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joy comes in the morning

It’s been all about the piano today. Was feeling really down and alone. The piano helps distract me from my nagging reality. Thanks to my 3 month free subscription to Skoove, I’ve been able to progress. I can now play a very elemental version of “Lean On Me”. I’m not really comfortable posting video of me playing. I’m working up to that though. You will have to take my word for it, I rock “Lean On Me”. I try to practice at like 20 minutes every day, giving myself one day to rest. I want to give a special shout out to my mother for giving me long fingers. I can play two notes in different octaves at the same time. These are the pieces I want to master: (in that order)

Candy Man – Helen’s Theme
I want to master this one by Halloween. I hope to be in a good place mentally so I can post myself playing it. I think it’s pretty complicated. I will have to move around the keys a great deal. This is what I call eerily beautiful.

Beethoven – No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2, “Moonlight”: Adagio
It’s a classic that touches me deeply. I will probably cry when I master this one. It’s soft, quiet, and heart-wrenching. There are several other piano sonata from Beethoven’s collection I want to learn.

David Grusin – It Might Be You (from Tootsie soundtrack)
This would have been my wedding song. Even though there will be no Mr. Lauriette, I still want to learn it. I cry every time I hear it.

One – A Chorus Line Theme Song
If you know me personally, you know I love musicals. This ‘one’ is from one of my favorite musicals.

Satie – Gymnopedie No. 1
It’s a masterpiece of romantic melancholy. It makes me think of lovers walking along the shore for the last time. Love it there but it seems to be evasive. Or it makes you think of a movie montage of lovers falling in love deeper, stronger.

I also want to learn to play: (honorable mentions)
-If Beale Street Could Talk – Agape (for the culture)
-“I Can’t Make You Love Me”- Bonnie Raitt (It’s so beautiful on the piano.)
-Beethoven: Piano No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, “Pathetique”: Adagio
-“The Way It Is” Bruce Hornsby (I need to be on level 20 for this one.)
-Chopin, Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2. (This one is a must!)

This is my digital challenge in writing. If I refuse to quit, I will accomplish these goals. I believe. No matter how long it takes.

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2019 Reading Goals

This year I plan to push myself to read more. Last year, I set a challenge of 10 books and I almost didn’t complete it. Looks like 2019 is on that bullshit as well. My life really doesn’t want me to be awesome. It’s totally interfering with my reading life. But, we are going to push through. One goal I will be focusing on this year is reading more James Baldwin. I read my first James Baldwin book last year “If Beale Street Could Talk”, and I loved it so much. I try to tell myself it’s not about the number, but I still find myself counting the books. I want to read different genres; incorporating more fantasy. That is the true challenge of getting lost in a different world, maybe a good fantasy series. I need a break from the real world.

These are a few other books I want to read this year as well: (in no particular order)

-The American Marriage by Tayari Jones (currently reading)
-The Mothers by Brit Bennett
-The Female Persuasion by Meg Molitzer
-Hunger by Roxanne Gay
-Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
-I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin
-The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
-Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin
-Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
-The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
-Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (my second try)

I will add more books as the months go by. I like to leave room for new books that may come out this year.

We will see how this goes. This year is off to a tiring depressing start. “The American Marriage” is really good but my life keeps showing up on the page. I have to read sentences over and over. Then I end up putting the book down. It’s not the book’s fault. It’s my life encroaching on my attempt to escape.

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N’Jadaka’s Face = my 2018

N’Jadaka’s face = my 2018 . and . this is simultaneously how i’m looking at 2019

I sit in Starbucks for the first time for the mere purpose of looking NY cool. I wanted to look cool having shit to do while gloating with the fact that I don’t have to go home. You know, looking like my life is so full I had to stop off at Starbucks just to take a breather before my next important business meeting. Honestly, I didn’t want to stay at home. I needed a change. Probably seems like some regular ass shit for y’all. These past 6 months have been life-changing. 2018 was life-changing. I became a grandma. I gained my own space; mind space and physical space. I’ve been home for 3 days straight. I was bugging out a bit. I’m thinking about 2018’s obvious disdain with my very existence and 2019’s possible trick bag waiting to take me out on a whole other level never reached. Every new year has proven to be the new 365 days reset challenge to see how much shit it can put me through while distracting me with 2 or 3 good things to tide me over until the next big disappointment or devastation (lil mercies).

Let’s go ahead and talk about it. This year showed me just how undesirable I truly am. A girl’s DMs, text messages, and just overall life is dry ass fuck; dry of male energy, dry of male thirst, and male curiosity. Now, when I say dry, I don’t mean empty. I’m talking dry as in 1 or 2 drops. I need more. Put it like this, I chick is thirsty, desperate, while invisible. Here is the great conundrum. I want male energy, but I only want the sweet testosterone male energy that doesn’t demand much from me, even femininity. Yeah, I don’t understand that either. It might have something to do with male confusion around me.

