I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my first collection of poetry, What Us Is. You can purchase here. Paper and Kindle versions are available. I made the decision to just put it out there as I’ve begun working on my 2nd collection and need to stop shying away from the risk of putting my words out there.
I’m proud of the menagerie of struggles, life lessons, stiff cocktails, sex, fear, and joy that brought this work to life. This collection explores the deep pain and profound joy of my journey thus far; from loving assholes to hating myself, from police brutality to partying in Memphis.
Oddly, I’m more proud of the cover than I think I am of the poetry. The cover is a print version of the mixed media collage that I created while home recovering from my breakdown. The piece features my grandmother, Oneida Felton, in one of my favorite images of her. I loved seeing her in her nurse’s uniform. She was so stately and classy; always polished and prepared to drench any disappointment in faith, fragrance, or food. Sometimes, even all three. I wrote a pantoum in her honor, “Grief,” that I included in the collection. Her spirit is ever present in mine because she literally wrote the playbook of how I learned womanhood and the art of sumptuous and soulful cuisine. Miss you, Granny.
I crave your support and your feedback on this work. Also, if you buy the paper copy you can download the Kindle version for free.
Brown Betty out.
I am closing some doors –
don’t be alarmed.
I am mining for
freedom in restraint
that makes sense.
Lighter feet see their way
thru gravel and mange.
My eyes are
to my addiction
How I’ve missed you all!!! Post-vacation, I was in the major throes of a work transition and spending real quality time with my babies. Having re-focused and almost re-centered, I’m here to blow you chocolate kisses and dive back into the exquisite mess of this life with you by my side.
With the encouragement of a dear friend, I have been participating in a project called Voices of the City. Sponsored by the Broadway Center in Tacoma, its purpose is to cultivate storytelling for Tacoma’s residents. Its purpose is to gather folks that normally wouldn’t work together, much less speak to each other, in a collaborative and creative journey which culminated into a series of stories from each participant. Although the big performance isn’t until October, we have the opportunity to practice rough drafts of our work over the summer. Last night was my night to do a run through of my piece. I’m getting nauseous just recalling it. Yes, I’ve written poetry for a long time. However, I rarely, if ever, read it out loud for others. However, in my very real desire to push myself, I chose to perform my piece as spoken word. I was daunted by the possibilities, mistakes, and blunders. But you know, my lovelies, I was far more excited about the victory, the triumph of overcoming a creative and personal barrier that had stifled me for a long friggin’ time. When I began to be overwhelmed by anxiety, I remembered this quote:
“When we are succeeding — that is, when we have begun to overcome our self-doubt and self-sabotage, when we are advancing in our craft and evolving to a higher level — that’s when panic strikes. When we experience panic, it means that we’re about to cross a threshold. We’re poised on the doorstep of a higher plane.” ~Steven Pressfield
Shit, who doesn’t want to be on a higher plane? Betty sho does. Here’s an image along these lines; I just love it:
So I slammed an incredibly strong Captain and Coke, and took to the small stage on the 3rd floor of the Pantages. Check it out:
I took a deep breath and let it rip. And it was fan-fucking-tastic. Yes, I got some work to do to really make this what I want; get it to its best. But for once, this was a risk I was so glad I took. Instead of taking a risk on others, I bet on myself; I bet on Betty. And I hit the jackpot like a fat rat. I feel braver and lighter, as if I’m coming home to myself. I just may buy another ticket on this lightning fast ride to self-actualization.
Are you gonna go my way?