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Why I Took a Two-Year Sabbatical From Poly Dating

August 21, 2014

Why I Took a Two-Year Sabbatical From Poly Dating.

Finding a Story Worth the Silver Screen…

August 20, 2014

Finding a Story Worth the Silver Screen….

Finding a Story Worth the Silver Screen…

August 20, 2014

I can…imagine it!

Finding a story worthy of a Silver Screen debut couched in history would be sensational! To have that story garner the interest of the world and harvest rave reviews would make my heart palpitate uncontrollably, though I’d rise to the occasion and carry off the project exactly as the beautiful director, Amma Asante, did; gracefully, creatively, ingeniously.

“Belle” is a revolutionary film. In the video below, I discovered how Amma came across the story, so do take the time to view the half-hour clip! What resonates with me is hearing Amma admit that Black people were depicted as ‘pets’ in the 18th century in portraits, and when she came across a portrait depicting a Black woman, a mulatto, the daughter of an Englishman and an African slave, as an emboldened woman, Amma Asante was mesmerized. Later, engrossed in research, she sought the story’s thread. After all, this Black woman was painted looking outward, at the viewer, not peering at the ground, bowed and lowered, with the demeanor of a trusted hound, but a woman painted higher than a white woman, a blonde, her cousin, who was reaching out for Belle’s hand, locking Belle in as the central figure of the portrait, the original of which was shown at the end of the movie.

If you haven’t seen the film, see it. It’s soul stirring, its heart-clutching moments riveting. The tale uproots history and elucidates the story of someone who did something and, under great duress, made a decision that changed the world in a profound way.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw brought a beautiful, powerful, mind-boggling presence to the role of Dido Elizabeth Belle. Everything in me instantly loved her. When you see the film, you could be easily distracted by her tour-de-force beauty, conviction and grace, although the sweeping majesty of the film will bring you back, continuously, to the bravery it took to be Belle at that time in history, to stand up for what she believed, even in the face of possibly losing it all, her life included.

That is what I like to think of as “living passionately.” Reminds me of my brother, Lorenzo, who has ever walked fearlessly. Even if there was a chance of a beat down, incarceration, the brink of death, firing, etc. My brother did and yet does what he has to do, what he feels compelled to do. And for that, for whatever it is worth, he has my respect.

I knew I would see “Belle” from the moment I caught the television previews. No, I didn’t call the exact date I’d see it, nor could I say with whom I’d see it. What I knew for sure, as Oprah might say, is…I’d see it, and I did.

Speak the word, believe, and it is so.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

What film have you seen lately that touched you profoundly?

The Innocence and Beauty of Nudity…

August 20, 2014

The Innocence and Beauty of Nudity….

Mystery, Anyone?

July 24, 2014

Greetings, All!

I’m certain you’re thinking it’s a mystery where I’ve been for the past eon of weeks, since we’re talking mystery! Yes, I’ve been away, but away for a healing cause. To remain at peace in the flow of my life, I go away to come again, better, I love to think, than I was before. Whenever I do this, slip off the scene and hover just under the radar, I attend to whatever I need to bow to on a spiritual level. We need to recognize when this is a necessity so that we may practice the art of taking time out for ourselves. When we do so, we can better show up in our lives and in the lives of others.

There now. At least that mystery is solved.

For the main event, I recently discovered blockbuster author Elizabeth Sims, who penned the mystery series, The Rita Farmer Mysteries! I will voluntarily admit it. I have ever been, since the beginning of time, a romance, some fantasy, a tad of paranormal, family sagas and historical fiction sort of girl. Although writers serve up a bit of mystery in romance, yes, I have rarely reached for mysteries, thrillers or detective novels, per se, unless I had to in literature courses.

Life is wonderfully fascinating!

Blessed to have been selected to be a 2014 Lambda Literary Foundation Writing Fellow in Elizabeth Sims’ workshop on “Genre Fiction,” I followed my curiosity to Sims’ second series, the Rita Farmer Mysteries, on Amazon. There, I discovered THE ACTRESS, THE EXTRA and ON LOCATION, respectively. (And no, they do not require reading in that order!) Before the arrival of the workshop’s pre-reading list, I devoured THE ACTRESS and could hardly stay away from its lit pages on my Kindle Fire, the read was captivating, gripping and deliriously satisfying from start to finish.

The Actress

Sims’ writing sparkles and snaps in a story that had me laughing out loud, as Rita, a wholly engaging protagonist, is beautifully sketched, thoughtful, fearless and hilarious. She’s immersed in the everyday of life, struggling to hold her own to survive in Los Angeles, a city that doesn’t appear exceedingly welcoming, yet is indifferent, beautiful, and basically unbiased to all, from the mogul to the homeless. Actually, the city felt, to me, like a compelling character, as real as Rita herself, and I loved that aspect of the story, among so many others. For instance, I adored Rita finding her way to a particular parking lot to speak with her beloved, gutsy Gramma Gladys, a spirit who speaks with the zeal of a fearless matriarch and with the intensity of the wind!

The mystery? Does Rita, an aspiring actress down-on-her-luck, have what it takes to earn a thousand dollars a day to help a celebrity defense attorney prepare a wealthy client for the most exacting role of her life. Has Miss Rita Farmer mastered her craft enough to transform the client’s body language, facial expression and vocal style to suffuse her testimony with credibility…and freedom? Will Rita remain one step ahead of other dangerous situations out of her controls when the stakes climb?

eliz-new-square

The novel is a 412-page page-turner! Well paced, intelligent, fascinating and well crafted, THE ACTRESS had me ready to plunge into the second book, THE EXTRA, when I missed Rita, Petey, and Daniel before I reached the novel’s final page.

