Take Honest Criticism

I had a recent writing speed bump. Last week, I had my final meeting of the semester with my writing mentor, Manette Ansay. Before our meeting, she wanted me to condense the first 200 pages of my memoir to about 50. Amidst end-of-semester work, I scrambled to produce 8 re-written pages. The worst part was I actually thought they were pretty good. We sat down in our usual meeting place, and I could tell what was coming. “It just seems like you’re tired,” she said, sifting through my meager writing. “Finish up your finals, take a couple weeks off writing, …

Joseph Beam’s “Brother to Brother” is Healing

Had to read some Joseph Beam for Africana Studies and I’m blown away. Take a second to read this. Men need to take a break from competition to show love for each other.   Here’s a sample: “I am at a poetry reading. The brother at the podium is reading a poem about his running buddy who was killed in Vietnam. At the gravesite of his dead friend, the poet reminisces about the big fun they’d had, sharing bottles of wine and hanging on the corner. Only when everyone has gone and he stares at the mound of dirt that …

Thank God for Sweet Potato

I’m feeing pretty good about myself. At my campus job, there were two big boxes of luscious Mojo Donuts. And I didn’t have one. Bro, two months ago, I would have taken down at least two or three. No question. I would’ve also regretted it before I was done. The payoff is never as good as your mind says it’s gonna be. Stay on track! Luckily, I could text Fernanda about it and she texted me back saying, “STAY STRONG! STAY FOCUSED!!” So I had the lunch I made for myself: italian-seasoned chicken, rice, and sweet potato. As soon as …

Novel Update

Since January, I’ve been writing a novel based on me getting to know my Dad late in life and his battle with cancer.   I’m done with the first fifth, and it’s already 200 pages. I found a writing mentor at UM to help shape the story and she’s been a huge help. I usually just plow through a story with no thought to editing. My mentor recommended that I edit this first fifth, really nail it down to the essentials (70pgs max) so I have a solid format for the other four parts of the novel. I’ve never gotten …