Archive for January, 2006

I’ve Changed My Mind

January 31, 2006 | Writing

A couple of weeks ago, I was going to become a used car sales person. I’ve changed my mind, with all the uproar about James Frey and now, Nasdjii, I’m going to write nonfiction.

So, I guess I should come clean as to who I really am. I’ve shared this with my brazen vixens, but I’ll feel much better telling everyone. First, I’m not black. I’m white. I don’t live in the south suburbs of Chicago. I live in a gated community in Naperville, a northern suburb of Chicago. I’m not married, I don’t have any children. I bought the house in the south suburbs to give myself a more ethnic environment to write in, heavens knows there’s not much diversity where I really live. Sorry Sloane and Beth, I’ve been sending my black personal assistant, named Dorothy, to meet with you for the past couple of years. I pay her well, and she really likes the two of you. I look forward to meeting you some day soon. Oh, the pictures I sent you of my ‘husband and kids’? That’s Dorothy’s family. Right now, I’m in Italy, waiting for the Winter Olympics to begin. I am a writer, unpublished, but not for long. I just bought controlling interest in Harlequin and Random House, so I can publish any damn thing I want!

My first book, will be about growing up black and poor in the south. I had to overcome many difficulties, but I got my start in tv when I was nineteen years old. I was a reporter, and eventually I was hired to host, AM Chicago. I was overweight, but that didn’t stop me. My show topped Phil Donahue, and I starred in a movie. My show is now in syndication and I have several homes throughout the US. I’ve never forgotten my humble roots, and I reach out to my viewers everyday to better themselves.

Ok, so I’m not her, but hey who says I couldn’t write this story as nonfiction, but sell it as fiction? Apparently, that’s what Frey and Nasdjii have done. Although, I consider Nasdjii’s offense to be worse than Frey. To pretend to be of another race, to write a tale of woe, when in reality, nothing in your real life even resembles what you’ve written is insulting and demeaning. As we approach Black History month, I’m going to pull out the book, Black Like Me, and reread it. At least I know that story is real. Isn’t it?


Two For The Price of None

January 27, 2006 | Writing

Two Blogs today. I’ll be back with the raising a daughter one in a while. However, I had to share my new category term for writers. If you don’t write romance, mystery, or chick lit, you can now write the fictionalized memoir. It’s about your life, but embellished to increase the changes of publication. I was watching James Frey defend everything he wrote, except his own name I wonder if it’s really his name, on Oprah yesterday. He admitted the Smoking Gun got everything right about his novel. I’m told that Frey’s book was originally categorized as fiction, but since he couldn’t get an agent or publisher interested in it, he changed it to a memoir, and BAM! It was sold, published, and made a lot of money.

As if writers don’t have enough to contend with, as if unpublished writers, that would be me, don’t struggle to write an excellent story, cope with being rejected by numerous agents and publishers, keep writing through family crises and jobs that we hate, and edit until the lines on the page blur. Here comes someone who apparently wrote a very chilling account of addiction and salvation, and it wasn’t all true. The one thing he kept saying that Oprah called him was he kept saying ‘the characters’ in his book. Oprah challenged the word. Characters are in novels, fiction. NOT in a memoir. HELLO!

I applaud Oprah for apologizing and confronting Frey on her program.

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January 26, 2006 | Family & Life

“Congratulations, it’s a beautiful, healthy, baby girl.” With those words one’s life as a woman changes. It’s a bigger event than the half yearly shoe sale at Nordstrom. It means now you have a little bundle of joy, that shares all of your female characteristics. At that moment, when you hold her in your arms, and she looks at you, you consider leaving her at the hospital. I did, but only because my beloved child was born in December, in Chicago when the wind chill factor was 40 below. I asked if I could come back and get her in the spring. I was nervous, scared, and oh not so ready to be a mother. I was thirty my own mother thought I had waited, er partied, long enough and needed to have children before she was too old to enjoy them. My husband I were overjoyed with our new arrival and she was spoiled from day one.

I should have known she was going to have the best and worse of my gene pool, when her first real word, other than Dada, to me at eleven and a half months of age was “No.” I was trying to get her to put on her first pair of walking shoes and the little fat pumpkin, bent over in my face and said, no. I was in shock, my mother couldn’t stop laughing.

