Saturday, February 28, 2009


Kind of an I-don't-know Saturday. Nothing terribly bad. Nothing terribly good.

When I'm like this, I'm always drawn to Tina Turner's song, Private Dancer.

Your moody mood music?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Different Light (WEHO) is Closing

This just in... A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood is closing. Story in Instinct Magazine. The staff and management there have always been good to me, and have always extended invitations for me to participate in store events, readings, etc...

Many of our independent bookstores are close to or have closed recently. Oscar Wilde in NYC. Last year, there was talk about Esowon in L.A. closing but things seem to have held together for the moment.

I know our economy is off-kilter. But if you get a chance to purchase one book or one thing from a local, independent business please try... it might make all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday Musings

So this isn't about New Orleans, Mardi Gras, or the last day of gluttony before Lent Season begins. The closest I got to acknowledging any remotely related was insisting the music we played in the office had to be New Orleans-related or festive. That made the day fun.

Then we had an event today featuring the critically-acclaimed spoken word group, Yellow Rage, whose work focuses on challenging the notions around Asian American-ness, fetishes, model minority, etc... Real cool work. Check out some clips from YouTube, Listen A**hole, and I'm A Woman Not A Flava.

Some of the students I see regularly "discovered" my non-day job today-- writing novels-- and they were really cute about it. They didn't know I have an author life outside of school though I haven't done much authoring recently :-)

So my musing for the day. Help me figure this out...

If the ones we want don't want us, and the ones who want us we don't want, how does the never-ending cycle of searching, wanting, longing finally end? Just being philosophical, I guess? I guess...

Happy beginning of the Season of Lent.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Much To-Do About...

So for this to be a Saturday, it seemed as busy as a work day. Laundry, groceries, gym, cleaning house, write a quick blog, etc...

I'm trying to finish re-reading Pearl Cleage's novel Babylon Sisters before she comes to L.A. and campus in a few weeks. Got another one of her novels, Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, to re-read as well.

Now I'm chillin' out, listening to Lionel Hampton CD, Golden Vibes/Silver Vibes. Perfect to read or do some writing by. It's jazz vibraphone.

Another cool blog I just found a few days ago when googling Nancy Wilson: Out On The Stoop. And another one, for you fashionistas: Welcome To Fashionphyend

Finally, just when I think I've got a lot (well, too much) to do or handle, I run over to a blog I just discovered. Write Novel, Buy Eggs.

Hope your weekend is a good one!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Hankering For Cupcakes

This afternoon I got the strongest craving for a chocolate mint cupcake. Weird, I know. Don't ask.

There's a lot of great cupcake spots in L.A. Some of my regular haunts here have included Crumbs, Lark, Dots, and Sweet Lady Jane.

But then today, miracle of miracles, I found an amazing list in the Los Angeles Times: The Great L.A. Cupcake List.

It's going to be a fun time sampling the goods. Where else can you get a mouthful of fun for $4 dollars? :-) How about your own house? Follow some of the recipes on Cupcakes Take The Cake and you can make your own tasty treats at home.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Morning Listening

So I actually heard this yesterday... and thought you might like.

This American Life, episode Somewhere Out There.

One of the stories -- about two families with transgender kids in elementary school -- just moved me to tears... happy tears. It's cool to hear about courageous parents supporting who their kids are. It was my Oprah moment of the day!

The other stories in the hour-long show are equally rewarding, and all center on the odds of finding that special someone, somewhere out there -- whether it's romantic, friendly, business-related, etc...

Guaranteed feel-good moment for your ears!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

When He's Just Not Into... Your Friend

"If everybody wants you, why isn't anybody calling?" -- Gloria by Laura Branigan.

Love that quote from that 80s song. Song came up on rotation on my iPod while at the gym this morning, and it triggered the subject for today's blog on love.

How do you let a friend know the love relationship they think they see isn't there? And as it relates to the above Laura Branigan line, I'm sure we all have a friend who's always talking about some new love, or someone looking at them, or a number they got... but then they're always home and never on a date. That quote is a blunt question for that friend. And I think it's funny.

So how do you tell a friend...

Do you send them a book like, He's Just Not That Into You? (great book by the way, I got it long before it was a pop culture sensation)

Do you give advice the way Nancy Wilson did in her song, Face It Girl, It's Over? (love the quote "when he glances at his watch... and it isn't late" in the song)

Do you play Deniece Williams' Silly, where she comes to the realization that she's been creating this love situation that isn't really there.

