Open Anonymous Letters: Family

Its that time of the year people, when we get to gather close to our families and bask in the uniqueness that is them. I'm going to get right to it, I hate this time of year. Give me the Turkey and stuffing, you can keep the familiar social crap. I moved many many miles away from them for a reason. I'm conjuring up all of this vile because of a vile thing that has been happening to me over the past month or so. Here is my letter to the family.

Dear sucka family members, you know who you are, I no longer return your calls or messages on fb or my phone,

You suck. For some reason, my happy little existence has bleeped across your radar and you have decided to direct all of your anger and frustration over your self made pitiful existence onto me. I don't like it. I've spent the last 30 plus years avoiding you and your momma and your father and yo sister. I just so happen to be best friends with your brother and I'd like to keep it that way. But was I surprised when he jumped in his car and drove across 2 states to get away from ya'll when ya'll moved into the same state he lived? No I was not surprised. I offered to let him stay with me.

Now for some reason you feel like you can just harass me, my brother, and my momma. Negative. I may not be close to them folks, but they are still mine and I refuse to allow you to dog them out as you try to dog me out. Not happening. I realize that all of the fire and brimstone I am capable of dishing out is about 50 times stronger in you. I know you can cuss me out good and proper. You've done it already. I clearly cannot compete on your level because I'm just not that miserable.
You asked me once if my friends were more important to me than my family. I didn't respond, I didn't think I needed to. My friends are my family. And they are the ones I choose to spend the holidays with year after year, no matter the distance. So lets just say, there are certain family members I prefer to spend special occasions with, blood related and non blood related. And as you continue to be hateful towards me, on public forums and such, you are insuring to get deleted, blocked, erased, and completely fazed out of my life. Just like the rest of the family has done you. Perhaps I'm the only one left who you haven't burned. I shrug, I don't care, this quasi relationship is over.
signing off
your neighborhood grinchmeister....

We Read and Sh*t: We write too

To wrap this puppy up I want to stick my head in and interject. November has been National Novel Writing Month, and I have been participating in writing a novel for the month of November. Yes people I'm writing a novel in one month. 50,000 words in 31 days. My fingers are cramped and tired. But playing off of Toni Morrison's quote, and a quote Lorraine Hansberry made that is similar, I'm writing my own story to be read by millions! Or at least by my s.o. and a few friends. The first week was great, the second week I totally slipped up, so this is the third week and I'm playing catch up, but I'm determined. I like my story and I like how I feel when I'm writing the story. So I'm going to finish this novel, danngit. I encourage you all to write, it doesn't matter if you think it has all been written before, we haven't heard your story and your story needs to be told.

We read and sh*t: What Irks Me...

I have read some great books and definitely some bad books.  Some I half expected to be bad, and some were huge let downs that made me extremely upset that I wasted the tine and/or money.  I realized in these bad books there was a common vein in them that lent to their lameness.  Here's a short list:

  • Nonsensical story lines and characters permeate the world of bad "literature."  I have read books where none of the characters are realistic; they just kind of do whatever was in the authors head after a cocaine bender.  I like twists and turns in books, but make it believable and make it have a point.

  • Underdeveloped characters are just as bad as the contrived ones.  I have read books where I couldn't tell you more than one or two things about the main characters.  What part of the game is that?  Isn't a big part of the point of a story about the characters themselves?  I want to build an emotional bond with character(s) in a book, it helps me get lost in the story or sometimes feel like I am part of a story.  I read to get that emotional experience, it's what makes it fun or meaningful.  

  • Overuse of slang/patois/foreign language irks me to no end.  I understand that some stories require slang in the dialogue, but I am not talking about in the dialogue.  I am talking authors who write the entire narrative in that way.  It is distracting, bad writing, and will make me put a book down tout de suite (immediately/quickly).

  • Overly simplistic writing..... I feel my side-eye flaring up.  I have read books, particularly "urban literature," that read like a remedial English class project.  Now keep in mind, I don't feel an author has to use overly colorful language and complicated indecipherable metaphors, but please give me something that makes me think past a 2nd grade level. 

  • BAD F*CKING GRAMMAR and misspellings. Here comes my pesky side-eye again....  Have you heard of an editor?  Was your editor taking shots while reading your book?  There is nothing worse than reading a book and finding excessive amounts of errors.  I should be thinking about a character's unrequited love and not the proper use of there, their, they're , noun/verb agreement, or how you say irregardless 4 times in the first chapter.  Not a good look.  Not a good look at all.

This is just a short list, what are some things that irk you and make a book unreadable?

We read and sh*t: Childhood Faves

My book fascination is far from recent development. I have been reading (and loving it) since the ripe ol' age of 3. I was reading on an 8th grade level in the 1st grade *brushes shoulder off* ... My favorite books as a kid are all over the place, some kid/teeny bopper targeted and also actual "literature".... Follow me real quick:

 My mom bought me this book when I was in about the 5th grade, it changed everything for me as far as how I looked at the world.  I had begun to see the aspects of cruelty in the world.  I finally understood why I never quite all the way fit in with my predominantly white schoolmates and friends.  This is when I learned what racism was and its roots... Quite a rude awakening for a 10/11 year old, ya think?  I remember I kept reading it over and over, it touched me that deep....

On a lighter note, I loved the Babysitter's Club Book Series, BUT my mama would only buy me the ones with the black girl as the main character, Fight the Power!, so I got a scattered view of it, but loved it nonetheless, censorship and er'thing...I loved reading about the camaraderie of girls who were entrepreneurs, how ya love that!?!

