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Nakkid: A Poem

April 15, 2014

Nakkid

Seems nobody wants to be nakkid
On view
for all the world to see our colors muted, refuted
like this script
unacceptable to mainstream print

be that so, I no longer want to live
outside of vulnerability
afraid to be nakkid
hiding from you and me
ashamed to want desire need

I want to be open
a wasteland asking to be restored
asking to be explored
susceptible to you seeing that I’ve
burdens I sometimes abhor

I long to undress my wounds to the light
to the air for how else
will they be healed
bound, wrapped, interred below
the things we’re all afraid to see to own

risk
free fall
hear the empty space my scream
is caught up on
my body, my limbs, my inside
aflame with exhilaration
I want to call you
to the real me
terror and glee married in my culpability

make me a debt
I pay you
my duty to be true
an obligation to stay, not run
when our hazard threatens to mete more from me
than my indebtedness can meet

I blame me for being clothed too long
subjecting myself to society’s notion of indecency
keeping me from me
us from us
the liability of such a deed
one of the reasons for our estrangement

I peer out of the window of myself
no longer willing to defend
anything
for I’m not at war
got no reason to pick a side
I’m at peace
aligning myself against no thing

Divine, I am
accountability open to attack
spread to criticism
soft before temptation
There can be no assault
If I’m not fighting back

Why? I’m raw emotion
an organic love
an onus lifted from your breast
rest
against my flesh, in my softness
nude, I stand outside of hurt

I’ve a compulsion
to meet your incubus
in nightmare or dream
Nakkid
with eyes wide open
to love or lust
Nakkid and free

© Claudia Moss 4/15/2014 1:50 AM

Nakkid

Writing a New Hair Chapter…

April 14, 2014

We all know when that day arrives. Sometimes we feel it more than know it. Sometimes we hear it in the words of others. I knew like an epiphany, in a flash of knowing, in a blink of acceptance. This weekend, I sat to finish writing a novella, and in lieu of joyously falling into the writing, I found myself enjoying the YouTube Natural Hair Care gurus.

And the more I watched and listened, smiling and loving them all, from longhairdon’tcare2011/Dominique Banks (who transitioned this earlier month due to complications from Lupus) to Naptural85 to NaturalNeiicey and a few other leading ladies of the “loving natural hair ilk,” the more I realized that I was turning over a new leaf inside. Willingly, I was turning a corner, with a smile. Each time I watched one of NaturalNeiicey’s videos and vibrated from the inside out at her enthusiasm for embracing her own journey from permed to natural hair, my Spirit scintillated. Slowly, it occurred to me that I’d made the decision well before this past weekend. Actually, the thought had been fomenting for a while.

Like me, my sisters are natural, except my youngest baby sister. Two of us, Bernie and me, wear our natural tresses in Sisterlocks, a style that requires a tightening technique that calls for an interlocking regimen. My oldest sis wears her natural hair loose, colored festively red and beautifully coiled. My baby sis wears hers luscious locs loose as well, although sometimes she applies heat and moves from one style to the next with a splendid sense of diversity. She has taught me about protective styling and Green House Deep Conditioning; it is that sister who introduced me to YouTube’s
Natural Hair Care queens.

After watching NaturalNeiicey’s video below, I was inspired to greater heights!

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voaYK7kwSZk

A little further away from my family’s experiences, on the web, one of my Facebook friends had recently revealed to her beloved following that she was embracing her Goddess-given locs. My sister’s husband’s sister and daughter were softly natural. Crowning curls, spirals, coils and kinks were abundant and stunning everywhere I looked.

So my chapter was writing itself, before I spoke my declaration to Tywanna. “Sit,” I invited her from my crossed-legged throne on the living room carpet. “Let me share something with you. I have decided to release my Sisterlocks and return to loose, natural hair, and I am excited!”

“Do it!” she said. “I’m so glad you said that. I had a conversation with one of my colleagues the other day about this same topic.” Then she shared the story of a colleague who wanted to take the plunge also.

