Tuesday, December 26, 2006
This morning I received an email with the title "Love Took The Change Out Of Me." I kept lookin at those words and was thinking that something looked awful familiar about it. Then I realized it was a title of a chapter that I had written in my story "Love Is 2 Blame," which is featured in the Love Is Never Painless anthology... I started to smile because once again I had received another beautiful response to my story. This lady told me that that last chapter was very inspirational for her so she had to email me and let me know. That's an incredible feeling and one that I've been experiencing just about everyday for the past three weeks thanks to everyone emailing me about how much the story has touched them... The emotions in that story are very real, some of the words taken from my own experiences, the feelings taken from my own hopes, dreams and disappointments, the characters....my imagination...
I have to send a shoutout to this young lady named Keysha who said my story inspired her to make a life decision.. Her decision was not to choose a relationship(s) she was unsure of but to instead choose herself. From what I could tell based on the options she mentioned, she made the best choice for her...
Love is something you gotta be sure about 'cause love is to blame for everything... good and bad..
Tonight I had a pretty interesting and funny, movie experience... Dreamgirls... ahhh... beautiful people up on the screen but the most enjoyable part for me was before the movie. I typically am amazed by the action before the film starts. Watching folks decide where they're gonna sit and seeing everybody involved in various conversations. I also always seem to have the loudest popcorn eater sit right behind me. I dont know why that always happens. Tonight was no exception to all of that except this felt more like a concert audience than a movie audience with all the various outfits, beautiful women, and men trying to be too cool.. There were definitely some fine looking ladies and one gigantic haired lady with a super skinny body trying to find a seat. I'm grateful she sat nowhere near me because her hair/afro was just way too big.. Then I also noticed this really fine latina with long dark hair and brooding eyes walking up the steps and coming in my direction. She eye'd the seats next to me so I had a feeling that's where she was gonna sit. As she got closer I realized the big football looking brotha behind her was with her too. I didn't recognize him though we nodded at each other but the stunning latina I did recognize. I'll throw out the name(Ice La Fox) though most reading this will still not know who I speak of...lol.. As the movie was playing I had to look at her a couple times not because I recognized her but because thank God the seats next to her were empty because she was acting like she was seven feet tall and couldn't get her legs in a comfortable position. Sometimes she sat up, other times she stretched out...back and forth... and the big brotha just sipped his drink, yawned a lot and sat unmoved by what was showing on the screen...
Ahhh..Dreamgirls... For me personally, ummm.. it was okay... I wasn't moved by what I saw either though I enjoyed some of the music. I loved seeing everybody on the screen that was there. The casting was perfect but I just wasn't really feeling it completely or at least not enough to walk out of the theatre wanting to tell everyone they must see it. I liked it enough to say "hey check it out because you'll probably like it more than I did" *smile* but for me something was missing just as it was with that Will Smith movie... That certain something that just hits you, makes you feel like you're watching something amazing, grabs you emotionally sort of like what Jamie did in Ray. Dreamgirls wasn't it for me but I'm sure folks will love it.. Hopefully anyone seeing it wont be distracted by loud popcorn eating or laughter whenever the characters breakout in song.. Seems like some audiences today dont realize or recognize what a "musical" is. They forget that in telling the story, the characters sing... it's a musical..
Anyway, I did see a really funny preview tonight for a new movie coming with Chris Rock. It's called "I Think I Love My Wife" or something like that and it looks like something that folks can relate to... temptation and how to deal with it...or not.. *smile*
Monday, December 25, 2006
Happy fabulous Christmas to everyone.. The year is almost over... We lost the Godfather of Soul on Christmas Day.. RIP, James Brown.. Life continues on though, doesn't it? It' amazing all that we have these days.. the technology and the world at our fingertips.. The kind of information and advances to allow for learning a lot faster but human behavior and various mentalities really prevent society from truly making a step forward.. Personally, I think our best days and times our behind us.. I'm sure we're gonna have fun and do big thangs in this "keepin it real" world but back in the day was the real fun that admittedly we took for granted, during my time, before my time and probably generations ago but as a person who is growing quite fond of the past, it's never too late to recognize just what we had.. Yeah, we had issues with the whole civil rights stuff and all sorts of other movements.. Crimes being committed on people of color but despite all that, family was important and love mean't a great deal.. People of color went hand in hand with people of strength even when we of today's times misinterpretted those moments of strength..
Today, I had fun reminiscing with someone about pancakes.. This person talked about how her mother in Arkansas made her pancakes with the slightly crunchy edges.. *smile* I love those too.. I often did that by mistake even when I was trying to make pancakes like they do at the restaurant, so smooth and light... All that talk of pancakes reminded me of the summers I spent in Mt. Pleasant(east Texas) with my grandparents.. My grandmother(Senora) spoiled me with fresh milk straight from the cow, fresh eggs that I sometimes picked out myself, and pancakes made from scratch.. Some real country cooking on the farm.. She put some pounds on me so when I got back home in LA my mother would put me on a diet right away... Incredible days, sweet memories...
