Imani Wisdom's brainchild -- Pink Noire Publications -- has been known for her unpredictable style of storytelling. Now its founder is expanding the "pink and black" brand to shine on prolific artists. From the inspirationalist, Danica Worthy to bestselling author, Stacy Deanne, Pink Noire understand these talented individuals know how to express their craft through words, song, dance, and stroke of a brush.

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I Bend, But I Don't Break!



I once have had,
and now it’s gone
You can’t bring back
yesterdays,
or cry what has been
Echoes of old laughter
flood my mind
Despite the swelling feelings
brewing inside
Choose to run or hide
but I hold my head
up high..,

I smile

Stretchin’ that dollar
from fifteen cents
for bills
for food
for clothes
and yet sometimes
you just don’t know
when the unexpected
happens
Still, from all it said and done...

I smile

How can someone smile
despite waking to clouds
of uncertainty?
Staying optimistic when the rain
won’t stop,
or hurried winds sweepin’ your mood
How can anyone stay positive
when life is cruel?
Well, I don’t know ‘bout you,
but I smile

If darkness arise from nowhere
Lift your head unashamed
Weeping is temporary,
but joy comes in the morning
 You think you’re breakable
when in truth you only
bend
Straighten yourself up, my friend
and smile

How can anyone smile knowing
their life’s out of control?
Or question God’s intention
and significant role?

How can anyone continue to dream
when doors are jammed shut?
Or thing when goes awry and nothing
what it seems?
Or the proverbs of their words
taste bitter than sweet?


Yet there’s always a reason to smile .Nothing, no one, not even the worst of my enemies can stop the sunshine. I smile because I want to, not because I can. My smile represents my strength, my inner bond. It’s a shield against doubts, as well as signifying I’m charge of my life. As long as I have breath in this body, my defining moments will be the ones I create, and not the destructive thoughts from man. And that’s what freewill is about – making your choices. So, I choose a simplistic form of healing that never cost a dime; it’s effortless as you’re breathing right now – I choose to smile. 

©Imani Wisdom, 2013

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How This Little Girl Coped With Awkwardness



I remembered being the shy and quiet kid in grade school that stayed to herself because being around people was an uncomfortable experience. My big, round head, skinny, iddy-biddy legs, and glasses with bifocals (yes, bifocals at five year old), didn't help my awkwardness. I got teased, horribly. And to add insult to injury, I had a speech impediment.

Yes, I was one of those students you would see in the movies who gets thrown in their locker; or get tripped by the class jocky-jerk in the cafeteria while carrying a tray of food; or become a victim of innovative name-calling (or joning, in my later academic years); or find herself isolated not because she wanted to, but because no one could connect with her. I mean, I even thought being left-handed was strange.

My escape from the cruel and unforgiving world at that time was my vivid imagination. Those very images of whatever or whoever was my solace, and safe to say, still is. But I’d often wondered the disconnect I had with others. Of course I had a friend or two, and then later in high school I hung with a small group of quiet and reserved students like me but not with the popular cliques. Looking back on it, I find myself in the midst of quiet company today. Perhaps I haven’t outgrown the awkwardness, just find it comforting.

This trend, if you want to call it that, frenzied through my adult years. The unforgettable twenties – a time period we thought we knew it all, and most likely tried to do it all. The unimaginable thirties, when life reminds you aren't twenty anymore. And of course, the forties, when you look back the last twenty years and ask yourself: “Did I really do that?”

For me when I look back and remembered the years of awkwardness, being uncomfortable in large crowds, or having me time like an event for the ages, I thought they were antisocial tendencies, a desire of not wanting to be around people. Then one day I read an interesting article about the traits of introversion and career choices.

Introversion, according to the Free Online Dictionary, is the directing interesting inwards towards one thought and feelings rather than towards the external world or making social contacts, or the act of directing one’s interests or to things within self. However in Imani’s world: I don’t see people or conversations in black and white; I see everything as an in-between, straight-forward without small-talk, and yet sit back and quietly observe the minute details of living things: The way people carrying themselves; such as, speaking, their body language, and even how they blink.