On to what I want to do with my 2019 before it tells me how it will be. I want to up my book challenge to 25 books from 10 books. Being that I seemingly have a lot of time on my hands, I want to devote more time reading. I want to find a good reasonably priced piano instructor to help me with learning all things piano. The long-term ultimate goal is to be able to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata AND Helen’s Theme from the Candy Man soundtrack. I’m not even gonna play myself talking about losing weight. I would like to incorporate more veggies and fruits into my diet. That’s about it on that.

Look, 2019, I want to read my books, learn the piano and welcome a saturation of sweet juicy male energy in my life. Is that too much to ask?! Well, I’m sure you are just dying to show me. Bring it on, bitch!

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2018: an authored pain

my new baby

My mother paid for me to have piano lessons back in Selma when I was a little girl. I found it to be too complicated and frustrating and I didn’t have a piano to practice the drills my piano teacher gave me after each lesson. I never did follow through. As an adult, I dreamed of taking up learning how to play the piano again, but I never imagined the possibility of it being a reality. Now, look at me with extra mental space to fill and time to dream out loud. Right now, I take a break from practicing scales, chords, and twinkle twinkle little star. It’s amazing how things work out.

Wednesday has proved to be an eventful day of the week given the news I received this year. Earlier this year, in February, my son called me to tell me he had to tell me something and that I should sit down. He goes on to say, “I’m locked up, and I have a baby on the way.” Just like that on a Wednesday. What a difference a month makes. February, my son told me from jail upstate he was going to be a father and the next month I was a grandmother. Often, there is no hand-holding when life happens.

My granddaughter coming into my life has brightened my life. I’m so grateful to her mother for bringing her here even as topsy-turvy as it may be, at the moment, while in the hands of a narcissist president. Walking into a hospital room to meet my granddaughter’s mother for the first time was one of the hardest things I had to do this year. Walking into that room knowing that all the preconceived notions waiting behind the door were all understandable given the circumstances. My son’s decisions have affected this new string of family members. They already met me in my son’s upsetting choices. They didn’t know me, but they did know my son’s current residence.

The second half of this year didn’t go as planned or expected either. I was grateful to cross off a bucket list item. Visiting Niagara Falls with my best friend for my birthday felt like it was straight out of a fantasy. We took in the tourist attractions allowing the falls to drench us from head to toe. Now that I know how this year’s story ends, this trip was the proverbial calm before the unchartered yet familiar storm of old creeping up to snatch my breath away once more.

Wednesday, August 15th I received a text from my daughter telling me she is running away to her father’s house because “she wants to be happy.” This day was already rough for me because I was on my way from home after seeing my cranky granddaughter who cried every time I tried to pick her up. I was already feeling lonely and that my granddaughter didn’t like my energy. Now, this.

The words I read on my iPhone screen made my stomach churn. I always wondered how it would happen. The pain I felt was so strong I couldn’t even respond to the woman at the bus stop as she complimented me on my shoes. I had to sit down and breathe through the beginning of the rest of my new life. The pain was from an old sore that has never had the time to heal from 10 years of custody battles. I frantically called my daughter, her father; no answer. This was simply a mother’s knee-jerk reaction. There are still no real answers, not from my daughter, only alienation. I knew what was happening, but I wasn’t ready to let go. I understand that she is under the influence of her best friend, her father. I already forgive her.

You never know how much space children take up in your mind until they are gone. These later events were authored for pain. And, I will assure you, there is still faint pain even its ripple effect. That same pain turned out to be the beginning of a new kind of freedom. For the first time in my life, I was allowed to explore the questions I never thought I could answer. Who are you outside of being a mother? What do you truly like? What are your dreams? Who are you?

Now, I sit at my laptop writing this blog as I gaze over at my keyboard of 88 keys my mother and my father bought for me. I think of my short-term and long-term goals. I didn’t even have those before. My life dictated to me what I will do, be or not accomplish. I have allowed myself to be tired of the old and now I embrace the new.

Current Review · Movie Review

if beale street could talk: movie review

this novel is fresh in my mind because i read it this year; my first time reading a james baldwin novel.  within the first 5 minutes of the film, i was already in tears. i was so glad i picked up a couple of napkins laid out on a table in front of the state theater at lincoln square. the silence, the loving stares, the beautiful colors beckoned me to freeze each frame just to linger a little longer. i can’t wait to take screenshots of every frame in order to adorn my laptop. i came in with preconceived theories about the direction and how the storytelling would be approached. for some reason, i didn’t think the narration style would translate well from the novel to the screen. barry jenkins made the right choice.  the acting was superb. they didn’t have to say anything. they could have gazed into each other’s eyes for 2 hours and it would have been time well spent.

