Writers Wednesday – Chapter 6: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 6: Jason Who?


“Higher daddy, higher! Push me higher!”

The four-year-old swung her legs back and forth, feeling the wind on her face. Jason smiled. Amarie was a fun junkie like her daddy.

“I don’t think you ready for this though Marie baby. You ready for this?”

“I’m ready, I’m ready. Higher daddy!”

Jason stopped the swing and placed his hands on each side. He stepped back, pulling Amarie back, high into the air, his hands still holding on tightly to the swing. Amarie laughed and giggled. Jason let go, letting the swing fly through the air as Marie screamed. Jason laughed.

“Told you, you weren’t ready!”

As the swing came back to him, he stopped it, helping Amarie to climb down.

“Come on baby, let’s go feed daddy.”

“That was amazing!” shrieked Amarie, still feeling giddy.

Jason smiled. Kids were something else. One minute they are asking you a million questions and the next they little geniuses.

“Amazing huh? Spell it for daddy.”

Amarie twisted her lip and Jason couldn’t get over the cuteness. She was his little chocolate drop, her skin taking on her mother’s dark complexion instead of his lighter one. Her brown, course, hair was in ponytails with yellow barrettes adorning the braided ends. Jason and his baby mama didn’t always get along, but he admired how she always kept his daughter fresh and looking like a little lady. Not too many little girls still wore pigtails these days. While moms kept her cute, Jason kept her smart. He taught her beauty on the outside meant nothing without beauty on the inside. “And beauty,” he taught her, “come with brains. Don’t just be a cutie, be smart too.”

“A-M-A…” began Amarie.

Jason tried hard to listen, but his spirit was still disturbed from the events of the other day. He wouldn’t teach his daughter the importance of thinking if he wasn’t a thinking man. I know for a fact her ass was sitting right next to me. How the hell did she end up on the other side of the room, standing up? He couldn’t remember what happened between the time he was about to tongue the woman down to when she put him out. It was weird and had him feeling uneasy. It was hot as hell in there too though. Could that have been the reason? Did I blackout from the heat?

“N-G,” recited Amarie as they made it to the car. Jason helped her into the back seat and strapped her into the booster seat.

“Did I do it right daddy?”

“Yea, baby. Good job.”

He closed her door and felt a wave of heat on his neck. Frowning, Jason turned around before opening his car door and saw no one.

“J man you are tripping,” he said outloud to himself.

“Tripping. T-R-I..” began Amarie.

Jason laughed and took out his cell.

“I’m not gonna make it out that way any time soon bro,” boomed Jason’s deep, melodic voice. He laughed into the phone. Tony was always saying something crazy.

“Naw, nothing like that. Got the little one with me. Yea. Ya’ll go ahead though. Imma stop by Moms, I can leave her there and catch ya’ll later. The steakhouse? Bet. I ain’t eating though. Jason paused as his friend chided him on the other end.

“You know moms ain’t gonna let me stop by and not eat! If Imma choose a meal it’s gonna be moms fa sho.”

He hung up and dialed another number.

“Sup old man. You at the crib? Oh yea? What she cook? Bet. I’m on my way. I got Marie with me. Yea. Aiight. See you soon.”

Jason hung up and then strapped on his seat belt. Whatever it was he was feeling, he didn’t trust it. He always talked things over with his dad. He felt fortunate to still have him in his life. Not many black men he knew could say they grew up with both parents in the home. Jason’s parents had been married for twenty-five years. That meant something to him. It also made him ashamed that he couldn’t hold onto a relationship himself. As Jason pulled out of his parking space and began to drive down the street, he prayed his mother’s cooking could help to shake the cold chill that trickled down his spine and the knot that lingered in the pit of his stomach.

***

“Internet stalking your boyfriend? Sweetie, if you think he’s cheating, he’s cheating.”

Amy laughed as she walked past Tina’s cubicle where a photo of Jason was pulled up on her computer screen. Quickly, Tina opened another tab.

“It’s not like that.”

She shook her head and crossed out the word Email on her notepad. The man was invisible online, no email and no record. He had been working for the U.S. Postal Service for three years. Before that, he attended a community college but then dropped out. Anything before that is a mystery.

