Friday, September 30, 2005

Abort Black Babies and Cut Down on Crime

Well, I'll be damned. When I woke up this morning, I swore I'd been tossed back into time and landed on some fucking plantation in Mississippi. But hell no, it was worst. It was 2005. I'm living in New York City and there is this asshole Bill Bennett who proclaims that although it is a reprehensible thought and totally improbable, if ya abort black babies ya cut down on crime ie, 1 + 1 = A.

I want to see how quickly this gets cleaned up. And if his sorry ass gets thrown off TV as it should be or better tarred and feathered.

Unfortunately, it is comments such as these that continue to seep into the underbelly of society. He said out loud what some others think or only speak of in like company. It is sad that black still equates bad, evil, crime and any good that comes from us is "the exception." And that there are still those who wish our demise by virtue of us not even being born.

I'm ill.


I've just created a new forum via Network54 called Literati It's bascially for discussion of anything literary: news, views, rants, insight the list goes on. It seems pretty easy to manage, so drop by and add a comment from time to time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Where Oh Where Are the Words

I officially left my job on August 12 as a publicist with one of the country's busiest public libraries to devote myself fully to pursuing my writing, hopefully get better at it and get my own publicity business ImageNouveau up and operational. Let me make one thing perfectly clear... this staying home mess is more than a notion! I swear, by the time I get the kids to school, come back home, check email (of course) ignore the countless phone calls from creditors and telemarketers... it's lunchtime. Then of course, don't forget to take something out for dinner, and while you're down in the kitchen you may as well wash the floors, straighten up the dining room, take out the trash, hmmm clean the oven.

By this time I'm exhausted. So I eek out two pages, then its time to run out and pick kids up from school, then dinner, then homework, baths, yelling, bedtime, my favorite TV shows... check email again. Whew... I'm beat. And a grand total of 3 pages (on a good day) written.

I must say, while I was at work I got much more writing done. I sat at my desk and relished seeing how much I could get done before I actually had to do company work. Now, every little distraction is a real distraction.

I have more deadlines than time and the clock is ticking....

Any advice is desperately needed and welcomed!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Taking Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

I don’t know about anyone else, but I haven’t felt too “romancy” of late. Within the passed couple of weeks, I have seen a world that for many was only somone else’s problem, a life and lifestyle that was better left not discussed.

As we all stood witness to the devastation and the aftermath of one of America’s greatest natural disasters, the ugliness of the economic and racial divide gave Americans a good slap in the face. “Wake up!” those tortured faces cried, “this is the America that you have refused to see,” they shouted. “It’s so awful,” many moaned and sent money and clothes to assauge their consciences then proceeded back to our castles in the sky and hoped that things would get better, hoped that maybe one morning we’d wake up and it wouldn’t be in the news and in our faces, reminding us of things we’d rather not think about–think about the indisputable FACT that there is and continues to be two Americas–the America of the haves and have nots, the light and the dark. But as long as the have nots can be given a pittance, a little space, a few benefits and kept out of the spotlight then what is the problem?As in the telling words of the beloved Barbara Bush, “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underpriviledged anyway, so this–this is working very well for them.”

By this time, there are sure to be some rolling of eyes and sucking of teeth and the inevitable question: what does this have to do with romance?

Romance, for the most part is the world as we wish to see it, the world we hope for, the fantasy that we create to help us and our followers escape the harsh realities of life. Of course, we gingerly sprinkle our stories with difficulties to give it substance and then our characters skip happily off into the sunset.

Yet, even in the world of romance the harsh reality of two Americas rears its ugly head and continues to exist. Let’s think of the publishing industry as America made up of nationalies or “genres.” Think of publishing houses as the government with the ability to set policy or “trends” (and of course dole out money when necessary) and think of bookstores as cities or municipalites who have the power to interpret the policy(trends) and put the nationalities (genres) wherever the see fit. Last, but not least, think of authors and readers as activists with the voice and the power to create a change within the fabric of America, Government, Cities and Municipalities.

There was a cry, a cry of outrage from the black activists and their followers who asked, petitioned, cajoled and demanded their fair share of America. They only wanted what everyone else had, to be treated and viewed and accepted as equals. To share the same space, the same goals and the same slice of the American pie.

“Oh my” thought the publishing industry, what could be their problem? Why are they in such an uproar about wanting something of their own? For heavensake, they don’t read anyway! Well, let the government handle it. And they did. They carved out little sections of the American pie and doled out a few slices but only in designated areas because of course America as a whole does not want to be reminded or have put up in their faces the inequity of the Industry.
Some governments even went so far as to create “mini nationalities” and gave them to local municipalities who decided where they would go. The activists should be happy now. We’ve thrown money at them, gave them a little slice of the pie and every now and again we even pick up one or two to prove to ouselves and our friends how liberal and generous we are.

