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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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Writing

issa new contribution.

Yep, I’m basically going to tell you every time a write-up that I contribute to The Maria Antoinette goes live. Because of my enduring love for your support of my writing efforts. And because this self-promotion-as-a-writer thing (which we will discuss later) is a new goal of mine, and unlike my goal to avoid bread, I’ll be sticking to this one.

The new post is here.

highfive

As always, feel free to comment, share, dance with me, whatever you like.

This writing journey continues…

Confetti Explosions and Things of that Nature.

It’s official.

Like really official.

I’ve been sitting on this news for a while until it was official official. And now…

drumroll

I was chosen as a guest contributor for The Maria Antoinette, a beauty/hair/lifestyle/fashion website.

!!!!

That in itself was amazing to be chosen. But even better?

My first contribution to the site is now live.

tina

The excitement and gratitude is real, you guys. This here blog fills me with joy, of course, as well as every single thing related to my writing, my creative works, everything. But to see my contribution up and to read my words…it’s both unreal and super cool.

Here’s the link to my piece: https://themariaantoinette.com/2017/06/29/cover-girl-no-more-four-reasons-i-wont-hide-my-bathing-suit-this-summer/

Read, comment, like, all those things. But above all: thank you for your support!

*cue confetti*

Oprah.

What an introduction. Let’s get right to it: when Her Excellency was was still on the air with her daily talk show, I won tickets to be part of her audience.

oprah1

Back in 2011, I remember going on the official website for the show and noticing one of the upcoming episodes. The theme of the impending show was going to be all about best friends. (Title: An Oprah & Gayle Kind of Friendship) Made sense, given the longtime friendship between Madame O and her bestie, Gayle King. The requirement to be part of the audience was to write and send in an essay about your best friend and why he/she was wonderful. That was a no-brainer. I’ve discussed my bestie on TSP more than once. She.Is.Everything. And so I got to writing. Looking back, I submitted the essay with only a small twinge of excitement, being that 1) I was probably 1 of a million people doing the same thing, and 2) I didn’t want that level of disappointment if I didn’t get chosen.

Then I received an email on March 23, 2011. Yes, I searched my inbox for that date. And yes, I’m giddy that the email still exists. Bottom line, the main idea of the email: my bestie and I were invited to join the audience during a taping of the themed episode.

I reacted a bit like this:

oprah2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So at this point, dear reader, my bestie didn’t know I had done any of this. I kept it all to myself in case we didn’t get chosen. Welp, that didn’t happen. After receiving that email, I called her and engaged in the following conversation:

Me: Hey, are you free on April 11?
Her: Let me check…yes, I’m free. What’s up?
Me: We’re flying to Chicago that day to be part of the audience of the Oprah show.
Her: *crickets*
Me: Are you there?
Her (whispers): This better not be a prank.
Me: It’s not! I wrote an essay and they picked it and it was about you and me and our friendship and we’re going to see Oprahhhhhhhhhh!

Her reactions, from 1-3:

oprah3
1
oprah4
2
oprah5
3

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, by the time we got to three, we were both primal screaming on the phone. Flight plans to Chicago were made; outfits were discussed (we had been asked by Queen O’s team to wear colorful clothes that would show well on TV); mild disappointment was expressed because a giant rule was that no pictures were allowed inside the Harpo studios; and finally, more primal screams were shared. You guys, it was one of the best experiences of this life. And you know how Empress Oprah’s audience would go mad? I admired her, yes, but I just couldn’t understand the mania oprah6these women showed on national TV. Well, I can easily say that on that morning in April, as Oprah was introduced and walked out and waved at us and smiled: I. Get. It. I truly do.

Her presence: dynamic. Her personality: open and charming. Her overall nature: amazing. In the minutes between her walking out and sitting down before the cameras turned on, there was no change. She was the same onscreen and off-screen. She was also just fun. During commercial breaks, she joked and laughed and told us about her painful high heels…it was surreal. My bestie and I spent the entire time just like holding each other in disbelief and Oprah-generated joy. And yeah, we got some gifts, too. And food. It was incredible. I’ll say it again, and in French: incroyable.

But the best part of that whole thrilling experience, dear reader? It involved a years-long, amazing friendship with one amazing lady, that being my bestie, and it involved another love of my life: my writing. My bestie kept saying the following throughout the day. “You are a writer. It was your words that got us here. You are a writer.” It was definitely a boost in confidence with the mighty pen. Nevertheless, the topic at hand, why this woman was such an indescribable presence in my life, made it easy. I didn’t hesitate. The benefits of a worthy subject.