Tina tapped her pencil on the desk, still unsure if she should intervene and because she had taken her prescription, there was no sign of Az to help. If she was going to help, she only had a few hours to do it and she had no idea where this Jason dude was.

“Hey Fred?”

“Yep?”

“Look up this name for me.”

Fred took the post-it from Tina and frowned. “Jason King?”

Amy laughed, shaking her head.

“Who’s he?”

“With a name like Jason King, shid,” laughed Amy.

Freddy laughed too. Tina shook her head.

“Ya’ll play too much. I don’t even know the guy. I think he may be connected to the Byron case.”

“In what way?” asked Freddy.

“I don’t know but I think he’s involved,” she lied. Trying to stop a blue-eyed fallen angel disguised as a beautiful black woman from killing him, wouldn’t exactly make her look sane.

In the new browser she typed in her company password, and pulled up Byron’s file. She looked up to find Amy staring at her. The woman cut her eyes, frowned, and looked away.


Move on to Chapter 7!

Missed the first five chapters? Here ya go!

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 5: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 5: The Mission


The woman moved her hips from side to side on her way to the kitchen and Jason cleared his throat, watching as her booty swayed underneath the red silk skirt. There was something about dark skin against red. Baby girl was all body. He shook his head, trying to focus as the sweat began to trickle down the side of his face. He loosened the collar on his shirt. Damn it’s hot in here.

“Ey mama you got something cold to drink in here? It’s hot ass hell.”

Jason wiped his brow and dried his sweaty hands off on his Post Office jeans. Something told him not to be greedy and try to do one more block but when he saw those beautiful blue eyes, he couldn’t resist. The woman returned with a large glass pitcher of tea and a glass. Jason wondered how she could hold both with one hand.

Damn she strong.

The woman smiled, handing him the glass and holding the pitcher with both hands as she poured the sweet liquid. Her breasts dangled in front of her guest.

“I’m so sorry. It’s been quite warm lately,” she said licking her lips and smiling.

Jason watched the show. He wasn’t much of a breast man. They weren’t as much fun as booty and thighs. “Tittes are for babies,” he told his friends. But he damn sure wasn’t complaining. He watched them jiggle when she sat down and gulped his drink.

“So, tell me a little about yourself? How long you been in this house? I don’t remember seeing you around here and I been working this route for a minute,” Jason emptied his glass. It really must have been hot because he only drank like that when he was thirsty.

“Oh, I’m new here.”

The blue-eyed woman moved closer, staring into his eyes. Her hips practically touching his. She watched the red spots on the internal screen of her eyes as Jason’s temperature rose. He loosened his collar again and cleared his throat, then leaned in closer to the woman, his lips so close to hers he could feel her cool breath on his face.

The woman smiled and continued to stare.

“Stop.”

Startled, the woman turned in the direction of the voice and back to Jason, whose mouth hung open, his body stiff. She turned back to the man who spoke, her eyes flames of fire, her teeth gritted.

“You froze him?”

“He’ll snap out of it in a second. Won’t remember a thing. I need to talk to you,” said the being.

The woman sighed. She hated when they froze time. She folded her arms.

“What are you doing here? This isn’t exactly your jurisdiction.”

“Pas, you don’t need to do this. Let him go. He’s a good man. Haven’t you had enough already?”

Pas stood and walked toward the tall, blue-eyed man, stopping in front of him.

“Good and man is an oxymoron. I know how badly you want to be one of them. Are you a good man Azbuga?”

“Stop playing games. I have orders from the master. You can’t touch him.”

Pas circled the archangel.

“See Az, that’s the difference between you and me. You are a sheep, blindly following your master.” She laughed, walking back to the sofa and waved her hand in the face of the stiff Jason before her.

“I mean, they are so weak. I tell you what. You can have him if I can have her.”

“That’s not how this works. You know that.”

“Oh.” Pas bit her lip in a fake pout, “that sucks.”

“I’m not playing games with you Paschar. Stop digging or I disintegrate you.”

“Ouch. Pulling out the big guns huh? I can do stuff too you know.”

“This isn’t a competition. There are people’s lives at stake here.”