I read every single Agatha Christie book through middle school.  I used to get so wrapped up in the drama and intrigue of it all.  It was actually better than TV, I was such a nerd, but being a nerd was celebrated in my house so I didn't care about that.  Funny thing about that is now I don't particularly care for mystery books. 

I know y'all remember my favoritest (I know it's not a word, don't judge me) book in the whole wide world ever, ever, ever...  I even dedicated a whole blog to my beloved "The Monster At the End of This Book"...  go check it out, it is very entertaining!  And anyway Grover rocks!

 absolutely loved the Anastasia series of books by Lois Lowry. Anastasia was a smart, awkward, sweet, clumsy, misunderstood 4-eyed preteen.  Take a wild guess as to what I was as a preteen:  smart, awkward, sweet, clumsy, misunderstood, 4-eyed, lol...  I instantly connected with Anastasia,  she was one of the first characters in a book that I thought about as a real person, that is where my living and breathing  a book began. 

Any-hoo, this is just a handful of some of my faves, what were some of you guys favorite childhood books and/or stories?

We read and sh*t: Book-Love

This week we shall talk about books... about the books we love, the books we hate, and all things in between.  Today's post is also up at my personal blog: Black Woman Lost & Found...  Enjoy!

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  ~Groucho Marx

I have been reading a lot lately.  When I say a lot I mean I have read a new book every couple days, sometimes more on the weekends.  My appetite has been voracious.    It is amazing what no television can do for your should really try it by getting rid of your TV or detoxing for an extended period of time, real talk...)

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

I have become so emotionally invested in the books I have been reading lately.  Even dreamed about some of them, and act like a crack fiend needing to get back to them. (i.e. the 1000+ page book I read in 2 nights).  I get sad when I am get to the last 100 pages of a book.  I am not being figurative, I really do get to feeling some kinda way.  4 of the books I read this month made me actually cry.

If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

 A few of the books I read have disappointed me with their endings.  Either the endings were far fetched, or the author left no sort of conclusion that satisfied me.  This realization has kick started me to wanting to improve my writing, and be the author that writes books the way that I want to read them.  

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  ~Franz Kafka

Reading so many books has also made me want to write more.  I have been pumping out poems left and right, usually inspired from a  line or a scene in what I am reading.  I haven't posted a lot of stuff because for the first time in my poetry career I have been writing performance pieces (that don't necessarily translate well to the page) with ease.  My new focus on literature and art has made me a better performer, a better listener,just better...

A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann
Here are some of the books I have read over the last month or so... if you are my friend on facebook, check out my Visual Bookshelf:

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi (a must-read for book and history lovers!)
The Hour I First Believed: A Novel, Wally Lamb(read this thick monster of a book in 2 days, such a page turner... this is one of the books that made me cry...)
Eyes to My Soul: The Rise or Decline of a Black FBI Agent, Tyrone Powers (this book made me want to fight the power!)
The Book of Sarahs: A Family in Parts,Catherine E. McKinley
The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green : A Novel, Joshua Braff
Trading Dreams at Midnight: A Novel, Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Nina: Adolescence, Amy Hassinger
Currently Reading: Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z.: A Novel, Debra Weinstein
Currently Re-reading: Racism 101, Nikki Giovanni

I am also open to any suggestions you might have of some good reads, leave them in the comments if you do!

Peace y'all....

Quick Tip: Thrift Stores are my best friend, you can't beat $0.25-0.50 for books (I don't like library books, I like to own my books, because I am also a re-reader)

Open Anonymous Letters: Physics Lesson

Me and the Tiha have been mad busy, but I really needed to write some things this week to get some things off my chest.  Like I have said in previous blogs and even poems, I have a hard time expresing my true feelings to people.  This goes for negative things and positive actually.  So this week I am writing letters to folks, I will keep them anonymous on the blog, but I think I will actually send the letters to the people they are intended for.   So here goes nothing:

Dear Y'all,

Have you ever heard the law in physics that: "Tangible, Material Entities Cannot Occupy the Same Space at the Same Time?"  Well, guess what?  That does not apply to friends/colleagues being able to do positive, innovative things in the same city/area at the same time.  Just because you have an event, company, or project going on does not mean that I can not do the same.  In fact, through my venture I will shout yours out and help out.  Why can't we come together since we have very similar goals?  Ego is a dangerous thing my friends, and people pick up on it and will not want to support you in the future.  Believe me, I have stopped attending events, stopped supporting businesses, and ended longtime friendships with people because of over-inflated egos and unearned pride.  Don't be like those people, you are so much better than that.

Exhaustedly Yours,

Naturally Alise

Open Anonymous Letters: Effing Friendships

Me and the Tiha have been mad busy, but I really needed to write some things this week to get some things off my chest.  Like I have said in previous blogs and even poems, I have a hard time expresing my true feelings to people.  This goes for negative things and positive actually.  So this week I am writing letters to folks, I will keep them anonymous on the blog, but I think I will actually send the letters to the people they are intended for.   So here goes nothing:

Dear You,

I find you to be as horrible a friend to me as I am to you.  We have got to do better.  I am not content with a friendship that has been around for so long that has dwindled down to mere  drinking buddies.  Do you realize that you know and understand more about me than sometimes I am with myself?  (I know that's a bit cliche, but who cares, this is my letter, lol)  You have been there through a number of rough patches (and vice versa), but yet this current superficial "friendship" exists.  I am at a loss.  I miss you.  I hope you feel the same.  People always work so hard on their romantic relationships, but forget that true friendships require the same amount of effort, sometimes more.  I believe friend bonds can sometimes be more binding/lasting than marital ones, so lets work on being real friends again....

Love ya,

Peace y'all.....