Yet the activists and their followers remain disgruntled, marginalized and relegated to a section of the landscape where they can be overlooked until some natural disaster occurs and their plight slaps us in the face.

As authors and readers we have the power to shape policy, change minds and enlighten one book at a time–be true activists. Throwing money, and creating “mini-nationalities” will not change the fabric of the literary landscape. Change begins from within. Within our hearts–the core of romance. As authors we have the power to make the impossible possible. We have the power to make the dis-believers believe that there is good and justice, love and equality in the world. We have the power to change minds.

It’s easy to come to the aid of another when their circumstances are so dire, we think, just for an instant– “that could be me, no one should have to go through that.” But when the plight begins to fade and only appears on page six, or as an addendum to the late night news report, it’s easy to return to our castles in the sky believing that all is now right with the world. The last page of the book has been closed and the characters skip off into the sunset.

But nothing will change until we do, from within–one reader, one author at a time. Simply because the “crisis” has its denoument does not mean that the story is truly over. Everyone always wants to know “what happens next?”

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hey People - this is an email I received from a colleague. If there's anything that we can do to help people in New Orleans, its with resources as people - the government is overwhelmed, and acting much slower than these grassroots organizations.Here's a solid list of info thanx,Paul Compiled by hip-hop artist Kevin Powell:Monetary donations can be sent to these outlets, which we have confirmed are REALLY delivering services to folks in need........ Relief FundPO Box 803209Dallas, TX 75240OR you can make an online donation by going fund has been set up by nationally syndicated radio personality TOM JOYNER

NAACP Disaster Relief Efforts The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. NAACP units across the nation have begun collecting resources that will be placed on trucks and sent directly into the disaster areas. Also, the NAACP has established a disaster relief fund to accept monetary donations to aid in the relief effort.Checks can be sent to the NAACP payable to NAACP Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund4805 Mt. Hope DriveBaltimore, MD 21215. Donations can also be made online FYI, the NAACP, founded in 1909, is America's oldest civil rights organization. Set up by native New Orleans rapper Master P and his wife Sonya Miller.You can mail or ship non-perishable items to these following locations,which we have confirmed are REALLY delivering services to folks in need....

Center for LIFE Outreach Center121 Saint Landry StreetLafayette, LA 70506 atten.: Minister Pamela Robinson337-504-5374

Mohammad Mosque 652600 Plank RoadBaton Rouge, LA 70805 atten.: Minister Andrew Muhammad 225-923-1400225-357-3079

Lewis Temple CME Church 272 Medgar Evers Street Grambling, LA 71245 atten.: Rev. Dr. Ricky Helton 318-247-3793

St. Luke Community United Methodist Church c/o Hurricane Katrina Victims 5710 East R.L. Thornton FreewayDallas, TX 75223 atten.: Pastor Tom Waitschies 214-821-2970S.

H.A.P.E. Community Center 3815 Live OakHouston, Texas 77004 atten.: Deloyd Parker 713-521-0641

Alternative media outlets where you can get a more accurate and balanced presentation of the New Orleans catastrophe....

PLEASE VISIT all these websites. Five things you can do to help immediately:

1. Duplicate what we are doing elsewhere in New York City, in your city or town, on your college campus, at your church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious institution, via your fraternity or sorority, or via your local civic or social organization.

2. Cut and paste the information in this eblast about Items needed by survivors of the New Orleans catastrophe:* Monetary donations* Where you can ship non-perishable items* Alternative media outlets* Five things you can do to help immediately and share this information, as a ONE SHEET, with folks near and far, via email, or as a hand out at your event, religious institution, and with your civic or social organization.

3. Voice your opinion to local and national media, and to elected officials,via letter, email, op ed article, or phonecall, regarding the coverage of the New Orleans catastrophe, as well as to the federal government's ongoing handling of the situation.

4. Ask the hotel you frequent, such as the Marriott or Holiday Inn, to give your hotel points to an individual or family in need of a stay for a night, a few nights, or longer, depending on how many points you have. Be sure to get confirmation that your points have been applied in that way. Encourage others to do the same. Also inquire if your airline Frequent Flyer mileage can be used for hotel stays as well. Finally, either offer to pay for hotel rooms, or encourage others to do so, including your place of employment or worship or your organization.

5. Dare to care about other human beings, no matter their race, gender,class, sexual orientation, religion, geography, culture, clothing,hairstyle, or accent or language. Like September 11th, the New Orleanscatastrophe is a harsh reminder that all life is precious, as is each day wehave on this earth.

AND REMEMBER that our attention and response to the New Orleans catastrophe needs to happen in three stages...DISASTER, RECOVERY, and REBUILDING. We need you for all three stages!