Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Remember

I can remember several occasions in which I was rendered speechless. There is no doubt about it, life can send us some curve balls. The question is how do we handle them? I grew up in a house were art was fully appreciated and encouraged to engage in. My mother is a big fan of art, creativity, and expression. In our household my siblings and I grew up watching classical greats such as:

On The Town (1949) starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra

Singin In The Rain (1952) starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

A Raisin In The Sun (1961) Sidney Poitier

The list is endless. I get excited just mentioning these classical greats! There is no doubt that these movies had a influence on me. I remember at the age of ten watching a particular movie. This movie was not like the ones mentioned above. This one had a different impact upon me, altering the way I'd viewed creative expression and life. Based on true events the movie depicted the life of a young African American girl and her brother.

Due to difficult circumstances the siblings were sent to live with relatives in the south. The little girl had a big voice at an early age as she was very intelligent. Her passion was reading and writing. It was clear she was destined for greatness. Sadly a tragedy had befallen the little girl, causing her voice to become silent. Literally. She stop talking for a period of time. What a curb ball. It seemed nothing could bring back her voice. Nothing except for the passion of the written word. It was a process but she did found her voice again.

Who is she? She is legend. She art. She is history. She is the great Maya Angelou. The movie was I know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I am a believer that everyone should have a quote or two to inspire them in their lives. Dr. Angelou's quotes are embedded in me, and I utilize them according to situations. Truth be told, I quote them just because. I am right now feeling still I rise. I remember watching a young girl (perhaps ten years old) performing this poem on “Show Time At The Apollo” I was twelve or thirteen years of age. I purposed in my heart, that one day, I too would perform that poem.

Immediately I set out to find out who penned that piece. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was the great Dr. Maya Angelou herself! I have been a fan, advocate, and admire since then. Thank you Dr. Angelou. Please do enjoy all over again “Still I Rise” below.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Friday, May 15, 2009

Author Stacy Hawkins Adams: Using Words to Enlighten, Uplift, and Inspire!

Every gift comes from above. God has in His wisdom given us a gift in Author Stacy Hawkins Adams. Her authentic love for God and people resonates through her books. If you have not ready any of Stacy's book, please go out and avail yourselves to as many copies as possible, give them out as gifts, to friends and family. You're not going to be disappointed. I had an opportunity to interview Stacy. Check out out our discussion below.

Stacy Hawkins Adams is a nationally-published, award-winning author and speaker. Her contemporary women’s fiction novels are filled with social themes and spiritual quests that take readers on journeys into their own souls.

She holds a degree in journalism and served as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade before turning her full attention to penning books, speaking professionally and writing freelance articles.

Richardson: Hello Stacy! Could you please tell readers about yourself?

Adams: I'm a lifelong writer who pens novels with characters that are like me and people I know - trying to live fully and faithfully, and trusting God to lead the way. Though we often fall short, grace is ever present. You'll likely recognize yourself, your relatives or your friends in my characters, and by book's end, I hope you will have laughed, cried and found yourself reflecting on how the twists and turns in their fictional world relate to your own.

Richardson: Do you remember the first thing you've ever written?

Adams: I can't remember the exact first thing I wrote, because I started writing at such a young age - 6. I often wrote short stories and poems, and I still have some of those pieces today.

Richardson: Rejection can be hard thing to handle for anyone. For me there are two T options to give up or get up. I choose the latter, as I know God can turn any negative into a positive. Stacy,how do/did you deal with rejection?

Adams: The Bible already reveals: Happiness comes from learning to be content in just about any circumstance in which you find yourself. Not that you’re happy because of a scary diagnosis or a failing relationship or an unsettling dilemma, but in spite of those things.

I can tell you from firsthand experience this is easier said than done. Deciding to be content, and even happy, no matter what, requires that we summon the strength to push through our challenges to find and focus on the bright spots in our existence, and to surround ourselves with loving people who are willing to walk with us when what we desire most seems so far from our reach.

Richardson: I am excited to read "The Someday List." This Rachelle Covington's story. The synopsis is: It looks like she has it all. A fabulous home, a handsome and prestigious husband, two beautiful children, and a place in the upper crust that's quite comfortable. But her life is not all it's cracked up to be. This is a topic many can related to. This christian fiction is a must read! Stacy, I got to ask, why do you write Christian Fiction?

Adams: I write Christian fiction because I want to introduce readers to characters who aren't perfect or preachy, but who are seeking to embrace God in their daily lives or understand how and why they need him.

Richardson: People tend to allow success to define them. The accolades, the money, the social friendships, and the awards. Although these things are wonderful and for some deserving, it ought not be what defines our happiness. If you can be completely happy, in the good and bad, then your successful. Stacy, what does success mean to you?

Adams: For me, success means achieving a personal goal and in the process, positively serving others or touching their lives. Significance is more important than the material successes our culture celebrates, because when we focus on significance, that means we're making a valuable difference in this world.

Richardson: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Adams: Get a copy of the “2009 Writer’s Market” and/or the "Christian Writers Market Guide 2009." Depending on the type of book you’re penning, one or both are a must-have for the serious writer. You can find these books at most bookstores nationwide and through most online booksellers.

Attend a writers conference. Many successful writers got their break in publishing after investing in one or more conferences and taking the time to follow up with the editors or agents they met and apply what they learned. There’s no guarantee that you will achieve success the first, second or even third time you attend a conference, but along with having an opportunity to network, you’ll increase your knowledge about the publishing industry, hone your writing skills and meet published authors who can tell you first-hand the rewards and challenges of pursuing this profession.

Read, read, read. Reading fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary work, and even the newspaper helps you develop an appreciation and skill for the written word that translates into your writing. Being well-read also helps you become more creative and broadens the experiences from which you can pull to craft compelling stories.

Find an honest critique partner or group and be willing to revise your work to make it the best it can be. Don't choose your mother, your best friend or your neighbor who loves to read, unless this person is also an excellent writer who's not afraid to give you candid feedback. When you receive a fair and credible critique of your writing, take it to heart, but don't take it personally! Be objective enough to accept the comments and/or suggestions and use what you learn to make the next draft of your manuscript, or the next chapter in your book, stronger than the last. Don't let the feedback stop you cold. Finish your project so that at the very least, you'll have something to edit.

Richardson: Stacy, thank you so very much for your words of wisdom and inspiration! I am looking forward to any and all your future releases. Continued blessings to you as you enlighten, uplift, and inspire!

Author and Motivational Speaker: Stacy Hawkins Adams

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers around the world. Like my mother, I aspire to become wiser with age. So, for my mother's gift, this I started in advance, as she is a peculiar woman by nature. *coughing* It seems that I have inherited that particular trait, myself. Like mother, like daughter? :)

I love to scrapbook, so for her I created the perfect masterpiece for her collection. Thank God. Too, I am going to give her some books, that both edify and stirs the soul.

I've listed some of my selections below.

The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry by Arnold Rampersad and Hilary Herbold.

Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen.

My Mother Prayed for Me: Faith Journaling for African American Women (Hardcover)
by Laverne McCain Gill.