Category Archives: Uncategorized

Discovering the deep, discovering voice

I know why I’m here.  My parents copulated and, well… nature kept on moving.

That doesn’t answer the why… it answers the how.  Let’s get to why.

The answer to these questions evolves with each stage of my life.


I was writing in my journal… but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books. 


When I was in kindergarten, my biggest goal was to graduate from the 8th grade.  When I became a high school freshman, the top two goals became college acceptance and 12th grade graduation.  As a college freshman, the goals were were jobs and putting out quality work, exploring and applying for internships, studying and passing tests, taking inventories to know which careers better suit my personality, learning to roller skate backwards, keeping up with my studies, all of this with graduation as the end goal for that pathway.

During that time, I had always wanted to be a writer. I mean, I was writing in my journal throughout college, but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books.

Here’s a confession.  It’s taken me years to accept that my penchant for scrawling notes and story ideas on scraps of paper, keeping small spiral notebooks of ideas, scrawling in journals, and these days, using various apps to store ideas on electronic devices might actually mean something.  It’s a sign there’s no shortage of ideas about what to write.  However, all those scribblings will be a whole heap of nothing if I don’t follow through by cobbling then crafting these ideas into complete works.  It doesn’t matter if they’re blog posts, freelance magazine articles, extra projects for work, or complete books.   I am here to think, write, dream, write, establish goals, and diligently work at them to and through fruition.

At work, I have the privilege of telling other people’s stories, which I deeply enjoy.  It’s a key part of my life.  Sometimes these stories are gleeful, other times, downright sad.  But these experiences are important to share.  In addition to telling other folks’ stories, I’m also meant to write my own story, in my own voice.

Discovering the deep

Speaking of voice, when I was a little girl, I spent lots of time tinkering around with one of my dad’s tape recorders.  The mono, black recorder with the little orange rectangle that users had to depress in order to capture audio. That old school thing.   I remember the first time I experimented with it, and recorded myself talking and singing made-up ditties.   When it was playback time, imagine my horror when I didn’t sound like some of the high-pitched voices that other little girls at school or on television released from their larynxes.

“You sound like a boy,” I thought, extremely disappointed with reality.

Fast forward to seventh or eighth grade, when I got the first random compliment for my speaking voice. Jump ahead to college, and my boy-sounding voice (coupled with that kind lady’s random compliment which buoyed my confidence) helped land me a job at the campus radio station.  Fast forward past more jobs in radio, and I’ve learned to be thankful for both my writing and speaking voices.  Even if some poor souls mistake me for a man over the phone.  It’s alright.  Still thankful.

This is my Day 8 post for the 30 Day Writing Challenge in the Speak Write Now Community.

 

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

If you could change ONE THING that would make the world better, what would it be?

2 April 2017

Because any question or comment is liable to get me singing the closest related tune floating through my mind, I started singing Change the World by Eric Clapton.

Yup, “If I could change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe.  You would think my love was really something good, baby if I could change the world.”

Then I got stuck on the love being something good.  Wouldn’t it, if there were more of it?

Here’s why my mind is stuck on love.

Both of my stories for work dealt with tragic anniversaries.  A new exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery marks the centennial of United Sates involvement in World War I.  One hundred years since 116,000 lives were claimed during the Great War from combat and disease. Those were just folks from the USA. Looking at each country, the number totals spike into the tens of millions. That’s a LOT of people.

Sunday’s second story covered the kickoff event for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in a local county.  The whole thing made me want to go weep in the station vehicle. Nine photos were perched on concrete stairs leading to a stage in the middle of a town-center style shopping center.  Each photo represented a life cut short by criminal activity.  From the cute little boy with chubby-looking cheeks, to the 18-year-old young lady who perished in the Virginia Tech shooting nearly a decade ago, to a 22-year-old who was gunned down, and his family still doesn’t know why.

Each photo represents an unknown number of family members and friends who are left to grieve absences that will never be filled by another human being on this planet.  Ever.  Each photo possibly represents an unknown number of first responders who may never be the same after working the crime scenes where these victims died.