It's a tricky situation to watch and listen to a friend go on and on about someone they're into, but you see or know it's not what the friend thinks. Do you initiate the conversation? Let the friend ask you what you think? Wait until your friend is hurt and then tell them what you thought all along?

Happy Valentine's Day. And for those of you who are calling it Single Awareness Day, here's a list of 150 Songs For the Lonely from the Los Angeles Times.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love Poems, Yay! Psycho Letters, Boo!

Love expressed in the written word is great because it can always be referred to again... it's a visual and tangible reminder.

So I haven't read Nikki Giovanni's latest, Bicycles: Love Poems, but if her history of writing great poems is a testament, then I know this collection will be worth the purchase. Here's a review of Bicycles on APOOO Bookclub. You'll recall I love all things Nikki Giovanni, as I wrote about two years ago.

If you're more into creating your own love letters or poems to share with someone you're feeling, check out the LetterLover website, where this week many examples of love letters will be shared... you might pick up a tip or two for your upcoming festivities.

The best thing about writing love letters... someone will keep them and remember you with fondness (if the relationship/memories were good), or remember you with that cringe factor... well, especially if your "love" letter is more of the psycho kind that might end up on Psychotic Letters From Men. Folks... don't write or email someone when you're angry, sad, or mentally/emotionally disturbed!

Better to ask yourself, "What is the lesson in this for me?" or "What is this experience meant to teach me?"

Or just sit down with a nice Nikki Giovanni poetry collection for a reflection moment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barry White

Of course, what celebration of love week and Valentine's Day could be complete without the man, the maestro, Barry White.

He's no longer with us, but his music is forever. And wow, what a collection we have to enjoy.

Now, as I was thinking about what music I think is most fun to get romantic to/by... I mulled over Anita Baker music (which is on THAT iPod playlist) and I mulled over Sade music (which is also on the Get Busy iPod playlist). But it was Barry White's music that I put on top of that list.

My Barry White music affair really began in the mid-90s when his comeback song, Practice What You Preach, came out and was a huge hit across all the charts. It wasn't just the music that got me. It was that talking Barry White did in between verses that fascinated me... the story he was telling, the rap he was making, the wooing he was doing.

I think I headed over to the closest used CD store (grad school, no money, we bought used and saved for new beer) to find everything Barry White. I liked the music, but it was those talking parts that really floated my boat. Not like I was going to ever be able to imitate or anything. To this day, I don't know if my voice has changed, lol, but it'll never get to the Barry White bass level.

My Barry faves... for either the song, or the rap...

Love Serenade (Take it off... take it ALL off...)

There It Is (Don't say one word... just lay here...)

It's Ecstacy When You Lay Down Next To Me (no rap, just love the title... and the music which has been samples by EVERYone)

Staying Power (I believe his last single before passing on... with the line "I'm not going anywhere", along with another line I don't want to print here... but it involves the word lotion)

Long live the Maestro of Romantic Soul Music!

Monday, February 09, 2009

love jones

So I don't have a Valentine for the upcoming weekend, but it hasn't stopped me from feeling in a romantic and sentimental mood.

This film, love jones, is one of my all time favorites. Of all times. For real.

It's a classic black-on-black love story starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate, set in Chicago in the late 90s, and features upwardly mobile and artistic 20-something characters. Shades of Barack and Michelle in their early years, hmmm... Of course, what am I saying? We've all seen love jones like a dozen times or more.

One of my students asked me if I'd heard of love jones and if I had the soundtrack. I brought it in today and we all had a nice time reflecting... on love and romance. Those we've loved and those we've lost. OK... maybe that's a bit drama.

Besides all the spoken word pieces throughout the film, the music was just fabulous. Who still can't sing along to Dionne Farris' Hopeless, Lauryn Hill's Sweetest Thing, or hum along to Duke Ellington/John Coltrane In A Sentimental Mood?

Most romantic of all... that opening poem of Darius' that just makes Nina fall hard... A Blues For Nina.

Anyway, I'll be dusting off my copy of the film this week. And the soundtrack is already in high rotation again.

This is just the beginning... :-)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Note To Self

If you're wanting to start or enhance your journal writing, check out Note To Self by Samara O'Shea.

