Sean Combs, Howard dropout, to give commencement speech   

I’ll be there; that’s my sister’s graduation.

(Source: yourpersonalcheerleader)

A friend called me today just to talk.  That’s not something we do; we never just talk.  

I told her that the only circumstances under which she actually calls me is if either her world is falling apart or something glorious has happened, to which she responded that that’s because I’m her guy friend.  Men don’t do the inbetween stuff, they do big milestones.  She stated, in fact, that men don’t even do the inbetween stuff for themselves, unless they’re sitting at a bar or playing ball with their boys.  So she doesn’t call me for the inbetween, gossip stuff because I’m a guy.

Yet she’s calling me now.  

Maybe the women in her world don’t understand.  Maybe she remembered that I know what it feels like to lay on your mama’s couch with a degree that cost too much, that isn’t doing you a stitch of good, and that will only mean something once some time has passed.  Maybe I’m the only person in her world that knows that exact feeling, the need skip forward in life a bit so that you can get back to your purpose.  

Maybe she didn’t want to call a girlfriend who would inevitably ask about her failed engagement, about her failing job search, about her over-education, about her sick parents, or about the clear signs that her depression is more than a passing sadness and that it needs to be addressed.  Maybe she didn’t want to give another soul a reason to snicker about her joblessness with five degrees.  Maybe she remembers that she’s the one I called when all of these things were happening to me simultaneously, as they are now happening to her.

Or maybe her world is falling apart and I’m who she called because I’m that friend.

Whatever the circumstances, I’m honored I could be her friend tonight.

I knew the boys in my first novel…weren’t as raw as they could be, weren’t real. I knew they were failing as characters because I wasn’t pushing them to assume the reality that my real-life boys…experienced every day. I loved them too much: as an author, I was a benevolent God. I protected them from death, from drug addiction, from needlessly harsh sentences in jail…All of the young Black men in my life, in my community, had been prey to these things in real life, yet in the lives I imagined for them, I avoided the truth. I couldn’t figure out how to love my characters less…How to be an Old testament God. To avoid all of this, I drank.

Jesmyn Ward in Men We Reaped

adrianneshay reblogged your post Joy and added:

I bought Men We Reaped but I haven’t had a chance to it yet. These will be added to my book wish list soon.

I finished Men We Reaped a few days ago.  It’s a very sad book.  Generally well written, creatively constructed, and enjoyable (insomuch as that subject matter might be enjoyed), but it’s miserably morose and triggering, particularly if you missing someone.  I liked it a lot, but I’ll never read it again.

It was 2003. We’d gone crazy. We’d lost three friends by then, and we were so green we couldn’t reconcile our youth with the fact that we were dying, so we drank and smoked and did other things, because these things allowed us the illusion that our youth might save us, that there was someone somewhere who would have mercy on us…This is what it means to live, we thought…This is what it means to be spared.

Jesmyn Ward from Men We Reaped

A brief disclaimer…

Seven or eight years ago, I started working on a book of essays.  They were the pompous, conceptually trite, generally poorly written rantings of a megalomaniac in the making.  And as most things I wrote then, they were left unfinished.  I don’t want to pick those back up, but I have some new stuff that has some promise and I’d like to work on them towards some conclusion.

All that to say, it may seem like I’m deep in my emotions or going through something over the next few months, but the truth is that I’m working through ideas.  (It may also be true that I’m in my emotions and/or going through something, but I’m not writing about that stuff here anymore.)  

I’ve cleared my queue and most of my posts will be chunks of essays that I’m working on, that I might see how folks react to them.  I’ll transition some to my blog, some I’ll submit for publication, and others I’ll hold close.  I may collect them and shop for a book agent in 2015, if I feel comfortable sharing them en masse and am not embarrassed by their quality.

That’s what this blog is now.  

The posts will be sparse and what you see won’t be very “good,” as it’s me banging against a wall, hoping someone can help me make sense of what’s worked it’s way to my keyboard.  I’ll also be posting a ton of quotes from the stuff I’m reading that I find inspiring, most often not overtly political.  And when this project is done, hopefully by year’s end, I’ll likely end the entire blog as well.

If you’re here for the pretty brown girls and/or angry ranting, you’ll be better served elsewhere.  This is a productive space, even if only screaming to listen to my own echo.