Happy New Year, y’all!
Or, like, in two days.
First, I want to thank everyone for the wonderful support of my blog. When I started this blog, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I had some things I wanted to get off my chest, and I hoped people would listen. Well, it’s been almost three months, and I still don’t know, but I have had over three thousand hits! I can’t believe it. I thought only my mama and her dog would be reading. I am really overwhelmed by the love. I appreciate y’all so much.
I don’t have any real new New Years’ resolutions, just the same ones from last year. But here they are:
1) I want to make substantial progress on the three books I am working on. One’s poetry, one’s fiction, and one’s a critical anthology on black poets and poetics that I am co-editing with Herman Beavers.
2) I want to continue to lose weight and be more healthy. I do exercise and try to eat right, but I don’t do either nearly as much as I should. Maybe sixty percent of the time. So I am aiming for ninety-five percent this year. I don’t want one hundred percent because everyone needs a little decadence in her life.
3) I want to continue to be more peaceful and work on ways to eliminate stress. This has been a good journey for me and I am still walking this path. I’m toying with taking up yoga, but in the meantime, I have given up cussing folks out. I think that’s a good beginning, don’t you?
4) I want to be more loving and supportive of the people in my life. I still talk way too much and listen too little. Listening more is a goal for the New Year.
5) I want to shop less and save more. Enough said.
6) I want to give my Creator more of the glory and stop feeding my ego so much. I don’t know if I can conquer the ego thing, but I really am committed to the Creator thing. It’s an ongoing kind of love.
And that’s it!
So I have some links to carry you into the New Year. Let’s start with ones that make me happy.
Yale accepts FOUR black children—or, I should say young people, but I am over thirty-five so they are “kids” in my mind—and all of them are from the same womb. Maybe one day, I won’t get excited and proud when I see that people who look like me are doing great things, but this is not that day.
Yay in the fight AGAINST homophobia and the fight FOR recognition of the humanity of all people! Two Argentinian men become first same-sex married couple in Latin America. It’s happening, y’all. The world is changing for the better, one person at a time, or in this case, two. Love is a beautiful thing.
Thanks to super fabulous writer and blogger Carleen Brice for letting me know about Leonce Gaiter’s piece in the Huffington Post “Rejecting the Publishing Ghetto.” Now, let me say that I am as tired as the next black writer with the “Negro Section” of bookstores, and also, the tiny commitment of the white publishing establishment to black books. Gaiter’s piece was thoughtful and provocative, but I’m more than a little tired with this discussion, too.
Let’s remember that the white publishing industry only cares about making money, so if that’s the case, how can we black folks get our hustles on and stop singing the “We Shall Overcome” remix? Let’s stop itching for a scratch already, and let’s stop whining to the white folks about the bookstores and begging them to do something, and get our Proactive on, shall we? Carleen did. She invented “National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give It to Somebody Not Black Month.”
The literary magazine Mosaic needs your support. There are so many of y’all out there who complain about “urban literature”—aka, the “Mama I’m in Love with a Gangster and I’m Rayray’s Baby Mama, Too” genre—but educated and/or literary black folks, we have to do more than just complain. Give up a fried chicken dinner and Diet Coke and give five dollars to Mosaic. Oh, so I’m stereotyping that all black folks eat fried chicken? Well, then, give up your coq au vin dinner with the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on the side and give ninety-five dollars then. But whatever you do, give some money to Mosaic. It is tax deductible and your donation helps promote great black writers and provide workshops. And it’s a classy publication, too. Real classy.
The Poet Dennis Brutus has died. I know that I talk about racism ALL THE TIME, thus the heading of “race” up at the top of the page, but so did Dennis Brutus. He was a hell of a white man, and I mean that in the best possible way. He was jailed in the same place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and all for speaking out against Apartheid. This is what I mean by white folks challenging white privilege in order to make the world a better place. He put his life on the line; he didn’t just criticize other people from the safety of an academic cocktail party. This brother was not only a friend to black South Africans, but he was a friend to humanity. RIP Mr. Brutus, and thank you for everything you did.
And finally, start your New Year right by writing, and then submit to American Short Fiction’s Contest. You need to get the lead out after eating everything in sight and sitting around letting it soak into all your arteries. You didn’t do a thing over the holidays but burp. Now’s the time to get writing and submitting again. And if you want to change the world just a little teeny bit, you have to put something down on that page. You can do it. I know you can.
And in the meantime, I will see y’all next year!