This past week I've been in touch with a relative that I never met before. He called me all the way from Delaware. A man named James Royal originally from Daingerfield, Texas with an incredible amount of information about family going way way back. The information is really something and of course it points out we weren't a perfect people but we were strong.. We were hardworkers. We owned and developed some beautiful land but typically the most fascinating stories are the ones about the drugs, crime, affairs of the heart, etc etc.. James shared with me information about his great grandfather Ben Royal born in 1860. This man had a white father and it's assumed that his mixed features were what made him attractive to women because he had plenty and took advantage of this constantly.. He fathered many many children, some of them with relatives like an attractive cousin or a sister-in-law that caught his eye. And all these women lived pretty close to him, sometimes even living on the same farm which he did very well at.. Most men back then and in these areas of east Texas had farms. There were even some women who did very well in these small towns.. We always hear about the struggles of black people back in the day but somehow there was folks making money and doing very well in spite of those struggles and predjudices.. My great great grandmother Mariah was described in one of the documents that James found as "Rivers family matriarch, Mariah, was a woman of substance and ingenuity with vast land holdings and a church named in her honor." She first built the church herself after slavery ended. The church still bears her name today but the tradition is being lost to the new generation who chooses to forget rather than to honor... That's the problem today... folks make the choice to forget thinking the past wasn't cool or had no relation to what's going on now.. My next book shows how incredible the past was and how it's so much a part of what some wish for today, everyday; wondering what happened to love...true love... Until Again is some powerful stuff and it came to be that way because I've chosen not to forget... My choice is a discovery that I wish I had made many many years ago.. I think if I had, I'd be a lot farther along in life but no matter because it still feels good.. You want excitement, love, danger, strength, happiness, sadness, passion, romance, tragedy, perseverence...look to the past..
Christmas eve I woke up feeling lazy but that feeling couldn't stop me from getting up, getting dressed and making my way from the valley to the city. I had to go in the direction that I'd travel for many years in the past to visit my grandmother.. Only this time the tradition included a detour... I can't go over to Adams Blvd and take the elevator up to my grandmother's apartment where the smell of good holiday food would hit you the moment you got off the elevator. I'd also hear the sounds of my grandmother's voice, my aunt Tamer's voice, my mother's voice, and maybe a few other's like uncle Charles and Richard and aunt Dee Dee. all those voices blending together to make up that familiar sound known as family.. Then you can add a few extra ingredients like my presence, cousin Vaughn and my other uncle Bubba... That tradition is one that was so familar and so always a part of every Christmas experience that like most things you do unconsciously you end up taking for granted as to how much those moments meant to you... Just thinking about those times allows me to hear those voices so clearly and smell the heavenly aroma of turkey and dressing, football game on the television, sitting out on the balcony, "fixing" a plate of food, my official job as potato salad taste tester, delicious bread pudding with the delicious sauce that my grandmother always made so good.. I got her recipe so I know how to make it but it ain't the same as when she used to make it all the time... Christmas past is no longer... As I said, this time the tradition included a detour... No longer traveling to Adams near Western but instead to the cemetery on Washington Blvd. where my grandmother was put to rest... I spent time with her spirit though I know she's all around me and always there looking down... I like to make sure she knows she's always in my thoughts as I whispered a Merry Christmas to her, brushed off the headstone and continued my day, driving off while listening to some Donny Hathaway and other old soul classics that reminded me of years gone by...
Sunday, December 24, 2006
I'm home from watching the latest Will Smith movie.. I already knew the story so basically I just wanted to "watch." I was hoping for a feel good type of story.. I can't really say it was that.. Mostly it just had me feeling and recognizing how close we all are to being out there on the street with no place to stay... The old cliche' "a paycheck away from homelessness" or something to that affect.. I dont know... Plus, I had recently made trips to downtown LA and took pictures of life down there in areas where homelessness is rampant... The lines for shelters are scary.. People lined up in droves, wrapped around several blocks.. scary... So, I couldn't feel completely good about the movie.. I enjoyed Will Smith's kid who was too cute but I waited basically for the happy ending so I could walk out of the movie feeling good.. I didn't really get it but on my way back to my car as I exited the theatre and walked through the mall, dodging a sea of white faces, some trying to bump into me and others just giving me mean looks, a tall brotha walking with his fine sistah said hello as if we knew each other and it felt good. There was my feel good ending... Dude looked like he belonged to some professional basketball team and he made me proud for that couple seconds of greeting and wishing each other well. No disrespect to anybody else but when I get a warm greeting by a black person it feels damn good...
Anyway, I did a little midnight car washing because my car was dirty and I want to wake up to a clean car tomorrow on Christmas Eve. Washing my car gives me time to think though the subject on my mind had been there for a couple days now as I found myself missing someone; an old friend... A friend who I spent Christmas with last year and really enjoyed her company. I sent her an email the other day wishing her well and letting her know that I hope she's having a great holiday season. Her response was a thank you but I could tell her heart probably wasn't in it.. You know how you can feel a certain coldness to words.. Her thank you felt real chilly...lol.. It doesn't hurt because I understand but I had to try and say hello to her because as I said, I miss her and her friendship.. We shared a lot of great walks and talks together. I took her to her first Prince concert. She's a great lady doing great things, I hope.. We crossed the line though we disagree on that perceived line... She wanted more than I did... More than friendship.. I just couldn't see us as more... We shared hugs, we shared a certain closeness and came close to that ultimate closeness, if you will but we didn't... A mistake on both of our parts but I like to think that as adults you can handle things like that. Her perceived line was crossed and she read too much into things I had written during that time which caused feelings to be hurt... She was done with me and still is.... but nevertheless, I miss her and wish her well... I dont seek forgiveness, though.. but I do apologize for the uncomfortable-ness I may have placed inside her heart... In my opinion, real true friendship should never end unless there's a real good reason... I can't recollect any good reason.. All I remember are the great times... take care old friend... :-)
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Once upon a time I was with a woman who I loved in a way that was bigger than love itself.. She was my everything and all the cliches' wrapped up into one... I felt like I truly had a woman and I actually belonged to someone.. I'd overheard her saying to someone "that's my man!" and she said it with pride and I loved her even more for that... Then in the end, she forgot.. She took love for granted.. She allowed her life and others around her to flip the script, so to speak.. She got comfortable in taking me for granted and laughing at the fact that she could break my heart... Years later she's asking questions which are disguised... She's feeling me out for the possibility of getting back together but how can I when I remember the end... How can I when I remember being treated like shit? I remember being put in the back of all her decisions... The girls came first, then "me time," then trips somewhere else so she could getaway.. Then she'd come back and brag about being away yet I did nothing to crowd her space... She accused me of not being there for her and when she gave me that final blow of kicking me to the curb as I drove her to work in the early morning, she smiled at the fact that she left me sitting in the car in tears... It made her proud of herself... How do you return to that sort of thing? How do you repair enough trust to go back? Forgiveness only provides enough space for the makings of a possible friendship... Phone calls and concern for well being.. It's hard to forget when you're treated like shit... That odor in your soul that's left behind dont go away so easily... nah mean? I can forgive but I can't forget... Then I think about life as it is now and all the growth I've experienced in just being a man over the years.. It feels good, it feels great... A brotha on the move, thinking about his future, setting things up so he can enjoy perhaps an early retirement from the 9 to 5 one day... I'm on the verge of doing as I like to say "dreamstyle" things... A project in the works that I can't reveal but it's such a dream come true. Something I can be extremely proud of and say "I did it all by myself!" And then I can show my mother and let her enjoy it too, whenever she chooses... The only real thing I miss right now is my grandmother, Alzata Moorings but I bet she's proud too.. And one day soon, another dream will come true... My epic story.. Until Again.. released in a big way thanks to all the love and very special help that holds me up, keeps me lifted, and inspired...Thanks to Tee... I'm on a humble mission to simply live a good life.... no BS... no time wasting drama... no foolishness... I just wanna live a good life with passion and appreciation... From the heart... From the soul... I bleed with sincerity and respect...Dreamstyle..