Where do the tragic ripples end?  I have no answer for that, but what seems certain is that somewhere, somehow, love for these victims was absent during the slivers of time it took to commit each crime.  Can’t help but think that’s a truism, whether any victim’s life is taken by a stranger, an acquaintance, spouse, lover, or parent.

It’s not up to me to hash out each case and condemn any person.  What I deduce is rooted in another song.  The world just needs more love dipped in compassion and sprinkled with patience.

If I could change one thing to make the world better, that would definitely be it.  Love.  More of it.  I’ll let it begin with me, and put it to practice the next time I want to curse out an awful driver on the Beltway.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Stomping out the Rittenhouse core, Houdini’s beginnings: Timeless episode’s 10 and 11

Our time traveling trio Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus are wondering if they are hopping through years and space for the bad guys and if the good guys are actually the ones they should fear most. Talking to Garcia Flynn makes them wonder. In the meantime, Agent Christopher knows the slightest changes in the past could cause present family members to vanish as if they never were. She knows Lucy’s sister has disappeared, so Agent Christopher asks Lucy to safeguard some memories in case her family is somehow erased.


Flynn sweetens the pot to enlist Wyatt’s help.


So they end up smack dab during the American Revolutionary War days, and they cross paths with Benedict Arnold. Flynn lets Rufus, Lucy and Wyatt know Arnold is a founding member of Rittenhouse and they should want to stop him.

Flynn sweetens the pot to enlist Wyatt’s help. He offers to reveal the name of his wife’s killer.

But first, they end up finding out that the mastermind behind Rittenhouse is another man. They succeed in killing that man, who also has a young son. Lucy wanted to spare the boy’s life… But Flynn wanted to smite that child. While Lucy was advocating for the boy’s life, the lad slipped away. We don’t know where that child is… But you can bet a bottom dollar that he probably filled his dad’s shoes within Rittenhouse.

Flynn wanted to kill that boy so dead in order to squelch Rittenhouse fresh out the womb, but since Lucy stopped him, he grabbed (basically kidnapped her) and forced her to board the nice, shiny, new time machine and they disappear before Rufus’ and Wyatt’s eyes.

In episode 11, the rickety Lifeboat pops back to Mason industries. And they’re trying to figure out where the mothership is located, but it’s been all over the place.

Back at Mason, they figure out that Flynn’s been able to hop hither-thither and yon because of a battery he made with Anthony’s help using the nuclear core from several episodes ago.

The kidnapped Lucy is typing at some computer, when Flynn comes back from a journey on the mothership and tells her that he tried to go back and finish the job. That means he went looking for the son of Rittenhouse’s founder so he could smite him. But the kid was nowhere to be found, and there was no subsequent trace of him in history.

So, Flynn says instead of trying to stamp down Rittenhouse at its origins, he’s going to kill each member one by one.
So they end up at the Columbian Exposition, or Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, with Rufus and Wyatt trailing them.

One of Flynn’s guys throws them off they end up going to a hotel, a sort of Roach Motel [https://youtu.be/jKhGHxO-woc?t=29s] for humans, called Murder Castle. Some monster, who went by the alias H.H. Holmes [http://www.biography.com/people/hh-holmes-307622#the-murder-castle-is-built], killed a bunch of people in this death trap hotel. Holmes is considered one of this country’s first serial killers, claiming his victims before the term “serial killer” was commonplace.

Rufus and Flynn ended up trapped in an airtight room with another man and a woman, who is an architect who was supposed to die, but ends up influencing the world.

Harry Houdini plays into this episode. He’s at the start of his ascent to fame. If you guess his help is enlisted to maneuver around some locks and get folks out of tight spaces, you’re right.

Confirm any other guesses by watching the entire episode:

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Celebrating music and stories that changed America

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Museum of History and Culture opened with lots of fanfare in September.

Tonight… a two-hour star-studded show to celebrate what the museum is about. A conversation about tonight’s show with Tasha Coleman, Senior Manager of Counsel Relations and Special Initiatives at the museum.

A preview of tonight’s extravaganza

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

This is Us episode 10: Hooking us in for a January comeback

Why must folks threaten to kill off characters to keep us coming back for another go-round? Gets on my nerves. But it works.