Heard about the book this morning while catching up on my podcast listening, this time the Tranquility du Jour podcast, episode called Musing on Journal Writing.

I've been keeping a journal since 9th grade. First started as required assignments for English class. Then, I realized I how much I loved it and I've kept up with it. The past couple years with the onset of blogging, I haven't been as daily with my journaling but I still keep up.

It's interesting to look back at my pages and remember my 16-year-old self, the sadness and happiness when my parents dropped me off at college, all the crushes and those I thought was "the one" (who defintely were NOT), and all the other ups and downs. I never worry if anyone will read it. Don't know why that's never crossed my mind.

I have always kept my journals in spiral notebooks. Usually buy a grip of them in August during the back-to-school sales.

Lately, I've printed out emails I send to friends and staple those into my journal. It's amazing the stuff we reveal and write to friends... and never realize it's a lot like journaling.

Anyway, note to self. Keep up with your journal!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Brown Liquor Saturday Night

The old folks used to say stay away from that brown (or dark) liquor. Ain't that the truth?

The State of California is in a major rut. Our state tax refunds will come in the form of I.O.U.'s. Our state employees are forced to take every other Friday off with no pay. And the state's credit rating and educational system is ranking at the bottom of the barrel.

Hence, time for a Brown Liquor Saturday Night. The one we're having tonight is actually not a sad/depressy one.

And my Brown Liquor song of the night... Come Over by Estelle. Love that song... so romantic and sexy to me.

But if sad/depressy is your thing... how about Last Call by Lee Ann Womack.

Anyway, hope your weekend is a good one!

Saturday Write Live

OK. I'm getting back into the writing groove again. And before I do my work today, had some interesting writing-related links to share with you.

One, since Pearl Cleage will be coming to L.A. in March (Cal State L.A. Student Union on Wednesday, March 4), I've been listening and reading a lot of her interviews. Here's a great interview she did with Ed Gordon on NPR a couple years ago. Another one with The Sowing Circle.

Does writing make you fat? Tess Gerritsen, novelist who also happens to be a medical doctor, shares her insights in her blog entry, Writing Books Can Make You Fat.

Showing vs Telling. ChickLitGurrl shares how to move your story forward -- Camping vs Marching/Hiking.

If you have the extra money around, Writer Conferences can be a great career investment. J.A. Konrath on Attending Writing Conferences and Conference Etiquette.

Speaking of conferences, I've always endorsed the VONA Voices Writers of Color program. Takes place in San Francisco at University of San Francisco every June/July for a couple weeks. Great for emerging writers in all genres. Very supportive environment too.

Finally, if you're part of or an ally of the Black LGBT writer community (lesbian, gay, bi, trans), consider attending the Fire & Ink Conference in October 2009 in Austin, TX. Sounds like some great things are in the works for the fall conference.

OK. That's all. Get those pens or keyboards working today!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

California Cute

The gym is the latest runway for fashion trends -- at least in L.A. Check out L.A.'s gym dress code, via L.A. Times.

The latest social networking site. Google Latitude. Add your and your friends' phone numbers, check out in real time where they are... think GPS technology meets MySpace. Trendy cool, trendy weird, or trendy "I know you weren't out with the fellas, now who were you with"?

And since black is the new black in L.A. and everywhere, go see some films at the Pan African Film Festival, which runs the first few weeks of February.

Need new music? Try the L.A. based The Antidotes.

That's all. Make it California Cute today!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Like An Elegant Wednesday Links

Can't believe it's mid-week already. Some things I'm reading or excited about lately:

One, Pearl Cleage, one of my all-time favorite authors is coming to L.A. in March 2009. She rarely travels west, so this is a treat. She'll be doing an appearance at the Student Union at Cal State L.A. on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 pm for a Women's History Month keynote address.

I recently discovered the blog, Afrobella, and realize I've been missing an online treat that others already knew about. I'm always late, lol.

It's Black History Month (in the official sense), though in my mind everyday is cause to celebrate. Here are some BHM Writer links from White Readers Meet Black Authors blog.

Finally, is an older man like an elegant wine? I'm convinced, now that I've heard Miss Nancy Wilson's song of the same name (An Older Man Is Like An Elegant Wine) from her R.S.V.P. cd. Check it out.

Go out and leave your elegant mark today and everyday beautiful people!