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tomorrow my road will lead back to familiar territory aka the J-O-B... It's always good to get back to work but I will definitely miss the road. I find myself trying to think and remember where I was this time last week. Every moment, every minute was all about the journey and planning everything at the spur of the moment. I had more fun than I ever did before on my trips or at least in a very long time. There were two other times which came close to being just as special and that was the very first trip I took about eight years ago right after my father passed away and then the trip I took with the special lady in my life at the time. That three week period it felt like we'd shared the kind of experiences that most couples take about ten years to experience. On this journey that I just returned from, felt like a lifetime of experiences too. I tried to squeeze in as much as I could and yet there was still a lot I wanted to do. And I definitely wish I could've stayed in Atlanta another week because that was too fun.
Looking back on my trip, the funniest moments probably had to do with certain hotels that I stayed at... It was hit and miss with those places but for the most part I always found some pretty good places. However, there were three exceptions. Three, dirty-funky-hotels that had me afraid to even touch the floor without wearing shoes.. The first was the Executive Inn in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. That place was nasty, the so-called highspeed wireless had no speed. The lady at the front desk was sexy and friendly, trying to show all sorts of cleavage but a pretty smile with curves can't entice me to spend the night in filth. Then there was the Best Western in Natchitoches, Louisiana. This was the place where I was like, there's no way I'm taking of my shoes or even placing my luggage on the floor. It was dirty, smelled very strange, and just felt unsafe to spend the night in without coming down with some kind of illness the next day... The last place that fit in the category of dirty-funky-hotels was the Best Western in Pecos, Texas. This place tripped me out. It looked nice from the outside and the people at the front desk were very friendly. Then when I got to my room I was happy because I had to use the bathroom really bad. After I did that, I took a deep breath, felt relieved and then happened to look up at the ceiling. I was like, what the hell? The celing was covered with about 30 or 40 flies... I couldn't believe those were flies at first so I threw a towel at them and they started flying around the room before returning to the ceiling... Yikes... That was a place I didn't need to be.
Now for the best hotels? Comfort Inn in Mt. Pleasant, Natchitoches and Atlanta(Union City). All three of those places made me feel at home and very at ease with highspeed internet that actually worked.. I miss all those experiences both good and bad.. That's what makes the road interesting and unpredictable... Great time...
Very kind words always give me inspiration... I have to send special thanks out to some ladies that recently emailed me. They thanked me for my novel "My Life Is All I Have" and my novella featured in the new anthology called "Love Is Never Painless." I wanna share some of what they said. I'm forever grateful for the kind words and inspiration...
I used to really avoid black novels because I always thought they were
all about glorifying a ghettofabulous lifestyle (I don't listen to
hip-hop, either) and deep tragedy...until I started reading a few, and
not too bad, but I'm still reserving the right to be very selective.
Then I read YOUR book: gramatically astute (majorly important to me),
intelligent, insightful, and very realistic. Leesha was a personally
relatable character for me.
Thank you so much for the privilege of reading..keep up
the good work, and stand proud but stay humble!
I wanted to let you know I just finished "My Life Is All I Have"
and it was wonderful!!! I can see all the events as they unfold. I am a
Teacher of middle school kids and I see so many Leesha's at my school, I
want to let them all read the book. I think it would be nice to see
what happened to Scottie and if he and Leesah's path will ever cross
again. Again I enjoyed reading your book.
Hello V. Anthony Rivers,
I just finished the tri-book Love Is Never Painless written by you, Zane and Eileen M. Johnson I just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed Love is 2 Blame. I am a avid reader and a hopeless romantic. I really enjoyed the idea of one man believing in love and realizing love before it became too late. I just wanted to compliment you on a well written and wonderful story. It makes believe there is hope out there for everyone. When one door is closed another will open for you. Thank You and I look forward to your next project. All the best in your future.
I just read your story in the book Love is never painless and it's
absolutely beautiful, only one problem WHERE ARE THE MEN THAT
EXPRESSES THEIR FEELINGS LIKE THIS LOL!!!!! I so wish I could find a man
that is a fourth like Malcolm ( maybe one day I will).
I loved the way you made me feel as if all the feelings Malcolm was
going through I could relate too, I eagerly anticipate reading more from
Monday, November 20, 2006
As I make my way back to the land of earthquakes, fires, speechless eyecandy, glitz, glitter and wild times at Magic Johnson's Starbucks, I look back on this journey with bittersweet fondness... I've seen A LOT in every single mile... It's been incredible. I've shared some images in the blog but I've got about 200 plus other shots that I haven't shared but plan to put together in a really cool book that documents this time.
