The official Black History Month is coming to a close. For me, given the sheer number of contributions African-Americans have made to this nation’s history and livelihood, I see this instead as ongoing, year-round. And for those who think that Black inventors were largely part of the past, I leave you with someone who has impacted the present–Dr. Mark Dean. He invented the PC as we know it today, by making it more accessible, user-friendly and affordable to the mass population. Without him, there wouldn’t be a Bill Gates.
As I prepare for my book launch and signing reception on Saturday, my roots in the Sounds of Blackness have been vocal, with “The Drum (Africa to America),” not only as I have gone through this day, but to a character in one of my works-in-progress. The song touches my heart, and I am forever grateful for the time I spent as part of this amazing ensemble.
This weekend touches me for yet another reason. On March 1, 2012, my father passed away. If I had to name a short list of those who influenced my passion as a writer, he was at the undisputed head of it. When I think of the best representation of African-American men, he’s right there among them. My biggest fan and my biggest critic, he always had my back. He was the first one to read Mark My Words; when he put his stamp on it, that was all I needed to know. I miss him. Right now, I can picture him looking down at the event with the people gathered there and saying, “You done good.”
Normally I review novels, but for today I will share some samples of my work. My writing community on Twitter has a forum called Very Short Stories 365, where one creates a short story or a poem within the confines of a Tweet, giving you a daily word you must fit into your story (prompt word). I must say, between the time I spend writing my novels, that it’s a great exercise:
While I stroked my salt-and-pepper beard, the sienna-skinned brotha holding court at the convention intrigued me with his game, swag, confidence. Yet, deep in his sensuous eyes, he knew that I knew he would be the one I will marry.
Mariah Carey haunted me for days with “I Can’t Let Go.” I wanted a husband, children. I finally admitted to myself what my parents knew all along when they told me, “If he won’t come out, get out.”
Her girly-girl pink dress embraced her medium-brown, six-year-old body with the vibrant flair of her personality. She knew who she was, a future Michelle Obama. My heart was overwhelmed when I heard, “Kasim and Terrell, Jayla is now legally your daughter.”
Sarah Vaughan serenaded Kwame with “The Nearness of You.” Jamar approached him with the hotness of Teddy Pendergrass, ready to “Turn Off the Lights.” In that moment, Kwame swore he would immerse him in a pool of “Love TKO” of the best kind.
“When I fall in love, it will be forever.” He teases me about Nat “King” Cole while remembering our first Black Gay Pride march in Atlanta. By my side, as always–sharing the love of holding our new grandson. Fruit of being good parents.
“The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” That’s my brick house of a man. Sweet. Strong. Loving. I could only melt on that London square when he said, “Derrick”–and dropped to one knee.
I wish you all an excellent day and good success. Believe in dreams and never give up.