African American · astronomy · Creative Writing · Uncategorized · writing

Without Shadows We Are But Ghosts, #BlaPoWriMo, #Slavery

curtain shadows by pedro figueras
Photo Credit: Pedro Figueras

 

A shadow is a dark area produced by a body coming between rays of light. Without the sun, we would not have shadows.

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the implanted pain of

Abel and the soiled happiness

Of forced religion-

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the blood of the dark, lynched angels

Forced from a land

To a land of aliens

Where weapons fire rapidly into the backs

Of skin, of babes, of moms, of dads…

Where the cat o’ nine tails

swish into the

Toned plump back of a “pagan”

Whipping the passion of Christ into

This Foreigner

Without the shadows we are ghosts

In bodies of burnt clay and high hair, wooly

As sheeps, puffed as clouds

Such strange beauty!

Scarred for life, the umbilical cord

Still hasn’t been cut

As we float and wallow

In shame and perpetual confusion:

How are we here? Why are we here?

 

Tough love passed down the placenta

And into the mitochondria of

New Mothers

Producing strong, built babes

Feeding from massa’s god

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Loaned to us from our Ancestors

~©Copyright Erica Jean Smith

*Check out more on BlaPoWriMo this month via Nortina’s blog!

 

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African American

Black Poetry Writing Month: Traveling through Time… Slavery

One of my blog buddies here, Nortina, has created BlaPoWriMo. Get those pens ready because we are traveling through time of Black History 🙂 I am excited!

Lovely Curses

February is finally here! Did anyone else think January was way too long?

…And too cold; it was definitely too cold!

If February is your month to reset your New Year’s goals (particularly your writing goals), here’s a suggestion for you…

Why not join a new writing challenge?

That’s right. Black Poetry Writing Month (BlaPoWriMo) has returned for a third year, and this time I hope to see lots more participation. 😉

For the uninitiated, BlaPoWriMo is a month-long writing challenge that combines the ambition of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) with the history, education, and self-reflection of Black History Month.

Over these three years, I’ve explored various themes for the challenge. During its inaugural run in 2016, I gave you daily prompts based on poems from some of my favorite black poets, and last year, we spent a fortnight writing black love poems.

This year, I want to take you on a…

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Creative Writing

Week 4 #HaikuChallenge2018 Get Inspired By the Books You Read

hanging books by negative space
Image Credit: Negative Space

 

If you are a bookworm like me, then this next challenge should be fun.

Sometimes we come across a word, a phrase, or a complete sentence in a book that knocks our socks off!

For this #HaikuChallenge2018, use the word, phrase, or sentence in a haiku. Feel free to use titles, blurbs, summaries, etc.

Or simply be inspired by what you’ve read.

Below are some amazing phrases pulled from books and quotes.

Enjoy!

“Some words live in my throat, breeding like adders.”-Audre Lorde

“..a real narrator wouldn’t remember exactly what people said.”(The Language of Fiction, Brian Shawver, pg. 24, 2013)

“Roots like an oak tree.”(The Silent Corner, Dean Koontz, p.185, 2017)

“…in this dangerous time when shadows cast shadows of their own.”(The Silent Corner, p.56)

Below are my “bookish” inspired haiku!

*

And if they be snakes

let their forked tongues leave me

with an empty heart

*

we are all narrators

social media warriors,

the web never forgets

*

Leaves begin to fall,

yet you cling fast to me

holding strong like roots

*

Pale sun and bright stars,

still, we cast shadows among

the shadows of mortals

As you can see, I have broken some “rules” of haiku.

  • I did not make many seasonal references, aside from mentioning nature.
  • Many of my haiku are more/less than 17 syllables.

But I still had fun and the spirit of haiku is still there.

So go on, try to find some words and phrases to inspire you or use in your haiku! Feel free to share them here, or create them on your blog and link back to this post 🙂

~The Write Web

Creative Writing · Smashwords · writing

Fright of the Frostbitten-Upcoming Fiction

Below is a sneak peak from my upcoming, thrilling anthology Fright of the Frostbitten!

IMG_20180117_150732.png
Cover may not be final

Thank you bloggers and bookworms for supporting this blog and my book The Fall of Autumn; through your love of words and creativity this site thrives.

This blog is not just about me, but you too, so if you have an upcoming book, Make Your Announcement-post it in the comments below with links!

 

 **

Marnie

 

I wonder about you.

I think you should keep speaking with Dr. Bowe, honey.

 

My husband’s eyes are pleading with me. His suitcase is still in hand as he stand before me. Our front door is open, letting in Jack Frost. I shiver and he finally closes it softly and sit his suitcase by the brown couch. I shake my head. This can’t be!

I was right here, speaking with a customer online. Five minutes later my husband walks in. I try to convince him that a whole nine hours slipped by and I didn’t even notice. How is it I missed such a large chunk of time?