In retrospect, I've done all of those things, including daydream my way through twelve years of grade, middle, and high school. My introverted personality became an open door to many opportunities. Sounds crazy, but it has.

Another thing I've learned is the difference between shyness and introversion. Shyness, according to Susan Cain of Psychology Today, wrote, “Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments”. The vast misconception of these traits isn't unusual. I didn't comprehend the definitions until later in my adult years, and even then I had the notion of introverted-souls were creepy for the outlandish.


Now that I've reached the fabulous age of forty-two, I've come to terms of who I am. I’m a lot more than just a writer and storyteller, but been blessed with a unique personality. I used to ask God what was wrong with me: Am I a defect. Why do I feel ill at ease around people?

But you know, I had to stop questioning His intention and live life. My introverted personality was by far no accident whatsoever! And it also don’t matter what others think, but how I respond.

Wouldn't it be something else if I go back in time to that bighead kid with skinny iddy-biddy legs, and look into her heavily-lined bifocals to tell her she isn't strange or awkward. Then I will also add: Continue to daydream and act out those daydreams into stories with your dolls. Because you just never know, your imagination could just payoff. 
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What Do These People Know About Success?



Have you ever had – as one-time Queen of Talk would say – that “ah-ha moment’? Well mine felt more of a KAPOW between the eyes.

I was doing one of my morning rituals – reading from one of my favorite online newspapers, and low and behold, I became befuddled from the first line of an article – Success: What does it means to you?

As simple as this question may be, I knew I could answer it in one breath, but I couldn't. So I stared at the question, as though as my computer could reply for me – hoping anything would kindle a slightest idea or thought, but nothing.

I was so determined to answer this question that I prayed and meditated for an answer that would satisfy my heart. Then while doing my usual morning run it finally hit me – success should not be by its definition(s) alone. However, according to the Free Online Dictionary website:

1. The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work.
2.
a. The gaining of fame or prosperity: an artist spoiled by success.
b. The extent of such gain.
3. One that is successful: The plan was a success.
4. Obsolete A result or an outcome.

These definitions are well and good, but it’s meaningless if it doesn't come from the heart. And that was the problem I had: No heart.

So I went to the wonderful, world of social media to ask others this same question. And the response I've received was tremendous. Here’s what some had to say:

From Facebook:

Ernie Eans says - Success to me means that I can wake up everyday and be able do what I want and need to do and be able to look at myself in the mirror and say Job well done at the end of the day!

Author C. Michelle Ramsey says - Success means that I am walking in the destiny that God has ordained for me. That each day I am making my difference in someone's life no matter how small it may be. It may come through a word of encouragement, inspiration and empowerment through my stories, or something that I did that affected someone. Success means that whatever, goals and dreams I have set for myself I am progressing towards accomplishing them.

Author Tamyara Brown says - I believe success is being able to support yourself financially but also be able to be blessing to someone else. Being able to still be humble no matter the awards or accolades while lending your hand of help to up and coming artist. Success means overcoming those days you cried, ate Ramen noodles and still persevered.

Gibran Tariq Ali says - After spending 35 years in some of the toughest prisons in the country, success, for me, is the acknowledgment that I survived some of the harshest conditions known to man and yet I never lost sight of my dreams.

Kat Blu says - Success for me means being able to live authentically, true to myself (my values, my convictions, my joys) without requiring a "thumbs up" from others to do it. It means prospering in a way that enriches my life and the lives of others (i.e, win-win) and leaving behind a legacy (no matter how small) that contributes to making the world a better place even after I've left this plane of existence. (Success also means the little daily efforts made to accomplish the above.)

Kai Kaiology Mann says - For me success means that I am living my life in the fullness there of. That I am able to be myself, not worry about the next person, run my own race, and know that I am doing all that I can do to live out my purpose.

Hasan Malik says - Success is the ability to be totally honest with yourself, realize your shortcomings, and the wherewithal to become a better you... Smarter, wiser, more in tune with the world around you, and use the accumulation of knowledge in past achievements and failures in order to master any endeavor or pursuit. A defeatist believes that the end or loss of something is a reason to give up... A forward thinking or success minded person believes that the end, loss or failure of something is a new beginning and an opportunity to perfect or do something better.

