Last night’s phenomenal version of The Wiz Live has me in the mood for some MJ. I chose “Ease On Down the Road” because it gets your blood pumping. Random Fact: Rumor has it (and it is only a rumor!) Diana Ross had a difficult time learning the steps to this scene, while Michael breezed through it. It was said to have caused tension on set. I don’t know about you, but I would have been just fine with MJ learning a dance sequence faster than I, especially because I am not a professional dancer. That is if it is true. IJS
Today’s choice is from The King of Pop’s early years as a solo artist. It’s sure to get you up and moving and help burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories! Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough by MJ!
When people in the US think of a holiday in the month of July, automatically the 4th comes to mind. I am here to spread the word that from this day forward everyone around the world is required to celebrate July 19th! This is the day that I entered the world kicking and screaming. I have always loved birthdays and believe everyone should feel very special on theirs. Maybe it stems from never having a birthday party until I was 39 years old or maybe it comes from only attending one birthday party as a child. Whatever it is, if I am around and it’s your birthday, I am compelled to help make it a good day. I feel this way for friends, family and even strangers.
My most memorable birthday was my 40th. My husband and I hosted a party at our home with a few friends and associates. I went all out and hired a dj, a bartender, a caterer and even rented a dance floor. We moved most of the living room furniture into the garage so we could have the entire room to party. The dining room was setup with a food station and cake table along with a few places to sit. The nook in the kitchen was transformed into a bar area where the bartender and most of the guests spent their time. I chose to decorate the party with bling, and the color scheme was hot pink and white. We even had a pink carpet. (The red carpet would have clashed)
The icing on the cake was my adult niece, who I am very close to, came all the way from Dallas, TX to help celebrate. I had such a good time and I danced most of the night, when I wasn’t drinking out of my jumbo martini glass. At midnight, the dj stopped the music and my friends sang Happy Birthday because it was officially my birthday. Then per my request, the dj played a Michael Jackson medley to honor the legend. This was the year MJ passed away and I am one of his biggest fans. This celebration was the best holiday of my life and I never wanted it to end.
Now that you have read my story I hope you will mark your calendars for July 19 every year going forward and celebrate with me!
*** NOTE*** I’m sure the creator of this prompt posted birthdays in jest, but I consider my birthday an international holiday.
Writing 101: The Things We Treasure
For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long – experiment with long form and push yourself to write more than usual.
After thinking and thinking and thinking about what would be my most prized possession, I have finally narrowed it down. At first I thought about my wedding ring, but I realized that was just a symbol. If it broke or I lost it tragically, I would still be married. Then I thought about something intangible like my self-worth, but the assignment clearly stated it should be an object. So, I decided the thing I most cherish is ……… Drum roll please……. my collection of books.
As a budding writer I value the works of writers that have moved me and I treasure their books. I consider books a gateway to life and I have a vast array of works in my collection. Let’s see, I have a sports section to honor my beloved Lady Vols, the autobiography/biography section because I love learning more about people I admire, the fiction section that allows me to escape reality, the non- fiction that keeps my mind sharp and allows for critical thinking, the educational section so I can continue to learn and last but certainly not least, the poetry section to fuel my creativity.
Sports: As a former athlete, I am drawn to books about my former sport of women’s basketball; however, I have chosen to stick to my all time favorite team – The Tennessee Lady Vols!!! The legend Pat Head Summitt has three entries in this section: Raise the Roof, Reach For the Summitt and Sum it Up. All of these are great reads, but my fav is the latter because it is her memoir. It was written after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia that ended her fabulous career as the winningest head coach in college basketball. (Not just women’s basketball) Arguably the most famous Lady Vols, Chamique Holdsclaw has two entries as well: Chamique and Breaking Through. There are also a couple of notable entries in this section that are not directly related to the Lady Vols like the C. Vivian Stringer penned memoir, Standing Tall and Lisa Leslie’s book Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You. Even though these ladies are not affiliated with Tennessee, they do have indirect stories that lead to Knoxville. C. Vivian Stringer is the head coach for Rutgers University and she is great friends with Pat Summitt. It was also her team that suffered from the stupid “Nappy Head Hoes” comment from Don Imus during the 2007 NCAA Championship Game. Lisa Leslie is a world champion, heavily decorated basketball player who once scored 101 points during the first half of a high school game. She was recruited by Pat Summitt to play at Tennessee and almost wore the orange, but chose USC after a racist incident during a college visit.
