Yay, it’s Book Week in CLE!

I am like a child on Christmas Eve, anticipating what’s underneath the tree!

For the third year The Cleveland Foundation has expanded the annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards into a week of activities with books as the central theme.

If that isn’t enough, the events have been FREE! I’m giddy with joy. Tuesday I enjoyed the poetry of 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Poetry Prize winner Shane McCrae. I had never heard of this young man but he was awesome, laid back and just another guy who happens to teach at Columbia University and write great poetry.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner Shane McCrae and local poet RA Washington field questions from the audience in the historic Jeliffe Theater at Karamu House.

McCrae’s reading was enlightening, humorous and thought provoking. A key component were the CMSD students in attendance. They had the opportunity to not only hear the poetry read by the poet, but also to ask questions and meet him afterward. Just priceless.

The week continues with the actual Anisfield-Wolf Award ceremony with the incomparable Prof. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates serving as jury chair and emcee for the evening.

What a wonderful evening to hear the authors read from their work. The readings were lyrical, thought provoking, timely and laced with humor.

On the big screen Henry Louis Gates at the Anisfield-Wolf Awards.

I was able to grab a shot of Poet and Juror Rita Dove during the book signing. See below.

The week will close out on Saturday as the first annual Great Lakes Book Expo is held at the East Cleveland Public Library on Saturday, September 29th. Details are on the flyer below. If you haven’t registered and you have a book waiting to be published this is the place to be.

If only they knew

I’m perched on the rail in the balcony overlooking the auditorium floor looking for the perfect shot when our eyes meet. His are furrowed and full of anger. He sees the camera and in my mind I see his disgust, because he feels violated. I don’t know this to be a fact, but the mannerisms – scowling, heading shaking. If he were a character in my novel he would be shouting expletives. My look is one of intrigue, interest, wonder and love.

You see I love each of these people and I pray for their safety. I am also well aware that I and many others are blessed, yet we are probably a few paychecks shy of similar circumstances.

As I capture pictureS it is not to exploit but to chronicle and put a face to a crisis this nation tends to ignore. I pass vacant structures regularly and dream of owning and rehabbing them so that no one has to call the streets of Cleveland their home.

I applaud the organizers of the Homeless Stand Down for bringing all of these providers to the community often forgotten. From food to medical care it is offered today.

Many I encounter wear the badge of anger yet many wear the light of the Lord because despite their circumstances they smile with Thanksgiving.

I pray today and everyday for an end to homelessness and I thank God for the opportunity to share a smile and an afternoon with my fellow citizens.

Understanding your limits

A beautiful fall sunset on Lake Erie.

As the sun sets on this day I have come to some very important conclusions and one is that a conventional #NaBloPoMo this will not be. You see I realized that one of the problems I have experienced as a blogger is wondering what my platform would be, and what exactly will draw people to this site regularly.

Offering up a recap of my day is not the answer. My friends and family might, and that’s a big Might be interested in my day but has anything truly newsworthy taken place that complete strangers will be drawn into – I don’t think so. You see I have no cute stories about the adventures of my children or pets. It’s just me and the hubby and boy those are definitely not stories I want to share with the world.

This is day five and I missed a day already because I didn’t capture some great shot, and I really couldn’t think of anything to share yesterday. Today I’m sharing a photo that brings me joy and letting you know that it will be my intent to show up in the space at least once a week as I attempt to redefine the purpose of this journey in the blogosphere.

Until we meet again I encourage you to #ChooseJoy in all you do!

What happens when you choose joy

Today I was beyond exhausted and prayed I would make it through the day. Thankfully I did, but I didn’t have the time to find a new shot that represented joy, so I’m sharing the shot that led me on the #IChooseJoy journey.

This beauty right here brought so much joy to my heart and soul. It was a though God heard my cry and said “All is well, enjoy the beauty I created for you.” The “you” was not collective at that moment it was personal and just for me.

I hope you find joy in this image and choose joy in your life. I would love to hear what brings you joy, please share in the comments.