“Exactly. People. Ungrateful, weak-minded human beings who care about nothing but themselves, their fancy cars and worthless money. They can’t even breathe on their own let alone “control their own destiny.” Bunch of weak-minded fools are what they are.” Paschar folded her arms across her chest. It pissed her off that despite being more powerful than humans her legion still didn’t have a chance at redemption.

“You stop digging or I turn you in and you know what that means.”

“I don’t have to listen to you.”

“There’s a bottomless pit with your name on it. Try me.”

Pas rolled her eyes and bit her lip, Az vanished.

Jason snapped out of his trance and shook his head. The woman was standing. Was it over already? I know I ain’t that desperate I can’t remember hitting it, he thought.

The woman walked over to the door and opened it.

“You can leave now.”

“What? Yo ma I thought…”

“Get your ass up. Get out before I call the cops,” said Pas. She had to muffle laughter on that one. Cops. What a joke.

 

***

Tina tightened the silk night cap on her head and sighed. It had been a long day at the office trying to solve the Byron case and she still didn’t know how to reveal to Freddy that she knew the guy. I’m just so caught up in this foolishness, she thought. The children were with her mother for the weekend and Janiyah was at a friend’s house. She was thankful for that at least. She needed the break. Tina turned over on her side and pulled the tiny chain on the lamp that would turn off the light, but it wouldn’t turn off. She pulled again. Still, nothing.

“Come on now,” she said removing the covers and standing. Pulling again, the light wouldn’t turn off.

“Gotta be these cheap ass bulbs. Told mama not to get this brand.”

“It’s me. Look, we need to talk.”

Tina jumped, holding her hand to her chest, breathing heavy.

“Don’t do that!”

The man held up a hand.

“Sorry.”

Tina first started seeing Az when Ronnie died, before Freddy recommended, she see Erica. It had happened right there at the office. She was snitched on by Amy, her rival.

“Are you all blue?” Tina looked him up and down. His full name was Azbuga and he was a Watcher Archangel sent to help her.

The angel frowned, “what?”

“Is your whole-body blue or is it just your eyes?”

“Just my eyes. I don’t really look like a human. This is the image I show you so you’re not…afraid. Listen, I didn’t come here to talk about me. It’s gonna happen again.” Az handed Tina a folder. She took it and opened it.

“Her name’s Paschar, angel of vision. She’s a nasty entity who sucks the souls of men right out of them using nothing but her eyes.”

Tina stared back at the photo and paperwork.

“She’s beautiful.”

“Exactly the problem. She kills more men than anyone of her kind. There’s a legion of them. She’s high up there.”

Tina looked over the paperwork, stopping at a photo of a well-dressed African American man with light skin, freckles, and an Afro. He was handsome and Tina caught herself staring.

“His name is Jason. I stopped her before she did anything but Paschar can’t be trusted. She’s gonna cross me and…”

He nodded toward the photo in Tina’s hands.

“Kill him.”

“Why?”

Tina stared at Az, no longer frightened by his appearance. He was taller than a normal man but could shorten his height around people like he did that night at the club. He was at least 9ft and Tina found herself looking up to talk to him. He’s been coming around since Ronnie’s death. Only now was he communicating with her and showing his real height. She wanted to know why.

“Why me, why black men, why now?”

“Energy.”

Tina rolled her eyes, “cut the crap Az. Tell me what’s going on.”

“I told you. Energy. Paschar and her crew are fallen angels, no longer connected with the master…”

“God? When you say Master, you mean God?” asked Tina sarcastically.

“Listen, they need the energy and worship from humans to live. There’s a connection to you because Ronnie’s involvement with one of their kind…”

Tina shivered. Big Sam.

“…opened a door,” continued Az. “The more men Paschar and her girls take out, the longer they live. Sexual energy is one of the most powerful forms of energy there is. Your sexual energy is a creative, life-force energy. Through it, you give birth to new life and angels have always been jealous of that.”

“Angels jealous of humans? Get outta here,” waved Tina.

“Ever since Mount Herman.” Az paused reflectively. “Anyway, Pas and her crew craves the sexual energy of black men, a strong force that gives them longevity. Men are weakened by the sight of them, especially Pas, and their weakness is a doorway she can use to suck the energy from their eyes.”

“Okay, but why black men? All of her victims so far have been black. Is it because she’s black?”

