When I Grow Up…


I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve given up on knowing, actually. I don’t think I really care. I just like to do stuff.

I have my professional career/day job, which is enjoyable.

I’m a writer, but that has more to do with the fact that I’m just constantly writing, than any conscious desire to be one.

I have my little graphic arts side thing going–and it’s actually going consistently, which is a source of great bemusement.

I’m still freelancing when I feel like picking up a job, and I’m dabbling in this, and that over there, and right here.

Meh. Why pick one thing? I still want to be everything when I grow up.

How about you?

Spring Break, Selfies, and Monkeys with Mustaches


It’s Spring Break here, and since B’s workload didn’t line up with taking time off, Thor and I have been staycationing. What have we done?

We have watched movies, like Die Hard.  Yes, language.  No, nothing he hasn't heard before--just usually in traffic.

We have watched movies, like Die Hard. Yes, language. No, nothing he hasn’t heard before–just usually in traffic.

We drove down to San Antonio to visit family, and stopped at Buc-ee's.

We drove down to San Antonio to visit family, and stopped at Buc-ee’s.

We took selfies in the hotel lobby.

We took selfies in the hotel lobby.

And I took moody portraits in the hotel room.

And I took moody portraits in the hotel room.

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And Thor, and I walked the river walk, then took a boat tour.

And Thor, and I walked the river walk, then took a boat tour.

and I asked him to pose for a bajillion pictures.

and I asked him to pose for a bajillion pictures.

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Then, we came home and went to 6 Flags, and waited in line for 2 hours per ride.

Then, we came home and went to 6 Flags, and waited in line for 2 hours per ride.

And Thor sat on my back for a good part of the day.

And Thor sat on my back for a good part of the day.

This is his, "I rode the Shock Wave," face.

This is his, “I rode the Shock Wave,” face.

He got a Superman cape, and we went home.

He got a Superman cape, and we went home.

Where we gathered a bunch of craft supplies, the next day, and I taught Thor to sew his own teddy bear.

Where we gathered a bunch of craft supplies, the next day, and I taught Thor to sew his own teddy bear.

We started by making a pattern for my Mustache Monkey.

We started by making a pattern for my Mustache Monkey.

Cutting him out.

Cutting him out.

Marking his exterior seams.

Marking his exterior seams.

Sewing on his eyes.

Sewing on his eyes.

Making a pattern for, then cutting out, then gluing on his mustache.

Making a pattern for, then cutting out, then gluing on his mustache.

Before starting to stitch him up.  I have no idea what this stitch is called, but it looks like gingerbread icing when it's done.

Before starting to stitch him up. I have no idea what this stitch is called, but it looks like gingerbread icing when it’s done.

While we were stuffing him, his mustache fell off.  We glued it back on.

While we were stuffing him, his mustache fell off. We glued it back on.

And he was pretty cute for a 30 minute monkey.

And he was pretty cute for a 30 minute monkey.

Thor made a red bear with just a little bit of cutting help.

Thor made a red bear with just a little bit of cutting help.

He thought stuffing the bear was the most fun.

He thought stuffing the bear was the most fun.

And with his finished product, he had learned to make a pattern, cut fabric, sew buttons, stitch a seam, and stuff a bear.  Next up, we're making a green bear with a blanket stitch.

And with his finished product, he had learned to make a pattern, cut fabric, sew buttons, stitch a seam, and stuff a bear. Next up, we’re making a green bear with a blanket stitch.

That’s as creative as we’ve been. Not bad for a week’s work!

Updates


I’ve been too busy to write much. Sorry about that. Spring Break is on the horizon, though, so maybe I’ll have a chance to sit down and spare a few moments.

The new romance novel, Playing All the Angles, is in the hands of the copy editor, and it’s looking like I should have a galley to review in April.

The next Destinee is actually coming along nicely now. Hopefully, I’ll have that in Arwen’s hands by May.

It is funny how quickly time slips away.

Nothing else exciting going on.

The Seduction of Inadequacy


I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty. Black beauty. Dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words. I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no consolation: She’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then Alek Wek came on the international scene. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful.

My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me. When I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty, but around me the preference for light skin prevailed. To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade to that beauty.

That’s Oscar nominee, Lupita Nyong’o on beauty. (source)

I’ve read this over and over again since first seeing it yesterday. Enjoying the seduction of inadequacy. Trying to eat beauty. Trying to rely on something fleeting for sustenance. I love this speech.

I just wanted to be sure you saw it, too.

Selfie Love


Somewhere in the last few years, I have started hating to sit for portraits. I used to love it. Now, while I don’t mind candids, or family photos, I really, really hate sitting for my own studio portrait. This is why I have put off having new headshots, and why I used selfies for my last book’s media kit. This is also how I ended up having my head framed by a toilet in my last book’s media kit, when I accidentally fired off the unedited version of the photo in question.

So… New pictures.

I look terribly disdainful in every shot. “Read my book? Ha! As if you even could.” I was trying for friendly, while also trying to hide my teeth and remember not to smile so that my eyes squinch up into oblivion. Guess what? Bugging out one eye and stretching your lips over your teeth does not read as “friendly” to the camera.

Hiding my teeth smile.

Hiding my teeth smile.

That is the friendliest of the bunch. Bless my heart.

Anyway.

(I prefer my selfies.)