A few standout moments to mention of course are my time spent in Atlanta with my sisterfriend Kim and her family. That was an awesome time. I never felt so special and at the same time was never able to appreciate and checkout Atlanta like I did this time. I must say I can understand why folks love it so much.
New Orleans was mindblowing to me. I still love the town and pray that the help that's needed is directed toward the less fortunate rather than solely on the tourists spots. Make the whole city beautiful and not just the areas that get on camera.
Daingerfield, Texas.. Had a great time visiting family. A good visit with cousin Maggie and Big Mama. It's a sad situation back there with the young men carrying no respect and no direction on their backs like they think it's the best thing since chocolate candy. What they do or perhaps dont do has really brought down what once was not only a beautiful area but also a very special place for the Rivers family from all parts of the US to come and visit loved ones, past and present... It used to be 136 acres of beautiful land, horses, cows, well kept homes, and a very historical family cemetery. Now it's beer bottles stacked on top of each other, pitbulls barking, deteriorating homes, land no longer owned by the family, and so much more that make you shake your head and wonder what happened.
Mt. Pleasant... beautiful used-to-be small town and the place where my father and grandmother are buried. I enjoyed my stay to the fullest there. Still the best hotlinks and chicken-fried steak you can find anywhere. This place is full of memories for me that I could fill up ten books with...
I've got to give special thanks to a very tall creole gentleman that approached me in the backwoods of Louisiana near the Cane River. Mr. Chevalier came up to me, introduced himself and shook my hand really strong. He was impressed that I'd driven so far but was proud to hear me say how much I loved where he came from and my frequent visits there. He said to me "it's very easy to fall in love with this place..." It truly is and the tradition and respect that this area has for not only the living but the departed souls is something that everyone should pay attention to and learn from. You can see the love on everyone's faces and the easy smile they give you the moment they see you. This backwoods area is where the St. Augustine church is and I smile at the memory of seeing a couple people come to the parking lot of this church to pick up all the pecans that had blown off the trees after some very powerful winds came through. Actually, those winds felt really good as I sat in my car eating some delicious meat pies and drinking grape soda.. *smile*
This has been quite a journey.. I could fill at least two books with stories about it..*smile* It's not over yet but I couldn't resist writing down some thoughts about it as I begin the long trek back to Cali. It's been incredible but as one journey comes to an end, another one must begin... Gotta find Love so that she can accompany me on next years long journey.. For now, time to hit the road...
Friday, November 17, 2006
I was blown away by what I saw in New Orleans... Parts of the city is like a war zone and the French Quarter aint the same but they seem to be trying to rebuild it. The freeways are being rebuilt. Life still aint the same but I still love that city. Can never get enough of it...
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
This is what I saw today... The country air is clean and life is slow, simple, and complicated too because the young folks got issues out here! lol.. Despite the beauty of what you see in the pictures above, there's a lot of disappointment and ignorance especially amongst the young black men. History is forgotten and pride only gets a shoulder shrug. It's been quite a trip.. enjoy the visuals.. It was beautiful taking all this in.. East Texas, aka Mt. Pleasant, Daingerfield, Omaha, and Pittsburg, Texas...
Monday, November 06, 2006
The road was still smilin on me today.. Seemed like there was a parade going on with all the NASCAR trucks riding down the highway in convoys. Each truck was very colorful so every few minutes I had something colorful to watch. Then came this moving truck barreling down on me and that began a little tit for tat racing between me and him... I knew I could pretty much leave that big rig behind but from experience, I learned that certain towns in Texas you gotta be leery of when it comes to the Texas Rangers being nearby... My prediction was right on time as me and the big rig were approaching Sweetwater. That's when you begin to see a lot of rangers. I slowed down and the big rig got a little excited so he sped up real fast and went around me. Seconds later there was a ranger driving in the opposite direction and I saw his head look in the direction of the truck. He turned around and zoomed on by. I got off the highway for a second just to make sure he didn't know we both were speeding. I bought a little snack and then got back on the road. That moving truck was pulled over and receiving a nice ticket. I was careful from that point on because Abilene, Texas is the same way. Texas Rangers driving up and down the highway constantly...
I didn't do much picture taking today but tomorrow I will finally be in the heart of east Texas so stay tuned for some amazing reflections and images of life in the country... This is where Mother Nature is at her finest.. *smile*
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I'm making my way to greener pastures and lovin every blessed minute/mile of it.. Texas is a huge state and I'm only half way in it.. Earlier today I passed through a town called Truth Or Consequences. Yes indeed that's the name of the town located in New Mexico. I'm still bumpin some Snoop Dogg radio making my trip a whole lot of fun.. I'm new to all this technology stuff so I'm like an innocent kid in this candy store lovin the fact that all these hotels and even roadside tourist information centers have the wireless hook up so I can jump online anytime.. And of course as an observer of life, my cup runneth over.. As soon as you hit El Paso some serious cow shit hits your nostrils in a big way and you know you're in Texas..lol.. BUT.. I love that smell because it reminds me of summertime on the farm with my grandfather back in the day.. And over the years I've learned big time that there's BIG money where that smell originates.. As you ride on Interstate 10 approaching El Paso you see thousands of cows..literally.. All of them producing milk that ends up in our local grocery stores..
Now I look forward to getting past all these dry land areas of Texas and reaching the promised land of east Texas.. Hopefully I'll see more curves as well once I hit Dallas and make my way further into what will make this trip it's most rejuvenating.. Curves..yes..lol.. Umm.. the kind that have smiles attached and beautiful voices.. There's been a drought when it comes to that good stuff during the first part of this journey but nevertheless, this has been fun and its just beginning. *smile*
Saturday, November 04, 2006
As Big Willie Nelson would sing.."On the road again!" that's exactly what I'm doin as we speak and it feels really good.. This is a return to what I used to do every year around this time.. Take a nice long journey to whatever.. have some incredible times, speeding down the highway, flossing everywhere, eating delicious food, capturing life images, stirring up memories; new and old, inspiring smiles along the way and listening to interesting voices...