“Paschar is not African American. She appears that way same as I appear to you a Hispanic man. I know your father was Hispanic so you wouldn’t fear me in this form. We angels have no race, no color, no human form. We are energy.”

“Why black men though?” Tina asked again, annoyed that he had not answered her question.

“Black men have one of the most powerful energy forces there is. Black women follow them. Listen, if Pas visits a man herself, he must be very special. She saves the best for her. Jason is visiting his daughter at precisely two o’clock tomorrow. Afterward, he will stop at a friend’s house for a short while before heading home. At this friend’s house he will meet a woman. A beautiful woman. You and your people, get to him before she does.”

Az vanished.

“Wait!”

Tina punched the bed, then buried her face in the pillow, her head pounding like crazy. She wanted to scream. Why was this happening to her? Why had Ronnie’s death invited angels and demons into her life? She sat up, head still pounding. Her eyes looked ahead to the bathroom. Only now did she realized Az large figure had blocked it completely from view. Erica’s pills were calling out to her and so was the aspirin. She wouldn’t be able to see Az if she took the pills and wouldn’t know what to do next. She did need those aspirins though. Tina sighed.

“Choices, choices.”

She looked down on the bed at the envelope Az gave her with Jason’s information in it. He was so beautiful, but she couldn’t involve herself in this. She decided to take Erica’s prescription over the aspirin. This was all too much.

She touched Jason’s picture, caressed his face, and sighed.

“Sorry baby. But I’m not your savior.”


Coming Up: Chapter 6: Jason Who?


Catch up:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

LitMag 2020

Good Evening Poets!

I hope you are all doing well amidst this Coronavirus mess and that you are safe. I had an emergency to take care of this morning that did not allow me to access my computer and my phone died, but for those of you wondering, yes! LitMag 2020 still releases today!

LitMag is the Literary Magazine for poets I established to feature, promote, and highlight the winners and contributors of “Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contests.” It grew out of a desire to give the poets another platform to use to showcase their work outside of this blog and social media. The mag is still in its early stages of development but who knows what it can become.

LitMag 2020 is Volume 2, it is out in digital and print and available on the site (link below). This year we are featuring winners and contributors from our 2019 contest. Inside: Poems from Chanelle Barnes (she’s on the cover!) BuddahDesmond, Dondi Springer, Kiyana Blount, Jahkazia Richardson, Zerahyah Ysrayl, Karen Abah SoFloetic Jones, Ivy Mae Tolentino, and Michelle Stevens. Special thanks to Lisa W. Tetting and Tehilayah Ysrayl for their assistance with last year’s contest.

>>Get It Here<<

>>Get It Here<<

Quality over Quantity: Why I Pulled My Trilogy from Amazon

These books may still show up but they will be completely removed (out of print) soon. They will be relaunched with new edits and covers.

The Stella Trilogy put me on in more ways than one. It was the first time I got reviews on amazon for my books (I knew nothing about amazon when I started) and the Stella Trilogy book signing made me enough money to pay my bills and then some. It was the first time I saw real money from my writing and it was all from selling paperbacks (I always sell more paperbacks than ebooks. Unconventional for some, but this is how it has been for me). I also won my first award, an appreciation award given to me by my readers.

The Stella Trilogy changed lives.
The Stella Trilogy changed minds.
The Stella Trilogy is how I widened my readership.
The Stella Trilogy helped me to level up and step outside of the box.

The Stella Trilogy was groundbreaking for me and it is precisely for this reason that I am pulling her from Amazon and my website… for further editing.

The books are undergoing makeovers, a fresh edit, and new covers. For those of you who’ve read it, you know the books are short and as my #1 priority outside of the coming poetry book and Lit Mag Magazine; I hope to have them back up by the end of this year. I am not slacking on this. Stella made a big impact, and she needs to be back up soon.

The year is 1864 in Louisiana and the story slips back in time introducing Grandma Stella’s Great grandmother, Stella Mae, age nineteen years. Stella Mae begins her story with a memory of how as a child she was forced to use the facilities designated for “niggras only.” Young Stella Mae tries to reason out why her Mama can’t walk into the front door of the general store and why they can’t use the restroom everyone else uses. Even at a young age, Stella Mae could sense the inequality in her existence. – Colleen Chesebro

I have come a long way since 2015 when the first Stella book released. As a historical series it’s important to me that the book is as superior as I can afford to make it. Now that I have my foot into the schools, I hope to one day have the series taught as part of the curriculum. I have so much hope for these books and so many visions for what they can become.