Sims’ characters are simply priceless! That Jeff, Rita’s ex, is a perennial pain, though my girl handles her own when he gets beyond himself in his efforts to see her squirm financially as she struggles to provide the best home possible for their adorable four-year-old, Petey, whose antics and wit inundated me in smiles and outright laughter as well. Eileen Tenaway and hubby shimmer in mystery. Eileen and sister are a study in opposites and humor. Daniel makes me want to hug him when Kwan dies, and Rita’s new beginning and promise of romance send me into a happy dance at the novel’s end.

When time permits, I will slip back into Sims’ fictional paradise and abide with not only Rita and a new cast of characters in Books 2 and 3, but also I intend to meet Miss Lillian Byrd in The Lillian Byrd Crime Novels.

Not to tell much more of the story, blunting your reading pleasure, I will simply say, “Go grab a Sims’ sizzler for yourself!” And when you do, traipse on over to visit Elizabeth’s website, http://www.elizabethsims.com. You will find up-to-date information about her, her books, and free excerpts and discussion guides. Don’t miss out! Oh, and not only that, readers and writers, you will want to read her nonfiction delight, YOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU: A STRESS-FREE GUIDE OF YOUR DREAMS.

I am so excited…and inspired! Happy reading and writing, Beloveds!

The Lambda Literary Foundation’s Writers Retreat does make a difference…

May 27, 2014

Today I went in search of past LLF’s Emerging LGBT Voices writing fellows. My foray across the net landed me in Justin Torres’ weaved web of words. Having never ever met Torres, I viewed his vids and knew an immediate, tacit connection. The idea that he should apply to attend the retreat arrived on the lips of friends. It was the same for me, as one of my beloveds called me one morning, the final day of the application period, to share the glad tidings. Torres longed for direction on how to “make it” as a writer. I have, probably, more of an idea on how to do that, but I want my community of writers to share their insight with me on how to go about it from a number of different perspectives. Justin, upon receiving the opportunity, was broke and living in New York; I am temporarily financially challenged, although it feels as though the Divine and I need to chat in regards to quite how long “temporarily” is going to last.

Yet I get that last part; yes, I do.

You see, I have sat at the head of the table of life, have known plenty intimately, and so much so, until I starred in the “giving” role. My Academy Award is around here somewhere. :) Right now, I am seated at another place at the table. Now I ask, and say, “Thank you. I am ever grateful.” Although it has never squelched my spirit to ask, for asking is the ying to the yang of receiving, it has caused me to reflect, to remain steeped in gratitude, to remain connected, however many times I want to flee the stage, and to know, profoundly, that “and this, too, will pass.” This season is a drifting circumstance, like clouds, never holding the same formation.

At the song’s end, I am of my parents and grandparents’ ilk. When the storm rises, I am a tree. A graceful pine, I bend, sway, lean, tickled to shimmy in the breeze, limbo hop when my leaves and branches sweep the ground, and, no matter what, come what may, straighten again…anyway. Truth ever shines. Same as I cannot fight water, I cannot slay the wind. Quite frankly, I’m not here to fight or slay. I’m here to experience the shifting nuances of my journey on this plane. I am here to love and be loved. I am here to feel, encounter and change, as the song says, “Everything must change. Nothing stays the same.” I’m good with all that and the above. No complaints. Simply, I rise ecstatic, grateful for another day to walk water and live my dream, to write my stories the way I know to write them.

Like Justin Torres, I have determined that writing I will do this time around. And as Dorothy Allison, the lesbian novelist Justin Torres alludes to in another video I enjoyed today, says (and I paraphrase now): It’s alright for young writers to want to tell their truth; they just need to do it beautifully. That, Beloveds, is precisely what I stretch to do: tell my truth and tell it artfully. Kinda sorta makes me think of primping in the mirror, when I prepare for the day’s spotlight. I am my truth and I ready myself to live that truth, but, believe me, I do what I do in an effort to be as beautiful as I can, inside and out. {Hey, I’m a fem or femme, as some of you may know, despite the voice in which I typically sling ink. :) } But as for Beauty, she is the same with our stories or whatever art we create. If she could speak, I think she’d be of the mind: “If you’re slip shoddily doing whatever, then whatever you’re doing need not be done.”

And on that note, oh, oopsie! One more thing. Torres came away from his retreat experience, with his future, award-winning work, and made grand ripples in literature’s pool! Kudos! I, Beloveds, intend to do the same! Now…on that note, I take my leave, fading back into the sunshine of my day, with abundant gratitude for you, writing, the net, my pen and the Lambda Literary Foundation. Amen.

Besitos y Abracitos

10 Reasons Why I Want to Attend the LLF Writers Retreat! :)

May 26, 2014

Thank you for watching my wind-whipped video! The sound truly does get better. Just stay with me. If you’d like to see me immensely excited, keep watching. I shall aim for a calmer Claudia in my next video, as I shall change them out weekly…I hope. (Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she!)

The Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging LGBT Voices Writers Retreat is a truly one-of-a-kind retreat. There is no other like it. I will be joining other writing fellows from across the country in Los Angeles this August for the intensive, week-long workshops. My workshop is the Genre Fiction workshop with Elizabeth Sims. Several of my Facebook writing friends have told me that Sims is a truly sensational workshop leader. I can hardly wait. And I’m the sort of student to read up on my teachers, so one of Elizabeth Sims’ novels in on my kindle. I’m so excited!

In another Vlog, I shall share my “Pretty Perks” of gratitude. At present, they are outlined on my Indiegogo campaign, “Send Claudia to the LLF Writing Retreat.” The link is posted on the blog before this one. No worries if you haven’t seen it. I duly intend to nauseate you with it before the curtains fall on my deadline! :)

Here’s wishing you a beautiful, serene evening!

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