Activists Weren’t Born that Way

When I wear my Black Lives Matter t-shirt, I’m self-conscious at first then I forget about it until a middle-aged white man keeps staring or a woman my age stares and looks away and stares back to make sure she’s seen what she thinks she’s seen. And then I feel a bottomless well of pride for the activists who speak up and walk...

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After a Year, Enough

I have lived in shock for a year. I could not believe that a man who put himself at the center of the universe and tore down everyone around him in the ugliest manner possible had been elevated to the presidency. The vote of my fellow and sister Americans sanctioning his behavior felt like gaslighting, an attempt to convince me that all I saw...

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I Bet You do it Too

The first Community Writers Retreat I put together for Door of Hope Writing Group, the panel of facilitators was white. Every writer I’d identified to come and teach us about writing in an all-day conference was Caucasian. I wasn’t being racist. I was asking for favors: will you come—unpaid—to the Retreat and teach a workshop on writing? Of course...

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Writing as Hope

Romans 8:24-25 24 But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. I am working on a trilogy. The first novel is in the hands of my agent. He’s had it for two years. He hasn’t sold it . . . yet. This novel is THE BONE TRENCH. Here’s the “elevator...

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Tearing Apart Your Manuscript

I know, I know—I’ve been missing as of late. For two months, I’ve been holed up inside my novel doing everything I can to meet a self-imposed deadline for revision. The first of March, I received a reader’s report from my paid editor on JAZZY AND THE PIRATE. As you, my readers, know, I’ve been working on this novel since...

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It’s Not Anyone’s Fault Our Jails are Racist

The exploitation of Black Americans in my lifetime shows itself as mass incarceration. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not calling those working in the judicial system racist. I don’t blame the white woman who confused my Black friend for a purse snatcher months after the actual mugging took place. I don’t blame the police officer who arrested my...

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Don’t Fall for the Ewing Effect

Cast your mind back to 1982. The time is the NCAA Basketball Championship. The game pits the Georgetown Hoyas, coached by the brilliant John Thompson, against Dean Smith’s Carolina Tar Heels. The Hoyas’ star is the new phenom center Patrick Ewing. As the game opens, Carolina puts up a shot. The seven-foot Ewing soars to the rim and knocks it...

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Small Things I Do FWIW

I shop at the Family Dollar or Dollar Tree or the downtown Walgreens rather than the ritzy Walgreens because one does not have to exercise class privilege just because one has it. I choose to place myself in situations where I’m the only white person around—such as my Ob-gyn’s office—because I need to be constantly reminded of what it’s like for...

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How to be a Winner in the New Normal

I’ve never been with a winner. Well, except that streak when the North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA Basketball tournament and the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series and Peyton Manning and the Colts won the Super Bowl. That was an outlier. The problem is, I don’t tend to pick my “teams” based on winner criteria....

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