The sky is not the limit. There are no limits.

I was different. It might give you a slow start but being different is gonna carry you a long way.” – Master P

I am not a fan of most rap music and never was. I like a few old school tracks from Talib Kweli and Common, but I’ve never really been into rap marketed to my age group (although I danced to it in my teens at parties lol). I was always an R&B type of person. I still remember the days my sisters and cousins used to record music videos on VHS and fall asleep watching them. We also recorded songs from the radio on cassette tapes so we can listen to it repeatedly. Despite not being a fan of the music, I admire Percy Miller aka Master P more than any other rapper. I admire him because I think people underestimate him which is precisely why I think he does so well in his business endeavors. I admire him for his commitment to being Independent and using his faith as a catalyst to propel him forward.

Indie Authors, Don’t Be Afraid to Revise Your Backlist

With great authority comes greater responsibility. As we grow and mature in our understanding of this publishing thing, more will be required of us. I know that a poorly edited book could damage my reputation not only as a writer with influence for excellence but also as a teacher and as a lecturer.

I published the first book I ever sold in 2010 and I knew nothing. The book was not edited and had never been available on Amazon. This taught me two lessons:

  • Begin where you are. Take the first step “even if you can’t see the whole staircase” (MLK).

 

  • After you have taken the first step and put yourself out there, make changes as you see them. If your first book was poorly edited, take it down and get it edited. You didn’t know better at first and that’s okay. But then, once you know better, do better. Do the best you can, until you know better, to quote Maya Angelou. “Then when you know better, do better.”

Do not think for a second that we are not responsible for the knowledge we have. Do not think we are not responsible for changing our behavior as we learn and grow. The quality of the books we put out shows readers what we think of ourselves and also what we think of them. Quality must always supersede quantity. I temporarily removed these books because the quality of the work I put out is more important to me than feeding my own ego of having “published x amount of books.”

It was exciting at first to publish book after book. Like anything we do for the first time it was fresh. As I have grown and as I grow, I value more where these books are going and how they are influencing the world much more than how many of them there are.

Now, for my Stella fans:

I am not changing the core of the story. I am editing the books for better readability and understanding. I am also changing the covers so all the books in the series look the same.

About.

Stella is a work of Historical Fiction and is distinctive in its focus on one woman’s road to self-discovery, against the backdrop of the African American fight for justice, racial equality, and freedom.

The 3-Part series focuses on the history of one family in their struggle for racial identity. Discover in this Trilogy how three individuals living in separate time periods strive to overcome the same struggle, carefully knit together by one blood.

  • Between Slavery and Freedom (1)

We deal with enslavement and freedom both physically and psychologically.

  • Beyond the Colored Line (2)

We deal with passing, self-love, and racial identity. If you were a Black woman living in the Jim Crow era and light enough to pass for white, would you? 

  • The Road to Freedom (3)

We deal with the Civil Rights Movement, Freedom Rides, and the impact our choices make on the next generation.

Coming (Back) Soon

A Witness to the Experience

My Soul is a Witness: Poetry \ Coming Fall 2020

 

My Soul is a Witness is a title inspired by the Negro Spiritual song, “Witness,” but I did not choose such a title because I think of myself and my people as “Negroes.” I chose such a title because of the powerful messages and influence these songs had on our people as they transitioned from enslavement to freedom. Powerful messages I hope to also convey through my poetry.

There is a great spiritual awakening happening among Black people today as we strive to unlearn the lies they taught us for over 400 years. Whether that is starting and running our own businesses, embracing our natural hair or re-educating our young people on the parts of our history left out of the history books.

And to what am I a witness?

I am a witness to the trials and struggles my people have endured and I am a witness to our power to overcome those struggles. I am a witness also to my own sufferings which I am sure have been experienced by others. In this way, I am a witness to the fight that we all have. And why the fight? It is easy to present an image of healing and wholeness, but I believe it is much more fruitful if people knew of the struggles that got us where we are today.

