Martha Southgate returns to CLE to read "A Taste of Salt"

Martha Southgate during book signing at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, OH

***Note – this post was started last October and I never got around to uploading. If you’re looking for a good quick read this winter, be sure to pick up A Taste, and any of Southgate’s other works. She is an engaging and enjoyable author.

Cleveland native Martha Southgate, author of A Taste of Salt  returned home to give a reading at Visible Voice Books in the City’s Tremont neighborhood. It was a wet and chilly Thursday evening in October, but the quaint warm surroundings offered a perfect setting for a friendly open discussion.

A small but engaged group gathered to hear Southgate read from her latest novel and discuss her journey as an author.

The conversation covered everything from “A Taste of Salt” to her life as an author. Southgate was open and engaging as she talked about her path which included a stint as a writer with Essence magazine. When speaking of the jobs she has held Southgate was offering insight into the real life of a writer. It is not all glamour and sitting at home working on that next great work!

Eager readers await the start of Martha Southgate reading.

Her latest work “A Taste of Salt” is largely set in Cleveland which lead to questions about the levels of autobiographical information contained in the story. Southgate was adamant that this was not her story and is indeed a work of fiction. As with most works of fiction some elements of the book were loosely  based on  individuals Southgate has met, and settings are based on places she has been.

A Day of Accomplishments

Trying to find time to engage in some of my favorite activities has been a bit of a struggle lately.I love to say ‘work gets in the way of life’, but we all know you have to work in order to enjoy some of the joys in life!
Work is not always the problem. You see I enjoy a number of creative activities – writing, photography, paper crafting, knitting and reading. Now, each of these activities can be intense and time consuming so actively engaging in th
ese activities on a regular basis can be difficult.
Let’s take a look at these activities:
Writing has been a love and a neglected passion for a number of years. I say it has been neglected because I have not quite figured out a good writing routine. I started this blog as a means to find my way back to writing, but as you can see from
glancing at the previous posts lists I have only been able to keep this up in spurts. The problem maintaining this blog consistently is that I don’t have a true focus
You see truly successful blogs tend to focus on one, possibly two subjects and there are scheduled postings with a minimum of one posting per week. I have really got to get busy on making scheduling regular posts.
Additionally, I think I need to redesign my blog so that I can have sections for my various passions. This is a future endeavor, one I hope will take place in the near rather than far off future.
Photography has been a regular activity since I was about 13 and probably earlier than that, but that is when I received my first 35mm SLR camera. Over the years I
have taken photography classes and dabbled with developing
my own photos, but my diligence waned. This Christmas I received a Digital SLR and the photo-bug was reignited! Below is an example of some photos taken while playing around with my
new camera.

These photos bring us to another of my passions – knitting! I recently completed both of the hats pictured above! The bottom over processed photo was taken as part of my work for my Mastering Manual Mode class at Big Picture Online Classes.
The purpose of this class is to help owners of digital DSLR’s take the camera off of automatic and add art to your photography. I can say it’s been a bit of a challenge, but a lot of fun. I’m revisiting some of the basics of photography that I left behind when I picked up my first digital camera.
This is another example from class – the focus of this sample is a
perture settings.

Paper crafting really entails making greeting cards and invitations by hand. Utilizing stamps and a variety of techniques I have come to enjoy creating cards, but I have not found much time to create lately.
Finally, I love reading and every six weeks or so I read a new title thanks to my book club The Literary Sistas! My Sistas and I read only African American fiction, and it is usually of the literary variety. Some of the authors we have read include Toni Morrison, Tananarive Due, Carleen Brice, Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, Mat Johnson, and Leonard Pitts to name a few.
I read all authors and some non-fiction because I truly love a good book. The race or nationality of the author is not the first thing I look at, but I do have a tendency to read works by authors of color because they are so often overlooked by the masses.
To further my writing efforts I also post book reviews. Check back in the next couple of weeks for new reviews.
Today was a productive day because I dabbled in photography and found the time to write this post. Progress is made one step at a time! I hope you will join me on this journey.
Comments are always welcome…let me know what you think this might inspire a new post!

Do We Really Live in a Multicultural Society?

The United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave, now has an African American President; does that mean that all is well and we are all clicking our heels three times shouting “It’s great to be an American, It’s great to be an American”?

Not just yet. Although I believe that on the whole we are glad, grateful and proud to be Americans, it is very clear to those of us with a little more melanin that President Obama, even with all of his assets, is not the Wizard and we still have a lot of work to do in this country we all so love.

All we have to do is take a look at the events of this past week and the New York Post cartoon to see that change is coming, but has not reached everyone. While I haven’t actually viewed the cartoon I have listened to the commentaries on both sides and they clearly indicate that issues of race continue to polarize this nation.

Just this morning I read a commentary in the Denver Post by author Carleen Brice on the struggle black writers have when it comes to broadening their reader base. The problems she explains lie not only with the publishing industry, but also with the mindset of readers.

As black woman I have been reading the works of non-blacks my entire life. As I think back over the years, it was not until I reached Junior High I believe, but more probably High School that I became acutely aware of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, Nikki Giovanni and others. As an avid reader I don’t limit myself to race or culture when I read, because one of the joys I have always found with reading is that I can transport myself to faraway lands without ever leaving home.

If we are truly ever going to be a multicultural society we must embrace the works of all cultures. Reading is a perfect mechanism for this because once you have read about another culture you have a central base from which to begin dialogue with someone from that culture. You may find that what you have read is not totally accurate, but at least the conversation will have begun and I’m sure you will learn something.

So if you’re game and you’re not a minority, hop on over to White Readers Meet Black Authors and find a new book to read. For minority readers you can visit the site too! If you find that you limit yourself to books only by African Americans, Hispanics, Asians etc. then take this opportunity to widen your horizon as well.

One of the best books I’ve read lately is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and another good read was Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult.

Take the plunge, I’m sure you will like it!