easiest one to find that refers to Orwell having reviewed Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. And I’m still indignant.

**As long as 1984 is on required reading lists and any list of well-received, impacting novels, I will continue to do so.


When I Come Around

Ezra was eating a banana. Whilst peeling it, he observed, “Peeling a banana is like saving the banana. It’s like something eated it and I’m saving it from the guy who ate it.” ~ Feb 1st, 2011

That was my peace offering. An Ezra-ism from two years ago. Poor little language-confused seven year old that he was. Adorabeezle.

So it feels like I owe you guys some big announcement. Or diatribe or rant, at least. And I have a few in mind – I watched After Earth and the super hainty attempt at covering up its M.Night connection was misplaced effort. The movie told on itself, IMMEDIATEMENT – but those are for another day. Just like, possibly, my ideas on Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie’s apparent distrust of hair that originates in her own follicles (I’m increasingly judgey about this, given the alternatives she chooses/allows to be chosen), and the Ichabod Holmes attempt. Or the life being sucked from the Mindy Project and the way they almost lost me with that ridonkulously offensive “Christian pastor” boyfriend. I can’t even.

Come to think of, what have I been *doing*, people?? We need to talk, f’real, f’real.

For now, I leave you with a bit of wisdom from last night’s seriously serious dreams: You cannot quit at parenting; you can only fail.


Huh. I wonder if last night’s Nashville had anything to do with my dream’s subject matter.

Good questions, all.

In Face of Certain Defeat

Perhaps you haven’t discovered your favorite author until you feel – after reading their work – like you have nothing to say. Or nothing worth saying. In written word. Which is the vehicle said author used and therefore one that you could not possibly wield to any estimation of success.

I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

All I know is, I thought I couldn’t love someone as much as or more than Toni Morrison. I lay awake at night, struggling with my love for Orson Scott Card in fact, trying to make sense of them both in this hierarchical world we’ve created. But all of that was before. Not before I started Invisible Man – I take a notoriously long time to either read amazing books or else to move beyond them…which is why this is also before I was able to wean myself off of Ender’s Game enough to read Speaker…and I can’t even …..try to….

I’m sorry. Where were we. So no, not before I started Invisible Man, but before I was WRECKED by it. It stopped everything. Half my life came to a screeching halt somewhere around the union of factory workers. I’d known it was going to happen back when the man had him read the letters he’d been handing out. I knew it was coming, even though it had never happened before. That’s the power of this narrative. The narrative.

[Total sidebar because that was meant to be a complete sentence but then Twelfth Night overtook it and it became, “The narrative itself til seven years heat shall not behold her face at ample view but like a cloistress she will veiled walk and water once a day her chamber round allthistoseasonabrothersdeadlovethatshewouldkeepfreshandlastinginhersadremembrance!” And somehow it totally works. Ahem.]

The narrative carried me, that’s the only way to explain it. I didn’t want to read ever again. It’s like eating something and being in ecstasy which is dampened all the while by the fact that you know this won’t be the last thing you ever taste. And that’s only dealing with the LANGUAGE.

SERIOUSLY. I can’t stress that enough. It’s written down on a stark, pale screen, so you couldn’t possibly understand me, but try, my pet. Because I remember the way a man walks down the street, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done. I remember the air at a party, the darkness interrupted in a bedroom. And we haven’t even gotten to what cannot even be considered commentary because it is too authentically encapsulated in this farce of a world he reveals to us to be something as trite as “commentary”. (Commentary is now trite, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done.)

No. I did not just read the book. But I wish I had. Although nothing I’ve written since would’ve happened, because why bother.

It does make me love ToMo more, as well, because her voice is her own and there’s room for her genius. I’ll admit I’ve read others and all I could think was they’ve read Ralph and it wrecked them.

So, why now. When I couldn’t even talk about this book in complete sentences for what seemed forever. Oh, no reason really, except that SOME DUDE CLAIMED IT HAD NO LITERARY MERIT. And usually, I wouldn’t mind. But someone printed his words because they apparently had something to do with this novel being BANNED in North Carolina.

We’re not gonna discuss banning books or the way it is sometimes for better or worse “understandable” – because you don’t need to discuss the controversy of banning to discuss that RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN IS BANNED SOMEWHERE. That is enough. No commentary or context needed. But just in case you want some:

Ralph Ellison BannedAnd aside from the fact that it was the 50s not the 40s: You get me. I want that man publicly shamed.

*By the by, click the pic to see the NPR link. Only the first paragraph is about RayRay, but read the second one too because WHUT!