Author Angelia Vernon Menchan says - Success is staying true to the integrity of who I am and making a difference in the life of others. Every time a mentee says Ms. A thanks for being there and truly listening without judging, I'm successful.

Radio Host, Smooth Drama says - Success is being comfortable in your own skin and being able on the regular to appreciate all the blessings you have bestowed and been bestowed upon.

From Twitter:

@aothitis says - striving to spread love care and joy to especially the children and people of the world

@Chicki663 says - 2 me, success means being free 2 do what I love, creating stories readers love and getting financial benefit from my work.

However, Cheryl Wells- Gordon from Facebook said it best:

Success for me, is being able to look back and say, I accomplished everything I said I would! To touch those dreams that were so far away when I was younger. To have loved so much and have been loved by so many. Being able to remember the good, the bad and the ugly and what kind of person it has made me today. To the young people, success isn't only about money. It's what you have done to prosper in life.


After reading these great answers, I've come to my own conclusion about success. For me if you can wake up in the morning with no regrets, subject to failure; and yet back on your feet; look back on the past and understand it’s only the past; putting fear aside for new journeys; finding your happiness, learning to forgive, accepting responsibility, and making conscious and positive efforts to make changes in your life, then to me that’s success. 

So what about you? What does success mean to you? Share your answer in the comment section. Who knows I may repost or retweet it on Facebook and Twitter. 
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A Message to the VIP's!



The other day I was perusing through my hard-drive and noticed the progress I've made in my writing. The growth in my storylines and characters were amazing, especially skimming through the pages. But I also noticed something else – all were completed, and the ones that weren't were at least to 50,000 words or more. Then it suddenly became apparent that my hard-drive was not a place to store my creative ideas but becoming a library of unpublished work. And, for me, that’s not a good thing.

The longer I gazed at one of my titles, the further my heart sank. My self-confidence, along with my namesake – faith (which means Imani) – had come to a sudden halt. Everything I’d believed up to that moment had crumbled into tiny, depressing pieces. So much so, I felt I was running backwards in a marathon on a slick oil surface, while my colleagues were happily skipping through the meadow to the halfway marker.

However and without over-dramatizing the situation, I’m at a better place than I were weeks ago. No, I haven’t inherited any money; nor found an agent – nothing remotely close. I discovered a common-sense approach to work though the chaos: learning to let go.

Now when I mean ‘letting go’, I don’t mean giving-up. The definition itself means to verbally act in defeat. And, this journey has far defeated me. When I mean ‘letting go’, I mean allowing God, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, or the Higher Power to take control. Truthfully, no human soul has ever met success alone. Your favorite celebrities didn’t make it to stardom by themselves. When these celebs win an accolade or an award, what’s in most of their acceptance speeches? I want to thank soing-so, like managers, agents, mentors, and fans, right?

Let me give you an example about letting go: The Journey of Ruthie Belle – my soon-to-be freshmen novel, my baby, and my fourth child. The editing has been completed, it’s been typeset, and proofread, and all it needs is to be printed. The intended release date was suppose to have been during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (August 28). It would have also marked an approximately one year of Zion’s Road release, as well as the grim anniversary of Emmitt Till’s brutal death. With the release of TJRB during that week would’ve not only been perfect, but if you guest-read the manuscript along with reading of Zion’s Road, you would’ve discovered my hidden inspirations.

I won’t get into details as to what has happened. However, I will say being an indie author in an already fickle business is tough. Things will go awry when we least expect it. Having said that, TJRB is not dead – actually it’s ready for release but it has to overcome one more hurdle. And as soon as I achieve that goal, I will let you, the VIP’s, know a definitive date.

Weeks ago I grew weary for fear of disappointing you fine people. But I realized after the tears and lots of prayers, I had to let it go and to put it in the right Person’s hands. I mean…hello…He gave me the talent to write, so I’m sure He knows what He’s doing.

So please don’t give up me on yet, the ride has only begun.


Love,


Imani Wisdom
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WHAT NON-POETS DO WHEN WE'RE BLISSFULLY CONTENT



My beacon that shines above
that illuminates a weary soul.
You’re a blessing with no disguise;
a right thief that comes gently
into the night.

