When We Were Innocent

It took me a long time to realize Rick James Mary Jane song was about weed. For a long time, I thought Mary Jane was an actual woman he was in love with. Every time I heard the song I would smile, my heart melting at the sound of love. Even after watching the movie Friday, where there were obvious clues (such as the song being played as Smokey inhaled three joints at a time that day Craig got high for the first time), I still didn’t get it. After learning what the song was really about, I still liked it but it didn’t have the same happy feeling to it. I didn’t smoke weed so I couldn’t relate. I liked it better when I thought the song was about love.

I miss when we were innocent. Back before we really knew how messed up the world was. Back when the world was ours. Back when my Uncle told me and my siblings we couldn’t watch Bevis and Butthead. Back when the lyrics were still crafty enough to hide the “bad stuff” from the kids. When you didn’t know what the meanings behind the songs were, back when you had to be mature to know what it meant. I miss when we were innocent. Like before you really got to know someone. Back when you were besties just because. Back before we knew each other well enough to be aware of the other’s faults. When you meet someone for the first time there’s an innocence, a respect and a kindness you give because your mother taught you to be kind. As we get to know one another though, it seems like we are no longer as kind, as compassionate, or as merciful.

We take knowledge of the other person‘s mistakes as an invitation to pull back on the amount of love we give. And we do it in the cruelest way. We pull back without communication, without questions, and without checking to see if our assumptions were correct, we just leave. Abandon one another after realizing the other person was human. We didn’t do that kind of stuff as kids. We fought, argued and then invited our friends (the one we just argued with) over for dinner. We didn’t think they were possessed or insane or no longer worthy of our friendship. They disagreed with us but that didn’t mean we were enemies. We knew they were flawed, but that just made us love them better.

As you blog, not everyone will stick around. As people get to know you better, they will soon decide whether you are someone they want to keep up with. And that‘s not a bad thing entirely. People have a right to decide who they want to have around them. That’s life. People come and people go. Blogging is no different. This decision will come, either from you or from them. Somewhere along the lines, you’ll learn you either are or are no longer compatible.

If you‘re new to blogging you better take advantage of it. Those days of people being kind and generous and supportive and of you being loved on won‘t last long. Four and five years into this thing and you will look up to the faces of a completely new group of people, wondering where everyone has gone. This new group will love you now. Appreciate them for it. These are the childlike stages of blogging. The beginning of things, the freshness, the newness. These are the days when we are innocent.

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: The Old Man in the Club by Curtis Bunn

Author: Curtis Bunn

Title: The Old Man in the Club

Publisher: Strebor Books (June 17, 2014)

Pages: 304

ISBN-10: 1593095724

ISBN-13: 978-1593095727

 

Curtis Bunn is an essence #1bestselling author and founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African American readers and authors. This year, the conference was in Atlanta and while I did not get to attend; I did have the chance to visit the InterContinental Hotel where the event was held. I did not get to meet Bunn (who was in the other room hosting Terry McMillan) but I did get to speak to some people there, learn more about the conference and next year‘s festivities, which lead me to Bunn‘s website. A title like “The Old Man in the Club” made me laugh and after reading several pages of the first chapter from Amazon‘s Look Inside feature, I decided this would be my first Curtis Bunn read. I was not disappointed .

I loved the message of this book more than the story although the story is good too. It is easy to judge Elliott but that ties into the author’s message.

Elliott Thomas is a sixty-one-year-old man who hangs out at the club. Not only does he hang out at the club but he flirts with and dates young women. Elliot is also divorced and sees a therapist. He meets Tamara, a twenty-five-year-old and they begin dating. Tamara is also a friend of Elliot‘s twenty-something-year-old children. I like Elliot but I disagree with his lifestyle. Elliot was convicted of something he didn’t do and I felt the reason for that conviction and him dating young women just looks bad. I didn’t think his past justified his desires to pursue younger women by any means. A thirty-five-year-old difference is just too much. I also really dislike the way his children treat him. Elliot’s ex-wife Lucy is also holding onto something. I long suspected what her secret was and I was upset that she would allow Elliot to endure abuse from his children because of something that wasn’t his fault.

But Elliot is not just an old man in the club. The author did well to provide us with multiple layers of his life. He is more complex. He has a past, trauma, and triggers. Elliot was convicted of something he didn’t do and endured other life-changing things in his life.

There’s also a craft chapter at the end of the book where the author explained his inspiration for writing the book and why as well as a list of discussion questions. This was helpful and rather than taking away from the book, I think it was needed and nicely done.

Despite my feelings about the characters actions, they were fully developed and representative of real people. Their decisions did not take away from the book but made it more realistic. Things are not as they appear. The message is: We instantly assess a person‘s values, motives, and character without ever having sat down to get to know them. It makes you think about our perceptions and how we judge others with no knowledge of who they are or where they’ve been. Everyone has a story and well-written as it is, this is Elliot’s.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

 

I am Soul Virtual Blog Tour – Day Six

Thanks so much Mary. I appreciate you.

