It was inevitable that fiction would choose me, that my world would become consumed by it. From the fairy tales my mother brought before me, to the fascinating living stories around me, to the nursery rhymes that incited such vivid images in my mind, to the billowing curtain in my childhood bedroom that, to me, offered pretty terrifying possibilities on the other side, my imagination was its own character from the very beginning. When I would hide in the library during recess (we’ll talk about that in another post; praise kind librarians), I would read. And read. And read. All fiction, all topics, all possibilities. A fiction writer was being born. By the age of eight, that writer came alive.
After messing with my dear father a bit about majoring in psychology while filling out my college application (“I want to be a shrink, Daddy.” “No; choose something else.”), I chose English as my major. It was always going to be English; I knew that when I was sixteen years old. Soon thereafter, I chose the concentration for my major: Fiction. For four years, I was ensconced in literature, stories, novels. It was like being in the stacks all over again.
I write poetry, these lovely blog posts, articles, the occasional play, a few songs…
But first and foremost, utterly and completely: I will always be a fiction writer.
What do you love to do that chose you? I’m curious to know…
Ever since my early twenties, coffee shops have been my true love. Many a coffee shop had me inside of it; ordering a cup, listening to the beans whir in the grinder; hearing the quiet hum of conversation as patrons did everything from chat with each other to type away at their laptops for whatever projects they were working on. (I almost always think the laptop-bearers are burgeoning novelists.) When I worked at my dearly departed Borders Books (see memories here and here), one of the areas I was assigned to, other than at the register or the info desk or shelving books, was the cafe. There, I learned to make a variety of espresso-based drinks, recipes that I still remember all these years later. It was, in a way, my first foray in working in a coffee shop. And I loved it something awful.
Naturally, I’ve always wanted my own shop. So in my mind, my shop would be called Adjoa on a Monday. Adjoa is my Ghanaian day name for ladies born on a Monday. The decor would unsurprisingly be rustic-y with a French touch; the French part is me, as you know, but I’ve also grown to love the rustic idea for a while now. Funny, huh? This Square Peg, who favored not-busy, not-busy, super modern spaces now longing for burnished wood finishes and Mason jar centerpieces? Girl, people be changing…
Image derived from Pinterest.
Image derived from Pinterest.
Image derived from Pinterest.
Image derived from Pinterest.
*All images derived from my boo Pinterest.
Anyway, further details about AOAM:
Free WiFi. I love the idea of people inhabiting that space and working on whatever their working on.
Open mic nights. At Borders, I freely took advantage of sharing my poetry with audiences. That college student had plenty of spurned-love poems to share, thank you very much.
Themed evenings every now and again. Paris jazz spot Tuesday. Speakeasy Fridays. Etc.
An assortment of staffers of different ages and backgrounds. This one is important to me. When I worked at Borders, a true pleasure was working with everyone from fellow college kids to part-time History professors and everyone in between. It was amazing.
A mini-bookshelf/donate-a-book area. Because you know books have to be involved.
More ideas abound. Will it happen one day? Will I venture out and start my own business and finally see this coffee shop of mine with my own two eyes? *Kanye shrug* I’ve never been ashamed or shy to dream out loud. Perhaps that’s the first step?
What thing/idea/venture/adventure have you nursed for ages? I’d love to peek…share it in the comments below.
I think that best describes how I felt when I heard that my favorite royal Ginger, Prince Harry, had become engaged to his sweetheart, actress Meghan Markle. I won’t even link to any articles about this news; if it’s the first time you’re hearing about this engagement, we just…we have nothing to say to each other. But I will at least share my favorite photo of the couple during the engagement announcement.
Fresh-faced, happy, excited. Love it, love it, love it.
Needless to say, I will be throwing a royal wedding watch party for my friends and I to enjoy and squeal and point and swoon over. Because we’re 12 and we don’t care. Very few things are happening right now in the world that cause any kind of excitement and joy, so this one is it. 2018 royal wedding, here we come.
What else do we need to talk about? Are you wondering where in the world I’ve been?
I’ve been here. Well, not per se. But “here” as in around and attempting to thrive and survive here in the Lone Star state. I’ll do a quick rundown of life so far in the land of Square Peg:
About a month ago, I moved into my brand new apartment. Interestingly enough, with good planning, moving doesn’t have to feel like spikes being introduced to your flesh. Imagine that. (Thanks a lot to my sissy, who is far more organized when it comes to that kind of thing and supplied advice and links to moving articles for my reading pleasure.) The process went well. And I love my new apartment. It’s closer to town and to my friends and my place of worship: good, great, and excellent.
I’ve been officially added as a paid contributor for The Maria Antoinette. Getting paid to do something I love, my dear reader. It’s surreal. Not only that, I’ve been invited to write submissions that deal with a topic I’m very passionate about: empowering women. My pieces will always deal with how a woman can look in a mirror and see her crown, and the journey to getting there if she doesn’t. Utterly grateful and happy.
Work is good.
I still love Idris.
Honorable mention: I’m still working on my other writing projects. My third collection of fiction. A book of essays. Another book of essays. An actual novel. When will I accomplish all these things, you wonder? I’m wondering the same thing. Apparently I must enjoy juggling. But hopefully 2018 will lead checking those projects off my list.
C’est tout, folks. (That’s all.) Tell me what you’ve been up to.
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.
I’ve been sitting on this news for a while until it was official official. And now…
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 these 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…
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.
Bon Friday, dear reader. Here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago after a pretty cathartic conversation with close friends. Because that’s how poetry functions for me: whereas fiction traverses the highways and byways of my imagination, poetry is every nuance and inch of the life I lead. Is that how it is for you? Let me know in the comments.
You, with your half flesh, absent of your complement,
I would give you the exact latitude and longitude to get to me,
but I didn’t listen that day in class.
I have no mind for coordinates, I cannot bear giving directions.
Just wherever you are, traverse the highways and byways and miles
it will take to reach me, and come as soon as you can.
You will be guided by air and wheels, yes,
but also by softly uttered prayers feverishly whispered in the dead of night,
when the slow passing of minutes spent alone no longer wish to be abided.
Your arrival will not be met with waving palm fronds and outer garments spread on the road,
for I understand who my true Savior is,
but trust that you will meet a joy so acute that it will sound like the releasing of a
As an author, her stories and essays have always thrilled me. But I’d like to discover her more as a poetess. Below is a powerful piece by Alice Walker. Enjoy this poetic Thursday, dear readers.
Be Nobody’s Darling Alice Walker
Be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. Watch the people succumb To madness With ample cheer; Let them look askance at you And you askance reply. Be an outcast; Be pleased to walk alone (Uncool) Or line the crowded River beds With other impetuous Fools.
Make a merry gathering On the bank Where thousands perished For brave hurt words They said.
But be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast. Qualified to live Among your dead.