I told the woman goodbye, have a nice day…

I sipped some coffee..

Felt a little sleepy but I blinked.

Sipped some more.

Then the key turns in the lock.

“I promise you, I did not fall asleep! I was right here on the laptop, talking with a customer. I blink and there you are.”

My husband sighs and takes me in his arms. “We are going to solve this. You hear me, Marnie Babe? We are going to solve this.” He pulls back and kisses my cheek. He inspects me more, piercing his eyes into mine before picking up his suitcase and going to the bedroom.

I hear the neighbor’s dog barking outside and an owl hooting somewhere in the distance. I pull my hair back with my hands and exhale slowly. “Come on, think Marnie! Did you fall asleep?” I question myself. Hoping an answer will fly down from the heavens and Bing! Answer delivered.

I am tempted to ask Google where the hell I may have went.

Did I go to sleep? Did I fall somewhere? Sleepwalk?

I don’t normally sleepwalk. I hear of cases where people do, but me? No. I barely have nightmares. Maybe once a year there is a strange dream I’d have, but sleepwalking?

For the last six months I would have periods of time missing. Chunks stolen right from me and for the life of me, I do not know why.

My husband, thank God for him, is patient and kind. He goes to work, pays the bills, make sure we are alright.

Checks on me from time to time.

Sometimes he gets busy and can’t call.

Sometimes, he comes home early, sometimes he don’t.

I wish he would come home on time often.

Now we live in a nice three bedroom home in the middle of Count Town, Maine. It is freezing up here and that is bad because I am a Floridian.

I am used to sunshine and maybe wet days and of course hot Christmases. I have a bikini body still even though I am pushing forty and I keep up my health.

Here, everything is frigid. We are miles away from the nearest grocer and mall and the fields stretch as far as the eye can see.

One night, I spotted a green glowing eyed wolf.

My husband said I have a wild imagination and Stephen King would be proud of me, perhaps I should write a book?

No. I am not interested in a book.

My neighbors…who are they? I don’t think I’ve seen another living soul since we moved here six months ago.

I keep up with my family by calling them, or using Skype.

My best friends are on Facebook so at least I see what they are doing.

I scrimped up enough change for a flight back to Florida soon. I’ve spoken with Bob about it, he’s okay with it but I can tell he is trying to keep Florida at bay.

I understand.

His new job involves being an accountant for a prominent business and he uses our one and only car to get to and from work.

With his next check, he will get me a car.

I can’t wait. The only times I am out is when he is off.

He is not off tomorrow.

Not the next day either.

I meet him in the bedroom just as he is pulling off his socks. The room now has a rancid odor.

“Wash your feet, Bob!”

“Join me in the shower!” He waggles his thick, brown eyebrows.

“I don’t know. Don’t want you to kill me with them things.” I peel off my thick, cotton sweater and peel off my clothes too.

We crowd in our luxurious tub together and have a good time, like old times. Once we are done, I pull on the warm, red silk pajama set my friend Christen Deen gave me as a wedding gift. I slip into and ask if my hubby wants some homemade pizza.

He is pulling on a white shirt, his muscles visible in his arms, evident of his workout regime in the mornings. “Sure, yeah. It’s Friday.”

I pull out the gluten free pizza bread, cheeses and homemade sauce. While taking out the bread, I realize I have a little red sauce under the bed of nails already. Odd.

I run the warm tap water and dig and pluck the red out.

Several of my nails on each hand has the red gunk under it and I wonder why I hadn’t noticed it before.

My husband’s back is to me, he is watching a game.

I go over and lift the back of his shirt.

“Marnie?” He turns.

“Just seeing if, ah, if I scratched you. I got skin, or blood under my nails, I think.”

“You did, but not deep,” he winks.

I don’t wink back.

Maybe one of the pizza packages or sauce packs had sauce under it or something. I shrug and finish the pizza.

An hour later we are cozying up, watching Rings.

I abhor scary movies.

My husband knows this and yet insisted on this? Just because to him, “it ain’t scary enough anyway.”

I pull out my cell phone halfway through the movie to text my mom. I am not in the mood for blood and gore.

Once it is done, my husband turns down the volume and takes my hand in his. “Is everything okay, Marnie Babe?”

I curl up then stretched my toes out on him. “Not really.”

His attention went to my toes and he played with them, gently wiggling each one. “Sorry. Maybe this place is gloomier than I thought.”

“Lonely too,” I poke out my bottom lip for effect.

“I know. My family is from here, but the job offer was too good to pass up. Now we have our own place and not living with roommates to save cash. Isn’t that good?”

“Perhaps.”

“Well, how about once we get your car, we can maybe move in a more city area.”

“I want to go back to Florida,” I say softly. Firm. “I don’t like it here, Bob.”