How long has it been?
Days turned to weeks;
then weeks turned to months
Now years?
And yet, you’re still here;
patiently waiting for that day
when you and I are more than you and I
When two souls emerge into an infinite one.

You’ve shown me patience
You’ve shown me kindness
You’ve never, ever, boast
You’re never, ever, been the type to self-seek
You’re just a man, a unique man
Who flaws I adore more
than the rest of your perfections.

I care for more of who you are
than what you are.
I heed to your grace;
the darkness of your skin
Your exquisite smile
Your God-fearing ways
And yet I’m waiting for that day;
when saying those words,
those ever precious,
sacred words
rolling from my lips
onto yours
with a thunderous, yet sweet kiss.

To be bound by your soul
To be enamored by your wit
To be enthralled by compassion
I hunger for your desire
I yearn for your strength

You’re my midnight
as I’m your stars,
painting through the sky.
With a stroke of destiny’s brush;
allowing the wind to create something
special
perhaps, a prelude to such

Still, you’re a man who’s never been proud
Not easily-angered
or point out wrongs
You’re just man, a unique man
who rides on hope when it’s rare to hope
who’s faithful when faithless is the trend.
A man who I respect,
my lover, my best friend.

I’m not a poet by heart
Hopeless romantic on occasions,
but a woman with this expression
that run deep,
deep beyond any emotion.
Feelings are so overwhelming
they’re like a riveting potion

So, yes, I feel the same way
And still hoping to the day;
when you and I becomes an infinite one.
Blissfully content.
Blissfully done.

To be continue…


©2013, Imani Wisdom
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C. Michelle Ramsey Ask 'Is The Grass Really Greener?'


*CONTEST IS CLOSED

 I have one word for this talented author: Genuine. Year ago I’d taken the liberty to meet this wonderful writer when she reviewed my novelette, Zion’s Road. Though it wasn't her kind words I received in her review I found her fascinating, but her innate spirit. So I’m pleased to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger – C. Michelle Ramsey, the author of the new book, Is The Grass Really Greener? Also, show some love by leaving a comment on this post. By doing so, you’ll be automatically qualified to win a free copy of this new release.

IS THE GRASS REALLY GREENER?

Five women, five lives, five secrets. Each woman is battling her own personal demons, and hiding a secret from her friends and family.

Each of them envies another's life, wishing her life was different, wishing she had what the other woman had. But what happens when what appears to be real, is all a fa├žade?

Battling breast cancer, single parenthood, infidelity, the loss of a child, and managing the single life, can become overwhelming for these ladies.

Not satisfied with their lives, looking for something better, they contemplate alternative choices to improve their lives; crossing over to the other side of the fence is a very real possibility. We can't see beyond the choices we make, but we must be held accountable for them.

And after they have crossed the fence, they realize two things simultaneously. Yes, the grass was greener on the other side; and also their grass could have been just as green had they taken care of it. 

EXCERPT:
Courtney found herself nodding her head to the beat of the music, more than she was focused on her report. Anita Baker’s “I Apologize” was on the radio playing softly in the background on KSTORM. She had to get this report done for tomorrow morning’s budget meeting. Stretching back in her chair, she let out a long yawn and shook her head to shake the sleep off. It was 11:55 at night and she knew that she had to be up at four in the morning. But these numbers just weren’t shaking out right.

The right thing to do would be to put it away and go upstairs with Nate and go to bed. She found herself going to bed after her husband more and more these days. She used to be the one who was knocked out by eight or nine o’clock, but not anymore. Some nights she was still up until two or three in the morning, if she didn't have an early day at the office. Nate didn't question it, because he didn't want to be bothered with her anyway. She couldn't remember the last time they had sex. She stopped to ponder that thought, had it really been five months now? Damn, it had. Seems as if she was always attempting to get him in the mood, and the last time she had done that he had brushed her off and he didn't show even the slightest interest in her.

“Lonely hearts, find someone to love. Fellas, take care of your women; remember to love them long and strong, ‘cuz if you don’t, another brother will. And to all my lovely ladies, I’m wishing you a good night out there in the ATL; thanks for spending another night with me. And come back tomorrow for another night of love with Hypnotiq on the Storm.”