Whew..leaving LA was like being in an airplane, taxing to the runway but taking forever to get there! Traffic was everywhere and at a snails pace but I was blessed with a few moments which allowed me to fill my heart with a ton of patience..
First blessing was a quick visit from my mother who brought over a care package and some ice for my ice chest. She blessed me with a hug and the usual motherly worries that I dont take for granted as long as she doesn't drive herself crazy with it... I checked in so she knows I'm doin fine.. :-) Next blessing came when I visited my father's childhood friend; Vernice Lee. They grew up together in Mt. Pleasant, Texas which is definitely a major stop on this journey. I made his day by stopping by there. Then the last necessary stop to make this trip special was going by the cemetery where my grandmother(Alzata Moorings)is buried. I'm blessed to have had two incredible grandmothers who thought the world of me. This trip begins with that visit and once I get to east Texas I'll stop by to visit the grave of my grandmother on my father's side(Senora Rivers).
This is day one of what should be quite a journey.. I'm on some Willie Nelson ish and cant wait for tomorrow to come so I can continue.. Another cool thing I enjoyed today was that my recent purchase of an XM Satelite radio proved to be a good one.. They had the Snoop Dogg, Welcome 2 Da Church Marathon going on! No matter where I travel, I'm still westcoast! *smile* Snoop knows how to bring it musically playing everything from his latest stuff to some very old oldschool 70's joints... That was a beautiful thang! Blessings.. :-)
Monday, October 30, 2006
My heart still aches from this past weekend. The funeral for my grandmother was a very sad occasion.. It was a day I remember I used to fear would become reality rather than imagination. I used to think about it years ago. That day when this family would lose it's most important cornerstone and how we would all respond to it when we wake up and realize that there will be no more going over to grandma's place for a Christmas celebration. We called her "mother." Alzata Moorings. She used to always call me, Anthony P. It sounded like "Ant-nee Pee.." I dont know what the "P" stood for but it always sounded great coming from mother. We lay her body to rest on Saturday but I think her soul was already at peace. My mother said to me as we stood looking at my grandmother's body "she looks good, huh?" My mother fought her tears when she said that but inside I was thinking, why did she have to say that. I started crying then. Seeing my grandmother's body was unreal to me and yet it brought back an onslaught of memories from previous October funerals that I'd been to. Seeing a loved one's body in a casket is a tough one for me because it doesn't feel like I'm looking at the person but instead some kind of life sized doll. Maybe it's just me but again, it felt so unreal. Though I have to say, once the person closed the casket, I felt my heart drop. It was like my conscious mind and my emotions colliding... I fought desperately to remember that she was in heaven and not really inside that casket. My beautiful grandmother... And no disrespect to any of those folks eulogizing but for the first time that I can remember, none of the words sank in for me. I found no comfort and not much recollection for anything said. The only thing I remember was the performance by my uncle, Richard Moorings as he sang his heart and soul out... Always and forever proud of him... Life ain't fair when it takes away your grandmother but I know...Life is life and this is a part of living... At the end of the day as I walked away from my grandmother's place with my mother by my side, some nice words echoed from behind me as one of the two elderly women sitting outside said to me "your grandmother always mentioned you..." And on Sunday the first thing I did was return to the cemetery for my own peaceful moment with her... It helped but I still ache...
I shake my head sometimes, wondering why Police folks do what they do.. Why they direct their attention toward some and not others. And I'm not so much complaining about things on a racial tip, though I could. Not really complaining about a certain side of town, though in a way I probably am.. *smile* It's just that I noticed something today that was puzzling. I shot this picture above in the midst of my puzzlement, if you will. A group of fellas riding in this white car were stopped. Ordered against the wall, etc etc.. The usual drill. There was even a helicopter above surveying the whole thing. But then on another street there's lots of action going on. A situation that a passerby could easily figure out and determine that the so-called oldest profession was on and poppin. Not only that but it was going on steps away from a corner church. Police cars passing by every few minutes but never stopping. Again, I'm puzzled... Young brothas on cellphones watching the police drive by as they warn the young ladies on the corner but it's not like the ladies run the minute they get the warning. Nah, they just casually walk to another corner on the same street but anyone can put two and two together and figure out what's going on yet it continues to go on... And this sort of action on this particular street always happens on a Sunday afternoon... It was a trip to see but I guess things are the way they are for some reason that escapes me. Enterprising young men and women doing there thing? Apathy amongst the police folks? As long as it remains where it is sort of thing?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Hellooooo to all my millions of friends out there who visit this blog and especially the four or five that do it on the regular...lol.. And even a wink and a smile to those one or two that peek in with the mindset of "I wonder what HE is doing these days.." :-) I've been on a semi-hiatus from the blog. The motivation for many things has been low. The writing has come with struggle though in my mind I still flow all the time... I've been lazy with putting fingers to keys. That motivation hasn't been there.. Life has been a trip, especially in this month with all the death anniversaries and now the loss of my last grandparent. It's been one of those times when I wish I could reach back and bring yesteryear forward so I could enjoy it all over again... We've got memories but ain't nothin like the real thing, as the song goes... Grasping memories... Maybe that's why I been listening to the classic soul station on the itunes radio so much. Actually, that's been a lot of fun because I'm rediscovering songs that mean't a lot to me and hearing stuff I never heard before because I was into something else..