As I said, she was spoiled, but only in a good way. She was even tempered, sort of, as a small child, and really didn’t present any problems. She ‘adapted’ to the birth of her brother when she was six and a half. When it came time for him to be born, she was there with me for the first couple of hours in the labor room until her grandmother, my mother-in-law came to pick her up. My mother-in-law was shocked when she took her home, and discovered she could take care of her own personal hygiene without her assistance. I had taught J-Girl to take care of her self, since I knew I was going to have a C-section and would be in the hospital a couple of days. Mother-in-law told me she admired how independent J-Girl was.

Now, I’m not saying J-Girl is perfect. Her one fault is never knowing when to shut her mouth. She has to make that last statement, that sends her over the cliff, resulting in her crashing and burning. Then she’s pissed at you for letting her get that far. Independence is her big thing, as long as you’re there to back her up in case she’s got a problem and needs money or to be bailed out of a bad situation. She’s tall, lean, very attractive, and extremely book smart. Common sense is taking a little longer, and for about three years we weren’t sure she had any. Especially when it came to guys. As a mother, we know what types of guys there are out there, we’ve dated them! But a daughter doesn’t believe you, she has to experience it before she realizes you’re right. Sometimes, reality hits before something bad happens if you’re lucky, sometimes it doesn’t. I wore the color off my rosary beads, lit incense and chanted, and then considered becoming Tony Soprano’s older sister and having these guys wacked!

Mother’s have a sixth sense as to what their daughters are doing. My mother had it, it worked when I was in college, living at home. When I went away to grad school, it still worked. So of course, it worked with me and my daughter and she hates it. At times I hated it also.

When does a daughter first start to exhibit behavior that makes you want to send them to the highest mountain in another country, to be taught by nuns that still wear habits, and don’t speak English? It could be eight, for us it was sixteen. That’s when the veil of secrecy and lies begin to cover their behavior and you become Colombo, ferreting out information, checking ever word they say, who their friends are, etc. Ok, it could have been earlier, if I believe what she wrote in a diary, she left at home under her bed so the carpet cleaning guy could read it. He didn’t, I found it first. Hubby asked did I read it? Hell yeah, I told him. He said he wouldn’t have done that, but could I tell him what she wrote. My mother read my diary, she tried to be very mature about it didn’t work, she stayed mad at me for about a month.

I found myself in the same position my mother occupied with me. Deja vu all over again. Girls are Daddy’s little girls FOREVER. I was my father’s. Mothers are left to referee and be the bad cop. A role my mother filled. Did I know how to fill this role? Hell, yeah! As I told J-Girl, you may get away with 99% of whatever you’re doing, but when I catch you, you’ll pay. They also believe you won’t catch them. Please, master criminals – NOT! Been there, done that, done a lot more than she needs to know. A lot more than I want to remember, but it does make me smile. So experience teaches mothers what to look for. Freaks the kid out every time. Did hubby and I handle everything right? Nope, but she’s still alive and about to graduate from college. So, I don’t mind coloring my hair every six weeks.

How do you handle her Yasmine? Well, I drink, – not really. Today’s generation is about six years ahead of where I was at their age. I’ve been reminded that the music they listen too, with all the sex, is no different than the Isley Brothers or Marvin Gaye. I tried the keep your mouth shut and be around for them to talk to routine. Nope, that ain’t me. If I held it in, Mount St. Helen would have looked like a little bonfire. I said what I thought, we fought over what I said, and two years later, she admits I was right. She could’ve just admitted it earlier, and saved my sanity. But why make a parent happy?

Tomorrow, I’ll blog about the guys our daughters date. Urkel or 50 Cent.

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January 23, 2006 | Family & Life

Last Friday, I had gum surgery. Today, I felt like a released prisoner. It was my first time out of the hous. Forty eight hours in the house with hubby and son is crazy without the pain. Someone today, complimented me on my son’s tennis playing Sunday evening. I responded, “He didn’t play last night.” After the gentleman described my son, I realized that yes, he did go hit with a team mate of his.
I spent this morning and early afternoon, watching the daughter of the tennis pro I take lessons from win a major junior tournament. Oh yeah, I did run errands in-between the two matches she played.
So, now I’m playing catch up with my writing. I won’t be blogging until Thursday. Yes, I know you’ll miss my witty comments and sly humor but hey, jog on over and see what my brazen vixens are up to.
Thursday, I’m going to start a once a week blog on raising a daughter. For those of you who have young adult daughters, you can laugh, and cry right along with me. For those who don’t, or have young daughters, I say this – ‘Be afraid, Be very afraid.’
Later and keep writing.


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