And with that he blew his traditional kiss and Pierce was off the radio for the night. As if this were some subliminal cue, Courtney closed her folder, switched off the radio on the bookshelf behind her, walked over to the doorway, switched off the light in her office, and walked upstairs to her bedroom. She was halfway up the steps when it hit her.

Damn, she thought to herself, I’ve been staying up half the night every night to hear the voice of a stranger. I’m falling for a man who I don’t even know. She started walking back down the steps to her office and flicked on the light and sat in her chair behind her desk.

Courtney furiously ran her hands through her hair shaking her head in disbelief. What the hell is this? I’m falling for a man I don’t know? He’s a kid from the old neighborhood that’s what it’s got to be. He brings back pleasant memories for me at this rough time in my life. Hell I had one cup of Joe with this man and ran into him at my art exhibit, and I sit up every night to hear his voice on the damn radio, how pathetic am I? He might have a girl, hell for all I know he might not be interested in women anyway, or black women, she shook her head laughing at that one. The way he came on to her that night she highly doubted it.  “This is crazy, it doesn’t even matter. I’m a married woman…not happily, but I’m married just the same and I love my husband with all my heart,” she said aloud, “I’m taking my butt to bed, I’m tired…that’s what it is,” and once again she repeated the steps she had just taken, not even three minutes earlier.

But this time when she got to the bedroom Nate wasn’t asleep. He was sitting in the bed staring at the TV. She could tell he wasn’t watching it. Courtney decided it would be best to not say anything, because she didn’t want to argue. All of their words turned into arguments these days and they couldn’t have decent communication. But it wasn’t to be.

“Courtney, I want a divorce,” Nate said.

Thinking she must have lost her mind, or maybe forgot to clean the wax from her ears, she turned over in the bed to face him. “Huh?” she said, a little befuddled.

“I want a divorce,” he repeated in that same monotone he had just used.

“Why?” she asked with panic rising up in her throat.

“I don’t wanna be here anymore, I can’t do this,” he explained.

“Do what Nate?”

“Do us, this thing we call a marriage, this faking it we’re doing day by day, I can’t do it anymore,” he said with a little emotion coming into his voice.

“Look Nate, I know that you’re hurting, I’ve been hurting, too. And what’s hurting the most is that you’re shutting me out. You won’t even talk to me. I know you’re grieving baby, we’re both grieving, but you didn’t suffer this loss alone. I did, too and just like we lost him together we have to find a way to heal together, to go on with our future,” she pleaded.

“I don’t think you heard me. There’s no future for us,” Nate responded a little more passionately this time.

C. Michelle's Bio



An avid reader since her primary years, Michelle saw books as an escape mechanism. Excited by the worlds, and characters that could be created with a touch of the imagination, she began writing her own stories at the age of 12. The more enamored with storytelling she became, the more she wanted to create stories about the suffering, and hardships she saw others enduring, with one twist…her characters would rise above their adversities and limitations, but not always with traditional endings.

This busy wife, and mother of three, exchanged her Girl Scout Leader pins for her creative writing pen, as she began to focus on publishing her novels. In her spare time, when she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading mystery novels, watching NBA, remodeling their home with her husband, and spending time with him and their children. Having recently received her MBA in Human Resource Management, she says she cannot wait for the day when writing becomes her full-time career. “If I can show my readers they are not alone, in dealing with their challenges, and that they can rise above their limitations, I have achieved my goal,” Ramsey says.

Contact Info:
FB: Author C Michelle Ramsey
Twitter: @CMichelleRamsey

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The Best Decision Ever...



Your path is your path; there’s no need to share it with those whose ideas and intentions create an unstable pavement in the road. – Imani Wisdom

As much as I tried, and as much as that voice whispers, that quitting could prevent the unexpected to come like a thief in the night and rob me of my joy. Relinquish any or all of my dreams for a lesser and simplistic life. Forget the late nights of writing while the rest of world sleeps; or sacrificing my fifteen cents, stretching it like a dollar to pay for editors, graphic designers, and a web domain. And building that brand? Nah! It’s merely a part of the Internet game. You know, just another narcissistic attempt for attention. I give-up on opportunity, and give-in to an undemanding, complicated-free life filled with regrets and bitterness.