*P.S. I read this last night. Today I am sick. Coincidence? I think not.

I Might Need Security

I know Montreal loves to bring the drama, but today on Decarie, it was a little much. It was the old guys’ turn, and they showed up in great form, ready to prove that you don’t have to be young and foolish to be foolish and just extra.

I mean, honestly, guy walking toward me who’s making super creeptastic uninterrupted eye contact while I look everywhere but directly into your gaze. When you wait until I’m a few steps away and raise your hand and slap it repeatedly – which I guess is supposed to energize me to the point of high-fiving you?! – I don’t know how fast or far to run. Because I’m a lady in a pink and white striped dress and I need you to treat me as such. Cross the street if you must, I’ll wait. Physical contact shan’t. It shall not.

Hey there, buddy who raced around me? I wasn’t gonna pick up that open bag of whatever it was sitting on that bench at the bus stop. I wasn’t gonna stick my hand in and start eating whatever it was. You win, friend. The mystery trash food is all yours. And no. He did not look like he’d fallen on hard times, nor was there any activity that would’ve made me suspect he might race up to a bag on a bench and start eating. Having done so, of course, I give him a pass. Because…a guy just ate out of an open bag on a bus stop bench on Decarie. The verdict is in.

Lastly, there was the old guy riding his bike super fast on the sidewalk. Toward me. And a family walking pretty much with me – which we won’t even question. They’re affectionate. So geezer on bike who starts aggressively swiping the air with his hand, which is apparently meant to make us get the heck out his way? Apparently, his voice did work – jury’s still out on the brakes sitchiation – because as he passed through us, face still tight in what I’d assumed was a disapproving grimace? “Have a good day, you guys!”

In a super sincere tone? After trying to mow us down with a seemingly homicidal snarl of misdirected hostility? ….k.

But don’t let any of that distract you from the bus that didn’t show or the metro that sat for 18 minutes. Because I certainly didn’t.



The Enemy’s Gate Is Down

I’m a writer. (Doy. But there’s always a reason when I state the obvious – because everything I write here or speak in real life is measured and precise. …. Just kidding, I’m an idiot.)

Okay, so I’m a writer, and I write projects I intend to present through various mediums. I also started as a film major in college, which we’ve already talked about somewhere and also, who cares. More to the point, I made a film while there, based on my own short story. Moral: Things change in the translation. They have to. I won’t bore you with the details (suffice it to say my favorite part of the movie is the title…and the fact that we did it). So I said all that to say, I do not consider a novel and a film based on a novel to be the same thing, nor do I expect the film to attempt plastering book pages to the screen.

And I honestly, genuinely, consistently feel that way.

Unless Ender’s Game forces me to give up that religion. O_O


….and of course, I can’t really say what concerns me about that trailer in any sort of detail because I’m trying not to help the editor do what s/he was clearly trying to do which is RUIN THE GREATEST SCI-FI STORY EVER BEGUN. (Begun because – come on. Speaker For The Dead. I will seriously die next to that book.)

I mean, seriously, this looks like a pretty (aesthetically speaking) rendition of the “He’s our greatest hope because he’s just a military/warrior god” Independence Day dealie but with a kid. AND NO. IT IS NOT. So that’s *one* reason I’m concerned.

Another would be the glaring error in what I hope is just the approach taken by the trailer team. WHICH I CAN’T COMMENT ON BECAUSE OISJDJOFJLDIJDFGL;DFG.


You’re making it really hard to keep my faith, Trailer.

…Get it together, Trailer.

This Is More For Me Than You

Disclaimer: This is all about a TV show.

There was a time before Scandal. Before the glorification of a bumbling, man-child. Before brain trauma that conveniently resolved over the course of an episode. A time when Tony Goldwyn was still Tony Goldwyn, the actor. The talent. A time before my view of him was stained. And during that time, he was a part of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

Back story: in college, as I was studying such charming topics as “Deviance in the Family” and “Social Inequality”, I fell hard for a little ditty called Special Victims Unit. I mean, come on. It was pretty awesome. That and they insisted on working in story-lines reminiscent of some pretty famous cases. I remember reading a book by Paul Britton (a famed forensic psychologist) and then seeing the episode about the couple who had a bunch of kids, whose nannies might disappear and who buried their victims in and around the house. So basically the show was quite parallel to what I was doing in my own life. I could even overlook Detective Olivia Obvious, I mean Benson’s constant stating of the – you guessed it – obvious. But then I started to get weary. I was a bit tired of the hamfisted handling of religious figures (ie, if there’s a Christian – and don’t let it be a pastor – we know from the get that this is the perp), the beating us over the head with preachiness – where at one time they used having an ensemble cast to have heated exchanges wherein everyone had and was unapologetic in their own beliefs and opinions, it seemed increasingly, we were just being told what to believe in a really trite back-and-forth in which Benson and Stabler totally agreed and actually wondered aloud how anyone could not believe. So that got old, fast. Aside from which, it’s just corny and lazy writing.