From a historical perspective, I have not experienced the Middle Passage or enslavement or Jim Crow, but as a descendent of people who did, I am connected to those experiences just as if I had been there with them. In the Black community, we do not say, “when they fought for freedom,” we say, “when we fought for freedom.” The same can be true of the struggles of our own personal lives. If someone says they have been homeless before, I can relate because I have been homeless before too. I am a witness to what that’s like. If someone says they have a family member who is an addict, I can relate. I also have family members who are addicts. The anguish that causes in a family and what it does to that person and their loved ones are not lost to me. I can relate to that. I am a witness to that experience.

I believe epigenetic trauma is real. Epigenetics is the idea that trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes, which then is passed down to subsequent generations. (C. Benedict, New York Times) This means that a child or grandchild can experience side-effects from the traumatic experience of his/her elders. Since the concept of epigenetics, more and more studies hint to the inheritability of trauma where our own day-to-day health (and perhaps our children too) may have something to do with our inheritance of our parents and grandparents suffering.

One personal example is my own mother’s struggle with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). Her grandson, my nephew, suffers from asthma badly, though both his parents do not have asthma. Could he have inherited my mother’s affliction to a degree?

Thus, I do not find it far-fetched that Blacks/African Americans could still struggle from the mental and spiritual grief that plagued our forefathers long ago. We are witnesses to this pain on a deeply personal level which makes the Negro Spiritual deeply personal to us. While our ancestors were escaping physical enslavement, I believe we are escaping mental enslavement today.

As it applies to all people from the perspective of suffering and struggle, we all have a fight we are engaged in and when we overcome this fight, we become witnesses to that experience and can help others to overcome those same tribulations.

If trauma can be passed down, then so can healing. My soul is a witness.


Have you read I am Soul yet? Grab it here. My Soul is a Witness is coming this fall.

3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight Interview: Grand Prize Winner Chanelle Barnes


About.

Chanelle’s passion for writing poetry stemmed from an early obsession with song lyrics, reading and discovering the benefits of journaling. Inspired by poet/songwriters such as Jim Morrison, Jewel and Ani DiFranco, she began to find her voice, which has evolved immensely throughout her life experiences.

Over the years, she has shared her work via several blog names and has experimented with the art of spoken word. At times, she’s veered away from writing a bit to work on other creative endeavors but poetry has always been a staple and a place of healing.

More recently, she has moved her focus and research towards storytelling and activism through elements of performance and slam poetry. With this new venture, she hopes that others can relate to her stories and be inspired to start writing and sharing their own.

Your piece “Straight Lines,” won this year’s contest and your second submission “My Body Isn’t a Temple,” is an honorable mention. Please, what inspired these poems?

Straight Lines – This piece was a work in process for quite some time. As I struggled through some self esteem issues I began to delve into a different style of writing and healing. This was one of the first poems that surfaced. Soon after, it was performed at a poetry reading and has since been one of my favorites and most meaningful to date. As with all of my writings, I hope that others can relate and find the courage to overcome their insecurities as I did. (even though it is still a work in process)

We are all a work in process chile. I know I am lol. Tell us about “My Body Isn’t a Temple.” I know the title got some people like what? Ya’ll gotta read the poem though! It’s not what you think.

This piece was inspired by the Me-Too movement. So many people stood up to share their stories and I was finally able to voice mine. It was important for me to aid in bringing forth awareness towards such an important issue. I believe survivors and I am proud of them. 

Chanelle!! Welcome!

As the grand-prize winner you get a full interview so go ahead and get comfortable. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Water…wine?

If it’s that kind of party, some wine sounds perfect!

Yass! Here you go!

Okay. Let’s start from the top. What is your name and where are you from?

Chanelle Barnes  -Fort Wayne, Indiana 

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Somewhere cozy with a fireplace, plants, sunshine (but no too much), lots of pillows, a record player and inspirational artwork. There would be large dormer window with a seat that overlooks an abundant forest. 

Nice! That sounds really comfortable. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I have a habit of being self-conscious and at times, too modest.  

What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I would be a good travel blogger! Or… perhaps a wedding planner. 

I can actually picture you doing both those things. Any siblings Chanelle?