Chuck Schumer, the Senator from New York, says: “Giving up even an ounce of precious freedom is a very serious thing to do”. The day when I felt my writing was becoming a chore, I’d shut the whole Imani’s-journey thing for one day to listened to my heart. And you know what it told me? I was a participant of someone else’s dreams and not mine. The routine I lived for a few years were robotic: do, move, work, write or read, and go to bed; do, move, work, write or read, and go to bed; do, move, work, write or read, and go to bed, and so on. If see you how monotonous this is, imagine how I felt toward writing – a chore!

For six weeks I’ve took the initiative to peel away from Facebook walls and Twitter timelines for a spirit renewal – actually, more of a swift kick in the butt back to reality – but nevertheless my “Zen” is back and my focus has returned to Pink Noire and my writing.

So why did I choose to stay away from social media? Simple, I was beginning to have a disdain toward the repetitive and ongoing posts: Buy my book links without pitching to the potential reader as to why we should buy the book, negative posts about whatever, political post about the same ole’ NOTHING, narcissistic and never-ending photos of whomever, and the shirtless and/or bra-less attention-seekers who take selfies in bathrooms that simply forget to straighten-up. And the trolls…those misguided, transparent, does not have anything else to do, in-need of therapy, trolls. After a while, the bull**** becomes so thick, you damn-near can smell the stench through the computer screen.

Another reason I had to step away is the fact I’m a loner. I tend to create my best ideas alone. Facebook and Twitter, and other social media are considered as community websites with walls and timelines filled with people’s thoughts. So even if I have never met my friends and followers, reading their joys, their lows, highs, and their bad break-up with Pookie can be overwhelming.

Please don’t get me wrong: I love the friends I’ve made online, and some have blossomed into beautiful relationships; yet my decision to separate myself had nothing to do with individuals but the entire culture of Internet-addiction as a whole.

So, let me ask you this: When you grab your smartphone, iPad, or log onto your laptop, where do you go first? Facebook? Twitter? Attachments are a fluffy term for addictions. I’ve been through my share of food, sex, and cigarettes as an addiction, but I’ll be dern if I’m going to have a compulsive desire for waste-your-time sites.

If you’re an author or Indie artists, I know you’re saying – you’ll still need social media to promote. Well, duh! Of course I do. But it’s how you spend your time promoting and what to promote. The constant posts and tweets of the same thing get old. Heck, I’ve been guilty of it, too. So much so I’d stopped tweeting and posting at one time.

Finally, the biggest and important reason why I’d stepped away is simply to recharge my state of mind. I’m a firm believer of one controlling their thoughts and how the mind is a powerful entity of the body. Have you ever heard of the term, if you think it, you’ll become it? Meaning, if you’re influencing your mind with negative thoughts: I can’t do this, or I can’t that game, instead of comforting your mind with positive thoughts, you’re setting up for failure. And, I, for one, refuse to succumb to such foolishness.

I am mother, author, business woman, and one hellva woman but what I’m NOT is an individual that needs to docu-drama my every step to success. My path is my path. If you want to walk it with me, that’s fine but do it for encouragement, building creative ideas, and unwavering support. The world is already chaotic enough without people of whom you’ve never met, only by profile pictures, wanting to tear the very fabric of your soul – your dreams.

Let the miserable, stay miserable. It’s their weakened mind that’s keeping them from living a fulfilled life. Don’t believe me? Stay online for hours and you too, will fall into the category of the “broken and miserable”.


I’m just saying…
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WRITING MY DREAMS: Official Blog of Author C. Michelle Ramsey: AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: IMANI WISDOM

WRITING MY DREAMS: Official Blog of Author C. Michelle Ramsey: AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: IMANI WISDOM:   Last week I spotlighted the book Zion's Road by Imani Wisdom. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and was extremely excited to l...
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Let the Journey Begin...



Seven years ago, I've taken a childhood daydream and turned it into one of my most-loved stories – Zion’s Road.