So I stopped watching. (GASP.) I’d watched an episode of Criminal Intent and just did not get Vincent D’Onofrio’s Robert Goren. (I am shaking my head at myself right now, wondering how that’s possible.) But I decided to go back to it and…well, the rest is history. This character. He was a tortured Sherlock with obvious quirks that eventually became much more than that, but the way his world was weaved into it…so good. And then there was the end of season 6. When everything started falling down. In a good way…for the viewer. In a heartbreaking way for Goren. Let me just say, his family members are played by Tony Goldwyn and Rita Moreno. I mean.

goren familyI can’t.

So good.

And then season 7?? And MORE family stuff. And the undercover stuff. And the season finale that ::falls across chaise:: All the best Goren storylines falling one on top of the other, creating the most amazing performances – not that one need rank D’Onofrio’s genius against D’Onofrio’s genius. It’s just, how much could this man take! GAH. So good.

So why am I blogging about this?! Because, like five years later, I’ve still thought about the satisfaction of that episode and some from the previous season so much that I’ve taken to reading episode guides and finally, last night, watching two from season six…in preparation to rewatch the season 7 finale. Again. Because I must. Because it was just so good. I can’t think of another series where a consistent viewer was so rewarded. I mean, I assume it wasn’t as powerful for people who hadn’t seen the years long build-up (AND YES I’M INCLUDING THE CRIMINAL INTENT PC GAME!).

Tony. You…you should know better. You were once a Goren. Why have your forsaken your rich heritage?! You were the bad guy I desperately wanted Demi Moore to learn to love in Ghost! (She didn’t even try!) What has Shonda Rhimes *done* to you? ::weeping, gnashing of teeth::

Siiigh. So anyway.

Write like that. So that five years later, I can’t.stop.feeling it.

My Heavy & Completely Justifiable Grudge

Jeanne Coyne. {Insert Louise Belcher laugh of insanity}



Ohhhhh, JeANNE.

You thought you could have it all, didn’t you? Didn’t you, JC?! You thought you could be Gene Kelly‘s fiancee AND a big Hollywood dancer, beside the likes of Tommy Rall, Ann Miller, Bob Fosse (DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS?!) – and people have lied about you. LIED. Even on Gene Kelly’s IMDB page, some knucklehead wrote that you were a “major talent” in your own right.

And you know who *really* got hurt by your selfish shenanigans?! Bobby Van. Dear sweet Bobby. In what should have been his final chance to showcase his delightfully charming brand of breezy dance. Shoulda had his moment. Wedged between the break-out performance of Bob Fosse and the whimsy of Tommy Rall. But you know what happened? Jeanne Coyne.

Now, if you know me *at all*, I won’t have to point out which bent-leg-havin’, slow-coach-bein’ “DANCER” she is in this clip. But for those of you who don’t wanna be surprised and saddened, she’s the one in the yellow. And don’t be alarmed when the director just stops looking at her in the first bit of her “dance”. But seriously, can you find the one who does not belong??

TEN. SECONDS. He got ten seconds because of you, Jeanne.

no joke Ezzie

::collects self::

You guys, this has been weighing on me since I was like EZRA’s age. I just. I had to get it off my chest. ::sigh:: I feel so much better. I feel like this is gonna be a turning point. Now I can focus all of my attention on how the brothers are REALLY NOTICEABLY MISMATCHED during the barn raisin’ scene in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. ::pulls tapes, prepares case::

*NOTE: This all came crashing down today when Dina pinned a picture of Gene Kelly. Jeanne is the first thing that comes to mind. Which is just…not fair. Because… Gene Kelly.

Go Home, The Following!

I wish instead of being able to capitalize all of the letters, I could instead make them so tiny that you could SEE MY RAGE. (Through squinting.)

Are we still doing this, The Following?! Early morning call after late night prison break?!

“We need you back.”

“But I’m not an agent anymore. I’m drinking myself to sleep every night to escape the nightmares associated with everything I’ve seen in my celebrated career that ended badly!”