In a couple weeks I will begin an old tradition that started when my father passed away.. Hitting the road and going on a journey that's purely motivated and inspired by the journey itself. I'll be headed south with one of my main stops being east Texas to visit family, living and deceased. Flowers for my father, grandmother and grandfather's grave. Visiting family and listening to familiar stories all over again. Checking out beautiful scenery and eating some mouth watering food... Hotlinks in Mt. Pleasant, Tx and meatpies in Natchitoches, La. The miles will take me far and the inspiration will stay with me forever once I return. Last year I didn't go anywhere and it left me feeling like something was missing. I vowed I would make my return to the road and document the journey along the way.. Perhaps it'll even get me back to blogging more frequently. I'm sure it will. Ain't nothing like being on the road. It's something that even my father would do on the regular. I may have inherited the roadwarrior spirit from him, traveling from town to town and witnessing the unknown, unexpected each step of the way. But of course I do it in my own style and that will be reflected no doubt.. *smile* Thanks to this blessing of photography I can capture and create. It's a gift that has kept me creative during times when I didn't feel like writing lately. Photography inspires you to look at everything in different ways. Even if your desire is to photograph models ie. women, you look deeper, you search for other ways to find and express the beauty from within. And my digital paintbrush/camera is about to be blessed not only with scenic beauty but I'm sure I'll pass a few incredible ladies along the way.
My last journey was beautiful.. It was a healing time. Healing of the heart because prior to that I was in love and that was taken away. I traveled with that love and we did some amazing things when we journey'd together. Those memories I carry with pride but they're- memories. The journey since then has been better, in a way...different though nothing replaces love per se. Ahh... but I found new discoveries, new cool spots, new smiles, new voices... Time will tell what this journey will bring... The highlight will definitely be seeing my good sisterfriend Kim in Atlanta and possibly a visit also in Atlanta with my other sisterfriend Jamise. That will be wonderful... The most magical time will be seeing my cousin Maggie.. A real true earth angel in Daingerfield, Tx...
In the meantime I want to give a special shoutout to a real cool brotha on the eastcoast, Slish. I visit his blog constantly and always enjoy it. If our paths should ever cross in person it'll be a great moment for sure and I'll have to buy him a sassparilla to celebrate! lol.. Much respect and appreciation for Mr. Slish out there representin in the best kind of way... Thanks to anyone and everyone reading this here.. *smile* Peace...
Ahhh... and one more thing I almost forgot.. Got a new book coming out.. Actually, it's an anthology put together by Zane that has been in the works for quite a few years now. The wait will be worth it in my mind because the story written definitely expresses how a man is capable of loving a woman and how that man's heart bleeds when all that he gave is tossed away... It's a good story. One of three short novellas in the collection called "Love Is Never Painless." Due out in mid November...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The adversary of life can sometimes knock you back down just as you think you've made strides to get to a certain point... That's when the inner strength must kick in and all those things that one must do to remember dreams, goals, and all things that stimulate your inner-self to say, "it aint over yet. You gotta do it! Keep on keepin on!" and all the other cliche's that have been handed down through time...
Last week was an interesting one. It was a time when memories collapsed upon me like a ten gallon water tank above my head. Not that it was bad and not that it was especially good but as my journey continues, last week was important. Sad anniversaries reminded me of what we take for granted most times...LIFE. Eight years ago my father passed away on October 3rd. The month also marks the fifth year anniversary of his mother aka my grandmother's passing and the one year passing of my cousin Natalie who left this earth a year ago, last week. And then there was something that happened to me a year ago on the night after attending Natalie's funeral that will forever leave a powerful mark in my personal journey. Not a born again experience or nothing like that but a life experience.. a new perspective...lucky to be here...still...today, experience.. I went through this moment in my life with a friend of mine who unfortunately after almost a year of silence I would have to assume is no longer a friend. That's sad because she was special and a blessing to know but folks have their own agendas, reasons, and other stuff that make them stick around or choose to leave... Thus, life continues on and it's been good but again, moments happen like an adversary with a strong hand keeping you from taking the step you wanted to take. This weekend was a little bit rough... I stayed home fighting a bad cold that knocked me for a loop and relied on infomation from my mother about my grandmother(Alzata) being evaluated by hospice. I know too well about this stage as I went through it with my grandmother on my father's side(Senora). With me being the only grandson of Senora and my father having passed away before her, I had the responsibility to make all decisions. That was a very rough time. This time all I can do is pray for my grandmother's comfort as the family on my mother's side attempts to adjust and accept what's inevitable. My mother is blessed to have a sister and three brothers to help her with all decisions. I hope they all recognize this and come together... Life aint always fun but it's always headed somewhere....
Sunday, October 01, 2006
A flower blooms in the middle of men...
I was at the Silver Dollar Classic football game in Los Angeles on Saturday. It was a cool event. Alcorn State versus Morehouse. They brought some black college football to the westcoast and that's a good thing. Unfortunately there wasn't very many folks in attendance but maybe next year. Personally I had fun. I even captured a few cool shots with the camera like a shot of Denzel Washington on the sidelines and even a good picture of Snoop Dogg... BUT... nothing compares to taking shots like above. A beautiful lady looking incredible though at the same time she appeared lost amongst all the men. For me, no amount of football being played could ever keep me from checking her out.. whew.. I can catch a football game any day, but capturing a moment like this? Blessing..
Friday, September 29, 2006
Lone souls fill the city streets with heads down, walking, thinking, appearing oblivious to their surroundings yet there's no doubt each one sees the other. For some reason there's this perception that if we dont connect we're better off and thus, more times than not you see folks with their heads down, tracing the path of the sidewalk, on their way to wherever they're going. And I say to this, lift each other up with a hello and maybe a smile 'cause nine times out of ten you will leave that moment wanting to say thanks because it came exactly when you needed it.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Reading about diversity today as reported by the newspaper. The only kind of diversity that sticks out in my mind is the haves versus the have nots. I work in Pasadena but live near Figueroa and Century. I'm a "have" though I work hard for the little that I got. I'm surrounded by "have nots." When I drive home, I take the harbor freeway and get off on Century. I noticed that they got what looks like twenty foot walls on the side of the freeway, designed to muffle the sound of all the traffic zooming by but if you ask me, I say it's designed to keep folks from seeing poverty. Them walls seem to disappear once you get out of South Central. That's diversity.