The vision of tabooed-romances while living in a place of the unknown and unseen captivated me as a young girl. The story was so strong in my head that I used to stare-up at the clouds – visualizing who or what was up there. God? Angels? Or maybe one my relatives were resting on a cloud as they were smiling down to me. Still, the relief of looking to the sky – painted in its glory only the Supreme Being could do – brought forth a vivid imagination.

As a kid I didn't quite know how to transfer my thoughts to paper – I pretty much acted out anything I've imagined. Creatively, I used to play with my grandmother’s what-knots in her living room – pretending her treasured trinkets were actors and my daydreams were the movie. I would play for hours until I would hear her say, “Child, if you don’t get out of my what-knots or I’ll…”

Visit the new Zion's Road blog to read more.


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The Story of James Cameron



There have been many infamous photographs taken during America’s dark time of racism. Among one happened not in the South but in the heartland—Marion, Indiana.

This particular photograph had inspired poet, Abel Meeropol, to write the song Strange Fruit, which became one of Billie Holiday’s greatest hits. The emotions of Meeropol, perhaps, aren't different compared to anyone who views the picture today. You would not be human if it didn't spark an unnerving anger as you see someone’s son or brother hanging lifeless on a maple tree.

Worse, the crowd that swelled by the thousands stood proudly in front of photographer, Lawrence Beilter, which later sold the photograph for fifty cents. With boasting smiles and pointing fingers in the photograph as if they were at a County Fair, there was supposed to been a third person on that lone branch. Yet his life was spared.

On August 6, 1930—eighty-one miles from the capitol of Indianapolis—James Cameron (16), Thomas Shipp (18), and Abram Smith (19) were accused of armed robbery and murder of factory worker, Claude Deeter, and the rape of his companion, Mary Ball.

By Cameron’s accounts in a 2006 Washington Post article, he recalled Shipp and Smith wanted to rob someone and saw Deeter’s car parked at Lover’s Lane. Cameron remembered one of the teens placing a gun his hand but when he discovered the man in the car was the person he shined shoes in town, he refused and ran home. While in his pursuit, the sixteen-year-old heard ringing of gunshots. He continued his mission home without looking back.

The youths were later arrested and sent to jail, and the news of the murder and rape went rapidly through the small town—forming an angry mob. Indiana University Professor and the Author of, Lynching in the Heartland, James H. Madison wrote: “The mob broke into the jail and removed the prisoners. First Shipp was hanged through the bar windows and dragged to a maple tree to the town’s square and lynched.”

The facts if Shipp or Smith were already dead before the noose went around their necks were sketchy. In an online video, Marion Indiana 1930 Lynching, there were actual witnesses speaking in detail of that night. One of the witnesses had said Abram Smith was alive all the way to the tree. "As they placed the noose around his neck, he tried to loosen rope but the mob lowered him back down to break his arms and hoister him up again and lynched him."

Another witness from same video said the crowd began to sound like spectators at a football game by chanting: “We want Cameron!” In a February 2003 article with the Associated Press, Cameron vividly described the moment as he was led through the crowd: “Pearl-white glowing moon, the roar of the frenzied mob, and the rough hands forcing my head into the noose.”

While waiting for his demise, he began to pray to God for his sins. Cameron said a voice came from the crowd. “Take this boy back—he had nothing to with any killing or raping”. According to him the voice sounded angelic, almost as if came from Heaven. He also continued to say the crowd became quiet and obeyed. They released Cameron, and he returned back to the jail.

Cameron was later convicted and served four years in prison for the crime. And at the age of twenty-one he was released and began his new life with hope. He moved to Detroit and worked in a factory. As Cameron settled into married life, he returned to Indiana to live in the town of Anderson. Yvonne Shinhoster in a Washington Post article wrote that he owned the only black business in town—a combination of shoeshine parlor, record shop, and knickknack store.

James Cameron

 For ten years living the Indiana town, Cameron founded three Indiana chapters of the NAACP and served as Indiana State Director of the Office of Civil Liberties, but his passion for civil rights work grew difficult in the heavily-Klan state—so he moved his family North. Cameron’s initial intention was to go Canada but stopped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for prospective job opportunities. He became a self-taught historian as well as working for a brewery and enrolled at a local trade school to become a boiler engineer. Cameron continued his civil rights quest by working with Father James Groppe to end housing discrimination in the city.