Together, we watched NaturalNeiicey’s video savored an enjoyable conversation about embracing natural locs and their upkeep. Then she whipped out her cell to share pictures of her own natural hair journey. That led me to share memories of my initial decision to go au natural. Fact is, I’d been here before, but, of course, this time was different. Before, I didn’t have Sisterlocks. A shiny head of weakened, over-processed, permed hair demanded a sizable amount of my money.

What follows are pics of me with my Sisterlocks, as I’ve worn this style for over 16 years! :)

A pic of me with Sisterlocks

A back view of my Sisterlocks

Smiling under locs

A Sisterlocked Honey

My Truth:

I’ve had these locks so long, I’m anxious to set them free…as well as myself. My energy longs for a new beginning. My hair is tired of being locked. I’m tired of the locs lying flat on my scalp, where as my natural hair grew skyward, going poof in humidity and sunshine, gently framing my face. My fingers miss my hair’s spongy texture, a feeling that cannot be readily experienced weaved down in locs. And no. I’m not speaking ill of my Sisterlocks, for I have loved them for a long time, but I am living vulnerable and free in this moment. I am more comfortable than I’ve ever been with embracing change. I realize that locking my new growth over the years has cause breakage at the roots in the crown of my head, where the hair needs to be babied more than other places anyway. And yes, I’m honest. The style is incredibly easy, so I’ve not taken the best care with it, meaning not deep conditioning as often as I should have…or did when I was loosely natural. Go figure! Therefore, before I have my beloved barber sis orchestrate The Big Chop soon, I will DC it with a renewed vitality. I want it softer than a baby’s bottom! I want it to be the very best that it can be when I release it, for whomever, and for me, to recharge myself on my new quest to grow my hair from either a bald head or a TWA (and for those who do not know—that is a Teeny Weeny Afro!) :)

I’m ebullient! Now I will return to knowing the new texture of my hair at this juncture in my life! I will embrace again its curl pattern and experiment with delicious looks and styles. I want to love it to my back, taking care not to abuse it with too many products or heat or taxing styles.

Right now, I’m writing this blog with a mile-high white towel draped over my thermal cap and several plastic bags. What am I doing? The DC, Honey. I am working The Green House Effect, the treatment that involves me washing my locs and whipping up my own DC treatment of a creamy, yellowish melody of mayo, eggs and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The treatment will condition my locs for the rest of the day and throughout the night, and then I’ll wash and rinse the hair on Tuesday. I’ll spray it with water and use a bit of oil on the ends and braid it loosely. On Wednesday, I’ll have a braid-out style, fresh, shiny and cottony soft! That will go on until The Big Chop.

Now, I must share the magnificence of Spirit!

I popped on Facebook to ask about organizations to which I can donate my uncolored Sisterlocks. Before the afternoon slipped into evening, someone responded. An Atlanta loctician (I love that noun) shared a link to her business, which deals with the healthy maintenance of dreadlocks. She informed me that she had two traumatized women who needed my locs! I was elated! Everything was effortlessly materializing, even the people I needed to join me on this venture. Sending my barber sister a Facebook text informing her that I needed her, I look forward to her call, when she is home from work later this evening. She is the perfect person to cut my Sisterlocked ponytail.

My sis has always been a Hair Diva…and we have ever been there for one another. If I take this moment to go back down Memory Lane, I recall that I was her hair model, when she passed the Alabama Board test for her cosmetology license. I remember her hands fluttering across my head, cutting my permed hair into a style for the examiners. I remember she was afraid the examiner wanted her to cut more of my hair than I might have been willing to part with, but I whispered that I wasn’t coming back to wherever we were—Montgomery, I believe—to sit for this test, so cut what you need to cut it now! And she did!

Oh my, I am thrilled! For those who know me, I shall chronicle my journey on YouTube as well. On my Claudia Moss channel. Some of what I haven’t divulged in this blog, I’ll vouchsafe there. Look for me, please, and I’ll look for you. And don’t play. You KNOW us writers want you to comment, so, if you can, leave a comment. And have a lovely evening. Adios!

Mucho Amor Siempre…

Claudia

How to Create Characters for Your Novel

April 7, 2014

I’m hot on the blogging today, Beloveds!

Here is a luscious site I came across a few minutes ago! Enjoy! Y disfrute de su noche!

How to Create Characters for Your Novel.

Simply Skyy is Simply Sensational!