So we see the good doctor again, the one who delivered Kate, Kevin and their wee little brother who passed away. He’s also the one who was partially responsible for getting Randall to Jack and Rebecca.

It’s Christmas time. No, not in Hollis Queens… But in 1989.


So we see the good doctor again, the one who delivered Kate, Kevin and their wee little brother


Kate gets a tummy ache and they have to take her to the hospital, which is where they see the good doctor. He had gotten himself into a car accident… Skidded on an icy patch and sustained some internal injuries and bleeding… a slow bleed between the heart and lungs. Doc seems to think he won’t make it out of the needed surgery.

Of course Jack reeks of positivity. He thinks the doctor will be just fine. It was Christmas Eve, the good doctor’s family was not around… So the Pearson’s stood in as Doc’s supportive family. And Randall, the sweet young man that he was (and still is), used his allowance money to buy a snow globe to thank the good doctor for bringing their family together.

Stage Drama
So Kevin and the playwright, Sloane, slept together. And she tells him he needs to go to Hanukkah dinner with her. Because he owes her. And her family’s piece of work. But so is his, so he’s in great company.

So what happens is that he spills the beans about Sloane’s play is a no-go. Olivia disappeared, they don’t have a star, so the folks who are (were) funding the play pulled their money. So Kevin, in the spirit of his dad who was the EEEEEEternal optimist, he suggests they put the play on themselves. Kevin offers to back it with his money… And encourages Sloane to play the starring role. She’s familiar with it. She wrote the play, and played that while work shopping it.

Meantime Kate is meeting with a counselor about gastric bypass surgery. She’s listening to all of the risks… Rebecca is also present and seems unconvinced this is the best move for her daughter. Rebecca also learned a little more about Kate’s medical history. Like how she’d been on Prozac. But she stopped because it made her gain weight. Rebecca also learned about Kate’s binge eating.

So what else is up with their disconnect? It can’t only be because Kate mom is skinnier than she is…or is it? What else happened to Kate or to Rebecca that makes the relationship so fractured? I wonder if they’ll go into that more when the show returns on January 10. Rebecca wonders if Kate’s food problems are her fault, and tells Kate she didn’t know if she was bringing it up too much or not enough… she never knew what to say. Kate hasn’t put her finger on it either, and says she doesn’t know if her mom caused her food issues.

William is at a support group. And he speaks about taming his addiction from the inside. And then another man named Jessie speaks afterwards. As he talks about a man he loved. And a man who left. And left his heart in shambles. That man… William.

Yes sir, William is gay. He’s like the kid with two dads—like in a book at school. That’s what one of his granddaughters noted later on in the show, after William showed up at Randall’s house with Jesse. Grandad is gay. “Or at least bi,” she schooled her parents. Out of the mouths of babes who know what’s really going on, and have no qualms about love in all its forms.

Continue reading This is Us episode 10: Hooking us in for a January comeback

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Extra Tape, more story

When I am out in the field for work, I usually gather way more than enough tape than I need to turn a story around. What a waste if I don’t at least try to use at least some more of what’s gathered to tell more of the story.

That’s the goal of Extra Tape… even though I’m not using tangible tape to record anything anymore.

So let’s get to the story… The rector of a congregation in Silver Spring, Md. arrived to church and found hate-based messages written in two places on the church campus. Both messages read “Trump Nation whites only.” This congregation and its supporters and allies are pushing back with love:

Montgomery County, Md. Police are investigating what they call “hate-based vandalism,” and are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest or arrests.

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

Two, four, six, eight! The nation endured another debate!

Folks in the Twitterverse had plenty to say during the first presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt moderated six segments on topics ranging from jobs and prosperity, taxes, discussions on racial healing, cybersecurity and nuclear weapons.
On Trump’s temperament:


On Trump’s debating skills:

So… who won?


On tax returns and emails


And the most important thing (I think) to remember:

Please follow and like Planet Noun:

A mid-season perv’s dream, audits and family frazzles in Greenleaf episode 7

OK, so the opening scene in this one disturbed me from jump. Uncle Mac wakes up, clothed in a wife beater.  Some young thang is sound asleep next to him. Looks like this mo-fo is at it again. Well, assuming he molested his niece and other girls in the first place… After all, those are only accusations. But this brotha seems guilty as sin, hell, death, and the grave.