I have two younger siblings, a brother and a sister. They are amazing. 

Awwue. Tell me, what skills would you like to master?

Acro Yoga & Ballroom Dancing! I would also love to hone in on public speaking. No matter how many readings I do, I’m still terrified! 

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, but I have also been wanting to go to a Wellness Retreat somewhere exotic! I also want to take a train ride across the states sometime.

I feel you on the public speaking! Chanelle, what is love?

Love is being your true self. Love is comfort. Love is not giving up but also, love is blind.

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

My finished house would include a balcony, porch swings, fireplace, a scenic view (preferably with water), a winding staircase, a greenhouse, a large art room, a guest suite for my friends to visit whenever they’d like, a claw foot bathtub, secret passages, lots of plants, pets, a room with a glass ceiling and a telescope to view the stars and an abundance of color.

Copyright© 2019. Chanelle Barnes.

Let’s talk about writing a bit. Why is writing important to you?

To heal, inspire and release.

Having dealt with trauma at an early age (and being very shy/ introverted) I found writing to be the only way that I could sort out my thoughts and feelings in a way that made sense. Through journaling, poetry and music I felt I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t until much later, did I decide to share my writings publicly. It was at this point, that I realized I could not only express myself in this art form, but also inspire others to write and heal as I did.

Who’s your favorite writer?

Right now, I am really feeling the spoken word artist Kyle Tran Myhre (Guante).  He has been a huge inspiration as I move more towards spoken word and event planning. I also have been relating to and enjoying work by Rudy Francisco and Ruby Dhal.

Love Rudy. Just finished his Helium Audiobook. Good stuff.

You said you are moving toward Spoken Word. How would you describe the difference between spoken word poetry and written poetry? How are they similar and how do they differ?

To me, I feel that a spoken word piece is better portrayed when performing and it is written as such. I also feel they tend to be a little more raw. There is more that can be expressed when using tone and body language. With written poetry, it is up to the reader’s imagination to determine the tone and flow which is also satisfying. My spoken word pieces are typically stories and my written poetry is more based on feeling and emotion. I hope that makes sense!

It does! What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult is being vulnerable.

The most exciting is painting a picture with words and words alone.

It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there to the world, but it’s also one of the most exciting!  It’s kind of like inviting others into your soul and like any art form, putting yourself out there for criticism or judgement. It’s a risk worth taking though. 
 
I like to compare poetry with music. You know when you hear a song and it makes you feel a certain way? When you hear lyrics and you can relate or they speak to you even though you really don’t know what the songwriter was thinking when they wrote it? It’s like that. Creating an image or story for the reader or listener to take with them. It’s all about twisting words into a feeling. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s so true!

That’s one of my favorite quotes! Speaking of music, we love music on The PBS Blog. What kind of music do you like and what songs have you completely memorized?

I love all kinds of music! Mostly, I listen to music with lyrics that make me feel something or beats that make me want to dance or relax.There are many, but the first one that comes to mind is Carnival by Natalie Merchant.

Chanelle, what takes up too much of your time?

Working two jobs and taking care of my home. I wish I had more time to work on writing and other creative endeavors.

I feel you. What do you wish you knew more about?

The human mind.

What about the human mind do you find most interesting?

I’ve delved in quite a bit when I was studying for my psychology degree and I think that’s what jump-started the desire to learn more. What I’ve been most interested in is social psychology, dream analysis and mental health. The mind is like an ocean and there are so many parts left to discover!

What’s your favorite drink?

Hot Tea.

Okay Chanelle. You know I gotta mess with you. Tea is supposed to be hot lol so what’s your second favorite drink?

Haha, okay that’s fair. Let’s see… I would say my second favorite would have to be this glass of wine I’m having. 

Heey. Here, let me refill that for you.

Thank you.

While you sip, favorite color?

Purple  

If you could live in a movie, which would it be?

Across the Universe -I think I lived through the 70’s in a past life.

Copyright © 2019. Chanelle Barnes.

Chanelle, I am all about self-care and self-love. What do you love about yourself?

Resilience. My ability to rise up against anything that gets thrown my way. This life isn’t easy, but I have my strength and experiences to guide me.   

Love it. Speaking of self-love, what is love?