April 7, 2014

Greetings, Beloveds,

Patiently, I’ve waited for that moment, the one I always know, when I am to sit and enjoy a book(s), thoughts of which have faithfully entwined themselves in my locs, quietly letting me know that our time to commune together had arrived. Uninterrupted, enjoyable time! That time finally came when I pressed my Kindle Fire’s on button and thumbed the catalog of books there to stop on Skyy’s CHOICES. A while back I’d excitedly purchased her entire canon, from CHOICES to CONSEQUENCES to CROSSROADS to FULL CIRCLE and on to INDISCRETIONS.

I am elated I trust and adore my choices, my reading palate.

Skyy’s shelf of writing didn’t disappoint me. I absolutely loved each book and promptly fell in love from the first page. Her writing style and pace are wonderful. That Skyy serves a full-course meal, when she sits to weave a tale that leaves her readers enchanted. On each occasion I sat to read, I’d tell myself I’ve time for five chapters and end up devouring that many more, neglecting chores and burning food, situated, as I was, on Freedom’s campus (a campus I know from attending historically Black, Tuskegee Institute, a mirror of the fictional Memphis university) and moving delightedly beside Denise, Cooley, Lena, Carmen and Misha. They were more than a cast of characters. They were people I could see and relate to on the silver screen of my mind. After I powered down the Kindle Fire, Skyy’s group would meander through my thoughts, inviting me to plot out more time so that we could catch up again.

Choices

Denise Chambers, the quiet basketball player with the chiseled arms and gentlewoman demeanor, commands respect. You can’t help but want to be in her corner and help her with anything she needs, desires. I found myself longing for Lena Jamerson to realize that she loved Denise and allow herself to fall into Denise’s arms over and over again. Skyy did an excellent job of culling the extended tension between these two as I read through the series, even as I read out of order, somehow thinking the paperback I’d bought of FULL CIRCLE was the final novel. Yep, there were several questions that arose in the reading that let me know I’d skipped CROSSROADS, and when I returned to read it on my Kindle (I’d forgotten I had it), those questions and the whole experience of reading out of order didn’t matter at all. The story was scrumptious!

Back to CHOICES, that Carla “Cooley” Wade is the perfect bruh for Denise, her stellar opposite. Her willingness to “smell all the flowers in the garden” is refreshing. As she smells and tastes, I am thinking, “Goodness, Skyy, please don’t let my girl come across some tainted nectar. If so, I am going to be fighting mad and on the brink of whipping somebody’s fem azz if not but in a daydream! Thank you, Skyy, that never happened, although you served up the DRAMA for the Killer Cap!” And in CROSSROADS when she— Okay, I will admit it, I will tell a movie. Call me the spoiler. Yet I’ll stop, Beloveds. I’m turning over a new leaf, though there is nothing like reading a novel for yourself.

Consequences

That little Lena was delectable, in more ways than one. I adored her through the series I don’t give a who-who if she couldn’t make up her mind. Shucks, sometimes I can’t make mine up either. That mother of hers, Karen, was enough to leave a sistah addled, rattled and scattered. Gee! But I will say that if you keep reading, oh fickle reader, and you know who you are, you will fall in love with Miss Lena, too, and not only because she is a juicy tidbit! Miss Mama walks up to what she wants in the end, Honey! Okaaaay! Jamerson style. Forget Redding wannabe!

crossroads

Oh my! I loved that Carmen, with her curly-headed self! She was the peacemaker for me, that rational one ever able to help one of her best friends pull it back in the middle of the road when the muck that outrageous. I did want to whip her, and that’s a good thing, considering in life the same thing happens when we love family and friends and others we may never meet. That Tameka, the chick she was head over heels about and continued to go back to after breaking her heart too many times to count, made me want to come looking for her with a water hose, just not to shoot her. I had to remind myself that Carmen needed Tameka in her life. She supports Carmen in the ability to recognize Nik, the unconditionally loving young woman Carmen eventually marries.