Autobiography/Biography: This section is home to books by and about Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, Condoleezza Rice, Robin Roberts, Bette Davis, Nelson Mandela, Dick Gregory and James Weldon Johnson to name a few. I just recently added the Dick Gregory creation “Nigger” to my collection and I can’t wait to read it. The title alone is worth reading it, but I also find him quite fascinating. I enjoy reading the more personal accounts of people I admire or find interesting. This section is one that will definitely grow over time.
Fiction: Doing this assignment showed me my collection is not as diverse as I thought. I reviewed some of my books and realized that most of the authors were African American. This realization made me question why this was true. I guess I relate to the characters more in these books because I have read what are considered “The Classics” and even though I like the stories and I like the characters, I find more of a kinship to the characters of such writers as April Sinclair, Keith Lee Johnson, Sapphire, Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker. One of my all time favorite writers was Octavia E. Butler who wrote sci-fi/fantasy. I absolutely love the main characters in both Kindred and Fledgling. Sometimes the familiarity of a character makes the bond between reader and writer very strong.
Non-Fiction: This section is small but packs a punch. It includes Red Summer, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, and My Life in the Klan, to name a few. Most of the books in this section deal a lot with history and some are cool table books with replications of letters or posters from the past.
Educational: This section houses religious books as well as how to books. I have learned everything from taking pictures to screenwriting and how to fold napkins properly. There is a slew of information in these books because I have always been interested in how to do multiple things. Since I was young I could never pin point what it was I wanted to do with my life. I have wanted to be a vet, a teacher, a coach, a business woman, event planner, film maker, actor, singer, photographer the list goes on and on. I finally realized me being so curious about all professions was research for the writer in me. You have to know a subject in order to write about it.
Poetry: As a poet myself, I love to read the prose of other writers. I especially enjoy Edgar Allan Poe, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Ntozake Shange. Even though he is not necessarily known as a poet, MLK made his words dance like a poem. I enjoy pulling out one of their books and reading the creations aloud. There is just something special about the spoken word.
My book collection may not be monetarily valuable, but to me it is one thing that I value the most because it helped to shape who I was, am and will become.
Writing 101: Day 3 Assignment: Celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping – and build a writing habit.
I have an eclectic array of music on my iPod and love listening to music. Anyone who has been around me will tell you I can’t sing, but that doesn’t stop me from bellowing out a tune like I was the best singer on earth. I just love singing along to songs on the radio, my iPod or satellite radio. If I know the lyrics, I am singing baby! That’s why this assignment is so difficult. How can I possibly be asked to narrow down my three favorite songs and write about what they mean to me? I will do my best, but be warned I can change my mind at any time about what songs are my favorites so my future me, like five minutes from now, will disagree with what I just wrote.
In no particular order, here we go…
First up we have “Shackles” by Mary Mary. This song has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life. When I need to purge and talk to God, all I have to do is put this song on repeat and sing! No matter where I am this song evokes emotion in me. It makes me cry until my eyes are red and I am so congested that I can’t breathe. It can also make me so happy that I dance and get my life! It all depends on what mood I am in when I hear it and it is an automatic response. I never have to think about what is going on in my life, as soon as I hear that music it’s on.
Next up is “Lady in My Life” by the one and only Michael Jackson! Now comes some personal stuff that I usually don’t share, but I was once in love with this man. There I said it. When I was a teenager I was head over heels with MJ. I had posters and pictures plastered all over my bedroom walls and ceiling. I was somewhat obsessed with him and I hated Brooke Shields because she was dating him in the 80’s. I still can’t look at her without a side eye. Anyway, “Lady in My Life” was from the Thriller Album and the first time I heard the song it struck something deep in me. I imagined he was singing to me and only me. This was our song and even now I have to stop and listen whenever I hear it. The lyrics are great and I always get a warm feeling inside as soon as I hear his voice. He could make his voice sound like an instrument and I could hear the passion with which he sang. The entire album makes me take a nostalgic journey back to my teen years where I was carefree and in love with love.
Finally, I must speak about “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen! This song always gets me weird looks because I am a 40 something black woman from the South and no one expects me to know this song, let alone rock out to it. Whenever I hear this song my entire mood changes and I am the happiest person on earth. Now if you know the lyrics and what the song is about you may think this odd and it is, but so am I. I embrace being different and this song takes me from the slow harmonic melody where I can sing a ballad like Steve Perry. Then the music builds and builds and builds over opera until the rock and roll guitars get loud and make me bang my head so violently that I have a headache when I am through. It makes me so happy to let loose and be free! I absolutely love being silly at home with my husband, but when I am out and about I never let my guard down. This song makes me, almost mandates that I act a fool and I don’t care who is watching!
So now you know my three songs, for now, and a little more about my personal life than I wanted to share, but you know what they say. No pain, no gain!