“I see.” He stops wiggling my toes and watches the black screen, deep in thought.

I finally feel the effects of the food. I get really sleepy and I recall Bob lifting me up and placing me in bed. The covers feel so good and soft on my skin and I drift into the huge pillows and turn my cheek as he kisses it.

You are the perfect wife…

The perfect wife…

 

I snap awake. Eyes open and I see stars, white sparkling stars and hear the wolf.

I wake up because I felt something sharp.

Cold.

I sit up and realize the coldness has seeped into my skin, my hair my face, my back and butt are icy and I think I am in the middle of…

“Where am I?”

I can’t see anything. I am freezing. Cold.

But there is something else.

I feel around me and I feel other soft bodies, cold bodies.

Unmoving bodies.

What the…?

I can’t see anything but the stars above.

They seem farther away than normal.

I am in a hole.

“HELLLLLLP!” I yell.

I feel a naked, cold body press against me when I move to stand. “HELLLLP!”

Oh God.

I try to pray, but I don’t know any prayers.

I close my eyes and-

 

“Marnie. Marnie!” My body is jerking to and fro, my husband’s gray eyes are big. “Where did you go?”

“I went nowhere but to sleep!”

Sleep?” His brow crinkles. For two days? Not here?” He whips out his cell phone.

I am in my same PJs and I touch my hair. It is wet. My brown strands dark and slick with cold water.

“Honey, jump in the bath. I ran a hot one for you and I have the heated blanket-”

“When did I get here?” I ask.

*If you’d like more of this short story, stay tuned for its conclusion and more in Fright of the Frostbitten. Tentative publishing date is February 2018!

Essays · writing

The Calendar Has Nothing to Do With It

astronomy dark
Photo Credit: Matheus Bertelli

 

Hi bloggers and readers! I hope you have taken the time to write some amazing haiku and are linking it to the challenge, because on Sunday, it gets even more exciting with Week 2, so make sure you are sharing, linking, liking, and tagging, okay?

Finally, what does 2018 mean to me right now as a writer and just everyday person?

I don’t do resolutions. I slip up and say, “Oh, I’m resolving to do this or that” but truthfully, 2018 is a calendar date that changes on paper and on our mobile devices.

If I want to be better, I have to want to be better and not depend on a New Year to do it.

Now, if that is what motivates you, that is all well and good. We all have different motivators in our life and making a change for the next, new 12 months is not a bad start.

All I’m saying is, I don’t want my change to be dependent on a calendar. Why?

That change never happens for me.

Years ago, I vowed to eat green, exercise more, not be so shy all the time, yada yada.

I fulfilled none of those goals, people. None. Well, I do exercise more. I’ve upped it to three days a week(yay me!)

I hear people saying, “I’m leaving that in 2017! I am new in 2017!” Hey, I’ve said it too. If I keep saying it, it may become real…?

Last year, lots have been revealed to me that I now see so clearly. It was like crossing an abandoned train track casually, sight seeing, walking slowly and then all of a sudden you hear the bells, you turn and see the red lights flashing and the oncoming train is real and coming fast.

Yeah, that was 2017 for me. People showed me who they were, careers needed changing, I needed changing- I realized I can be a villain unto myself(darn it that sucks! Ever been your own villain?)

Reality hits hard and it hurts. It hurts so much that I have written more. Writing unleashes my woe and utter rage and many times it can seem like weak literary BS, yet can be promising.

If you’d like to share your thoughts and links to your blog, I’d love to read them! Don’t forget to comment or “Hit the Subscribe Button”  🙂

~Ericajean

writing

4 Secret Musings for the NaNoWriMo Writer

NaNoWriMo

You’re not going to believe this but-

I never completed 50,000 during NaNoWriMo.

I am not joking. Never.

Did I write? Yes.

Did I make it past 30k? Absolutely!

But I never completed NaNoWriMo and I did not take my own advice during those times I blogged about it.

But right now I want to share some secrets and tips I’ve learned over the years; not just for NaNoWriMo, but for writing in general.

  • Remember, there is a cure to writer’s block!

The cure are the writing prompts.

Trust me. Sites like Marquessa’s blog and Writer’s Digest Two Week s of Prompts for Creativity are life savers if you are hung up on a story.

Then again, maybe you hit a block because it is time for you to rest before your next great story.

  • Using THIS powerful tool will make you an unstoppable writer.

Google.

Seriously. You can become an author of historical fiction, science fiction or literary if you have Google at your fingertips. All the research you’ll ever need is there. In seconds!

For example. A story I was writing for Wattpad took place in a specific city in Arizona. I knew nothing of Arizona and definitely not of the city, but with Google Maps, YouTube, and online research, I was able to construct a story around that place.

I used about 25% of my research though and the rest was fictionalized. More room for creativity, you know?

  • Preparing before NaNoWriMo is the key to writing more words at a faster pace.