“I know things didn’t end well with the Bureau,” said every caller ever. “But you’re the only one who can PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

STOP. STOP IT. No more! Oh and you were seriously injured in the line of duty, too? HAVE YOU NO DECENCY?!

::ahem:: Pardon me. I’ve lost my head. Where are my manners. ::shuffles papers::

I’m sorry. I’m upset the way one can only be when one has hoped. And I did, friends. I truly tuned in hoping – nay, DESIRING – to be *destroyed* by this show. You heard me right. That’s what I was signing up for. I didn’t realize it would be death by cliche, with moments – snatches of milliseconds, rather – of possibility.

….we’ve gotta stop meeting this way! This blog is quickly devolving into that place where I just yell at people who are innocently continuing their daily lives with no consideration of my irrational anger, and rightly so.

Okay, quick, here’s something I like!

Wait. That probably…didn’t make me seem any less craycray. Hmm.

Hear Me Roar

My husband and I were JUST. talking about this. This whole “hidden” experience of being a woman. Not just, you have no idea what it means to train yourself to be always observant because you cannot afford to tune out your surroundings lest you become someone’s prey, either. That I can chalk up to being life – it’s not hard and it’s definitely not a grievance for me, just not a privilege I own.

So I just read this blog about a woman being verbally abused, intruded upon, intimidated and mocked on the metro – all for not wanting to engage in conversation with strange men. (Yes, that’s a long hyperlink which is my way of saying READ IT NOW.) And I feel the need to further blog about this because it’s not.rare. Like, do men get that? That it’s not an isolated incident? That it happens even when you’ve got a ring on your finger and your child holding your hand? (That was the MOST.) Thank the LORD, I have not for years had someone verbally abuse me to the degree this young woman suffered  (but I can paint you a pretty vivid picture of the day it happened and I know exactly where I was and what I was holding in my hand, that’s the kind of “I remember” this is).

But here’s why this pisses me off. Aside from the part where even if I explain this, I’m still not convinced it can be understood without being true to your experience (which is why I can’t even begin to know whether reading Invisible Man could either… unless part of your experience is being trained and required to relate to the experience of someone else, ie unless you’re a minority which usually means a person of color, it seems there’s a wall and maybe that’s just another way of saying privilege).Okay, here is why: my first job was with Victoria Secret Beauty in the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, California. I was the Demo Diva, the lady who stands just inside the lease line for the store and debuts a fine fragrance or two, trying to entice mall goers into the store. I was pretty good at this job (hi, it’s sales). I was good enough that after a month on the job, they sent me to the national conference in New York to give a speech to managers about how people should be trained for this position – actually I remember this speech having more to do with how best to pitch the new-at-the-time laundry detergent for delicates.

One of the reasons I was good at this job was that I only sold to consumers. Meaning, I didn’t give off a carny vibe by verbally intruding on every person who walked by me and spraying the air like the potion would sell itself. No. I first made eye contact. If someone immediately dropped my gaze or, better yet, if they pulled their arm in and therefore away from me or stepped discretely to the other side so they wouldn’t pass directly in front of me, I let them pass. I laced my fingers behind me and looked away to let them know I understood. Sure, sometimes I ventured a guess and asked if they’d like to sample (not the people I just described but others who were less obvious), but I really tried to pay a lot of attention to people’s body language.

So when I’m on the subway or waiting for someone right outside of it and I’m accosted, I get really upset. Seriously. I can go from happy to indignant pretty fast at having my personal space invaded. What gives a stranger the right to command, “Smile!” as he passes too closely? I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be constantly smiling because? What, I need to please my audience? Right. That’s not my job. Or how about the guy who traced his finger down my back and then defended himself with, “I was just saying hello.” DO YOU EVEN GET WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?!

The guy at the same mall where I worked who then went and found his female friend to come pick a fight with me – I’m not kidding when I say she took her shoes off – after he stepped into my space and I told him so (after which he still tried to hit on me for several minutes). This is the response to a woman not letting a stranger stand close enough that our clothing touches?

This just boggles my mind. And I went to UC Santa Cruz aka Redwood Forest so I’m not a girl who walks with her head down and slowly or aimlessly. If these are the sort of advances *I* get while I’m going about my business, I can’t even imagine what happens to smaller, sweeter looking women. I hate that we have to “be careful” in how we assert our right to not entertain strangers for fear of how they’ll react – which doesn’t stop them from making sure we know they’re mad.

I don’t even know how to end this other than to say I’m pleased my son will have a good role model. I pray he never makes a woman feel as offended as I’ve felt.