Wildly Improbable Goals

The Advocate began with a grant. One of our stated goals was: “Use the arts to change perceptions of people who have experienced homelessness.” How, the application asked, will you evaluate whether you’ve been a success? In a moment of honesty, I said to June Averyt, who was the Executive Director, “I want them to read our work and appoint one...

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Because I am a Woman

Before I was a liberal, I was a woman. Back then, in the 1980s and ’90s, when I was apolitical, when I could care less about Democrat or Republican, except sometimes I went out of my way to vote Republican because I wanted a two-party system in Mississippi. During those years, when I had little understanding of who was running for what,...

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STAX via Motown

The introductory film at STAX is brilliant. Before they take you to STAX music, they play some Motown. A little Temptations, some other choreographed groups. You’re sitting there thinking, this is fun, bopping along to the tunes. If you’re uninitiated, you may even be thinking, okay, Black groups—I get that. Then Rufus Thomas says, “But once...

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God, the Devil, and Popcorn

I put myself to sleep last night thinking about the worst pain I’ve ever felt. This cogitation was triggered by popcorn. Saturday, I was making a batch, fully aware that water droplets were in the pan. You know that bit about oil and water—so true. When I threw in the popcorn, grease shot up like a hellcat coming out of a burlap sack. I jerked...

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Bruce and Jesus – or God and the Big Man

I’ve written a book with no redeeming social value whatsoever except for one: it’s funny. I think of Trouble at Big Daddy’s Chicken Palace Emporium and Museum as my Bruce Springsteen novel. You see, I have this image of Bruce arriving at the Pearly Gates. Jesus is standing there, talking to him. Do you think Jesus is saying, “So, Bruce, what’d...

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When They Say Birth Control, They’re Talking about Me

Why every time I hear them say “birth control” do I erupt like a geyser? Because. For decades of my life the given was that strangers could control my sexuality. Legislators. Doctors. Health insurance companies. Employers. To be specific: male legislators—there were no females legislators back then. Male OB-Gyns, too, who would ask whether...

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Did They Say Birth Control?

I thought I could write about this, but I can’t. I thought I could turn my anger into humor, make some jokes about the contraceptive choices of those men on the Oversight Committee. I thought I could ask some interesting questions. But every time I get near this subject, it’s like barbed wire. My voice rises. I start sprinkling my...

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A Moment of Gratitude for the Handouts

I’ve just picked up the handouts for tomorrow’s Door of Hope writers retreat. Neatly typed up, professionally copied, they look inevitable. They aren’t. So much could have happened to prevent the creation of these handouts. The writers might never have arrived at the point where they could sit down and write. Even when they...

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Things You Might Not Want – But Need – To Know About Me

Things you need to know about me: * I still have my Christmas lights up, indoors * I am currently in love with Pogo Possum and the tads * One of my novels features a Mother Mary visitation, an infestation of Demonittes, and Jesus panhandling on the Union exit off Danny Thomas. Another features chickens. * I facilitate a weekly writing group of...

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