When I'm coming home, I make a right turn on my street and feel good that I've got a home to come to. But then I look down the street and see young ladies on the corner looking half naked and desperate. I was at a stoplight today and a young woman walked across the street holding her pants up with one hand and carrying a purse that looked like it came out the trashcan, in her other hand. Her clothes were dirty. Her skin looked like she hadn't bathed in months; maybe even a year. Makes you wonder sometimes. I look in the direction from which this female came from and I see a church with it's doors closed but I can't talk because I wouldn't let this lady in my house either. I ain't proud of those feelings but they right there in whatever part of my soul that causes me to judge everyone and everything I see like these local liquor store owners that ease up when they see I look neither hungry, homeless, or threatening.
So, everyday on my lunch break I walk over to the park. I sit and read my newspaper. I might have a little snack now and then but mostly I like to relax and catch up with the news. Ain't nothing new that I read about but I just like to keep current. Ain't no park in my area for miles and whenever I do drive over to the nearest one, I gotta keep track of the time 'cause things change when night time comes. Those have not's begin to take and like my mama once told me, I ain't always in my right mind so I will try to defend myself and make it a long day for anybody trying to take what belongs to me. The world that I read about in the newspaper is just a soundbite to reality. Counting blessings go hand in hand with counting how many lives were lost over the course of a weekend.
Diversity... Children smiling behind a backdrop of crime, grafitti, drugs, and the devastation of being the less fortunate. Ten mintues away from where I live you see this image on a day to day. I often wonder why there's so many police officers patrolling a small project housing area. Is it truly to protect and serve or to make sure nobody leaves. Twenty minutes away is Beverly Hills. You dont see police that often. As you walk around you can listen to the breeze. People are smiling. Some might even say hello and wish you a pleasant day. You can fill up your car at the gas station without being approached by a bunch of people that want to pump your gas or wash your windows. You can stand back an relax as the gas fills your tank without someone offering to sell you CD's and DVD's. I love my home and I even love my neighborhood but diversity to me is all about the differences you find based on where you live. I see it all everyday as I make my commute from South Central LA to Pasadena. LA ain't really growing. It's just filling up and getting crowded. The noise level be the only true thing that grows. People talking louder everywhere you go. People shouting into cellphones. Everybody gotta have music playing. Nobody appreciates a good dose of silence. That's why I come to the park on my lunch break. I welcome the night time at home though my heart goes out every once in a while when I hear a distant gunshot or some life altering foolishness that goes on in the streets. Those of us that got homes in this area can lock our doors, turn up the television and block it all out. I'm one of the "have's" so I'm guilty of avoiding what's outside my door. I haven't built a wall up but I do from time to time, look away... Then I read the newspaper about diversity and wonder what are they really celebrating because once they recognize who you are, you are then directed towards where they believe you should be... Back to work...
Sunday, September 17, 2006
It dont matter who's looking, I'ma get my party on! Shake my ass like a skinny girl. Twirl around like my homegirls wish they could do. I've got the sun shining all over me like God put the spotlight on a sistah, himself. Got my tight jeans on soaking it all up and everybody sitting around trying to figure out where I get the nerve to do what I do. They all know they wanna join me. Every other face got a smile. They watching me and lovin it. Lovin the way all of me jiggles and lovin it when I wiggle. They dont want none of this 'cause they can't handle it. But they all wish they could... handle it... *smile*
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Saturday was a good day once I shook off the morning laziness I was feeling after enjoying my sleep a little too much. I woke up later than I wanted to simply because I stayed up until about 7:30am. I laugh at myself because I got caught up in watching the movie version of Fat Albert. (LOL!) Yeah, that's funny but it's cool... I never saw it before when it first came out. I couldn't see myself going to a movie theatre to watch it and after that I pretty much forgot the movie existed. I have to admit that what also kept me glued to the television was the fact that that sexy actress whose name escapes me now was in it. I think she's puerto rican. I remember seeing her in Spike Lee's movie, She Hate Me. whew... beautiful...
But anyway, back to Saturday... I challenged myself to go out and take some incredible pictures because my good friend Kim sent me pictures from her day spent hanging out in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. I figured I'd see what I could do hanging out somewhere so I could send her some cool shots. I hope to convince her to work on a collection to put together in book form showing images, people, neighborhoods, etc etc that represent where she is(Atlanta) and where I am(LA). The book may take on a different theme being that I like to travel and especially love photographing the life and mystery that I often find when I'm in the south.
Speaking of the south, today as I was hanging out in Santa Monica trying to capture some incredible images to send to Kim, I heard some blues guitar and a haunting voice singing on the beach. I looked and found this bluesman in the picture above sitting leaned up against a bathroom wall. I listened to him for a little bit before taking a few pictures of him. Then I approached him so I could get a closer listen and to maybe talk for a bit. I smiled as I walked up. He'd seen me taking pictures of him. He bragged about his skills.
"Check this out here! This aint no amplification. This ain't no tape recorder and ain't no electricity anywhere near me! This is some real playing and some real sang'n!" He said.
"Yes, sir..." I threw some money in his case.
Then I asked him a question that seemed to put him in a very happy state of mind. It was like I'd hit a magical switch that touched his heart.
"Why you not playing in Memphis or in Clarksdale, Mississippi? You sounding real authentic like you belong where this kind of music was born at."
"Ha! You know the blues then, huh? Shoot, life bring me here some kind of way. I been on the streets for years but at least me coming down here by the beach I always got a way to make a few dollars and keep myself clean. They got all them little showers around here which come in handy."