FULL CIRCLE

Now Skyy matches Misha and Cooley well, same with the other couples in the series. My heart aches, however, when I realize Cooley is in Love’s deep water, alone. That chick desires to kiss the color off Misha, who can’t seem to bring herself to return the depths of the attraction Cooley feels…hand over mouth, even if their sex is “mucho caliente sin fuego”! Ever want to be a fly on the wall for a quick second? Just until you can hover above while Skyy’s pen does its thing: passionately spilling inked fire between Denise and Lena, Lena and Danni, Carmen and Nik, Coley and Misha and Mariah and Denise!! Oh my goodness! How dare I forget the incinerating flames between Cool and Sahara! It was Now or Never, for real, throughout the series.

I learned many things while reading, was reminded of that much more. Truly, everything does work itself out. That makes me thing of Misha caught in her webbed mess with Patrick. Did I admit I adored Misha, too? What I loved about that little sexy Mama was her helping Cool get Sahara back in the last book! I sit back and release a satisfied “Aaaaaaaaah!” for it all. Super wrap up, Skyy!

Huh uh! I learned that Skyy is a masterful storyteller. Let’s all hope she continues writing. The twists and turns that the gang takes through the books are laudable. That Melanie at the end, Beloved Reader, you will love. I promise. You will sigh over how she is connected to Denise and Mema. Mema’s voice in Denise’s head when she wants to cut the fool at hearing Melanie’s traumatic news is healing. Hey, stuff happens, and always for a reason.

Indiscretions

Appreciation is extended, Skyy, for you allowing us to see your growth and maturation, while reading the series. You just kept getting better and better! I was slowing myself down not to race to the end. Never fear criticism. You know there are those, like me, who will say a work warrants editing…or more editing. What I’ve learned is that I don’t care who you are, whatever you release can be said to require a bit more editing. Heck, you can edit yourself out of time in your life. You can edit yourself into never writing another word. Editing is like that. I’m glad you sing and dance after completing each book. That lets us know you will NEVER let anything hold you down again.

Since I was basking in the afterglow of the Freedom series, I read and relished INDISCRETIONS too. Loved it! Ever take the initiative in this life. Snatch that chance (in this case, the writing of your novella)
and run like you have the winning baton and the rest are miles behind you!

Now where are those movie scripts?

Skyy

Beloveds, if you have not yet sampled Skyy, serve yourself a feast and get to it! For what are you waiting? Visit her on http://www.SimplySkyy.com. Besitos!

The Beauty of Community….

April 7, 2014

We all need one another. Some of us know it; some of us are reminded when we need it the most! Although we may look like islands sitting self sufficient in a calm sea sometimes, we are truly necessary pieces of the main, strongest when we honor and respect our bonds.

One day last week, out of a most brilliantly sunny morning, an e-mail popped into my Google in-box. It was from my delightful comrade in friendship and writing, the Nik Nicholson. A bluebird, she was bringing the much-needed worm, either humorous words or writing tidbits. Turns out, on that day, it was the announcement below. The Lambda Literary Foundation was offering a Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices! Oh my goodness, was I ever ecstatic! Now mind you, do you think I cared that my little bluebird was dropping said delicacy off on the morning of the final day of the Application period! Heck no!

A sistah rolled out of her bedding and danced about my laptop for the sheer joy of living and striking out in the direction of one of my dreams. And that particular one is to be a successful, well-known—no, world-renown, LGBT writer, whose laptop ever blazes with stimulating, provocative fiction and prose! My genre right now is primarily Contemporary Romance, but I know I will delve enthusiastically into Historical Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers, etc. Everything in its time.

Anyway, here I am racing out on the Net, going to see what my Nik Nik has for me to see! It was so blessedly me, all I could do was stare. I couldn’t ever share. Yep, sad, I know. There was no time to post the writers retreat to my Facebook walls, my Twitter page or even my Google+ homepage. There were simply only so many hours left in the day for me to accomplish the feat of successfully completing, attaching all the necessary documents that I needed to attach, and seeing the entire package to the post. (Do I sound English or what? LOL)

“A one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry” as the Lambda Literary Foundation website advertised the retreat, established in 2007 and is the newest, LLF program of its kind offered to LGBT writers, was the shot in the arm I required for that day! Truly, the retreat was a gift possibility. I read further down the website and learned that several writers I’d read for years had been former faculty for the gala. The names read like a dream-come-true list: Dorothy Allison, Jewelle Gomez, Alex Sanchez, Claire Carmichael, Nicola Griffith, Ellen Bass, Bernard Cooper, Elana Dykewomon, Katherine V. Forrest, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Cris Beam, Ellery Washington, Carla Trujillo, Eloise Klein Healy, Fenton Johnson, Michael Nava, D.A. Powell, and John Rechy, among others. So do you see what I mean? I was ready.