Got any thrilling moments with your bestie that you’d like to share with me? Don’t fret because Oprah isn’t involved in any of them. The comments await you below…

speechless.

flannery

Writing fiction has been a no-go, party people. And I miss writing fiction. Yes, I’ve written some poems quite recently (here and here, if you feel like reminiscing), but I am 100 percent a writer, lover, and creator of fiction. I don’t exactly know what’s going on. Let’s think it through:

  1. Is it because I haven’t given my muse other platforms of art to be inspired by? Honestly, living here in the Lone Star state is still very much a transition: personally, emotionally, and especially artistically.  I’ve yet to stroll down the cool, marble hallways of an art museum. I have been to a few concerts, yes. Most recently, I sat in the audience, tears cascading my face, while Alvin Ailey dancers took my entire life with their powerful, breathtaking performances. That was inspiring, absolutely. It got me writing. But the moment was kind of fleeting. Is it because I’m not exploring art more?
  2. Is it because I’m a lazy writer? Look, there are times when an idea comes to me and I start typing and…I stop. Because I don’t want to do it anymore. Because I don’t feel like it. Because I just want to read People Magazine online and mentally judge the choices of silly celebrities.  Because I want to scroll through Instagram and “happen” to find photos of Idris. Because because because. But real talk? Even though the distractions are awesome and it’s nice to turn off the creative brain once in a while, I feel queasy when it happens. I want to write. Is it because I’m not trying hard enough?
  3. Is it because I’ve run out of ideas? Notice above that I respond when an idea comes to me. So they still come. In fact, some great ones have come and they continue. So what’s going on, dear reader? Is it because I let some of them just sit there, unacknowledged?

I’m sure you’re sitting there shaking your head and muttering that some of these questions/problems have obvious solutions. Go to the museum, then. Stop being lazy, then. Acknowledge those ideas, then.

Yeah yeah yeah.

I just wanted to write this post. Get it? I just need to keep writing. Even if it’s not fiction. Maybe that will come. For now, just keep writing, Square Peg. Just keep writing…

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes Finaux (#28,29,30)

The final three poems. It’s been wonderful sharing this poetic April with you. Whether it was something I wrote or a classic, beloved piece, I was reminded of my enduring love of poetry, and I hope you were, too. Sometimes we moved in sync with the month, sometimes pieces came at you in bulk, like today. But here’s something interesting about today’s bulk: they’re actually in sequence, a series of allegorical haikus I wrote about the same person. (Does anyone else count the 5/7/5 on their fingers like me? If you also carry the 1 in your head, I welcome you, my kindred spirit.) I thought it fitting to end the last three days (4/28, 29, 30) with a three-parter.

Hope your National Poetry Month was filled with iambic pentameter and all that good stuff. 

Pomegranates for Persephone 

I. 
here’s some honesty:
as search parties mobilize
I’d rather stay lost

II.
of grain and harvest
reeking of cereal and corn
this life awaits me

III.
this mantle she wears 
back-breaking work veiled as gifts–
I ate willingly. 

National Poetry Month: Le Poème #27

Is she posting in real time? Yes, dear reader, your eyes do not deceive you. A poem for the actual day. Stranger things have happened.

I wrote this yesterday. Yay to moments of inspiration while waiting for a cardio class to begin. I should tell you that I’m a big fan of allegory. In artwork, in writing, etc. Regarding poetry, I’d gotten away from allegory when my poems became more of a confessional art form. It was my chance to just be raw and open without using literacy devices. But sometimes the muse misses the past. So here’s today’s poem, which employs my tried and true allegorical vehicle: Greek mythology. 

Athena’s Lament

The exit from a man’s head 
is no guarantee that I have free
entrance into a man’s heart.
You see my armor, balk at
my aegis, confusing my 
breastplate for the Gorgon itself.
And no, it’s not the loveliest thing 
in the world to see–Medusa was 
no beauty queen–but why aren’t 
you looking at me?
(Instead of my armor?)
There are times when I wish
this wisdom was transferable,
so that you could see that wars 
are about battlegrounds and not
about us…
I wouldn’t fight you, my dear, 
for the ability to think doesn’t make
me your enemy. 
If anything, I also like crafts.
Does that bother you, too?
(I doubt it.)
My house on the hill can crumble 
in ruins for all I care, we don’t need it,
we can get a condo somewhere–
just stop forcing yourself to push 
me away.
For by now, you must know
you must,
that I am strong enough to 
stop you from leaving. 
So make it easy.
Stay.  

