Dear Toni Morrison

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Dear Toni Morrison,

May You Rest In Peace…

I discovered your works in high school and fell in love with the challenge of reading your works. I was mesmerized by the beauty, pain and truth in your words. You were both an inspiration and a legend that set the bar. I will miss reading your newest and latest novels. Thank you for all of your work and for sharing your gifts with us.

I saw you only once in person at a book signing for your novel, A Mercy. I was so nervous but looked forward to meeting you and telling you how much your work meant to me. How you inspired me to write my first novel and begin the Diamond La Rue series because you stated that: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I had been looking for a character like Diamond in almost every book I read on my own in college, but could not find her. When I read those words of yours, I knew that she existed only in my mind.

I was knee deep into writing my novel that day I journeyed down to the Barnes & Noble to hear you speak. But the line was so long and you had been sitting for too long that I didn’t get a chance to meet you or to get my book signed by you.

But, it was enough to hear you speak, to witness or even stand near the presence of greatness. I waited and watched until you left, just grateful to be there.

I had hoped that one day we would actually meet—face to face and talk about our love of language and literature, arts, culture, history and people. I have read that you were a great mentor to writers and so encouraging, but alas it was not meant to be.

I will miss looking out for your latest and greatest works. There will be a permanent literary void from now on, in my mind and to the world.

Rest easy…

Naj

Publishing The Novel

Publishing The Novel

The process I took while publishing my first novel, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, is detailed here as well as some helpful tips for writers and authors.

Musical Playlist 33: All About The Blues II

Musical Playlist 33: All About The Blues II

Musical Playlist presents another savory blues collection.

Art Surrounds Me: The Sable Series

Art Surrounds Me: The Sable Series

Art Surrounds Me Series returns with a review of the Sable Series: The History of Black Shakespearean Actors.

Reflections...

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Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me

-The Supremes

As the year comes to a close, I think about how far I’ve come this year and how far I have to go….

And that isn’t a complaint, it’s just a fact. It seems to me that the more we do, the more we have to do. The more you accomplish, the more you want to accomplish. I’m sure it’s a spiritual law here that I’m neglecting to name.

I pushed myself all year to finish writing, editing and to publish my novel. And it has been a long, long process. Then, when it was time to publish, I did all of the formatting myself. The e-book formatting and now the actual print book format. And if you know anything about publishing, you will know that it isn’t easy. I taught myself through reading manuals and watching videos on YouTube and Literature & Latte’s website. (I used Scrivener for this process).

And it was very difficult because first, I’m a newbie and then second, because my book is very, very long. In fact, I had to stop the process for a month or so and re-edit my book to remove about 100 pages. And the book is still 600 pages.

It’s been a learning process all the way around. I’ll probably blog about that in the new year when it’s all said and done.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy my Christmas holiday…It is my favorite season, after all…

Naj

Flashback: A Harlem I Remember

Flashback: A Harlem I Remember

The Flashback Series returns and recollects old Harlem….Before gentrification.

Blazing Words: My Debut Novel

Blazing Words: My Debut Novel

The announcement of my debut novel.

Art Surrounds Me: Celebrating Black Print Makers & Black Women Artists

Art Surrounds Me: Celebrating Black Print Makers & Black Women Artists

The Art Surrounds Me Series returns with a look at two powerful exhibits at the Schomburg Center, Ink Unshackled: Prints from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Collection and Firelei Baez: Joy Out Of Fire featuring the work of prominent black artists.