I might have been ready to go, sitting on Green, but circumstances arose blaring stop, flashing Red. Do you think that annoyed me? Not even momentarily! My mind rolled into, What happens now—now that the printer has spit out 3 copies of the application and then promptly informed me that the ink cartridge was done? Another part of me answered, Complete what you need to complete; write what you need to write. And then e-mail those babies to the Head Honcho, who turned out to be a super wonderful person, willing to offer support and assistance wherever he could. Community. Each of his communiques needed with “Good luck!” That was all I needed. I gassed up and kept it humming.

Busy writing and editing my responses to eight sections of the Application that called for essays and lists and explanations, I eventually peeped at the time on the bottom, right-hand side of my laptop’s screen, but I didn’t allow it to halt my efforts. I meant to get that total package in before the sun set on 4/1/2014. Periodically, my little Nik Nik popped back on my Google chat, informing me of her progress, as we both raced that clock. Community. When she posed a query that gave her room to pause, I stood up and offered a suggestion that helped her cause. Likewise, she did the same for me. We were on and poppin’!

Our race sped straight on into the afternoon, in different states, and reeled right into the evening. She was working FedEx to make the deadline, and I was rubber-to-the-road on locating the all-night post office.

For me, the beauty of the entire endeavor was rising to a new day that presented me with a new opportunity to sink my teeth into something I really wanted to do and embrace it with a CAN DO, NON-STOP, DETOUR IF I MUST, but DO NOT ACCEPT NO MISSION! Every once in a while, we need that kind of fix! We need to be reminded that we, along with the Divine, underwrite our days. We need to be put in remembrance that we are powerful creators, no matter what the obstacle looks like. We are even thankful for the obstacle!

Filled with light even now, on Monday, April 7th, I await the May date that will inform me whether or not my Application will be among The Chosen! I will learn whether I will be seated in Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Fiction Workshop, chin cupped in my little palms, hanging onto her words of wisdom beside my friend Nik Nik and other LGBT writers, new or slightly seasoned. I will discover if I will get to practice speaking Spanish with Poeta Eduardo C. Corrall, the leader of the Poetry Workshop!

And let me inform you, I have FAITH that I will stand among the chosen for all that I applied to do in this effort: attend the two workshops, be a scholarship recipient and serve as the editor of the anthology that will be birthed from the pens of attending writers!

Yet if I am not to be among the attendees, I will be GRATEFUL for the opportunity to have vied for the chance to attend. I promise to be thrilled for those whose names made the roll. I will read the books of the workshop leaders, including the one I’ve never read, Elizabeth Sims, the mystery and thriller author. And I’ll read the latest work by Randall Kenan, a writer I read and loved years back. You see, just because you can’t attend doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the workshop leaders’ writing.

THE KEY IS TO BE GRATEFUL for EVERYTHING!

Oh, that reminds me. My baby sis and I were chatting about what we have learned from those who have been living life for far longer than we’ve been living. One lady my sis met was nearing 98. When she inquired what the lady’s secret was for living such a long life, my sister said the little lady answered: “I have learned to be grateful for everything, the so-called good with the bad.”

And on that note, I shall remember the power of brevity…and take my happy self back into my day, where other blog entries and a poem await me!

Much love and abundant light, Beloveds!

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/writers-retreat/2014-writers-retreat-faculty/

I’m learning how to wear many hats well….

April 3, 2014

I’m learning how to wear many hats well….

Come closer.  Share this moment with me.  Writers are so much more than what you read.  <3

Without Balance You Are Missing You

March 31, 2014

Are you balanced?

