The Freedom to Write

I have a writer’s callous.

Very few people in the 21st century maintain a writer’s callous, the telltale indentation on your dominant hand where you normally rest a pen.  Composition after composition, frustrated hand and head viciously working together against time, all the answers having to come out of your tired phalanges. And yet, even as I type on Chappie with my tablet and my smartphone both in range, I still freewrite by hand. Zealot for abuse? Nah. Just a sign I’m still alive.

And free to write.

 

 

We do take advantage of that free-om, us Americans. We put all kinds of nonsense out in the 0s and 1s and it is protected (for the most part) by our Bill of Rights. But I know not every person with Internet access has the free-om to type their authentic opinions. We know from following international news that simply voicing an opinion can shut down a digital nation. Look at what all occurred with Twitter during the Arab Spring. Jobs and lives were lost simply by Tweeting. Tweeting!

I celebrate a personal free-om today: the ability to write what I feel, in the comfort of jim jams, folded legs on the couch. This was not my position last year. I was not allotted a journal. I was on a strict schedule. I was not allowed to leave a building for seven days. The absence of a pen and paper was much more disabling than the locked doors.

To those who write despite despair, I honor you. May you continue wielding words as weapons. 

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I Made My Book A Soundtrack

My buddy The Vibe Muse put me on to my new obsession, SoundCloud! What..? I can make playlists out of any theme I come up with in my head space? AWESOME!

But really, what a handy vision-free tool. I’m a writer of sounds, which is why I like writing action stories, because I get to use furious, loud words, and I use all kinds of music to influence plot tempo. As such, every novel I’ve composed in the last five years, within margins and notes, includes the makings of a soundtrack.

So here’s my first extraction! I give you, loves of my life, I Blew Up Juarez: The Playlist

An entire novel in under 58 minutes. Enjoy!

Turn It Up Tuesday! Salt N Pepa, The Hip Hop Muses

Let’s close out Women’s History Month with a musical group who impacted my most formative time-space moments: Cheryl ‘Salt’ James, Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, and Deidra ‘DJ Spinderella’ Roper! Collectively, you know them as Salt N Pepa.

I remember my first encounter with Salt N Pepa. “Push It,” came on the radio, and I listened to the lyrics as it played. I had no earthly connection to what they were talking about, but their vocal delivery, their ‘out there’-for-a-tween lyrics, and frankly, their female-ness sent me into an array of emotions: Amazing! Who are they? How cool; they’re rappers…and women! With boom box in tow, I ran into my brother’s room, breathlessly exclaiming, “They’re girls! And they’re rappers!!” in a tone suggesting, “See big brother? Girls are just as good at hip hop as boys!”

He responded, “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” which, translated, meant, “You are the best sister anyone could ever ask for. You are correct; that is a wonderful discovery and what a historical vault for American womankind.”


During our last art date, Marie and I talked about how “Let’s Talk About Sex,” the seminal Salt N Pepa pop tune that spurred much controversy, saved us from haphazardly jumping into an activity with serious life consequences. The song came out about the same time my classmates were getting physical, yet none of them could answer for me, “Why do you have to have sex?” Here they were, 13, 14, 15 years of age, engaging in mating ritual, without putting much thought to the significance of the act. Then this song came out, and I’m practically stuffing my headphones into my ears. What the hell is this ‘sex’ business about??

Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be

I set out to talk about it. My mother, when confronted, checked out a copy of “The Joy of Sex” from the library and hid it under my bed, with a simple suggestion to check under there for answers. My best girl friend gave me a copy of Nancy Friday’s “Forbidden Flowers” to peruse. The following summer, I took a job at the local daycare center for Army babies. Oh boy…that’s why everyone’s having sex?? Seems like non-fun.

Salt N Pepa prepped me with life-saving messages in lyrical form. As such, when the guys pushed up, I asked, “We’re friends. Why complicate that with sex?” I had no want for disease or oopsie babies, thanks to my hip hop muses.


I fear today’s young ladies in their formative years aren’t receiving the right empowerment messages. Iggy Azalea prides herself in…what? Guys noticing she has friends and a huge ass (which is how I summate her freshman album)? Nicki Minaj wants to encourage sexual desire, but only on the B side does she refer to its consequences (which is how I summate her sense of accountability)?

Perhaps I’m just a tired old bag who feels the genitals have nothing to do with self-esteem or positive living, but I am glad that, because I listened to my musical mentors and their messages of truth, I own my sexuality. I determined upon my start and still today, when, how, and with whom I engage with sexually. I am a goddess, I only get this one body, and only I am responsible for it!

Thank you, Salt N Pepa, for using Hip Hop to educate, influence, and lift up those within listening range.

Turn It Up Tuesday Double Feature: School ‘Em Sista!

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am featuring TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

#TurnItUpTuesday Megamix!

I couldn’t decide on one particular song, as I have been pleasantly inundated with all forms of music during my bloggy break, so, I’ll just pick the top four rotating in my headspace. Enjoy!

 

Genre: Hip Hop   Emotion: Pissed Off   Rationale: Yet another shooting in Killeen, Texas.

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Genre: Blues   Emotion: Smug   Rationale: She called me ‘intimidating.’ All I did was show up. 

 

Genre: Jazz   Emotion: Focused   Rationale: The goals I set for myself trump what others set for me.

 

Genre: Dance   Emotion: Accomplished   Rationale: My psych ward terror stories and poems WILL BE PUBLISHED!