I try, really I do, but I can’t seem to get into a good novel by staring at a computer screen. I’ve done it, but it just doesn’t compare to the real thing. There is something much more intimate and provoking about holding a book in my hands; feeling its cover, running my fingers across the pages, crisp and sharp; the smell of a fresh book that has never been opened, and the potency of the ink when it jumps off the pages; that new smell from brand new books, like cradling a new born in the crook of your arms. So precious and delicate that you almost don’t want to open it. Don’t want to destroy the perfect foundations by bending it’s shiny flaps or causing a crease. In your lap is the weight of your favorite coffee cup, the modest light of the lamp, and a world waiting for you to enter it. To touch and feel the tangibility of book bindings is to go on a creative high of possibilities. All the way down to when you close a book after coming home from the journey and daydream about the revelations and alternate endings. You can end an eBook but you can’t close it. That big red x in the corner won’t do it justice either. I can’t breathe in deep and close my eyes while holding an eBook in my hands. I can’t stare at the front cover as if there’s more to come or fold the pages over. Highlighting isn’t as fun either. Perhaps the best thing about hard-copies is that these books are much more prone to immortality; they will go back for years and years to come. I smile sometimes at the books of my youth that are still found hanging around, too naïve to be read again with the same zeal but too precious to do away with. The satisfied glory of having been read, watch your favorite collection stand and shine beautifully against the backdrop of the book shelf, a time machine right there in your bedroom.
She has heard for too long now
that her pores bleed the color of slave ships
that chains have been seen in her smile
that her skin shines like a beacon of shame
sprinkled amidst Mississippi cotton fields
her beauty sticks out
like a diamond in the ruff they notice her
she is only pretty for a dark skin girl
Who does she think she is?
being darker than a brown paper bag?
The truth is that she is the color of the Goddesses
a dark chocolate kiss
neatly wrapped in silk
want to touch her face
just to see if it’s real
just to see if it’ll melt underneath my fingertips
I’ll keep my hands to myself
don’t want to be the stone
responsible for the wrinkles in her skin
this delicate rose petal of a woman
reborn in the spring
don’t want my touch
to taint her gorgeous
where not even the bite of Winter
dares to diminish
Step #1: The Early Morning Wake-Up Call
An hour or two after the sun has risen and the birds congregate on my windowsill with their songs. When the sky is still a combination of yellows and orange and reddish highlights all tap dancing on the clouds. I write best during the time of day when the wind is still waking up and blowing not too harshly; just enough to sway the leaves. Not even the branches, just the leaves will do. When the air smells like you just bought it from the store this morning. That first early morning wake-up, after morning prayer and just when the creative juices are new and fresh. This is my ideal time of day to write.
Step #2: Coffee
Freshly brewed dark roasted Folders that grabs my throat by its hinges and engulfs my body before racing to the tips of my fingers; I arise to the occasion of the coffee cherry. After I started teaching and tutoring a few years back, when my daily routine consisted of chasing three and four year olds around the room and getting on my hands and knees to see which monopoly piece I would be, I developed a love (OK an addiction, whatever) for caffeine. And it, the coffee bean, must accompany me in the next phase of our adventure.
Step #3: Solitude
Give me neither food nor noise. Lock me away from society, I no longer live here. Put me instead inside a quiet place. Though I would much rather be somewhere in the country, swallowed up by trees and grassland, my home office will have to suffice. Where I shackle myself to solitude and feed from its delicacies. My fingers march to the beat of songs that can only be heard inside my head. I am not here in this office. I am instead in another place. That place where only writers go. I’m an introvert by nature but writing is when I am the most reserved. Let the rushing sound of my heart and the beating of keys be the only noise in the world worth paying attention to in this moment. Please, I beg of you, dare not shatter my concentration with the world and its worries, for I am not of the world.
On day 15 of Blogging U, we will be asked to refer to our list of ideas, as provided by fellow bloggers, to complete that days assignment. For this reason, I am asking you to submit writing topic ideas to my contact page. Is there something you would like me to write about? Creative writing ideas? Topics? Poetry? Short stories? Let me know. Again, I’ll have to refer back to this list on day 15! I’m really looking forward to your ideas. Thanks a lot.