I’m just now catching up with myself to realize that I’m not and haven’t been for sometime. How do I know? Well, when I’m engaged in a task and I’m there without a stop time in mind, I know that I’m out of balance. I wear my body out working on a task so long that I don’t pause to rest my eyes. I don’t take a necessary walk to feel the sun and wind on your face and be kissed by the day. I rarely leave time to hang out, if but on the phone. Not good, I know! But I’m thinking, I’m task-oriented, and surely that’s laudable, right? Wrong! Everything in moderation, Mama!

I’m in a body, and I must appreciate that. I allow my life to pass me by if I’m not cognizant that all things have a stop and start time. I love Walter Mosley’s thinking of going to bed early and rising early to write for 3 hours. Period. After that, he goes out to visit with friends and enjoys a long walk. I’ve read that other writers take that approach for clearing their heads to determine where the mental blockage is so that they can carry on with the plot and characters and any challenge that inevitably found its way to the forefront of their day’s writing.

Because I slowed to allow the revelation that I was horribly out of balance to catch up with me, I am now enjoying this Monday in a different way. With these imported YouTube waves on my laptop and a Mason jar of fresh detox juice (beets, carrots, ginger, apple and cucumber) to my right, along with a half gallon ow detox water (purified water with sliced cucumbers with the peel, sliced lemons and shaved ginger), I am ready. There is order.

The list of things to do before me directs me to TAKE LIFE ONE THING at a time, ONE WEEK AT A TIME. That means I have decided to reign myself back in. No more spending inordinate amounts of time on Facebook. (Once I tip into those luscious waters, the writing goes OUT the window! Now mind you, I LOVE Facebook and, most importantly, my friends there! But the writing will not write itself. And as Tom Clancy said, “Do not write to commit art. Finish the damned thing.”) On Mondays, I will do what I am doing now, blog. And post my new Vlog to YouTube! With the bogs and Vlogs up, off they go to the virtual stages I make time to enjoy: Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Just so you know, I’m TheLadyBestseller on YouTube, although I’m there under Claudia Moss as well. How did that happen? Doing too much, as usual. I enjoy referring to my knee-baby sis as Miss Know It All, but I need to crown myself under the aforementioned title! :)

Mind you, I’m not saying to have something to do is bad. I’m saying select one goal from your List of Things To Do, and do that WELL. With a plethora of things to do, you actually DO nothing. I know! Of late, I’ve been exceedingly successful at completing timed and untimed objectives, because of my inner voice whispering softly, lovingly, “Stop, Lil Mama. Breathe. Meditate. Sleep early. And wake early. Write. Then stop.” It said everything but, “Smell the roses!” But that wasn’t lost in the translation. :)

In the midst of my balance, I pause to quietly determine which of the writing projects on my laptop I will embrace next. Hmmm. I know which one it is. In the morning, in my Goddess Moments, I will meditate on the project while I relish the shower spray on my skin, as I oil and fluff my locks and lotion my skin and dress. I will allow Spirit to download all the mystery and magic of what I need to jump on the assignment with vim and vigor. I will open myself.

Let me not forget, I will also give myself a completion date, and hold me to it. Now if I am not finished, I will be flexible enough to modify it and carry on. In addition, this time, at the completion of this project, which is a novella, I shall put it away…and revisit it a bit later. Then I’ll utilize an editing service.

I will admit that I am a former English teacher, with writing-competition wins under my belt and recognition from a queue of people who enjoy my work. Although that may be true, I’m seeking Beta Readers to add to the two I love and adore. So since it is on my mind and under my fingertips, I shall ask the Universe today. Once I’ve workshoped the story through my readers, then I will send it to the writer to whom it is promised.

We writers must learn to be selfish in a positive way. Or…is that an anomaly?

Deep in my soul, I feel I am already successful. Had I continued to burn the candle at both ends, remaining up around the clock, I’d surely be heading somewhere I don’t wish to be. Shucks! It feels great to climb in bed early and rise with the sun.

On Facebook recently, I made a vow to join my beloved friend, Imani Evans, in CREATING LOVE in the world! Well, I begin by creating love for myself…and radiating it out to others. Now I believe I can do that and have been doing it in a number of ways. Am open to new ways of showing love to others, even down to a smile to someone who might be thinking I’d never smile at him or her.

Have a great day, Beloveds! Be loving to yourself and others!

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