Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.
If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page herefor past episodes.
Our poets are preparing for their interviews, so we have time to squeeze in an NWW. Today’s inspiring word comes from yours truly:
Chicago, Summer, 1997
EC is ten years old, and that dollar she got for having a good report card is burning a hole in her pocket. She really wanna get ice cream from the ice cream truck singing down the street. But first, she’ll have to get rid of these toys. You see, EC and her twin had a habit of bringing all their barbies outside so they could play with their friends down the street. As the sky grew darker and the street lights came on, EC thought she’d run across the street, buy the ice cream and be back before mama started yelling. It was the perfect plan.
“Hold my toys.”
“But mama said it’s time to come in the house,” her twin whined.
EC rolled her eyes. “Girl, just hold my stuff.”
But EC never made it to that ice cream truck. She was hit by a car just seconds after dashing across the street.
The good news is she lived, which is how she’s writing this right now. But her seemingly simple act of rebellion would have a lifetime impact.
Back to 2021
Last week, I got caught in the rain, and I mean, I got soaked.
I went home, made dinner, and all was well until later that night when my leg started to ache. It wasn’t a big deal to me because I am used to it. Plus, I expected to feel some pain in my thigh because of the rain.
When the car hit me, it broke the bone in my thigh. It was not repairable and in its place is a steel plate I’ll live with for the rest of my life. But what’s this got to do with the rain?
Metal in the body can irritate a nearby tendon or other soft tissues or cause minor to severe pain related to weather changes, especially when many years have gone by and the metal is infused with the body. This is because metal implants transfer heat and cold better than human tissue.
“In other words, while joint conditions may not physically worsen, the pain can seem more intense. Occasionally there is some aching around the scar, which can become worse in cold weather…this is more common with patients who have a metal implant.”
Dr. Tuvi Mendel of Quad City-based Orthopedic Specialist
People with metal implants might feel the cold more in the implant area during lower temperatures. Some people are also affected by the rain.
“Most often, weather-related pain occurs in injured joints or at the site of a previously broken bone. While scientists aren’t entirely sure exactly what causes pain when it rains, it is known to be related to barometric pressure. The barometric pressure drops when storms are rolling in, and somehow, the body detects this change, causing swelling of soft tissue or expansion of the joint fluid. These changes in the collection are what ultimately lead to pain.”
The most common way we know how struggle strengthens us is when exercising and how our muscles respond to growing challenges. But what’s less obvious is how this same principle applies to the mind. We pray for strength, but we don’t always realize that we are also asking for a struggle.
Stay with me.
Strength does not fall out of the sky. It is the result of overcoming something difficult. Anytime those struggles arrive in our lives, we can activate the willpower to overcome, which builds mental strength.
Every painful experience offers us a chance to develop emotional fortitude.
That summer, I couldn’t go outside unless someone carried me or I used my walker. You might be wondering about a wheelchair. I couldn’t use that because they used surgical staples that went from just about my knee until the end of my thigh.
Because of this, I did not wear a cast but a self-adhering wrap was wrapped around my entire right leg, from my thigh, where the staples were down to my feet. I was blessed not to have to endure the itchiness of the cast, and my skin could breathe when we changed the wrap, but I also could not bend my leg for weeks.
When I say we think it’s our wins that make us stronger, but it’s really our struggles, I mean that challenges and struggles are an opportunity to become wiser. We all need encouragement, and it feels good to be acknowledged for our accomplishments. Praise has its place, but it’s the struggle that grows us.
If everything is always easy, you won’t know how to function when things fall apart. As the saying goes, “the man who falls seven times and stands up eight is stronger than the person who has never fallen.”
Consider the standing in the grocery line longer than expected example. This is an opportunity to be patient. Who knows the next time you will need this skill? These abilities are developed the more they are used.
I always hated math as a kid, but I like that it challenged me mentally. The very fact that it was “hard” is why I needed to do more of it.
By the way, Firefox crashed after I wrote this. I had to wait like ten minutes for everything to start back up. The computer decided it would take its precious time, and I felt myself getting irritated. Then, it crashed again only the second time I was not as annoyed. Apparently, I need more patience.
I’ve been working on this collection of poetry since I released I am Soul three years ago. So much as happened in that time that most of this year feels like it happened years ago. It feels like Kobe Bryant died in 2019, but then I remember that tragedy happened earlier this year. I have to remind myself that Kobe’s death is how we opened the year!
It feels like I went to Spain for the first time last year, and then I realize that it was just this past February.
Sometimes, it feels like Friday, and then I remember it is only Tuesday. I find myself looking at the calendar more just to remind myself what day it is.
This is 2020.
The most significant change is the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, we focus on our individual struggles, trials, and tribulations, so it’s funny to think about the world around us being just as chaotic as our internal struggles. As if a global, deadly virus isn’t enough, the rest of the world is just as upside down.
Black men and women continue to be gunned down in the streets. Historical monuments are being demolished as people awaken to the truth of its origin. The traditional school experience for our babies is all but gone. Sports games do not have an audience.
Oh, and we are all walking around wearing masks and shaming people for not being “productive,” enough during a pandemic.
*Queue George Orwell’s 1984*
We are eight months into 2020, and I sense we haven’t seen anything yet.
But there is always hope.
There is no better time than to release this collection amid such a revolutionary era. Revolution only means change, and while most of the changes we’ve seen have been negative, there is a lot of good happening too. The good is harder to see because hope doesn’t make the news, but like the wind, it is there. I had my first school visit this year, where I spoke to 15 ELA classes about writing. I also had my first keynote invite and welcome this year by the Queenz Circle of ATL Bookclub before the pandemic took away the freedom of face-to-face events.
