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Last month I had the honor of listening to a collection of readings by the Haitian-American novelist, Edwidge Danticat. I like being in the presence of artists whose work I enjoy, and I also consider it a lesson, of sorts, on the various ways creative people show up and interact with their audiences.

On January 13, 2020, the day Ms. Danticat came to speak at DePaul University, her readings were sad and somber, not exactly what I had been anticipating. The day of her readings, however, occurred exactly one day following the 10th anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti that killed over 300,000 people. Given that, it’s little wonder that her chosen readings would mirror the state of her mind and spirit.

At the start of this week, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among the nine passengers killed in a helicopter crash in California. The news shook me with its abruptness, tragic finality, plus the knowledge that the deep wave of sorrow that consumed me, a mere fan, was miniscule compared to the pain and sorrow I imagined their families and friends experiencing.

I tell these stories to illuminate a fact that we all know intellectually, but conveniently choose to forget: Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

I took an unplanned break from writing and blogging as a result of experiencing a rough patch in my life toward the end of 2019. At the start of the new year, I put some processes in place that will, hopefully, better help me get through the difficult times in life so that I no longer completely cease doing the very thing that brings joy and satisfaction to my life.

What is the gift that has been placed in you by your Creator? Whatever it is, use it. Now. Don’t let your gift die within you. When life knocks you down – and it will – take time to lick your wounds if need be, but get back up and keep it moving. You owe it to yourself to make manifest all of the goodness that is within you, and in your own unique way, leave your imprint on the world.

Oh, and if you love someone, now would be a good time to make certain they know it.

Next: Organizing your writing and starting the editing process

Sometimes you have to stop and look back from where you've come, in order to move forward.

Here's to 2020!

Rest in Peace, Sister Morrison

Okay. I confess. I’ve been stuck. Not writer’s block so much, but just stuck. I was going along full speed then I came to a point where I didn’t know where I was going. Rather, I knew where I was going, but suddenly it didn’t feel right. Didn’t feel authentic. I felt the critic in me (that bastard that I urge you all to quell) telling me what I should do. So, I did nothing.

Taking time to take a step back from your work is sometimes necessary. Do not view this as failure; rather, view it as simply taking a necessary pause to ensure that you are heading in the right direction.

Toni Morrison died this week. I have been in mourning all week at the loss of this other phenomenal woman. I have been reading about her life, her work, her ability to write real stories for us about us, to let us know that we are good enough just the way we are. And as such, there is no need to try and make ourselves over in someone else’s image nor to seek external validation.

Prior to this week, I was thinking about abandoning my writing project, the one I started with you all back on the 1st of March. But after reading some of the tributes to Ms. Morrison, and in particular after reading parts of her acceptance speech when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by President Barack Obama, I had the sudden epiphany that I didn’t need to throw away the writing, only the title. Like the old folks used to say, “Don’t toss out the baby with the bath water.” LOL!

So, in honor of Ms. Morrison and the generous gifts she bestowed upon each of us that left indelible imprints on our hearts and in our souls, let’s continue this journey together… and see what the end’s gon’ be.

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