"I hear you..."
"Yes, sir but you know, I try to be what you call, discreet about it. I mean, these hotels so close by and all. These visitors trying to see bikini girls. They dont wanna look out they window at some skinny black man's behind tryna run up under some water! Ahhh ha haa... You know what I'm sayun? Shoot..."
I laughed and enjoyed the spirit of this bluesman. Seemed like he needed someone to stop by and greet him in a friendly way. He played his music and some people would drop money here and there but nobody said hello or stopped to talk with him. He thanked me with pride before I walked away and smiled for as long as we made eye contact. The way he played he really should be in Mississippi playing the blues and being treated like a king because his voice sounded like it was coming from a radio. It was nice to put a smile on his face...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Yo! First it was Halle searching every corner of every local bookstore just to get a glimpse of my book and now we have the most incredible musician/performer on the planet taking a break and losing himself inside the pages of my masterpiece.... My Life Is All I Have. Prince can't get enough of the unconditional love found inside the pages of this incredible read...
Ummm...uhhh..what time is it! lol... DISCLAIMER TIME... In a perfect, fabulous, dreamed about world this image above would be true. Nah, Prince ain't holding my book(though he should) but it just goes to show you, you can't always believe what your eyes may see. What's below the surface? Behind the curtain? Behind those eyes? Underneath that skin? And in the case of the picture above, Prince is actually holding a Hawaii travel guide... *smile* Ha ha!
Monday, September 11, 2006
Just like the picture above of the Bird Soldiers almost standing at perfect attention, this was almost a perfect weekend. Actually, any weekend where there's great experiences, memorable moments, cool conversations and as my good friend Jody would say, "rainbows passing by" you know it's been a good one. Perfection might be if I were to catch one of those rainbows and spend good quality time. Jody always tells me to catch one but none of the moments were right for me to do that. Rainbows represent the ladies for those that might not catch what I'm saying.. *smile*
Anyway, this weekend was cool and it was slightly sad... I got stood up by my "ex." Ha! Actually, that falls under the cool category because despite it being her idea to hook up and hangout, I knew she wouldn't follow through-- like always. Life goes on and so it did in a more special way. Spent time visiting my grandmother who is in a rest home right now. She looked strong. She looked good though it's a tough one getting used to her being there rather than being active at home like she used to be.
As I was visiting my grandmother, there were also two other women in the room with her. Each room has three beds separated by curtains. My grandmother is in the middle bed. To the left of her is a white woman, very frail and sleeps all the time. Every once in a while she mumbles something. As I stood there, my mother who was also visiting and my grandmother sort of brushed off what the white woman was saying. "She does that all the time; it's nothing," my mother said as my grandmother agreed. Thing about it, to me when an elderly person who is pretty much at the end of her life mumbles something, it's never "nothing." I listened to her and could sense that somewhere in her mind, this white woman's life was passing before her. She was saying words that sounded as if she were having a conversation with a loved one; possibly her husband. This lady actually looked like she was once a very beautiful woman perhaps when she was young but now she was curled up and so frail.
To the right of my grandmother was another very frail woman with salt and pepper hair and a tube in her nose. She was also asleep the whole time. She was a black woman with a beautiful face despite her elderly appearance. They said she had just been brought into the rest home. She was also lying in bed curled up. She reminded me of my grandmother on my father's side. As I stood there, moments later a stunning young woman walked into the room. She placed her hand on the frail black woman's shoulder to see if she'd wake up but she didn't. I could tell that this young woman was probably the grand daughter. She looked at me, smiled and said hello. And then I witnessed something that I so badly wanted to capture with my camera but all I could think was that I'd only be intruding on a very precious moment. The young woman leaned over and placed her face against her grandmother's and closed her eyes. It was like she was connecting with her through spirit. It was really a touching moment and then I turned away. After a couple minutes I looked again and noticed the young woman had left.
After some good time spent with my grandmother I hit the streets and had a blast. Took some pictures, met up with some friends and even met someone new; a young lady named Nadia. That's where the cool conversation of the weekend comes in. Nadia was funny, very cheerful, sexy, very touchy/feely, and a beautiful happy spirit. She's originally from Long Island and hasn't been in LA very long; maybe a month or two. She seems like she has a lot to learn and I pray she gains wisdom fast. I loved her accent and the way she kept putting the word "mad" practically before every word... *smile* Maybe not every word but she said it a lot! mad-this...mad that....yo! I was lovin it. She scooted up close and gave me a hug. She kept touching my hands and forgetting that she asked me some of the same questions already. "Uh-oh, we got mad chemistry, yo.." she said to me as I gripped her hand. "I like you. I hope I'm not talkin too much. Am I messin up your flow?" she said as she looked around thinking I might be looking at other women. "Nah..." I said. we parted ways after she gave me her phone number and kept repeating as her voice faded away "you gonna call me, right? Yo...come on..call me...okay?" She was mad cool.. *smile*
It was hot in the valley where I live so I chilled for a while in Venice near the beach. I walked along the canals. Yeah, there's a neighborhood with canals for streets and everybody got little boats if they wanna cruise around. Ducks are all over the place quacking like crazy but sounding like they're laughing. Everybody seems happy to live in this neighborhood so pretty much everyone says hello in passing. You usually find that out here in neighborhoods where people love to come home.I got a dose of some latin christian hip hop music on Venice Beach that was pretty good. It was a group called Sons Of God performing near the boardwalk. They basically sounded like Tupac with religious words. And every step of my weekend journey was filled with visions of those rainbows.. It ended with a nice semi-bigtime moment as a young lady said to me "oh my God, I know you! I'm like halfway finished with reading your book! It's very good! That book about that girl named Leesha? You wrote that, right?" I was like, whoa... my little minute of fame... Now its time to get back to reality and look forward to next weekend..