A lot has happened this year not just for me but also for you, so here’s what I’ve learned.
I’ve learned nothing we go through is without a purpose. No pain we suffer and no trial we experience happens without reason. It all ministers to our education and the development of ourselves into the people Yah ordained us to be. It helps to cultivate in us a spirit of patience, faith, humility, and self-control.
I hope these poems are a reminder that in our darkest moments, there is still hope. And I hope this collection will invigorate and renew your soul.
When your hands are shaking so badly,
your body is an Earthquake.
When your mind is a war-zone of worry.
When uncertainty is an uninvited guest
snaking its way inside your mind
and poisoning it with doubt.
When you are weighed down by
what is not yours to carry.
When depression feels like a friend
and sadness a sister
Remind yourself that you exist.
Don’t you know purpose entered your lungs armed and ready for battle?
The universe waits for you with unparalleled patience.
A vase for your tears
An embrace for your misunderstanding.
Remember how your bones were formed and stitched together
inside someone else’s body.
Remember that you are a miracle
a divine welcome
Your mother and father’s prophecy
a spiritual alliance of their passion
their history in one body.
You are history
soil and earth
a timeless treasure.
Purpose waits for you to find the courage
to see yourself
because you exist.
You take up space
you send energy out into the world
you vibrate a frequency that someone else feels
you speak a language that someone else understands
You are the manifestation of love
And the universe commands that you jump
even when your heart is in your throat
because you are here
Have you heard? I am Soul won the Kindle Book Award for Poetry in the 8th Annual Kindle Book Award Ceremony. Because I want you to get your hands on this book without breaking the bank, I have lowered the kindle book to 99cents for a limited time. Click here to get it now.
Note: This poem is not in the book. This poem is new.
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters.”
Welcome back to another episode of Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. As you may notice, I have decided to go back to the traditional WQW for now. You can imagine my excitement when Colleen stated this was OK. If you can’t imagine it, below is my happy dance:
OK, to the point.
My inspiration today comes from James Baldwin:
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin
I love Baldwin’s last line “Vomit the anguish Up”. At first I thought about struggle literally but then I thought about writing and combining the two. This got me thinking about the struggle of writing and struggles incorporated into writing. This lead me to Baldwin’s quote. It still has me pondering, but what I got out of it for now is how each artist, writer in this sense, have a responsibility to tell the truth and in so doing have the courage to speak whatever struggle that truth reveals. This struggle can be historical, personal, or emotional but at some point a writer has to dig deep. I think this is because good writing is about the struggle and how said struggle has been survived. It could be the villain’s survival, the heroes survival, or the writer him / herself. Why? Well, that’s real life. Struggle makes people strong. Where is the overcoming if not for the struggle?
“James Baldwin — the grandson of a slave — was born in Harlem in 1924. The oldest of nine children, he grew up in poverty, developing a troubled relationship with his strict, religious stepfather. As a child, he cast about for a way to escape his circumstances. As he recalls, “I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew I was smart. I didn’t know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use.” By the time he was fourteen, Baldwin was spending much of his time in libraries and had found his passion for writing.
During this early part of his life, he followed in his stepfather’s footsteps and became a preacher. Of those teen years, Baldwin recalled, “Those three years in the pulpit – I didn’t realize it then – that is what turned me into a writer, really, dealing with all that anguish and that despair and that beauty.” Many have noted the strong influence of the language of the church, the language of the Bible, on Baldwin’s style: its cadences and tone. Eager to move on, Baldwin knew that if he left the pulpit he must also leave home, so at eighteen he took a job working for the New Jersey railroad.
After working for a short while with the railroad, Baldwin moved to Greenwich Village, where he worked for a number of years as a freelance writer, working primarily on book reviews. He caught the attention of the well-known novelist, Richard Wright – and though Baldwin had not yet finished a novel, Wright helped him secure a grant with which he could support himself as a writer. In 1948, at age 24, Baldwin left for Paris, where he hoped to find enough distance from the American society he grew up in to write about it.
After writing a number of pieces for various magazines, Baldwin went to a small village in Switzerland to finish his first novel. Go Tell It on the Mountain, published in 1953, was an autobiographical work about growing up in Harlem. The passion and depth with which he described the struggles of black Americans were unlike anything that had been written. Though not instantly recognized as such, Go Tell It on the Mountain has long been considered an American classic.”
That’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed this weeks Writer’s Quote Wednesday Segment. Until next week, yall be great.
It also appears I have returned to a new challenge! Here are the new rules:
Each week we will include a theme for anyone who needs additional inspiration. You don’t have to follow our theme if you don’t want to. It is optional.
In fact, Ronovan and I will alternate each week with a themed prompt post written on Silver Threading. This will give you a different perspective weekly to keep your inspiration flowing. Make sure and join us. You never know what we will come up with!
So what do you do?
You select a quote that inspires you. Then, write a short piece of flash fiction or poetry to share with us all using the quote either in your story or as the title of your masterpiece. You can include photos, photo quotes, or anything else that helps to highlight your quote. – Colleen
My writer’s inspiration today comes from an unknown author. I have decided to include a poem with my quote:
and great hills
They tower above our heads
Like mothers to sons
The intimidating weight
To our youth
Like a father’s instruction
Heavy with discipline
Is the carved stone
The frightening rock
But it is true
We can move mountains
If we tried
If we faith-ed
One pebble at a time
One pen to a rhyme
One stuttering syllable
And leaking ink
We scatter stumbling blocks
Like children at play
There are no toys
No plastic dolls
Or wind up cars
And conquering mountains