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#14,15,16,17)

I’m starting to enjoy sharing poetry in bulk with you, dear reader. It really speaks to my lazy/I’m old and forgetful and wait, I have a blog?/I have a 1,000 things to do side. Forgive me. We do what we can, huh? Below are poems for the past three days and today. All written by me. Enjoy.

Oh and you’ll recognize some of these pieces because I’ve already posted them for your reading pleasure. I’m a recycler. *shrugs*

The Refrain
#14 – Friday, April 14

my constant refrain boasts the childhood belief of manipulating effect by wishing for the opposite to happen.
and so “you will leave me” escapes my lips with the hope that no, you will not leave me, not now, not ever, not when I love you so.
but I continue to carry the cool of the nonchalant, the unaffected, whispering the refrain as if I am discussing the rain or this traffic–
–hoping that you are not privy to this juvenile show and somehow confuse my vain wish for a future I would kill to keep from happening.
but you are not privy to anything, are you, are you, while my refrain echoes within the empty rooms and silent hallways of a longdeserted home.
Birthright
#15 – Saturday, April 15

Before I could even learn to appreciate you, I was desperate to shrug you off, this mantle that clung to the nuances of my dark skin like birthplaces and legacies.

You were the mirror I was ready to turn away from, the reminder that I was nothing like them; not mysterious and joyous, but something to point at and destroy.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Before I could even learn to appreciate you, they informed me that I was simply a location hoarder, not real like them, just the holder of an address that was not worthy of me.
You were the mirror I intended to claim, the reminder that blood and culture can be whatever I want it to be; not a clingy shroud of shame, but something to be proud of and accept.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Birth and death, accents and colors, time and memory: you are mine and mine alone.
Let them cajole and caw.
I bear it well and I bear it unaffected.
Like the solid stance of a landmass, a continent,
you and I cannot be moved.
Elegy/Texas 2
#16 – Sunday, April 16
I’m in the mood for you.
For your fanciful cowboy tales–
For your romantic sunset–
For that gleam of mischief in your bright eyes–
and for the sadness I saw in them, too, the kind that told me who you really were.
I’m in the mood for you.
For your arrogant understanding of me–
For your occasional inability to understand nothing at all–
and for the sadness I wanted to take away so badly, the kind that your actions couldn’t hide.
But moods pass.
So did you.
And sadness quietly changes partners.
Zelda
#17 – Today, April 17, 2017

so I’d like to believe that you
were his Daisy Fay,
holding him at bay,
until all that could glitter could
finally become gold.

and for a time, you
and your pretty egg were
the toast of the town,
flapping around,
drunk on jazz and roses.

but you forgot, didn’t you,
that such things don’t last forever;
that precious metals fade,
even our own minds betray,
when our own wings become clipped.

you could only flap for him,
as it were;
suppressing your own will
to write in order to remain still
as if he had a hold on history.

perhaps you were punished
for being his Daisy Fay
and holding him at bay
when all he wanted was you there
at the very start, by his side.

nevertheless, harbors do wear away
and lights turn from green to gray
and jazz music no longer plays—
when we are waylaid
by burials that rule the day.

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#11, 12, 13)

Playing catch-up. These are all classics that I’ve loved since I laid eyes on them.

This Is Just to Say 
William Carlos Williams
(#11)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
Harlem
Langston Hughes
(#12)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost 
(#13)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Credits for Classic Poems: Online Sources)

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#8,9,10)

The weekend ran away from me, as did poetry. But not for long. Apparently, my muse can’t abide by weekends. And yet she loves weekdays. What can you do? Speaking of her, below are my poetic offerings for Saturday, Sunday, and today. They share an interesting theme.

Weekend Haiku #1 (Saturday)

ah, what a weekend–
when i drink in all the sun
and forget to write.

Weekend Haiku #2 (Sunday)

it’s not an excuse
but my muse has attitude–
and off days, as well.

Monday Haiku (Today)

yet when Monday comes,
champagne and inspiration
all for This Square Peg.

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