When Angels Fly

BLOG TOURI am Soul Virtual Blog Tour – Day Six

Monday, September 10, 2018 @ 1:00p EST

 Bio.

Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

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HER SONG

Her fingers girdle themselves

around the microphone

like blessings wrapped in silk.

Prepared to…

View original post 172 more words

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Tehilayah Ysrayl

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Tehilayah Ysrayl. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tehilayah Yahqar Ysrayl. I am from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

For those who don’t know, tell us what your name means.

My name means a song of praise to Yah.

Wonderful. What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

Oh…I have never been asked this before. Hmm. I would have to say it would be white with splashes of earth tones, you know browns, tans, and greens. I would have an oversized reading chair with a tan blanket laid across. Next to the chair would be a table that displays the current book I am reading and an always ready wine glass. Across the room would be this glass desk with an executive chair and a new computer would be waiting for me and next to it a monogrammed notebook with my name in gold, (I love notebooks). My coffee cup to keep me energized. The sunlight would beam through the room because of the sky windows and land on my beautiful bookcases. There would be a beautiful rug in the middle of the floor, maybe white to cover the cognac colored hardwood floors. In the winter I would be able to light my fireplace so that I can stay cozy while I read and write. Yesss, and there would be a sign on the door that says “leave me alone I am writing/reading”. I would have a tranquil waterfall in the corner to give it that relaxed feel. Yess, lol… I kind of went there huh?

You did but we love it. That room sounds nice! What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food, I love it. Can’t get enough. I love nachos and guacamole.

Do you have a favorite color?

It changes, right now it’s purple and burgundy. Those colors have always been royal to me.

So Tehilayah, married? Children?

I am and my hubby is awesome. We have been together for almost 16 years and married for going on 6 or 7 years. Oh, wait, I better get that right. lol. Well, we have an anniversary coming up in October. We actually celebrate 2 anniversaries. The day we met and the day we got married. I think that is why I get it all messed up, lol. Truth is I knew he was my husband 2 weeks after we met. When he finds you, you just know, hee hee hee. I do have 4 children. three boys and one girl, she’s the baby.  They are the ages of 19, 17, 14 and 9.

Beautiful. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Movie is The Matrix hands down. That has always been my favorite. I have the whole trilogy but nothing is like the first one. My favorite TV show is Underground. I really hope they bring that back soon.

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No Idle Word, a collection of poetry and prose. Coming Fall, 2018

I loved Underground myself. Let’s talk about writing a bit. I hear you are working on a book. Tell us about this project and what inspired you to write it.

I am. No Idle Word is my first collection of poetry.

Congratulations!

Thank you! This project is my baby. It’s the start to a new beginning and venture. It was last year when I took to the stage and I realized that I had a voice. It was then that hubby said, “you should release a book.” I thought he was gassing me up! I was nervous and anxious but I am here, trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone. I decided to leave it all on the page.

I love “No Idle Word.” Why this title? What does it mean, “No Idle Word?”

I meditated on a title for a while. I had so many written down and scratched out. No Idle Word was my last thought. I chose this because words are living. They have the power to build up and break down. They are always moving. It’s just a matter of how you choose to use your voice.

You heard it here first people!

Now. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

Well, my son is my go-to guru on everything superpower. But if I had to choose without his consultation it would be love. Love conquers all things. If I could touch someone one to make them feel loved and give love we could change the world one touch at a time. Make it contagious. “Don’t touch her she got that love bug.”

Love it. In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is taking off the mask and walking in the you that people don’t see. It’s the bearing of all unapologetically. Truth has never been gentle. I would say it’s the one experience that is always authentic. There’s a phrase “truth, you can’t handle the truth,” something like that. It’s true. We can’t handle the truth. Truth handles us, it refines, tears down and builds. Truth has always been the start of construction and growth within yourself.

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is the way that I can release all the ideas and thoughts that I have flowing all day and night. If I didn’t have a pen and notebook on my person I would probably be frazzled and confused all day. It’s a way that I can get whatever is on my heart and mind out so that I don’t let whatever feelings I have had throughout the day overtake me. Writing is my place of freedom.

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Thank you Tehilayah for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


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Copyright©Tehilayah Ysrayl

Bio.

Tehilayah is a poet, wife, and mother and has presented her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.

Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.

Tehilayah is working on her first book, a collection of poetry she is calling, No Idle Word. No Idle Word is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.

Be Sure to Support Tehilayah online!

 

IG: @tehilayah/

Twitter: @tehilayah

Blog: https://nolineleftbehind.wordpress.com/


Are you an author looking for more exposure? Schedule an author interview. (Now with 15 NEW questions!) Click HERE.

