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

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: Sacrifice

Blazing Words features my poem, Sacrifice, which is dedicated to all of the activists from the Civil Rights and Womens’ Rights era.

Film Review: Chasing Trane

Film Review: Chasing Trane

My film review of the documentary, Chasing Trane about the magnificent John Coltrane.

Art Surrounds Me: Patrick Kelly-The Journey

Art Surrounds Me: Patrick Kelly-The Journey

The Art Surrounds Me series returns with a focus on Patrick Kelly and an exhibit honoring his life and work; hosted by the Studio Museum of Harlem and held at the Countee Cullen Library.

Embracing The Christmas Spirit

Embracing The Christmas Spirit

The holiday season is my favorite time of year.  I love the weather, the festivities, the evergreen trees, the decorations, the beautiful storefront windows, candy canes, the lights that seem to cover almost everything, all of the presents (big and small), 

Blazing Words: Abuelito

Blazing Words features my poem, Abuelito, dedicated to my paternal grandfather who was from Puerto Rico.

Blazing Words: Music

The Blazing Words series returns with one of my favorite poems, Music.

I wrote this poem back in college.  I shared it with my creative writing class a few years later and all my classmates seemed to enjoy it.  It combines my feelings about music and the role it plays in our lives.  It is still one of my favorite poems.