Primarily, I want to thank all of the bloggers who have been supportive of this blog throughout the duration of this course. Those who are regular PBS supporters and all of the wonderful new blogging buddies I have made. I do not have much for you this morning. Briefly, the prompts exposed me to some very creative ways to develop content. The method I enjoyed most was the story in a single picture exercise. I’m a visual learner, meaning I need to see it to understand it. That said my “Aha” moment if you will was discovering that I can develop a story just by looking at a single photo. This is definitely something I will be incorporating more into this blog and into my writing in general. Overall, the best thing about this course was the social interaction. I have gotten to know so many bloggers and have discovered so many blogs! In these four weeks I have followed quite a lot of you and I look forward to being enlightened by what you have to offer.
Below is a list of this week’s assignments. Usually I do this on Sunday but since today is the final wrap-up I will list them here. Also note that I have also created a page for my Writing 101 Assignments so that you can always go back and review them and so that new visitors can find them.
It is here. Tomorrow’s the last day of Writing 101! I’m so excited to have endured this project. I look forward to participating in more courses. We were supposed to feature a guest today but I didn’t reach out to anyone. It was my intent to do so but realistically I didn’t have the time to draft the post and all that goes into it. I believe it’s important to recognize your limits. That’s how people get all stressed out; can’t recognize when you just can’t. So anyway today I will be presenting a round-up of some of my best Writing 101 Assignments this far in case you missed them. These are the posts you seemed to enjoy the most and I am equally excited to review them for you. One thing that I do a lot on this blog is re-spin posts. It is my way of combing through the material and making sure they each get equal rotation for the constant stream of new visitors. It also helps me to see which posts you liked best and encourages me to produce equal quality material. I encourage new viewers / readers / followers / supporters to check out the recap of my Writing 101 Journey below if you missed it:
I speak. “Thank you. It means deliverance and life.”
“Is that your real hair?” a man asks me on the street. I used to be confused before I went back to Chicago and discovered loc extensions were a thing.
I speak. “Yes. This is my real hair.”
“I like your dreads,” says someone else.
I speak. “Thank you, but I like to call them locs, not dreads.”
She looks confused. I speak.
“The term Dread Locs came from the war between British Colonists and the Jamaican Maroons, descendants of blacks who fought and escaped from slavery and established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica. The Britain’s “dreaded” to see them coming down from the mountain because of their physical appearance. They wore their beards thick and their hair kinky. This hairstyle then became known as dread locs.”
“Oh”, she says, “I’m sorry.”
I speak. “Its OK. I’m not offended. This is just why I like to call them locs.”
“Are you Jamaican?” she says.
I speak. “I have been there but no, I am not Jamaican.”
My husband and I are at Denny’s. Sometimes we are just in the mood for breakfast we don’t have to cook ourselves. Its not a special occasion, its just our thing. And yes, we got tired of IHOP; we decided to switch it up. I order a delicious looking skillet meal. It comes back with melted cheese, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, egg, the works! It looks delicious but there’s bacon in it too. I call the waiter over.
“This has bacon in it but I don’t eat pork.”
“We can fix that,” he says taking my plate back. “We have chicken sausage,” he says.
I love meat but somehow pork always finds its way in the meal. I play it safe with a vegetarian version of the plate.
“OK,” he says and takes my plate.
I really hate sending plates back but I’m not in a mood to be sick today. I have not eaten pork in seven years.
I’m visiting Chicago and I’m at my cousin’s house. We are about to eat. I say a prayer. I always pray before I eat. It is something my mom taught me when I was little and I have always done it. My cousin looks at me funny. He’s a Jehovah Witness.
“Ain’t no Allah up in here.”
My hands are outspread, palms facing the ceiling. My head is bowed. I finish my prayer.
I speak. “That’s good because I’m not a Muslim and I do not pray to Allah.”
He is silent. I eat.
For today’s assignment I wanted to expose the quality of speaking. I talk a lot about the importance of being silent but if we are silent when we are to speak it can be just as damaging. In some cases, silence is not enough. We must speak.