For a list of the interviews conducted so far click HERE.

Poet Spotlight – 2-Day Special: Grand Prize Winner | Jahkazia Richardson Part 1

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! For the next two days, you’ll get to learn more about our grand prize winner.

Jahkazia reminded me that it’s never too late. How so? Because her poem came in exactly one minute to the deadline of this contest and won the entire competition. If she had thought, “maybe it’s too late,” then we would not get to meet and learn more about this beautiful soul. Let’s get into it.

Introducing Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is a slam poet hailed from Durham, NC. She studied Clinical Psychology at William Peace University and will be continuing her vocational path in Art and expressive therapy next fall. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is an insurance agent in ‘Bull City’ where she teaches clients how to protect their financial assets.

Welcome Jahkazia! So nice to meet you beautiful. We almost didn’t get to witness your beautiful writing and voice. Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

Jahkazia: In my darkest moments, I saw myself as a victim for a long time, and I always had a pretty negative outlook on life. When things got cleared up, I truly felt more powerful than I have ever felt before. My inspiration for my piece was a deep reflection of my overall growth and healing journey as well as wanting to honor my ancestors in their struggle to find their own power also.

Beautiful.

We’re going to stop here because tomorrow we will go a bit deeper into the mind of Ms. Richardson. For now, let’s get into this poem!

What if I Knew My Worth?

Copyright©Jahkazia Richardson

Thunder thighs was my name growing up,

Thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors

Too bad I didn’t have their strength

Head hung low and shallow

my back hunched and broken.

How did I get here?

Words that cut deep into my skin like razors,

But I didn’t let anyone see me bleed

Times that I would cut into my own self

with the perpetuation of my thoughts

Lies that I would tell the little girl inside myself

Cut – excise the light from their eyes

Until darkness became my reality

Pain my reality

Depression my reality

Shujaa – warrior

That’s me.

Ripped out, open, and beaten.

Boom, boom, boom, I’m an African drum

Don’t let them see you break

Don’t let them see you bleed

Wrap them like the bastard’s child away and out of sight

Until the blood began to drip through

Until the universe can no longer ignore my cry

Cry likenegro spirituals echoing through the Earth and waking up the light

Somehow there was refuge in my brokenness

Deep in the soul of my being,

I awakened

Like sunrise

Up I came from the waters and introduced my light

Shujaa – warrior

Shujaa – strength

That’s me powerful with my pen and I write:

“Thunder thighs was my name growing up,

I hear thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors

Passed down like tales they used to speak,

I now know that power

I am worthy. I am warrior.”

From Yecheilyah…

Whew. That’s some powerful stuff. I highlighted some of the lyrics that really spoke to me. What did I like about this poem and why did I think it was worthy of the win?

Self-love is a journey and a journey is called that because you never know what you will find. It’s not always about being where you want to be but the journey. It’s about the process and all of the challenges and emotions that come along with it and the willpower to endure those challenges and to overcome those emotions.

This piece embodied the personal touch that all of the poems had. It was set-apart in that it told the story of how one person went from self-hatred to self-love in a deeply honest way. This is not just someone who had conquered the demon of self-hatred, but someone who had fought it and could show that fight in words. Someone who had gone through the journey and had fought to reclaim that power. This is a fight we’ve all had and this poem showcased that process. You get to see someone who did not just suddenly arrive but who evolved and endured the way we all do when we are coming home to ourselves. At some point, we have all asked ourselves, “What if I knew My Worth?”

Very well done.


 

Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson

Tomorrow, we will be asking Ms. Richardson some more questions and learning more about her as a person with an extensive introduction interview. You don’t want to miss this. Stay glued.


Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:

Click Here for Kiyana Blount

Click Here for Nia Elise

Click Here for Nailah Shami

On Soft Hearts

Do not ask me not to care. I will care anyway. I will wonder why the flower doesn’t bloom. Why its petals are dry. Why is there a flower falling to pieces for lack of moisture? I will wonder about the soil and the colors in the sky. I will mourn with those who are sad, rub empathy on the wounds of those who are bruised. I will care about people who probably won’t think twice about me. I will take this heart of flesh and show them that I am hurt too and I too have been trampled upon. Here, see the holes and scars on my skin. But we don’t have to let our hearts grow cold or build walls that are too high for people to climb. When everyone’s a savage, do not be afraid to be soft. There’s got to be someone in this chaotic world who can show proof that there can still be love, after war.

Jane Friedman Interview: The #Business of Being a #Writer

Excellent advice on publishing from publishing powerhouse Jane Friedman. She talks about Traditional as well as Independent and Hybrid publishing. I especially enjoyed her advice on memoirs and audiobooks as well as her thoughts on paying for reviews.