In the late-1970’s, he and his wife went to Israel and was inspired by a trip to Yad Vashem Memorial—a museum to remember the Holocaust victims. Cameron were so moved by what he saw that he told his wife it should be a museum in the United States to honor the lost lives of African Americans from racial injustice.

When he returned to Milwaukee he was determined to build the museum that told the stories of thousands of Americans—of whom were predominately black—lynched from 1882 to 1968. More importantly, it would be an institution to house the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans. “I wonder if God saved me for this mission” Cameron later said to the Associated Press. “It had to be. And I thank him for that”.

In addition of opening The Black Holocaust Museum, James Cameron published his memoirs in 1982 titled, A Time of Terror as well publishing articles and booklets; such as, What is Equality in American Life and The Lingering Problem.

In 1993, Cameron was pardon by the Indiana Governor, Evan Bayh and the Mayor of Marion, Indiana—the town that changed his life forever—by giving him the key to the city. In 2005 he went to Washington D.C. in frailty of his life, for the U.S. Senate apology for the failure to end lynching.

On June 11, 2006, James Cameron—the only person to have known to survived lynching—passed away at 92. He left a lasting legacy spanning from that sweltering night in Marion, Indiana, to neighboring town of Anderson leaving an imprint of his civil right causes, and to Milwaukee where a simple dream became a reality—the Black Holocaust Museum.

In a video titled “Marion Indiana 1930 Lynching, Cameron proved he was beyond the resentment from leftover scars from racism after his pardon: “Indiana forgave me, and I forgave Indiana”. 




Sources:
ChicagoReader.com – online article, Fredrick H. Lowe
Hypetext.com – online article, unknown author
NPR.com – online article, unknown author
NPR.com – online article, Abel Meeropol Biography, unknown author
Washington Post – online article, Yvonne Shinhoster, June 13, 2006
Youtube.com – Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday
Youtube.com – Marion Indiana 1930 Lynching
Youtube.com – James Cameron, Being Saved from Lynching


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Beauty: From the Inside and Out

Our self worth—it’s that main ingredient that makes us strong and a better person. Without it, self-pity can tame our true selves. However there’s one question to ponder—why do we as humans allow our pain to define us?

The question looms in my debut novel (titled to be announced later) about my main character’s self-worth. She suffered many storms including years of domestic abuse—and when that chapter of her life had ended—she moved on but did the suffering as battered woman define her? The brutal beatings, the name calling, and the unwanted forced desire upon her spouse all left a burden in her heart for years. My character’s psyche—unknowingly—allowed one person’s act to define of who and what she was. And unfortunately, there are millions of women like her.

I won’t get into the details if my character’s strength has helped overcome her demons—you just have wait this summer until the release of my book. However, there are women you may know, or it could be you, or it could be me that has allowed our pain to define us.

Beauty is more than just wearing short dresses, Mac products, and Maybelline—beauty is an inner glow that shine of our confidence. It’s the ingredient that brews our self worth. We know we deserved to be loved and yet choose to stay in questionable relationships. Or become bitter from heartbreak because our pain is too great to love again.

Love is not supposed to hurt you, or strip you from your true self. Love is not meant to be used as a weapon for guilt and shame. Love shouldn't be used as rage, or inflate one’s person ego while leaving another in tears.

In essence, self worth doesn't discriminate. There are men that walk with prominent scars of abuse. Their invisible tears hide behind their pain, confusion, and guilt from their childhood, or suffered heartbreak from a woman’s bitterness all because she would rather hurt them before she’d get hurt. It’s a mere reciprocation of pain.

In a blog I wrote years ago about bitterness, anger, and pity—and how it would lead to heartache and pain. I've taken this quote from the text because it rings so true: We are KINGS and QUEENS of our destiny; the Authors of our own story, and the Painters of our canvasses. We can fight it, we can do it, and we can be it!

So, again, are you going to let your past define you, or learn from it to manifest it into the person you are meant to be?


Courtesy: Put A Wedge In It (Katrina Gurl, Inc). This blog is a must follow!
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