Love is being your true self. Love is comfort. Love is not giving up but also, love is blind.

Most people think of love only in terms of “romantic” relationships and when I ask what it is, most people give me a definition based solely on that so I love that you defined it outside of that box.

I do have to ask though, you said love is blind, what does that mean?

To me, it means accepting flaws and feeling a deeper connection within the soul. In other words, it is felt, not seen.

What is truth?

An unbiased sense of self, void of outside influences.

Thank you Chanelle!

Be Sure to Follow Chanelle Barnes below and look out for both her pieces, “Straight Lines” and “My Body Isn’t a Temple” in the 2nd Edition Lit Mag Literary Magazine, 2020.

Copyright©2019. Chanelle Barnes

Instagram: @redredclover 


Today wraps up our spotlight of this year’s poetry winners.

All poet spotlights can be found on this page.

Be sure to follow @literarykornerpublishing on Instagram and Facebook for notification of the release of the 2020 Edition Lit Mag Literary Magazine for Poets where you will get to read our winning poets pieces in full AND the poems of everyone who entered this year’s contest! Be sure to also subscribe to this blog.

Growth is Uncomfortable

I spent most of September reflecting on my writing and spending time with family. I’ve got tons of unfinished manuscripts in need of work and truth is they are hard to finish. I do not mean hard as in difficult to write. I mean hard as in finding the joy in publishing them.

I have felt bored with the monotony of publishing books. The support doesn’t feel the same. The blog doesn’t feel the same and now, even Self-Publishing doesn’t feel the same.

I am always writing, and I love publishing but I’m no Terry McMillan with millions of readers lined up to read my next book or any other author with multi-city tours lined up to guarantee that the next release will provide a change in routine. I do not mean this to sound pessimistic.

I am not giving up on publishing but those of you who have been Self-Publishing for a while may understand. No real change can get tiring. I have felt like King Solomon when he said, “the making of many books has no end and much study wearies the flesh.” (Ecc 12:12)

I feel myself transitioning to a level I do not as of yet fully understand.

Last week, the revelation came and while I know it’s not the only revelation on its way to me, it’s one I think important enough to share.

Growth is uncomfortable.

This is an exciting phase and every day I am reminded of its promise. Just recently a media specialist contacted me for something I cannot speak on at the moment. These kinds of moments provide me with the proof that I am not going crazy and that perhaps my name is being uttered in rooms I have not walked into yet.

Growth is like strength. It doesn’t feel you are being strengthened when you are in process. It doesn’t feel like growth when it’s happening. It feels uncomfortable and uncertain. I can feel myself changing in a way I never have before. I can almost reach out and touch it.

The next time you feel uneasy and uncomfortable, consider that perhaps, you are growing. Evolving. Blooming.

A little discomfort helps us to grow. The feeling is not fun, but it’s a big part of improving our personal development.

“Routines may make you feel at ease and in control, but what a constant routine really does is dull your sensitivities. Think about the times in your life when you’ve driven the same route repeatedly: after a certain number of trips, you start tuning out most of it. Have you ever had a trip to the office where you barely remember what happened after you got in the car? If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis. (Sujan Patel Entrepreneurs, Growth Marketer & Co-founder of Web Profits)

 

To keep from tuning out, I had to stop and think real hard about why I was feeling such discomfort and then I had to accept it, even as I watch people become distant and even as I strive to overcome my own limited thinking.

Brain research shows that putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a part of the brain that releases dopamine, the “happy,” chemical. That part of the brain is also said to only be activated when we experience new things.

I don’t want you to think this post is about quitting. This isn’t about quitting. This is about allowing ourselves to grow/level up.

It is tempting to want to revert into that state of normalcy, to remain as we are. It’s easy to go through life unchanged out of fear that this new version of us won’t be accepted or that someone may accuse us of no longer possessing the same moral integrity as before. And how can we not think this way? We’ve been well-trained to think newness and change are inherently bad.

This is not the truth. Not all change is bad and since all change teaches us something, perhaps even change we perceive as bad is not so.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Few people enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable and as we are now a few months away from 2020, time will not wait for us to catch on. My challenge for this month and the rest of this year is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so I can grow and benefit from that discomfort.

I hope the same for you.