But it was a dream. He woke up for-real. And alone.

Not everyone thinks he’s slime. He’s up for an award… Memphis Man of the Year.

Mac preps for the day, goes downstairs. In the lobby stands the teen girl of his dream… who’s having trouble with her mom. She seems vulnerable. The perfect prey.

The rundown
So, the church is in the midst of an audit. That’s the centerpiece of this episode.

Another storyline is Uncle Mac’s problem with Carlton. Charity wants him to join Calvary’s music ministry. She was concerned folks would feel or act some kind of way because Carlton is gay. Uncle Mac doesn’t give a hoot about Carlton’s sexual orientation. During the background check, Mac found out Carlton’s filed past lawsuits against prior employers (yes, plural) for wrongful termination. His concern: Carlton might be litigious.

Family (un)ties
Uncle Mac and Lady Mae’s daddy shows up at the church. For some reason, they do NOT want that man in the building. Sir Pops told Mac he HAD to show up because he saw his boy on the front page of the newspaper, and was proud of him. Mac gives Pops a spot of cash. Pops walks out of the office… with a struggle it seems. Wonder if he’s a drunk… Or sick. No se. But WHY are they both so adamant about him never stepping foot on church property?

Anyway, while Mac talks to Noah about not letting his dad anywhere near Calvary anymore, he gets the sense Noah’s regard toward him has shifted somewhat. He tells Noah “Well you know Gigi’s been saying things about me and they’re not true.” Looks like Uncle Mac has an idea why she decided to stay in town.

Meantime, Jacob is still trying to get his dad back on television, and back in his good graces. He talks to Mac about it over food truck vittles. Mac asks him why he keeps trying. Jacob says he has to do something. Mac replies all of his trying makes him look desperate and with all the stuff that he’s pulled his dad is not going to reinstate him.


So my mental rewrite for that line?  “You been dirty in the church-house for years, yo! And God ain’t struck you… So help my daddy reinstate me.”


“But you’re still here,” Jacob responds.  So my mental rewrite for that line?  “You been ridin’ dirty the church-house for years, yo! And God ain’t struck you… So help my daddy reinstate me.”  Maybe Jacob knows something about Uncle Mac… Either about him molesting Faith, or maybe he’s pulled some other shenanigans that makes Jacob say that. What else has Uncle Mac been up to?

Later, Uncle Mac gives Bishop a report on the audit’s progress. Says it’s plain peachy—as far as audits go. But after getting copies of records from the past three years, the auditor notices there are a number of “Freewill Offerings,” or something of that sort. It has a pretty nebulous title, so she asks where that money goes. Old girl isn’t satisfied with Mac’s answer, so she asks for a personal audit of The Greenleaf’s finances (or is it Greenleaves). And Bishop is mad! These nosey mo-fos are about to go digging around in the Garden of the Lord!

So Uncle Mac gets pissed at Grace, quietly storms by her office and tells her to stay up out his business. He verbally seethes at her saying if she keeps pulling threads she’s going to unravel the whole business. WHAT BUSINESS? What is Uncle Mac trying to hide? This sounds like there’s more sordid goings-on in addition to these molestation accusations. Another question: How dirty are Bishop’s hands?

After Bishop chews Mac up and out, and Mac barks at Grace, he runs into Charity in the hallway… Charity tells him that she won’t be a party to any discrimination against Carlton. Mac ain’t thinking about that man, so he tells Charity to do whatever she wants. Looks like they’ll have a new music director.

So now let’s go back to uncle Mac and Lady Mae’s dad… Something interesting… He called her a “high yellow whore.” That’s mean for a dad to say. What dad with love for a daughter would call her a whore? Even if she was a stank-a-dank ho, I imagine she’d somehow still be daddy’s little girl in his heart.

Sir Pops also shouted, “She ain’t even mine!” If he’s not her daddy, who is her daddy? And why she got to be a whore? Why does she did detest him so much? What kind of skeletons are hiding in that closet?

Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Please follow and like Planet Noun: