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 …

Meditation for Better Life

We live most of our lives in compulsive thought–one worry after the next. I’m gonna experiment with meditation to enjoy life more and focus on right now.  Take some time during the day to slow it all down, breathe in and out, really feeling it. Traffic might be a good time to try this. It’s normally a stressful situation, but you can learn to deal with stress in your life by taking it slow and paying attention to your breathing. 

Keep Going When it Hurts

When you’re doing your work, there are going to be minutes that seem to stretch forever. That was my writing today. And that’s okay. It’s like that sometimes. Embrace that some days, you’ll feel like you haven’t moved the ball forward. But the fact that you didn’t quit is enough. Some days, I fly through the writing (not often). Some days, I feel that at least I moved the story forward. And some days (today), it was two hours of suffering. Hey, but I didn’t quit. Don’t quit. Do it, then do it again tomorrow.