5/26/2015Me and my blog have been together since 2009. Some of the entries seem to have disappeared but I think they're just hidden behind other entries. What I love about blogs is that they live in a liminal space between writing for yourself, writing what never will be read by another, and writing for a more far-flung world than is easily imagined.
Let’s Move! Ada and I are headed to Montgomery, Alabama. Returns to Alabama are always delicious homecomings for me. My father and his father were both born near Selma. And my husband’s mother’s family is from Tuskegee.
We love Tuskegee. And that is why two years ago when I was out on book tour with my third novel Rebel Yell I was overjoyed to accept an invitation for a two day visit that included both classroom teaching, a public lecture, a visit with the Tuskegee’s elegant First Lady, and a reception hosted by the local chapter of the Links, Incorporated—a chapter my husband’s grandmother had been a dynamic member of for years. The visit brought unexpected sadness with the joy.
I found myself in a classroom looking out at a room full of smart young black women too many of whom were larger than I was—and that day I weighed over 225 pounds! I decided then and there I was going to solve my weight problem for myself and share the solutions I found with my community.
I’m headed back to Alabama with a simple message. Black women in America must commit to getting under 200 pounds. We need to do it by walking eight miles each week, sleeping eight hours each night, and drinking eight glasses of water each day. And all of America needs to support this effort by acknowledging that a ten percent reduction in weight makes a fifty percent reduction in diabetes risk and is therefore significant AND black women don’t get fat because we are lazy—we get fat because we are too tired. That’s not the whole truth but it’s a big hunk of it. If you want to know my whole view of the truth you need to read my novel Ada’s Rules.
Virginia Festival of Books
3/20/2010Husband David and I are spending the weekend at the Virginia Festival of Books. Yesterday morning I used the work out room. It was the first time in my life I've worked out in a hotel. My new road food is chocolate almond kashi go lean bars and black coffee. I've lost 19 pounds! Friday noon I spoke at a talk hosted by the African-American Authors Reading Group( a magnificent book club) about Rebel Yell. Thursday night I was on a panel with John Casey Maud Casey and Liz Benedict entitled Muses, Mentors and Monsters. Benedict who conceived of, edited, and contributed an essay to the volume moderated. John talked, brilliantly, about Peter Taylor being his muse. Maud talked about her father being her muse. I talked about my daughter being mine--and Alberta Bontemps being my literary midwife. We each read a bit from our essays on the subject. You can read their essays in Benedict's book. I promised to post the whole of mine on my website. Here it is.
1/6/2010It is January and I am on a diet. Like the rest of America. My new breakfast is a baked sweet potato. Or it is two teaspoons of peanut butter. Which is not my breakfast is my mid morning snack. My new cocktail is a sliced lemon boiled with cloves in spring water. It’s wonderful. Lunch yesterday was trout and brocolini. Dinner was chicken and kale soup and grilled romaine hearts with grilled onion drizzled with olive oil. One glass of red wine. I’m trying to keep it very simple, healthy and savory. And I’m trying to get on my treadmill every day for a minimum of fifteen minutes and a maximum of an hour. And I am committed to going to sleep before midnight. Phase one of the diet begins January 4 phase one of the diet officially ends May 4. Can’t wait to see what these four months bring. I almost called this post Sisyphus and me. I’ve pushed this rock up a lot of hills. I prefer to think I’m pushing this big weight to the top of a steep hill one last time. I’m going to be innovative and accountable and I think I can do this. We will see together.
12/29/2009We won’t forget our present-less Poinsettia Christmas. We stayed at the Westin Poinsett, spa-ed at the River Falls Spa, road Santa’s sleigh down one of the prettiest Main Streets in America, ate Christmas Eve dinner at High Cotton overlooking the river, opened no stockings, unwrapped no gifts, simply reveled in the gift of each other’s presence--- and it was the best Christmas ever. Which is not to say it was perfect. There was a moment Christmas Eve morning when unplugged from all our existing traditions: the hand sewn stockings, the holiday box, the invitations to the parties we always go to, the food we always cook, knowing just what to do, and feel including rushed and dutiful and joyful all at the same time that I feared I wasn’t prepared for the task less enjoyment of my husband and my daughter, felt challenged by an appointment with a masseuse instead of an appointment with a turkey—and then I kept my appointment.
12/22/2009The first book I remember reading was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It was a slim little volume with a hardboard cover and a gold colored spine from the series called Golden Book, probably purchased in a grocery store. I remember writing my name in crayon on Santa’s list and I remember crying when the other reindeer wouldn’t let Rudolph play in any reindeer games. And I remember feeling vindicated, I didn’t know the word, but I knew the feeling, by that foggy Christmas Eve in which Rudolph was allowed to shine literally and figuratively.
12/16/2009John Rich and Bob Delevante both live in my neighborhood; both write amazing songs; and both are friends of mine. In one recent Saturday night to Friday night span—I got to hear John Rich sing at his house on Saturday, I heard Gretchen Wilson sing there to, and Bob Delevante sing just down the street from my house at a place called Brown’s Diner with some superb young musicians called the Coal Men. Music City is a troubadour’s town. There are three songs I love that tell all about it: "Troubadour" recently recorded by George Strait; "16th Avenue" recorded a long time ago by Lacy J. Dalton; and "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" written and recorded by Kris Kristofferson.
12/3/2009I like Thanksgiving. A lot. I like the way it’s about gratitude and feasting and friends, I like the way it’s about preparing a table. And for me Thanksgiving is about learning to be an un-hyphenated American. The first Thanksgiving I clearly remember was my fifth. I was in kindergarten. My black Lutheran school classmates and I made place mats by selecting bright-hued, Detroit-autumn leaves, placing them between sheets of wax paper--and ironing.
11/16/2009It’s November and my mind is turning from novels and politics to sweet potatoes and pumpkins. I am starting to plan the Thanksgiving dinner. Every year it’s the same problem, I far prefer sweet potato pie to pumpkin pie but I can’t do without mashed sweet potatoes with my turkey--which leaves me looking for a way to include pumpkin in our November feast.
11/12/2009I have just come back from the red clay of Alabama. Tuskegee University. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Airmen, and George Washington Carver Land. A haven of quiet black audacity and accomplishment.