Little Things, Big Deal.

The closing of 2020 evokes Toni Morrison’s refrain from the closing chapter of Beloved:

This is not a story to pass on.

And yet, among all the other lessons learned this year by trial and fire, we know that beauty and grace exist in our everyday midst, regardless of any larger turmoil that simmers or rages.

These original photos, all snapped on my phone, serve to remind me of that.

Continue reading

On That Day.

on that saturday morning
still early by weekend standards
the whoops of joy &
insistent, incessant toots of celebration
underscored maybe by a shared sense of relief &
a rebounding from disbelief &
an end to the nervous tension of dayslong counting
Grew louder as the sun continued its arc across the smiling sky
into the evening until we rested
newly hopeful for tomorrow


Yes, this is the actual audio–nothing dubbed!

Mood: Keep Me.

One of the things that I do to get centered is listen to Keep Me, a gorgeous tune from my gorgeous friend, Derek Lassiter. Every time, I breathe deeply and savor the mood and message of this beautiful song.

Derek is an incredible singer, songwriter,  and musician. Check out the full album, Witness, as well as equally-inspiring Music Outside, where you may hear a familiar voice!

Click on the album to hear the tune.

Real Life.

This novel, crisply-written and beautifully constructed, evoked questions from my own life as a twentysomething gaining his adult footing: “does he like me?” “am i smart enough for this?” “was that a racist comment or am i just crazy?” Like Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, a maddening but satisfying read.

A Lucky Man.

At first I thought “oh lorrrrd another book about straight Black New York braggarts and bravado”, but I re-learned to never judge a book…

Jamel Brinkley presents nine stories about surprisingly unassuming Black men and boys, each trying to navigate his way through life’s ambiguities. Maybe the author was riffing on questions from various elements and eras of his own life. Super well written, an absorbing read.

(I’m still kinda tired of NY stories though.)


u would not believe these cherry blossoms
branches popping with bright floral hope
sprinkling over grass like pink pastel snow
confetti celebrating the advent of spring
like yayyyyy we did it
welcome back


Roxane Gay was right: “Oh my god. Heavy is astonishing…” Loved it! Terrific and sober storytelling about numerous intense themes all wrapped up together – size, weight, poverty, privilege, love, self-love, hunger, family, and surprisingly, literacy. Unorthodox writing. Loved it!

By Kiese Laymon

Jacobs/Jones Lit Prize

Yay! I am SUPER proud of this Prize. I had the idea in 2017 (see backstory here). The folks at NC Writers Network have been phenomenal hosts and organizers! Thanks to Ed and Michele of NCWN, founding donors Carol, Patrick, and Reggie, and all who made this possible (including Randall Kenan, one of my favorite writers ever!!)! See full story at