Day 8 of 30 Days of Gratitude albeit a day late

I am grateful that I have this space to share what’s on my mind and that when I set a challenge I can alter the postings as needed.

Yesterday there was no way I could post after a very long and hectic day so I’m keeping my challenge by writing two posts.

Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)
Brittani Bo Baker graces the cover of the latest edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine. (Photo by Shelley M. Shockley)

This first post is about Phenomenal Woman Magazine. I have the honor and pleasure of serving as the editor of this publication, and I hope that this post will prompt you to check it out. Click here to check it out. Thanks to this publication I can also count Photographer as a job, so I am able to practice two of my favorite passions.


The Writers Block represents at The Nia Coffeehouse

Inspiring. Heart wrenching. Brilliant.

Speaking from the heart and from life, Cleveland’s The Writers Block stood up and represented during the closing session of The Nia Coffeehouse’s 15th year. The Coffeehouse is a gathering of creative souls who come together to share their visions of the world through poetry.

The Writers Block
Unfortunately I didn’t capture the names of the students but the top photo features instructor Daniel Gray-Kontar and one of his students as they prepare and the bottom two are of the young ladies during Open Mic at The Nia Coffeehouse.

This past Tuesday the group was treated to the words of Cleveland students who are part of The Writers Block and are students at Cleveland’s School of the Arts. Leading the students is accomplished teacher, writer, poet and musician Daniel Gray-Kontar.

Words can’t capture the warmth that filled my heart as I listened to this group of mostly young ladies paint a picture of the world they live in through words. That world is not always a pretty place.

Anger. Frustration. Determination.

Those were some of the common themes. The messages that caused my heart to crumble. I was filled with pride, but I was also filled with shame.

The world in which they have to navigate is not a pretty or friendly place. As adults we must question what we are doing and leaving to them and most importantly WE MUST DO BETTER!

Spoken word instructor and students
Daniel Gray-Kontar and students from The Writers Block.

We need more Daniel Gray-Kontar’s in our communities. This is not a battle these children should have to wage on their own.

I applaud Kontar for his commitment to our youth and for showing them a positive way in which to channel their feelings. If you have the opportunity to hear these extremely talented students please do, and let’s all begin to LISTEN to what our children are saying and work HARDER to make the world a better place for future generations.

Pictured above are only a few of the students…more photos to come at a later date.

I can’t close without offering gratitude to Vince Robinson and Cavana Faithwalker for leading the charge and giving poets a place to express themselves through The Nia Coffeehouse.

Cavana Faithwalker of The Nia Coffeehouse
The Nia Coffeehouse
Vince Robinson of The Nia Coffeehouse


What’s your Six Word Memoir

Let’s continue the creative journey by writing Six Word Memoirs. Can you tell your story in six words? Well I never thought I could, and what I have attempted is by no means perfect, but for a first blush I’d say it’s not too bad.

This exercise is also compliments of Kim Klassen and Beyond Layers. Kim recently came across the Six Word Memoir in I believe the latest edition of O Magazine. I, however, read about this form of memoir in a writing magazine – I believe Writer’s Digest and I just glimpsed at the story, thinking I couldn’t possibly do that! Again with the negative energy and fear leading the way.

Well no longer. This is the year of FOCUS and The Year of Possibilities. So when the prompt came on Monday I pondered it a little and in between cooking dinner I wrote out a few:

Giving to a fault; reassessing this.

Tired. Determined. Perplexed seeker.

Walking through Life. Yearning to Live.

After creating those I came to the conclusion that a Six Word Memoir captures a moment in time. I was convinced of this tonight when I wrote the following after a lovely conversation with my 10-year-old niece:

Bubbling. Overjoyed and Loving that Girl!

So now it’s your turn, capture a moment in your life in six words!

For more on Six Word Memoirs check out Smith Magazine, the creative minds behind this form. You can find them here.

Today is the National Day On Writing – #whyiwrite

So today is the National Day On Writing and the ladies over at She Writes have encouraged members to participate by explaining in 140 characters why they write. Here is my contribution:

To add clarity to my life, color and flavor to the world of others and ultimately produce pieces that resonate and may bring about change.

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!

Have you tried

Last week I received a message from a good friend saying check out as a good site to help get the juices flowing and keep you on track with your writing goals.

I’m always looking for something to help me stay on task with my writing, so of course I took a look and signed up. As per my usual I didn’t do anything for the first few days, then I wrote a couple of hundred words one day. Then nothing.
I am pleased to announce that for the last three days I have stayed on task and I have written 750 words or more! Yay for me!!!
The first two days were just random thoughts, but today I rewrote a post I had left in the draft column since July. It’s the book review below.
I hope this is a positive trend – better yet, I’m going to make it a positive I won’t just hope. I have to control my destiny and this is one way to do it.
If you’re having trouble with your writing and looking for an inspirational tool – check it out here.