there is a sex scene. well, it’s more like a lovemaking scene and it was tastefully done. the man sitting next to me chuckled when he heard me whisper ‘yes yes yes yes’ and ‘my god’ at the visual of dark-skinned beautiful skin expressing love. thank you, barry jenkins. i didn’t know how much i needed to see that on screen. i’m almost certain i’ve never seen a lovemaking scene with black people quite as honest, intense and tender. the only one i can think of that may come close is the sex scene in ‘love & basketball’. i can’t put into words how affirming it is to see dark-skinned people loving on each other.

even given all this beauty, i still left the theater a little angry. i wasn’t angry because i didn’t enjoy my time with this film; i enjoyed every minute. i was angry because it’s a guarantee there are countless stories similar to fonny and tish’s experience. this is not fiction. i think of all the untold stories of dreams halted, love put on hold, creations unable to see the light of day, with an ugly stain on a love story. somewhere in our history, someone with man-made power used it to snuff the life out of what was perceived to be less than, not human. it broke my heart to see fonny’s beautiful existence handled with no respect, beat down by the “justice” system working in the way it was created to work. the narrator’s sweet voice interjected like the constant interference of those in power reminding us why this young couple could not love in the way they deserved to love, with no boundaries. i may have one critique, but it’s not even worth mentioning. it’s a 5-star film receiving 3 golden globes nomination before its release date. take your love to see it. i took myself and i will be taking myself again. 

review

Insecure HBO: Season 3 Finale Review

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some more thoughts on the Insecure Season 3 finale:

-putting my disdain for the Molly character aside.. Taurean has some BIG nerve to be in his feelings because when he was taking up all the space in the room and was on top he didn’t give two shits about anybody else.. he had no problem using Molly’s help to prop himself up. now that he has to share the spotlight with Molly he runs away. he really fixed his face to call Molly aggressive when he previously talked over her like she wasn’t even speaking. boy bye!
mollytaurean

-i hate how Molly treated the women in her office.. she used them until she found something she coveted more and dropped them like a bad habit. I see Molly crashing very very soon when she looks around to realize she can’t do it all alone. even the most successful need a team.

-is Andrew willing to forgive Molly for her horrible behavior and move on? i hope so. i would love to see how their connection develops. Molly needs something and i’m wondering if Andrew is that something.

-honey, Jared looked like a whole snack. and, Molly’s judgmental malfunctioning gaydar was SO off.. ugh! why is she like that? i just loved seeing her face when Jared rolled up there with his brother and his girlfriend. HA!
Jaredandgirlfriend

-for the first time, i felt like Molly truly tried to protect Issa when Nanceford pranced his tired ass up to Issa’s apartment with those day old flowers.. she should have told Issa though..

-sometimes when i squint, i can see Issa’s growth but other times i’m shaking my head in disbelief of her pure immaturity.. i love the way she handled Nanceford and his vague ass none answer to how he seriously hurt her feelings disappearing like that .. again, this man NEVER answers a question .. NEVER . she really handled Molly very well standing up for herself and letting her know she didn’t appreciate her not telling her dude came by. and, it really looked like Molly paid attention. Issa also gave Molly good advice concerning Taurean. Issa gets it right sometimes. she seriously played therapist and was spot on.

-how cool is it to see Issa and Lawrence truly being friends?! i love it. i just love how Lawrence is so giddy around her. he can’t stop smiling. hopefully, they don’t try to get back together and mess up the beautiful reconnection they are making. it wasn’t missed on me that Lawrence finally got it right. he remembered Issa’s birthday this time.
LawrenceIssa

-i peeped how they put black girl magic on display and how we often support each other.  sometimes, the friends closest to you can’t support you in the way you need. a new friend can be a refreshing addition. “the last dragon” is on my top 5 greatest movies of all time list. i really enjoyed that. Condola is a keeper for that.

-Kelli still annoys me. she is so one dimensional. of course, she is overly aggressive with men, cringe worthy comic relief, and just overall over the top concerning everything with that ponytail at the top of her head .. it was so not flattering.. ugh
Kellifoolishness

-i don’t want to like Chad but i do. judge me. i know i deserve it because he is a whole mess.. but, he is honest. i like that and i want to see more of him.

-the moment Lawrence shared with his father was awesome. i want to know more about him and his backstory. hopefully, they will open up and give the other characters some backstory time as well. Lawrence’s father is right. this generation doesn’t want to work, me included. we want instant gratification.

-i will be lifting up the Issa in prayer. we are hoping she is ready to show growth when she finds out Condola and Lawrence are dating. it could get messy but let’s just send some positive vibes Issa’s way.

-again, the music is always on point. i caught that “come together’ joint by the internet. Owww! loves it! i discovered some really nice new artitsts/songs this season. Raphael Saadiq and the music team is doing a great job matching the right songs with the right scenes.

-even though i talk shit about this show, i love it and i’m gonna miss it. i love that Insecure is so “blackass”, said in my Jill Scott voice. we need more. 10-12 episodes would have been sweet. but, hey.. they have already been approved for season 4. we must be patient.
LawrenceandIssa