Life is never really this easy. It’s not like you can trace the outlines of a state with your finger and find out who you are. Not like you can exit I-20 and stand before a better you. “Maybe Baltimore will be good for me,” thought Jessica. In any event, she’d better hurry. She had exactly fifteen minutes to build a story around why she was walking out again. He had been surprised to see her show up to his office and a business call had been her saving grace. Jessica’s fingers scrolled anxiously through Google Maps for a logical destination as her heart sank and melted into her lap. She wasn’t a bad person and it wasn’t really Dr. Thomas fault anyway. Neither was it Jordan’s. Davids or Sam’s. Ever since the abuse she’d simply fallen in love with the road and hoped to find herself there. The men, well, they were an added bonus. Jessica felt slightly guilty. It was never about them. Just the road. The way the air smelled crossing another state line. The sensual way the wind combed through her hair. The smooth sound of half and quarter notes booming from the radio. The scenic route of a new city, and the security of a new identity. Suppressed voices vibrated through the door. “He can’t be back already! Come on Jess, think!” That was funny. Her name wasn’t really Jess. The thought made her smile and then depressed her, another change she’d have to make. She hadn’t really thought about a name. Never mind, she couldn’t think about that right now. In about five minutes Thomas was walking back through that door and she hadn’t the slightest idea why she was leaving him and where she was going. The divorce was final but Jessica could never really settle down. Instead she put her trust in new tires and gas tanks. Moving about from state to state like a professional business woman except she had no business. First she had been Angela in sunny California. She met Mike there. He was a Chiropractor (she has this thing for doctors). Then there was David from Texas. He introduced her to the country life. Or rather, he introduced Sidney to the country life. Jessica smiled slightly, and the blood raced anxiously to her fingertips at the mere thought of another change. Sweat began to roll down her face and her heart pumped outside of her chest. The combination of excitement and fear was exhilarating. Jessica’s knees bounced up and down as the door clicked and the knob turned. She put the phone down next to the magazines as the door sprung open and smiled. And hoped to find herself in New York.
For today’s exercise we had to use maps as our inspiration. I had no idea what I would do! The geographic part of my brain is not as sharp lol. But I hope you enjoyed my short short.
“Speech is basic. If you can’t control your words, you can’t control anything.” – Yecheilyah
We’ve all been here. The orgasmic rush of an undisciplined tongue trying to figure out if it should spill the beans this morning. The aching necessity to feel our very own thoughts in our own mouths, and the satisfaction of these words sweet against the palate. It starts with the mind. A single thought gives birth to language, and a single scent of emotion strives to find its way on top our lips. Pay no heed to logic or common sense says this voice. Just the flavor of desire hanging on the edges of our hearts and waiting to fall like children from our mouths. Speech. There is no refund policy. Words cannot be taken back or traded or made invisible. Cannot be sucked like air back on top our lips, into our mouths and inside our chest. Cannot send its signal to the brain again and ask him to take them back. Speech can only be controlled. So dissect your mind and determine which thoughts are worthy to make it into the air or onto the page. Choose them like you chose your wedding dress. Carefully. Choose them like you chose your school. Wisely. Treat your words as if they are die hard criminals and you must release some of them for early parole. Which will you choose? Cradle your thoughts in your arms like an infant for words are just as fragile and vulnerable. Once spoken, like eggs once broken, they can never be repaired. The tweet I posted some time ago meant that the person, who cannot control the words of his own mouth, won’t have the strength to control anything else in his life. For his words are his. They come from his mind and from his heart. And we, why we cannot dig into his chest and choose them for him.
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou
Music is powerful energy. I cannot remember growing up without holding on to some kind of tune. Lyrically swinging from one place to the next, music always moves me. When I’m music I am ocean. I am sea. I am one racing body of water. I am tucked between the words and feeling every psalm with my soul.
I believe music can be both positive and negative. It is capable of building up and also tearing down depending on what kind of energy is associated with it. Music can move us and it can make us move. When we listen to music, it’s processed in many different areas of the brain. People have been known to either learn from music or become corrupt from music. I believe it’s because of the power that music carries. It has the capacity to put us in a different state of mind. It can be relaxing or hype, virtuous or malicious.
I enjoy music that combines both lyric and tune. Good music to me is defined by its capacity to be audibly enjoyable but also mentally stimulating in a positive way. Warm my spirit or cultivate my mind but do not just make me dance. Bring me joy or bring me meditation but bring me. Carry me. That’s it. I enjoy music that carries me into a place that grows me.
I rarely listen to modern mainstream music but some of my favorite throwbacks are:
My People Hold On – Eddie Kendricks
When You Believe – Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston
Clean Hands – Alanis Morissette
Mariah Carey – Hero
The Point of it All – Anthony Hamilton
Everything – Mary J. Blige
Love Is – Jah Cure
The Truth – India Aire
Spend My Life with You – Eric Benet
Another Again – John Legend
For You – Kenny Latimore
Love – Musiq Soulchild
Like You’ll Never See Me Again – Alicia Keys
Get It Together – India Aire
My Love is Your Love – Whitney Houston
I Love Me Some Him – Toni Braxton
Share My World – Mary J Blige
I love 90s love songs. I don’t think you have ever really been in love until you can relate to a 90s love song. If you can’t listen to Mary J and understand heart break then you just don’t know. But I’m also what people call an old soul. (My big sister always calls me old) I’ve always thought beyond my age and when it comes to music I’m the same way. The kinds of music I really enjoy are what the old folk call “The Dusties”, the Marvin Gaye, the Luther Vandross, or The Temptations if you will. I love too the sound of the blues and jazz. If there is any one song that would define me right now it wouldn’t be anything on my list; it would probably come from something from way back in the day.