When I hit my 30k mark the year before last, I felt great. It was not 50k, but with an outline already prepared, it was simply a matter of DOING. Bruce-Lee-bruce-lee-19454998-1280-960

Here is a quote from one of the greats of this world:

Knowing is not enough,

We must apply.

Willing is not enough,

We must do. – Bruce Lee

  • Knowing the difference between a writer and published author.

I am not trying to start a debate. But hear me out. Professional writers write and sometimes they are even published.

A published author is published(whether it is self published or otherwise).

A published author is a writer, but a writer isn’t necessarily a published author…until they are published.

Why am I telling you this?

Honestly, I don’t know. As I said, these are just lessons and ponderings from my years of writing. Frankly, what you call yourself means nothing if your heart isn’t into it.

**I hope you enjoyed this post. If you feel someone else needs this does of medicine, share it across your networks. Like, Share, subscribe.

XOXO

~Ericajean from The Write Web

Creative Writing · relationships · Uncategorized

Fiction Friday Challenge: Yassss, I Stomp Spiders, Girl

spiderweb
Image of spiderweb by Tuur Tisseghem

 

Synopsis: Yona confides in a new bestie about her philandering boyfriend and learns no one is ever who they seem to be.

“So tell me again what happened?” Melody crossed her legs over her bed and flipped back her now short cut bobbed blonde hair.

I started from the beginning, feeling piping hot anger all over at what Otis did to me.

” I came home early—”

My phone vibrated against my  thigh, cutting me off.

Melody shook her head at the phone in my hand. This will make ten calls Otis has made now.

Don’t pick up the phone. You know that he’s only calling because he’s drunk and alone.”

I shut off my phone before continuing with the sad details from 48 hours ago.

I don’t know why I’m torturing myself. Reliving those moments of arriving at Otis’s apartment after my Zumba class off campus. I was excited about our Taco Tuesday since I burned off enough calories to replace it a little.

Instead of knocking, I finally used the house key he had copied for me, and as soon as my gym bag hit the plush carpet, I heard squeaky bed noises upstairs. There was music playing too, but not too loud.

I close the door firmly.

That was when the noise kicked up in crescendo and I hear the unmistakable keening of a satisfied woman.

I stomp up the steps wishing to God I had my switchblade. I will just have to use my knuckles instead.

Otis bursts from the room. I catch a glimpse of a long, creamy thigh hanging off his bed, rear-end high up but face down.

He slams the door and comes fully out, he tries to reason with me.

I smack his face so hard the print of my hand lingers crimson on that fine face of his.

I try my hardest to get to the door and see the chick who has replaced me so I can hit her as well but Otis, along with a string of apologies from his fat lips, picks me up like I weigh no more than a pamphlet, and carries me downstairs kicking and screaming.

Once he sets me down, I stare at his ripped body and black military cut hair. He was so beautiful.

And so not mine anymore.

“Yona…” He pleads.

I hold up a hand. “Save it. Just. Save it. I’m tired.” I run from his apartment. He calls my name.

The only thing I could see in my mind, was a female’s a red overworked butt with a black spider tattoo on the lower back.

I drove off to nowhere and somewhere for a whole damn two days. They went by in a panoramic blur: I drank in bars(I’m 21, okay?), I remembered partying, talking to dudes, passing out then waking up in someone’s car.

A stranger brought me to campus in my own car. Some dude who I remember crying on his shoulders and who kept telling me “It will be alright. It will be okay.” The scent of Doublemint gum and Irish Spring still lingers in my foggy mind.

As soon as he dropped me off last night, I puked out my guts and sorrow, showered and passed out.

I was asleep until Melody walked in from her English Lit course.

The only person I can put all this junk story on was the prissy, super smart Melody who proclaimed she hated all men.

When I was done telling her my sob, drunken story, she shook her head in sympathy.  “You’ll find a new man soon.”

Her phone pinged and whatever she saw on the screen, caused her eyes to bug out and the phone ended up slipping to the floor with a hard thud.

When she leaned over the bed to get it. I saw the spider tattoo with its long webbing…dark and mocking.

Inched its dark webbing deep into my murderous heart.

No way there would be two girls with the exact same spider tattoo…

I sigh. Dammit.

I tried to make it one more year without getting locked up.

“Melodyyyy?” I say in a sing-song voice. “Did I mention the description of the girl who slept with my man?”

Melody sat up holding her phone with visibly shaking hands.

I cracked my knuckles, rotated my arms and shoulders.

At least this way, I will get a more effective workout…

Copyright© 2017 Erica Jean Smith

**Thank you for reading folks! As usual, please share and subscribe to this blog if you like what you read! It is all about building a connected group of readers who also enjoy writing. Head over to Marquessa’s amazing blog for more Fiction Friday prompts as well!